Today I’m finally getting around to writing about the road trip my housemates and I went on along Spain’s northern coast…in October. Sorry, guys! I’m so far behind, but I’ve got a long backlog of posts to work through. Our first stop along this tour of Spain’s most beautiful cliffs, beaches, mountains, and countrysides was the seaside village of Comillas in tiny coastal Cantabria. After warming up with the last fall rays of sunshine over a short cortado coffee, we packed in to our rental car and headed out of our base in San Vicente de la Barquera to Comillas.
This town wouldn’t even have been on my radar had it not been home to one of the three buildings that architect Antoni Gaudí designed outside his native Catalunya. In fact, it was one of his first: El Capricho de Gaudí. Earlier in the year I had visited the other two commissions he took outside Catalunya, the Casa de los Botines in León and the Episcopal Palace in Astorga, and really enjoyed getting to experience some unique Modernista buildings in northwestern Spain. After the Gaudí pilgrimage I made around Barcelona in 2013, I further indulged my completionist tendencies in 2014.
The house itself was built for Máximo Díaz de Quijano, the brother-in-law of the Marquis of Comillas, so its official name is actually Villa Quijano. It gained the name Capricho not only because it was built on a “whim” of the owner but also because he was passionate about music; the huge, glassed-in patio allowed for performances of lively capriccios.
The house itself was a little underwhelming: small, empty, and nothing too extravagant like the swirling blues of Casa Batlló or the bony pillars of Colònia Güell’s crypt-church—simply a respectable residence for a late-18th-century nobleman. It reminded me a lot of another of Gaudí’s earlier works, Casa Vicens, because of the striking color scheme repeated in the red clay tiles and bricks and the green-and-yellow sunflower tiles. The minaret-inspired central tower adds a bit Mudéjar Revival flair to an otherwise conventional home.