Dr. Hoffer's Travel Site This site was last updated 05/05/11
IBERIA2001#12 I Love Gaudí
Antonio Gaudí is a famous architect who began his work in Barcelona before the turn of the last century. He was a devout Catholic and slightly crazy (some say). When Art Nouveau hit Barcelona Gaudí took it to a new extreme, which was called modernisme here in Catalunya. What he did in building houses and apartment complexes is truly amazing. Some say it is junk and absolutely an abomination while others think it is genius. My opinion in a moment. Jairo (High-rrr-oh) wakes me up early for a run and we drive to a nearby freeway and I do my run uphill on the median in between the lanes. Then we walk through the mountains for over an hour. As it turns out he likes to walk every day. The next day we go for a run on the campus of the local university (Universitat Autonoma de Bellaterra). The place outdoes UCLA and USC combined. Here I finally found a little shade running under the roofs of the dormitory levels. A cappuccino with Jairo on campus terrace was needed. The third day we drive to the marina where Jairo docks his boat on the Mediterranean and I run on the beach trail heading north. I run back and Jairo joins me while we continue north. I thought we would reach the French border but Jairo finally gave in and we stopped for a cappuccino and coke light. Then we had to walk all the way back. There is NO shade. I now look like a boiled lobster on the third day. The first day we take the cell phone Dimitrii lent me and Kristin’s UK cell phone (which Marcia smartly brought with her) to a Airtel (Vodaphone) outlet to see how to activate them for Spain. The man in the shop immediately started drawing a map for Jairo and off we went (with his cousin Fernando, a retina man) to a little dingy shop somewhere in Sabadell (suburb of Barcelona). He took the phones into a backroom and then presented them to me saying LIBRE. He did something so that I could now purchase prepaid phone cards and Marcia and I could each have a phone. I put $150 worth on each one (later found that 20 minute call home cost us $23). We went to Jairo’s Clinic and I watched him do a bilateral LASIK and showed him how to hook up his new digital SONY camcorder (like mine) so as to film surgery. He was very happy. We then took off with his wife Maite (Marie Theresa) to climb Montjüic to visit the Joan (John) Mirò Gallery. He is a famous Spanish painter and sculptor. In my opinion his stuff is crazier than Dali and Picasso put together. We climbed the top of the mountain where there is a castle fort that played a part in the Spanish Civil War (Franco) in 1939. The views over Barcelona were spectacular. We saw the Olympic Coliseum and the statue of the Sardana, the typical Catalan national dance. We then joined Irene (CIBA) for dinner at Barceloneta restaurant in the new Port Vell (bell) area near the Sea and the food was great (primarily seafood).
The next day Jairo & Maite took us up to Mount Tibidabo (the other major mountain in Barcelona) and the views were beautiful (photo). Then he took us to see our first example of Gaudí’s work, the La Pedrera apartment complex. I was a little leery as to how I would respond to this crazy architectural expression of the 1910’s but I have to tell you that I fell absolutely in love with it. I think it is fantastic and can’t wait to see the rest of his buildings. Why this has never been copied in the US I cannot understand. It is functional and beautiful while eliminating anything that looks like a straight line or a corner. Everything just flows like music. I believe he may have been crazy but he was a genius (more about him later). After seeing the front of the Barraquer Clinic they took us to a seaport suburb where we ate at a bodega having tapas and cava (champagne in Spain). I had a Guinness because I needed one. Quite an eventful couple of days.
KJH Go To -> NEXT DIARIO #13
Kenneth J. Hoffer, MD
Bellaterra, Barcelona, España
[1) Miró sculpture, 2) Miró tapestry, 3) Castle fort on Montjüic, 4) Olympic Coliseum, 5) Statue of the Sardana dancers, 6) View of Barcelona from Mt. Tibidabo, 7) Jairo Hoyos, MD, 8) Gaudí’s La Pedrera building, 9) La Pedrera balconies]
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