Tag Archives: Casa Batlló

Capricho Rillano – In The Style of Antoni Gaudi

When we are away we usually make careful plans and are reasonably certain of where we are going and what we are going to see but it is always good to come across something unexpected.

On March 23rd 2013 we were staying in the Spanish town of Siguenza in Castilla-La Mancha. We had driven out of the town and visited the town of Molina de Aragon which on a desperately cold day had turned out to be rather a disappointment.

And so we left Molina de Aragon and headed back along the N-211 which is called the Ruta del Cid and the first village that we came to was Rillo de Gallo and there staring out over the main road was an unusual house.

Unless I was very much mistaken a Gaudi house but I was mistaken because it turned out to be a house built in the style of Antoni Gaudi and, I have to say, looking completely out of place within its surroundings.

This it turns out was the Capricho Rillano built by a Gaudi enthusiast Juan Antonio Martinez Moreno and substantially unfinished which made me wonder if it had the necessary planning or development consents?

So we pulled over, parked the car by the side of the road and walked to the house.  It may not have been designed and built by the Catalan master himself but it was still wonderfully impressive.

I knew nothing of this place of course, it wasn’t in the guide books so I researched it later. Juan Antonio Martínez, a resident of Guadalajara, worked without sketches or plans, like Gaudí in his early days and he is not an architect, but an experienced builder.

The imposing façade is inspired by the great works of Barcelona and in particular the Casa Batlló with the same characteristics of pinnacles and helical columns, paraboloid domes, warped roofs of multi-coloured ceramics, iron bars and doors, of overflowing fantasy and even a terrible ceramic snake that climbs a corner of the façade along three floors and crawls onto the roof in the style of the dragon at Park Güell.

The serpent incidentally is based on a local myth about a gigantic snake which is supposedly as a big as a man and has been sighted regularly – presumably after closing time!

It was interesting to explore the exterior of the building (the doors were firmly locked) and observe the details, colourful mosaics that covered the form and shape of the building that used the trencadís technique of broken tile mosaics. In contrast to the sobriety of the adjacent buildings in the village, the tangled and impossible forms and the colours of this building were a welcome surprise.

I liked it. I don’t know if building a house in the style of Gaudi makes it a Gaudi house?  I suspect probably not. I could paint a vase of sunflowers but it wouldn’t be a Van Gogh. I could write a play but it wouldn’t be a Shakespeare.

But I liked it all the same. I wonder what Gaudi himself would have made of it?

Having enjoyed the unexpected house we thought it only good manners to explore the village because it is said that El Cid himself passed this was on his way to Valencia. Actually, El Cid just like Don Quixote passed through every town and village in Spain, or so it seems.

I would like to be able to tell you that the place was spectacular but I am afraid that I can’t – it was dull and lifeless, cold for the Spanish, shirt sleeve weather for us and the streets were empty. We followed a map which cost me 80c at the Tourist Information Office (every town and village in Spain regardless of size  has a Tourist Information Office it seems) and which showed all of the old town highlights but we didn’t find anything to take our breath away so we started to walk back and then heard some lively conversation from a bodega so we pushed the doors opened, spotted an empty table and went inside.

This explained why the streets were empty because the entire village was in here. It was wonderful and made the long drive absolutely worthwhile – a traditional bar with local Spanish wine and a plate of perfect sticky paella as complimentary tapas – and after we had finished we were very reluctant to leave but we needed to be back in Siguenza in time for the Santa Semana Easter Parade.

Click on an image to view the Gallery…

Casa Batlló in Barcelona

I continue to be inspired by blogging Pal Jo and her excellent sequence of posts about Barcelona and Antoni Gaudi in particular.  Thanks Jo.

The Gaudi attractions can be frustrating to photograph because of the crowds and Casa Batlló is no exception so I gave up after a while and concentrated on detail where people couldn’t get in the way…

Clickety-Click 2020 – The Top 5

Examining my statistics for 2020 I have looked at number of clicks and thought that I might share with you the pictures in my posts that have received the most views over the past twelve months. Yesterday I revealed 10 down to 6 and today I share the Top 5…

No. 5 – Map of World Showcase at Disneyworld, Florida – 50 clicks

It surprised me just how often map postcards have cropped up in my click statistics. This is from a post from December 2012 called Around the World in Eighty minutes about my visit to World Showcase in 1990.

