Barcelona is Gaudi’s town and Casa Batlló is one of his greatest accomplishments so when planning our trip to Spain I made sure this unique apartment building had a top spot on our itinerary. We bought tickets weeks and while waiting in line on a glorious Spring afternoon I was surprised that I had not booked a guided tour but it made much more since once we got inside and learned that the only option is an audio guide. Once we wound our way through the queue, even though we arrived at the appointed time, both my mom and I were handed a bright blue audio guide and complementary smartphone for the tour. It turns out a private family owns the house and the 22 euro per person admission goes to keep it safe. Okay, then. #rollinginit
I must admit, the audio guide started off a bit weird and throughout the entire tour had funny phrases and questions saying, “doesn’t this recall underwater of science fiction novels?” Well okay then, moving on. Unlike many of our other tours the handheld piece was not just a walkie talkie like device with buttons to push but instead was an up to date phone, very Oculus-eque, with amazing virtual reality showing you what the room you were standing in looked like when I’m the room. This was a great feature because while many of the rooms are currently empty the phone and accompanying narrative really made them come to life, especially since Gaudi not only designed the house but also much of the furniture:
When you enter the building you head up one flight of stairs and explore the full floor apartment of one family, the main one he designed the building for. After taking a full loop, including their private garden, you head up flight after flight of stairs in the blue ombre lightwell you pass many partial floor apartments that are now occupied. Another one of the weird audio guide questions that I made sure to take note of was, “Notice the sensual and evocative reliefs” um, no? I literally don’t see what you’re talking about. I did like learning, however, that many of the broken glass and tiles were from destructions of other buildings and one of the first eco friendly constructions.
After winding our way up the stairs through more than five floors of the apartment building we finally got the the stairs leading up to the roof. While not as pretty as the chimneys on the Palau Güell, the mansion Gaudí designed for the industrial tycoon Eusebi Güell, the smokestacks for both heat and exhaust were quite pretty atop the Casa Batlló:
From the roof we wound back down the massive staircase of the Casa Batlló, through the gift shop and back on to the Passeig de Gràcia. It has been go-go-go all day so by mid afternoon we were ready for a late lunch and a bit of shopping where I did pick up a few great finds including a handful at H&M – why is their European inventory is always so much better?
Have you ever been to Casa Batlló?