Spanish architect Antoni Gaudí i Cornet designed many masterworks such as Casa Milà, Park Güell and Sagrada Família, which are listed as UNESCO World Heritage sites and enthral visitors from around the globe.
Looking at Casa Milà in travel brochures raises the question of how come the design broke the tradition of the age. Standing in front of this architectural wonder makes you want to take in every detail of the structure and appreciate the beauty. Buy a ticket and go in where you can look up and see the blue sky through a small opening like a skylight in modern architecture. There are windows that let sunlight into the garden, and interestingly they are very modest and lined up neatly, unlike Gaudi's usual irregular style. Climb the stairs to the rooftop to enjoy an extraordinary view – a lineup of large, interesting sculptures that looks as if it is protecting Casa Milà and forms a surreal image against the blue sky that is simply breathtaking.
Characterized by the striking colour combination of its mosaic titles, Park Güell is another tourist destination not to be missed. Inside the park are numerous patterns and small colourful houses in odd shapes that give the impression of being in a fairy tale. My favourite was a quiet empty plaza where musicians come to play and give an artistic atmosphere to the park.
Another Gaudi masterpiece is the Sagrada Familia, which is a church configured as a 3-D bible bringing different stories to life in sculpture. Gaudi's idea was for Sagrada Familia to have 18 towers and three façades – the Nativity to the east, Passion the west and Glory to the south – each with four clock towers together representing the 12 apostles of Jesus Christ. The design concept for the church came from nature and the towering pillars are like trees and form silhouettes with stained-glass windows, culminating in an astonishing sight to behold. It's not surprising that such a complicated, bold design would take over a 100 years to build and is still incomplete. This unique work by Gaudi surpasses ordinary imagination and is the only one of its kind in the world.
Transport: Fly from Hong Kong to major European cities such as London and Paris, and take connecting flights to Barcelona, Spain.
Sights: Casa Milà, Park Güell, Sagrada Família, Casa Batlló
Climate: The average high temperature from January to February is about 14 degrees Celsius, and it can fall to five degrees Celsius at night. Thick clothing is recommended to keep warm.
(By Vivien Yuen, winner of the first SHKP Young Writers' Debut competition)