We continued Lois’ introduction to Antoni Gaudi by visiting the apartment building he built for the Mila Family. The family’s quarters were on the first floor above ground known as the noble floor. Above that door were four floors with four apartments on each floor.
Gaudi pulled out all the stops and created a building very different from the others on this street where all the best people in Barcelona in the early 1900s lived. Because of its unusual form, it became known as the rock pile or La Pedrera in Catalan. Apparently it was only the turn of the century Barcelonans!
In addition to the exterior undulations, Gaudi decorated the chimneys and exhaust vents. Climbing across the roof is like visiting a cartoon land.
Gaudi even framed a view of his masterpiece which was barely under construction at the time.
From the roof, one descends downstairs into the attic. Here it is easy to see Gaudi’s genius using nature’s forms to help him construct spaces. This was truly an eye opening space.
The attic is used to exhibit Gaudi’s ideas and his furniture design. Like his buildings, the furniture is designed with ergonomics in mind. For the chairs, he used clay to see how the armrest and hand holds should be shaped. He did the same thing in creating door knobs and cabinet pulls inside the apartment.
From the attic we toured one of the fourth floor apartments. The attention to detail was incredible. The floor in the Maids’ areas are paved with a beautiful concrete tile (now also used in homage on the street outside), while the residents’ areas have beautiful parquet floors. The common corridors are terrazzo.
The ceilings and door frames have interesting natural shapes.
The entire apartment is furnished in the style appropriate to when it was opened. It was a great insight into life in Barcelona at the time-at least for the wealthy!
From the fourth floor we descended the service stairs which were also beautiful done, because as the Audioguide told us, “the residents had to use these when the elevators failed”.
The tour ended in the second of the two courtyards. Like the first one where we began the tour, it served as the entrance for the residents whose apartments were on this side of the building and for their automobiles down into the garage. Additionally, the courtyards provide light to the interior spaces of each apartment. The intent with the columns and the nature references was to create the feeling of being in a park. They are truly beautiful.
From Casa Mila, we headed to La Rambla, the pedestrian Main Street of Barcelona. We had a tasty lunch at a sidewalk cafe that we realized must of been the Applebee’s of Spain after we saw another outlet in the next block!
After lunch we continued down La Rambla and experienced a protest parade-we think against the Morocco mafia who have kidnapped a large number of men.
And saw a suit I wish I had the nerve to wear-those are pineapples and there were little sharks on his shirt!
From there we went to the Cathedral so we could watch the folk dancing.
Mike and I realized that the elderly folks we were watching may have been the middle aged ones we watched twenty odd years ago on our first visit to Barcelona when we happened upon this weekly event by accident
While I’m sure the dancing is important, it appears to me that the weekly social connection is the most important part of this wonderful activity.
After our busy day (given we didn’t leave the apartment until noon) we all headed back to the apartment where Mike made us a beautiful platter of ham & cheese and olives for supper which Lois and I augmented with some Russian salad and crostini. We enjoyed the buffet with the “welcome to the hotel” cava.