Day 17. Barcelona. Tuesday 4 October

Gaudi is synonymous with the beautiful city of Barcelona. Today we are going to explore one of his amazing works, Parc Guell. The best and most famous example of Art Nouveau landscape-architecture has been designated a UNESO World Heritage Site. Count Eusebi Guell, a wealthy businessman, conceived the project as infrastructure for a garden suburb on what Gaudi described as ‘the treeless mountain’. The only parts to be completed, before worked stopped in 1914 and it became a public park in 1922, were a grand entrance, two houses, 3km of paths, a marvellous terrace and the hippostyle hall, planned as an underground market. Guell’s friend, Antonio Gaudi, was the designer. Both men intended that the project would express the spirit of Catalonia as a potentially independent nation. The park is very popular and has an obscure symbolic content. Shapes and colours were inspired by natural forms which Gaudi, a devout catholic, saw as instances of divine craftsmanship. The park is set into the hills overlooking Barcelona. Serpentine terraces, seats, galleries and acrades run with the mountainside. They are decorated with polychrome mosaics of broken stone, ceramic pots and old tiles. The bright colours might remind one of azuelejo. The curved terraces might remind one of Duncombe, the path layout of Buttes Chaumont. But the design has an energetic brilliance which belongs more completely to the twentieth century than any other public park made in Europe during the first half of the twentieth century.

Read more: Guell is very crowded with tourists, particularly tourist coach groups. They have yet to realise that they do not have total right to the Parc. To take a photo of this lizard above you nearly needed to have a black belt in karate just to get close. I was amazed at the push and shove by people, very similar to the viewing room of the Mona Lisa in the Louvre. Almost, not worth it. I am pleased to have visited here though. It felt a bit like walking through someones imagination. Very Gaudi. A tip is to take the local Bus, No 24 from Place Catalunya right up the hill to the entry. This for the meagre sum of 1.45Euros. Now the beach beckons.

We make our way on the trusty and cheap local transport to Barceloneta to go to the beach. The kids were a bit disappointed that there wouldn’t be any waves. It is a beautiful deep blue paradise. I do however recognise that my own country has the best beaches. The children go and secure a lay-lo only to be told that they cost 6 Euros each to hire. Each section of umbrella and banana lounges are ‘owned’ by some dude who charges ridiculous prices to be there. So they just got their towels and went and laid on the sand (with all the other Aussies and people who laugh at paying to be on a beach). Mark and I had a typical spanish lunch at a seafood cafe on the beach. Gorgeous shaded outdoor areas, prawns, baby octopus, fish, olives. So relaxing. I migrate to the cocktail lounge across the road for a pina colada.  The sea breeze was beautiful and watching the kids is always such an wonderful way to pass the time. Another visit to La Boqueria on the way home, quick visit to Carrefour (Spanish supermarket) and then home.

Went out for a quick and easy bite for dinner. Walking around at night, everyone out in the squares. You hear the sound of chatter and laugher and kids running round. It starts to get busy around the 8.30 – 9.00 mark when every starts to come out for the night. Most restaurants don’t even open before 8.30 so foreigners need to make a little adjustment if you are an early eater. I love Barcelona. I could easily stay here forever! Or for a few weeks longer.





One comment

  1. Hotel Fira Barcelona · November 15, 2011

    I´m always impressed in Park Güell. It’s a very, very special place of Barcelona.

    In the Park Güell are the Pavilion Concierge, the Hypostyle Hall, the Banco del Trencadís, the Casa Museo Gaudi, the Turó del Calvario and the famous salamander of the steps, but also there is a feeling.

    Whenever you walk within the Park you feel the framed nature-inspired motifs that characterize the works of Gaudí. It´s like a compendium of Gaudí’s masterpieces.

    By the way, great blog.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s