Park Guell Is tucked into the back of a neighborhood at the top of steep hills with very narrow streets. You'd never know what lies behind the wall that keeps it a secret until you peek through the front gate
A bizarre mix of gingerbread house, Roman columns and walkways that looked like they were designed with The Flintstones in mind, the park has something different around every corner
This lizard fountain is an iconic figure in Barcelona, at least in the keychain, stuffed animal and postcard world of tourist shops. A welcoming face as you climb the steps to the covered columns just inside the entrance
Monica snapped this one without realizing that I was the tourist on the steps trying to see what there might be to gawk at just behind our new lizard friend.
Inverted egg crates for upside down aliens? Sounds as good as any other guess. Maybe it was just a way to see how many people Gaudi could get to lay on the ground and snap pictures of something with no identifiable purpose
This undulating tile bench sits atop the doric columns at the top of Park Guell's entrance. From here you have an inspiring view of Barcelona and the Mediterranean Sea
Park Guell is very large and once you get outside the heavily tiled entrance you find yourself in a series of paths made of rough stone walls and columns with palm trees, flowering vines and plants that remind you that you aren't in Kansas anymore. I have an aunt and uncle who live in the dessert in Arizona, and it was weird to have a slice of their mountain home so far away in Spain. If that kind of landscape is your thing, Park Guell is definitely a place you need to spend some time walking through. We watched some parakeets and pigeons have a little turf war centered around a puddle in the middle of one of the walkways. How strange, I thought for the desire to draw boundaries to be so strong that you have that confrontation despite the fact that dozens of other creatures ( namely tourists ) one hundred and fifty times your size are gathering around just to watch. There must have been an ongoing issue with the rival bird clans.
The rough stone features throughout Park Guell make you wonder if you are on the set of a live action Flintstones movie or in some parallel universe where cavemen had seriously advanced building techniques. Every few seconds you find yourself thinking "That is so cool!" We could have spent almost the entire day there and never gotten tired of what the place had to offer. A truly one of a kind spot
Marcus and I should probably have refined our approach to asking people for change. In hindsight, this seems a bit aggressive, and maybe even menacing. Park security were really cool about it though, especially given that the two little old ladies who beat us back with their purses ended up being checked out for shoulder injuries
Between being harassed by two long haired panhandlers and waiting for teenage girls to stop their "selfie marathon" so she could finally grab a shot of these stone columns without giggling brats in the foreground, Monica proved to be quite the patient photographer. Is it wrong to hope that oblivious teenagers make that one, possibly fatal step off the edge of a walkway while marveling at their own beauty? They probably wished we'd make that erroneous step too, so to hell with 'em! It's a battlefield out there when you have a camera
Seriously, these paths just kept going and going. We didn't even get to see them all because we were running out of time to make it to La Sagrada Familia. The last big feature of this particular path led us to the entrance pictured in the section above. Once we finished with the entrance we backtracked via an outer trail to get to a point with an enormous view of the city. Then we high tailed it to the house Gaudi lived in right in the middle of the park before grabbing a bus to get some lunch and a ride back to our last destination for the day
Gaudi's house almost sneaks up on you because it's one of the first things you pass as you wait to enter the part of the park for which you must purchase a ticket. You are still looking up at everything when you notice that there is an odd, pinkish orange house that you have stumbled upon. I could definitely retire there, and maybe I'll look into it. If there ever is a zombie apocalypse I think I could hole myself up in Park Guell and be pretty happy
Once you get closer to Gaudi's house the detail begins to jump out at you. It isn't just a sherbet monstrosity. It's a fantasy home with an amazing yard. I wanted to grab a cup of coffee and sit in every corner of the garden
The windows were a lot of fun, and each one had some pretty impressive trim. The trim is not just painted. It's also a relief. The white part stands out about a quarter of an inch from the house and from the darker pink area within the trim. It made me wonder what the Spanish equivalent of Hansel and Gretel might have been. Was some witch about to snatch me up while I stood there slack jawed, marveling at the house? I would not have been surprised
Many of Gaudi's creations used shattered tile for decoration. I cannot imagine the man hours involved in assembling these motifs. Some were full tiles that were shattered once set in place but many used random bits of broken tile that didn't match like the long, winding bench at the entrance to the park. I think I would have let the tile men drink on the job if they wanted to
I had to throw at least one flower shot in this post since the park was full of them. This ice plant and the tile panel above were part of the garden around the house. Interesting things were just waiting to be found everywhere we looked
Sadly, we had to leave Park Guell before we were ready so that we could see another of Gaudi's creations, La Sagrada Familia. We will make it back there, and we will be just as awed as we were this time
We were told that we could see all we wanted in Park Guell in about an hour and a half. Fat chance! We were there for about four hours and we could easily have stayed for another two. There was so much to soak in, and I knew Monica was in heaven. The look on her face and her reactions to everything around us were worth every bit of the time and money that went into this trip. Hell, we still had La Sagrada Familia and the Dali Museum ahead of us. Having shared interests with your better half ( in my case, my MUCH better half! ) is a wonderful thing and I thoroughly enjoyed being able to guide Monica through a city I knew she would fall in love with. You guys have been very patient, and I promise that after two more posts I'll be done with this amazing trip to Spain. Maybe a few of you loyal Pounderers will think about heading to Barcelona after reading about our own adventures. For those of you who may be sick of all these travel posts, all you have to do is book us in your own home town. Let the bidding wars begin!