I’m not an instinctive fan of the works of Anton’ Gaud’. I find much of his work excessive and overwrought, and I just can’t get to the sense of awe others do. What’s more, a look at the facade of the Sagrada Familia demonstrates amply that the fellow was some kind of proto-Goth. And they’re talking about beatifying him!

Nevertheless, being in Barcelona, it seemed curmudgeonly to ignore his buildings completely. I saw inside two: the first was the beautiful and restrained Casa Calvet, where I ate one of the best meals of my life (WARNING! The price estimate on that page is very conservative!).

The second was the Casa Batllo, which is certainly pretty but felt decadent and unnecessarily ornate to me. It reminded me a little of Sir John Soane’s Museum in London with its crafty use of external light and unexpected internal views, but I was reminded how much Soane’s relatively quiet, obsessive madness resonates with me far more than Gaud’s status symbol architecture does.

Here’s what really put my back up, though: the guided walking tour telephone thing, available as part of the 10 Euro admission fee started off talking about how this was the crowning achievement of ‘the greatest individual genius of all time.’ Now, I’m sure something was lost in the translation, but as a way of predisposing me to dislike a building, it was supremely effective.