No. 4 – Map of Malta – 69 clicks

Another map, this time from my post Malta – Sightseeing, a Church, a Cartoon and a Capital City which was posted in February 2013.

No. 3 – Spaghetti Harvest – 97 clicks

From a post of April 1st 2019 about the BBC Spaghetti Tree Hoax, a spoof television documentary about spaghetti crops in Switzerland.

No. 2 – Postcard Map of Northern Ireland – 119 clicks

And yet another map, this time from a post of June 2015 about preparation for a visit to Northern Ireland.

No 1 – Casa Batlló, Barcelona – 190 clicks

The second picture of Casa Batlló in Top Ten clicks but not one of my own pictures of course. I seem to remember that I scanned this picture from the travel section of The Sunday Telegraph newspaper. I used in a post about Antoni Gaudi in March 2013.

It baffles me why this picture tops the click parade, in 2020 it accounted for 12.25% of all picture clicks and in total since I posted it has 1,550 clicks which is 3.2% of the total of 48,500.

One final interesting statistic is that when I did a Google search on this image it has been lifted and used almost 150 times on other websights.

Clickety-Click 2020 – 10 to 6

I confess that I like the WordPress Statistics.

At this time of the year I used to look back at my figures for the previous twelve months and write a post about my Top Ten most visited. I stopped last year because the idea had run out of steam, very few people were visiting back posts any longer and it was becoming repetitive as the same ten old posts kept cropping up.

This year I looked instead at number of clicks and thought that I might share with you the pictures in my posts that have received the most views over the past twelve months…

No. 10 – Gran Canaria Postcard Map – 39 clicks

This is a curious thing that I have discovered. People like postcard maps. This is the first of a number of postcard maps that I have scanned and added to my posts. This was from April 2012 – My Personal A to Z of Spain, I is for Islands. I have always collected postcards, I am afraid that I cannot explain why, they are useful for posts but I don’t understand why they get so many clicks.

No. 9 – The Corpse of Lenin – 39 clicks

An interesting one this and easier to understand which I included in my post about visiting Lenin’s Mausoleum in Moscow in June 2012 imaginatively titled Russia, Lenin’s Mausoleum. I didn’t take this picture of course because cameras and mobile phones are strictly forbidden inside because the authorities don’t want snapshots of Comrade Lenin turning up on the internet on Pinterest or Trip Advisor reviews.

No. 8 – The Church at Mellihea in Malta – 43 clicks

Another postcard scan this time from a post in May 2015 titled Malta, Happiness and a Walk to Mellieha. No idea why because I have much better postcard pictures than this on my blog.

No. 7 – Casa Batlló in Barcelona – 46 clicks

At least it is one of my own pictures although clearly not one of my best. I posted this in May 2010 – Casa Batlló, Barcelona.

What I find interesting is that if you Google Casa Batlló looking for a picture to use there are literally hundreds of really good pictures, surprising then that this rather ordinary one has been lifted and used in 25 other web pages and sites.

No. 6 – Ring of Kerry, Ireland Map – 47 clicks

Although it could be mistaken for a postcard this is one of my own pictures but it is another map. These tourist maps were at various stages on the drive around the Ring of Kerry so I snapped this and included it in my post Ring of Kerry and I Temporarily Overcome My Fear of Dogs.

Tomorrow I reveal the Top five!

Thursday Doors – Casa Batlló, Barcelona

Casa Batllo Door 01

Casa Batlló is a unique and fabulous building that defies any sort of description and is a building that has to be seen to be fully appreciated. From the road outside the building looks stunning and the local name for the building is Casa dels ossos, literally the House of bones and the building has a visceral, skeletal organic quality. Much of the façade is decorated with a mosaic made of broken ceramic tiles that begins in shades of golden orange and moves and merges harmoniously into greenish blues.

Casa Batllo Door 03

Read the Full Story…

Thursday Doors is a weekly feature allowing door lovers to come together to admire and share their favourite door photos from around the world. Feel free to join in the fun by creating your own Thursday Doors post each week and then sharing your link in the comments’ on Norm’s site, anytime between Thursday morning and Saturday noon (North American Eastern Time).

