I apologize for the delay in Barcelona posts, the exams never seem to end! I've already tackled three, but have two more left to battle. I feel like St. George slaying dragons. Do you think I'll get some modernista architecture dedicated to me for finishing my junior year unscathed? Speaking of modernista architecture, this is another post about Gaudi and his famous Park Guell.
I know that the expression "on acid" is overused, but I couldn't help but think of it when I entered the park which looked like, well, Disney World on acid. When you enter the tiled gates you are greeted by a turret that appears to be made out of saltwater taffy with a crucifix stuck to the top of it. The quest has begun and fittingly the next sight is apparently Hansel and Gretel's gingerbread house. I should've taken note there to get some breadcrumbs out because little did I know that I would get lost in the park for a few minutes, okay, more than a few if you know my demented directional skills.
But it was a delightful place to be lost in as you can see. Loss is part of the history of Park Guell because it was forgotten immediately after it was built. In 1900, Gaudi's patron, Eustebi Guell (hence the name), commissioned him to design a living complex similar in set-up to an English garden. This Anglo- inspiration also inspired the name of "park," not the Catalan spelling"parc." Fourteen years later Park Guell was finished, but no one wanted to live there because it was so decentralized. Even with today's transportation, it takes a ten minute metro ride from Barcelona's center and then a twenty minute uphill walk in the blistering heat. This doesn't seem to keep the tourists away, but it did stave the locals off at the time. In the end, just two houses were built and they weren't even designed by Gaudi, however he did live in one for twenty years.
Today, Gaudi's house (designed by Francesc Berenguer in an alarming shade of cotton candy pink)is a museum in his honor. Barcelona tourism loves to capitalize on anything Gaudi even if the only thing he designed for it were the mosaics.
After no one bought the realestate, Guell donated it to the city of Barcelona for tourists to swarm today. Ironically, it is now one of Barcelona's most popular tourist destinations.
Finally I made my way out sans breadcrumbs. Unfortunately, with the confusion I missed the two most famous attractions of the park, the world's longest bench and the mosaic lizard. Despite the detour, Park Guell is definitely worth a visit to appreciate just how odd Gaudi's designs were.
Hopefully I have time to post a few more Barcelona photos. Remembering my time back there is getting me through exams.