Barcelona ~ Park Güell, Gaudi and Architectural Flair

Sunday, April 6th, Barcelona

Sundays are quiet in our neighborhood.  The small stores are closed and the streets are vacated.  You’ve heard the saying about rolling up the sidewalks after dark, well that applies in spades here on Sundays.

Our quiet neighborhood on a Sunday morning

Our quiet neighborhood on a Sunday morning

You can see examples of artistic graffiti on the shop doors.

But just a few blocks away on La Rambla, the city is alive with tourists and a few locals. Most of the stores and markets are closed here too, but people are out and about.  Several ships are in port and an 11K race that starts and ends at Plaza Catalunya is in progress as we work our way toward the main plaza.

La Ramblas on a Sunday morning

La Rambla on a Sunday morning

The previous day we purchased a two-day pass on the “Hop-on Hop-off” style bus so we embarked to take the upper, blue line today.  Our concentration was to be on the Gaudi architecture as we planned to spend the bulk of the afternoon at his Park Güell.

Barcelona is known for its architectural splendor and diversity.  One can not help but admire all the details.  Even the street lights are works of art.

Due to the race, the central plaza was closed to traffic and we had to walk a few extra blocks to catch up with our bus.  Once again we were fortunate to get a seat on the top deck.

On the upper deck, admiring the architectural diversity

On the upper deck, admiring the architectural diversity

Another beautiful building

Another beautiful building

Continuing on the blue route, we pass by the famous La Sagrada Familia.  We have pre-purchased tickets online for Thursday morning to visit the interior, take a tour and go up in the tower.  Being one of, if not THE most coveted site in Barcelona, we are looking forward to our visit.

Here are a couple of exterior shots I took as we passed by on the bus.  The construction has been ongoing since 1882, with a (hopeful) completion date somewhere near 2026, the 100 year anniversary of Gaudi’s death.

I’m sure I will have a LOT more to say about this UNESCO World Heritage Site after our visit…

Sagrada Familia Basilica, still under construction

Sagrada Familia Basilica, still under construction

Front entrance to Sagrada Familia

Front entrance to Sagrada Familia

Park Güell

Also listed under the UNESCO World Heritage Site “Works of Antoni Gaudí” is Park Güell. Originally planned to be an upscale housing development located on the side of a hill with clean air and sweeping views of the water, it sadly failed miserably.  With only two homes build, neither by Gaudi, the project folded.  Gaudi moved into one of the homes with his father and niece and lived there for 20 years while spending his days overseeing work on his masterpiece La Segrada Familia.

The park is divided into two sections; the free municipal garden and the enclosed monumental zone that requires an admission ticket.  After purchasing our ticket for 8 Euros, we had almost a two-hour wait before our time slot opened to enter the monumental zone.  That allowed us plenty of time to explore the gardens.

Families enjoyed the freedom to let their children play and capture soap bubbles generously floating in the air.

While we waited, we listened to some excellent street music and went inside Gaudi’s home which required a separate ticket.

He lived a simple life in comparison to his over the top elaborate creations with a single bed, an austere corner where he prayed daily, and a modern (for the time) bathroom.

The Monumental Zone

Here is where you really see Gaudi’s influence.  Colorful tiles, curved shapes and a fine line between Gaudi and gaudy.  One could use the analogy of being at a theme park, as you looked at the “bigger that life” forms.

Tim and Joanne

Tim and Joanne with the mosaic salamander known as “el drac” (the dragon)

From the terrace with view of the ocean in the background

From the terrace with view of the ocean in the background

Final pics – Spring is in the air…

GRATITUDE MOMENT:  Today I am grateful for friendships, old and new.  That includes my family and relatives near and far, the longtime friends that date back to childhood school days in Medford, those I have worked with, traveled with, laughed and cried with.  Some of you I stay in contact with via the Internet.  A few I get to see on occasion and share a coffee, a drink, a dream or a story.  May each and every one of you know that I value what you have brought into my life and cherish the wonderful memories created.

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About Tim and Joanne Joseph

Hi and welcome! We are Tim and Joanne Joseph and we have just embarked on our "next chapter". At a stage in life where traveling the world, taking pictures, and sharing our adventures with friends and family will be our dream come true.
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