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Friday, November 4, 2016

Urban Sketching Barcelona. Day 6: Park Güell, Post #1 of 3

Park Güell, from my sketchbook

October 10, 2016

I was so excited! Today was the day I would get to see Gaudí's masterpiece, Park Güell! In its time, it was actually a real estate failure! Gaudí, and the property owner Eusebio Güell envisioned a neighborhood for the well to do, away from the hustle and bustle of the city, with parks, in a healthy setting with view of the sea.  There were to be about 60 lots, a complex network of paths and steps to cope with the hilly terrain. Problem was, it was so far out of the city and the excellent network of public transportation not yet there and restrictive building codes that it ultimately failed. Not until they had built two entrance pavilions, the main flight of steps, the shelter for horse-drawn carriages, viaducts etc., and the great esplanade with its serpentine, tile-covered benches.

Ultimately only 2 of the 60 houses planned was ever built, with Güell's being one of them. After his death in 1918, his heirs offered the park to the City Council who opened it as a municipal park in 1926, much valued by Barcelona's residents and tourists alike to this day. Recognized as an artistic monument in 1969, it became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1984. 

I was thrilled to be able to visit with Helena and together we decided we would take a train to the site. Alejandro (Airbnb apartment owner) had recommended taking a taxi, but we thought we could handle the Metro. Little did we know that doing that would require taking a large number of escalators and walking uphill the remainder of the way - not a very easy task and I was happy to know I had enough stamina and leg strength to do it! One of the things it did do for us, was to give us a very good idea as to why the project failed in the first place and how far up and away from the central part of town it really was! Needless to say, we hailed a taxi for the ride home!

The Laundry Portico

One of the Porter's Pavilions at the Entrance

One of two Pavilions that served as a residence for the Porter and a waiting room with telephone

Curved wall with "trencadís - tile works that utilize broken tiles

Detail of the Pavilions and more "trencadís" tile work

Broken bits of stone make up the walkway around the Porter's Lodge

The Dragon Stairway, Entrance Esplanade

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