on November 20, 2005
"Come on," my husband said, "they're still open," as he ushered me toward La Pedrera, or Casa Mila, one of Gaudi's finest architectural achievements. After a long day walking throughout the parks and streets of Barcelona, I was exhausted, but as soon as I saw the building, I was immediately hooked. "Wow," I murmured as we approached the sinuous facade quite unlike anything else on the boulevard. La Pedrera, or the Stone Quarry, occupies the corner of the block. The first thing I noticed was the oddly shaped chimneys at the top of the building. Evidently these chimneys were so unnerving to Barcelona citizens when they were constructed they were nicknamed “espantabruxes” or witch scarers. The building was not widely accepted by Barcelonians when it first opened in 1910. In fact, the nickname, La Pedrera, was intended to convey the belief the building was simply a pile of rocks. Another incredible aspect to the front façade were the fantastic balconies, shaped a bit like caves with black wrought-iron railings so intricate, they look like seaweed. We paid 7 Euros to enter the building, which is largely an apartment building but we were able to visit an example of the apartments called the Pis de la Pedrera. This apartment was filled with 20th century furniture. One feature of this building is the paucity of right angles in the rooms and when combined with the vaulted ceilings, this tends to produce a very spacious feel.We next went up to the Espai Gaudi (Gaudi’s space) in the attic where we admired the incredible arches and curves lining the top of the building and serving as an insulating cushion for the bottom floors. This area has some terrific displays and models describing Gaudi’s work from across Spain, as well as an upside down model of the Sagrada Familia building. (More on that in the Sagrada Familia entry.) From the attic we went on up to the roof, and as night had descended on the city, the roof had come alive. The spooky chimneys were illuminated with strong beams of lights, and we wandered around the roof for about 45 minutes, enjoying the atmosphere. We had the space largely to ourselves as it was late in the day. The place was more awesome than spooky, more spiritual than creepy, and we were both struck by the quiet beauty of the lines and columns. Visiting La Pedrera was easily the best activity of our time in Barcelona, and although we did not plan to be there at nighttime, it turned out to be the perfect time to go.
©Travelocity.com LP 2000-2009