November 20, 2003

Gaudy Barcelona

By Haley M. Slovin © 2003

The backbone of activity in Barcelona was the Rambla, a long pedestrian walkway which ran through the center of town. It hosted a multitude of newspaper stands, bookstalls, and flower stands, and radiating off the Rambla were a network of small streets full of shops, bars, clubs, and restaurants. Near the end of this street was one of the most famous hostels in Europe - Kabul's. Located in a rather shady neighborhood, Kabul's was ground zero for young travelers. It had no curfew, a large lounge area, a pool table, a beer vending machine, internet access, even a french fry vending machine. It was a self contained party scene, which prompted many people to never bother to venture outside.

I spent most every day in Barcelona touring the Gaudi structures. Antonin Gaudi was an architect and artist known for his incredibly fanciful, overstated designs. It is from his work that we get the term "gaudy". I had very little knowledge of his work, but after touring over a half dozen sites, I became a Gaudi devotee. The most amazing thing about his work was the incredible range of skills he demonstrated in each project. He not only designed innovative buildings which were structurally way ahead of their time, but he was also responsible for every detail - ornate metal grates, all interior woodwork, furniture design, and of course, his signature tile work. His buildings were straight from the pages of Dr. Seuss.

Haley M. Slovin is an actress from New York City.

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