Simanaitis Says

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LIVING IN A TOURIST ATTRACTION

BARCELONA THRIVES AS being popular with tourists. Ana Viladomiu, a resident of this beautiful city, sees this as something of a mixed blessing, as described in Raphael Minder’s “What’s It Like to Live in Barcelona’s Most Famous Gaudi Home? A Bit Inconvenient,” in The New York Times, June 29, 2019. These tidbits are gleaned from Minder’s article and from earlier mentions here at SimanaitisSays.

La Pedrera, also known as Casa Mila, was designed by Catalan architect Antoni Gaudi and built between 1906 and 1910. Image from ericvokel.com.

This is Barcelona’s third appearance here at SimanaitisSays: La Pedrera is on Passeig de Gràacia, a fashionable shopping avenue in a city known for its Catalan cuisine.

Raphael Minder writes, “Every year, more than a million people visit the home of Ana Viladomiu in Barcelona. She does her best to avoid them.” A tour of La Pedrera costs 22€, about $25, with a visit to one of its apartments included. Though Ms. Viladomiu’s is off limits, she tells Minder, “When I have seen some tourists approach who looked interesting to me, I’ve shown them my apartment.”

Ms. Viladomiu is one of only a few residents remaining in La Pedrera. This and the images following are by Samuel Aranda for The New York Times, June 29, 2019.

The Viladomiu apartment is spacious, about 3750 sq. ft., with large bay windows. In true Gaudi style, its whitewashed walls are all artfully curved. “You can almost forget installing a bookshelf,” Ms. Viladomiu says, “because there isn’t a single straight wall here.”

La Pedrera has features that were novel in 1910: running water in each apartment, an elevator, and even an underground garage, at the time as likely to accommodate carriages as motor cars.

On most days, long lines form outside La Pedrera.

Today, occasionally Ms. Viladomiu interacts with tourists to reach her fourth-floor apartment: “I’ve found myself many times elbowing my way home, while people shouted at me because they thought I was jumping the ticket queue. That’s not a good situation to be in, especially if you’re carrying your shopping bags back home.”

Reaching the elevator can be a challenge because of ticket queues.

There are visual pleasures enjoyed from every window of Ms. Viladomiu’s fourth-floor apartment. The bathroom, for instance, has a view of Gaudi’s exuberant rooftop architecture. On the other hand, tourists up there have a view of the bath.

A bath with a view.

Ms. Viladomiu’s balcony exhibits Gaudi’s penchant for curvature. It also has a view of La Pedrera’s rooftop, finished in white to resemble a snowy mountain.

Ms. Viladomiu observes, “Gaudi had very clear ideas and a very strong personality, which you just have to respect in order to live here.”

I envy her, even with all those tourists. ds

© Dennis Simanaitis, SimanaitisSays.com, 2019

2 comments on “LIVING IN A TOURIST ATTRACTION

  1. antonia_
    July 2, 2019

    Wonderful images and post!

    • simanaitissays
      July 2, 2019

      Agreed. Thank “The New Times,” all I did was glean tidbits. (I love La Pedrera.)

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