After a 5-hour wait in what can only be described as a DMV on back-alley-steroids to get my Número de Identificación de Extranjero, I became an official resident of Spain and gained access to all Spanish citizen amenities. I decided to release the pent-up angst of the long wait with Modernisme and chocolate.
My Modernisme trip was to Casa Batillo, one of Gaudi’s early buildings and by far my favorite Moderniste architecture yet. The cornerstone of the Block of Discord, Casa Batillo is known as the “Skeleton House” for the eerie-looking balconies shaped like ocular sockets. The house, sanctioned in the same year that Jules Verne published Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, has an aquatic theme through the mosaic exterior and beautiful interior, with each detail evoking a sea/water motif. I loved the way Gaudi played with the colors in the glass and his “elimination” of straight lines make the house one of his most unique.
On my way back to my apartment, I stopped in the Museu de Xocolata, which won extra points because the entrance ticket was itself a chocolate bar. Only containing a few rooms, it had a brief history of chocolate and how it was accepted into European society… AND THEN THE SCULPTURES. Beautiful, delicious, 3-foot high chocolate sculptures that made me want to break through the glass to break off a tower of the Sagrada Familia (or, at the very least, Mary’s hand).