Travels in Spain, Barcelona in Pictures

Click on an image to scroll through the pictures of Barcelona…

Travels in Spain, Casa Batlló in Barcelona

Batllo 7Batllo 2Batllo 5Batllo 4Batllo 6Batllo 3Batllo 1

Travels in Spain, Barcelona and Antoni Gaudi

Casa Batlo Barcelona Gaudi

“Allow me to state here how much I love Barcelona, an admirable city, a city full of life, intense, a port open to the past and future.” – Le Corbusier

I don’t really like sightseeing bus tours.  It seems to me that they flash by anything worth seeing with indecent haste without stopping and then spend several minutes at red lights and busy road junctions where there is nothing of any interest to see at all.  Today however I was persuaded to take the bus tour.

Our plan was to take the bus several stops to the outskirts of the city to a place called Park Guell, another of the must see Gaudi sites in Barcelona.  Everything went according to plan until we reached the entrance and it was full and without pre-booked tickets no admission available until late afternoon.  We didn’t have pre-booked tickets so were obliged to reschedule our day and return to the bus stop.  This involved a rather steep hill and a lot of complaints.

Back on the bus we took our seats on the top deck in the sun and soon the bus started to move and joined the Passeig de Gràcia in the Eixample district of Barcelona and heading for Antoni Gaudi’s Casa Milà but only a short way along across the street we saw the most amazing building imaginable that also turned out to be the work of the famous architect – the Casa Batlló, recently restored as a museum and now open to the public.

We left the bus and feared that this would be another place where pre-booking is advisable but were delighted to discover that all we had to do was buy a ticket and walk straight in.  No fuss, no bother!

Casa Batlo Gaudi Barcelona

Casa Batlló is a unique and fabulous building that defies any sort of written description that can do it justice. It is a building that has to be seen to be fully appreciated.  From the road outside the building looks stunning and the local name for the building is Casa dels ossos, literally the House of bones and the building has a visceral, skeletal organic quality.  Much of the façade is decorated with a mosaic made of broken ceramic tiles that begins in shades of golden orange and moves and merges harmoniously through greens and turquoise and into blues.

Antoni Plàcid Guillem Gaudí i Cornet was a Catalan architect with a name which quite frankly is a bit of a mouthful so thankfully he is usually referred to by the simplified version of Antoni Gaudí.   He  belonged to the European Modernist Art Nouveau movement and was famous for his unique style and highly individualistic designs.  He designed Casa Batlló, in a prosperous middle class district of Barcelona for a wealthy city Aristocrat who was carrying out an expensive refurbishment of the property that had originally been built in 1877.

Casa Battlo exterior

It is a wonderful riot of style and outrageous architectural ideas and designs and stepping inside is like being given the privilege of sharing the inside of the mind of a genius.  Every room is a treasure and the attention to detail is immaculate.  The ground floor, in particular, is rather astonishing with tracery, irregular oval windows and flowing sculpted stone work.  It seems that Gaudi’s objective was to completely avoid straight lines and wherever possible to use nature as inspiration.

My favourite part of the building was the roof with its forest of coloured chimneys decorating a terrace which is arched and is likened by students of Gaudi to the backbone of a dragon.  A common theory about the building is that the rounded feature to the left of centre, terminating at the top in a turret and cross, represents the sword of Saint George the patron saint of Catalonia, which has been plunged into the back of the dragon.

Casa Battlo Roof

Visit over and after lunch at Plaça Catalunya we returned to the bus and endured a rather tedious journey through the city and along the coast and after about an hour of this I remembered all of the reasons that I don’t like city bus tours and chastised myself for breaking my vow never to do it again.

My mind wandered as we followed the route and now I digress.  As far as I can make out there are seven places in the World called Barcelona, this one of course then three in South America, in Venezuela, Colombia and Brazil, one in the Philippines, one in New York State USA and most unlikely of all a small hamlet in Cornwall, England.

Eventually we arrived back at Park Guell and climbed a grueling hill for the second time today to the entrance.  Park Guell is the architect’s vision of a Barcelona middle class housing development far away from the grime of the industrial city and the fishing port and we presented our tickets and made our way inside.

Barcelona dragonIMG_0022

Actually the whole project turned out to be rather overly ambitious and the houses that were planned were never built but before it was abandoned Gaudi designed and built the infrastructure of roads, terraces and parks and he did himself live there for twenty years before his death in a house that is now the Gaudi House Museum.  After Park Guell Gaudi had another project to move onto – La Sagrada Familia.

