Thursday, 16 April 2009

Casa Battlo

Easter Sunday dawned gloomy and wet in the heart of the Catalan nation, a poor start to Chris's birthday, but did that put a damper on the adventures? Yes, we got soaked! After a short stop at the cathedral to see what happened on Easter Sunday, the old folks holding hands and dancing in circles in the cathedral square and the crowds packed into the cathedral itself, we left for lunch and a trip to Casa Battlo.

We stood in a queue under brollies for maybe half an hour to gain entrance to one of the great Gaudi buildings in Barcelona, the dragon-bone house as I think of it. The front of the building is dappled and the roof is scaled like a dragon's hide, while dragon bones are everywhere. Other than the floor it's difficult to find a flat surface or a straight line, even the doors are slightly curved to differing degrees. It's a magical mansion on many floors and the first floor apartment is open to wander round and so are the attics and the roof.

The first floor apartment is a series of rooms with rich wooden details and gorgeous windows. The dining room ceiling is sparked off by a swirling jelly-fish light fitting that makes the ceiling undulate and then you realise it's not an effect of the light, the plaster of the ceiling really does undulate in waves radiating out from the light fitting. It must've been marvelous to sit there for a grand meal in the old days and look up and see that ceiling almost moving like the crashing waves on the shore and wonder if you've stepped into a magical realm.

The attic is white and cream and full of arched ceilings, like the rib cage of the dragon, various rooms presumably set aside for the servants but a great sight. And from the attic you go onto the flat roof, a great experience for any Gaudi building. It's flat for a wander round but with the trademarked chimneys Gaudi is famous for and a small, secret room built into the dragon scale roof that houses an odd fountain (this is new, not an original). It was raining so we wandered round with brollies but that doesn't spoil the joy of a Gaudi masterpiece.

I'm sucker for any Gaudi building and Casa Battlo is well worth a visit.

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