Gaudy Gaudi…Bawdy Beaches

Barcelona’s most famous architect, Gaudi, reminds me of Dr. Suess.

The topsy-turvy world Gaudi created made me feel like I stepped into a Dr. Suess neighborhood, and I expected the Whos or the Lomax to come greet me at any moment!

Gaudi’s modernism is tremendously unique.  Inspired by Nature, he claimed that God was the ultimate architect, and everyone else was just an amateur.  His avant-garde architecture was inspired by the undulating waves in the sea, the leaning trunks of trees, the stalagmites in caves as evidenced by this canopy of stones in the famous Park Güell complex.

It is fitting coincidence that the style of Gaudi is synonymous with gaudy as the design of all his creations was indeed defined by over-ornamentation, motley bright mosaics, and unusual shapes.

Way ahead of his time, Gaudi employed mosaic artists who recycled glass materials, often revealing the original bottle sources in the designs.  Champagne bottles are half exposed in this ceiling design.

La Sagrada Familia is Gaudi’s signature cathedral that has been under construction forever.  Katie’s bored refrain, “You’ve seen one church, you’ve seen them all“,  referring to the routine consistency of Gothic designs, was finally challenged.  There is nothing traditional about this church’s strange exterior or ultra-modern interior.

After viewing all of Gaudi’s masterpieces, we visited the Picasso museum, enjoyed tapas for lunch, and returned to our hotel on the beach.

Certainly Gaudi’s work must have shocked people in his day.  But Gaudi’s avant-garde architecture paled in comparison to the shock value of Barcelona’s bawdy beach.  The girls literally giggled and gawked at what was on view.

People bare it all in Spain.  Jackie was appalled by the “naked Grandmas“.  Cailin wanted to understand topless etiquette:  “If you meet a friend, do you get up and hug him in greeting?”  Katie was disgusted by the middle-age woman dancing freely in a cheese-cutter thong:  “Gross“.  Clearly, we were not in proper, stiff-upper-lip-London any more!  The beach felt more like Coney Island on a hot July day, except the motley Catalan crew was mostly naked and engaged in some form of very expressive Public Display of Affection.

At the end of the day, we took a poll on our favorite site (or should I say, sight) — the exhibitionist beach trumped the eclectic buildings.

Should I be concerned that Katie suddenly wants to study in Spain next summer? 


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