Like a lot of artistic people Gaudi tended towards eccentricity and because of his ragged attire and empty pockets, many cab drivers refused to pick him up as he walked about the city for fear that he would be unable to pay the fare.

On 7th June 1926 Gaudi was rather carelessly run over by a tram and because no one recognised him he was taken to a pauper’s hospital.  His friends found him the next day but when they tried to move him into a better hospital, Gaudi refused, reportedly saying “I belong here among the poor.”  He died three days later on and was buried in the crypt of his Cathedral, La Sagrada Família.

Antoni Gaudi Comillas Cantabria Spain

Click on an image to scroll through the Gallery…

Building A Cathedral

Sagrada Familia Cathedral Barcelona

Sagrada Familia in Barcelona…

It was quite pricey to get in but then I had to take into consideration that this is the principal source of fund raising because the long drawn out construction is not supported financially by any of the National State of Spain, the Autonomous Community of Catalonia, the Province or City of Barcelona or the Catholic Church (it already has one, why does it need another?)

Work on the Cathedral began in 1882 and  is currently due for completion in 2026 and although I say long drawn out and nearly one hundred and fifty years may seem a very long time, to put this into some sort of perspective, you can’t really expect to build a cathedral in just a couple of years.

Building a Cathedral takes a long time…

In England York Mister took two hundred and forty-two years, but by comparison St Paul’s in London was rushed up in only thirty-one, Notre Dame in Paris took one hundred and eighty-five years, Seville in Spain one hundred and eighteen years and St Peter’s in Rome one hundred and twenty years.

Even the Basilica of the National Shrine of Immaculate Conception in Washington, USA took forty-two years and although this might seem like snail’s pace construction all of these were positively rapid compared to Milan at five hundred and seventy-nine years and Cologne in Germany at six hundred and thirty-two years.

Read the Full story…

Durham Cathedral Door Knocker

Catalonia, Barcelona and Antoni Gaudi

Barcelona Gaudi Postcard

“What I saw in Barcelona – Gaudí – was the work of such strength, such faith, of an extraordinary technical capacity, manifested during a whole life of genius; of a man who carved the stones before his eyes in well thought out pattern…. Gaudí was a great artist; only those who move the sensitive hearts of gentle people remain” – Le Corbusier (Swiss-French Architect)

The first day in Barcelona had been a rapid breakneck tour of the city that raced recklessly through history, culture, sport and sights without any real plan or semblance of sensible order.  Today we intended to be more focussed and specifically we were going to visit the buildings of the renowned Catalan architect Antoni Gaudi.

Antoni Gaudi or …

Antoni Plàcid Guillem Gaudí i Cornet (to give him his full name) was an architect who belonged to the Modernist Art Nouveau movement of the early twentieth century and was famous for his unique style and highly individualistic designs.  We had already come across some Gaudi creations previously on our travels, the Casa Botines in León and then El Capricho in Comillas but Gaudi didn’t do a lot more work outside of Catalonia so to see his work properly then it really has to be in Barcelona where he was prolific.  

Whilst leaving his indelible mark specifically on this city at the same time he contributed his architectural legacy to the heritage to the World in general.

Antoni Gaudi and me

I mentioned before that the bus tour had taken us along the Passeig de Gràcia in the Eixample district of Barcelona heading for the Casa Milà when one particular building had caught our attention.  It turned out to be the Casa Batlló and so this was the building that we headed towards first of all.

Casa Batlló in Barcelona…

Gaudi designed Casa Batlló in a prosperous middle class district of Barcelona for a wealthy city Aristocrat who was carrying out a complete refurbishment of the property that had originally been built in 1877.  

It is a unique and fabulous building that defies any sort of description and is a place that really has to be seen to be fully appreciated.  From the road outside the building looks stunning and the local name for the building is ‘casa dels ossos’, literally the house of bones, and the building has a visceral, skeletal, organic quality.  Much of the façade is decorated with a mosaic made of broken ceramic tiles that begins in shades of golden orange and moves and merges harmoniously and without effort into greens and blues.

Casa Batlo Barcelona Gaudi

It is a wonderful riot of style and outrageous architectural ideas and designs and stepping inside is like being given the privilege of sharing the inside of the mind of a genius.  Every room is a treasure store  and the attention to detail is immaculate.  The ground floor, in particular, is rather astonishing with tracery, irregular oval windows and flowing sculpted stone work.  It seems that Gaudi’s objective was if possible to avoid straight lines completely.

My favourite part of the building was the roof with its forest of coloured chimneys decorating a terrace which is arched and is said to represent the spine of a dragon.  A common theory about the building is that the rounded feature to the left of centre, terminating at the top in a turret and cross, represents the sword of Saint George the patron saint of Catalonia, which has been plunged into the back of the dragon.

Casa Milà in Barcelona…

After we left Casa Batlló we walked the short distance to the next Gaudi masterpiece, the Casa Milà and paid our entry fee to visit the exhibition rooms and the roof with its sculptured chimneys and ventilation shafts.   Casa Milà reminded me of the slopes of a volcano, flowing layer upon layer like Mount Vesuvius and with more curves than Marilyn Monroe.  I have to say that it didn’t excite me as much as  Casa Batlló but once again I liked the roof with its decorated chimneys and from where there was a good view of the city and a clear line of sight towards our third intended visit – the Sagrada Familia.

Casa Mila Gaudi Barcelona Catalonia

Sagrada Familia in Barcelona…

It was quite pricey to get in but then I had to take into consideration that this is the principal source of fund-raising because the long drawn out construction is not supported financially by any of the National State of Spain, the Autonomous Community of Catalonia, the Province or City of Barcelona or the Catholic Church (it already has one Cathedral, why does it need another?)

Work on the Cathedral began in 1882 and  is currently due for completion in 2026 and although I say long drawn out and nearly one hundred and fifty years may seem a very long time, to put this into some sort of perspective, you can’t really expect to build a cathedral in just a couple of years. 

Building a Cathedral takes a long time…

In England York Mister took two hundred and forty-two years, but by comparison St Paul’s in London was rushed up in only thirty-one, Notre Dame in Paris took one hundred and eighty-five years, Seville in Spain one hundred and eighteen years and St Peter’s in Rome one hundred and twenty years.  Even the Basilica of the National Shrine of Immaculate Conception in Washington, USA took forty-two years and although this might seem like snail’s pace construction all of these were positively rapid compared to Milan at five hundred and seventy-nine years and Cologne in Germany at six hundred and thirty-two years.

So we purchased our entry tickets and went inside into a surreal world of a combination of church and building site with stone and brick side by side with pews and confessional boxes and we wandered around the great nave and the side chapels and then made our way to the entrance to the lift that would take us to the top of the twin towers soaring high above the half-finished building and which took us closer to the stone carvings, the allegorical friezes and the sometimes curious selection of material used in the construction.  Reaching the top the bonus was a glorious view over all of Barcelona with a riot of colourful but not especially attractive boxy buildings leading all the way down to the Mediterranean Sea.

Sagrada Familia Cathedral Barcelona

Down again at ground level we walked through the forest of scaffolding to the main doors and then left taking time to admire the sculptured nativity scene in its prominent position between doors and spires.  At first glance this all seems rather chaotic but with its avoidance of straight lines and right angles, and its forest-like columns of trees, it embodies Gaudí’s belief that construction should follow the example of nature.

The fluidity of the design creates the illusion of fusion – columns and arches melt into a viscous panorama that foams, drips and provides refuge for plants, animals and people and as we stood and admired it I hoped that although it is difficult to get inside the mind of a genius that I might at least be able to understand just a little of what it all meant.

And so our day of architectural sightseeing drew to a close, we knew all about Gaudi, hadn’t been robbed and later we went to the same restaurant where they remembered to charge us for the wine this time but to compensate for this forgot the beers.  I liked this place so it was a shame that this was the end of our time in Barcelona and tomorrow we would be leaving for Girona.

Gaudi Casa Batlo Barcelona Catalonia Spain

More posts about Antoni Gaudi:

Alternative Twelve Treasures of Spain – Antoni Gaudi

Twelve Treasures of Spain, La Sagrada Familia, Barcelona

Cantabria, Comillas and Antoni Gaudi

Casa Batlló, Barcelona

Park Guell, Barcelona

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