Barcelona Day 1
I arrived in Barcelona this morning to beautiful sunshine and I enjoyed a taxi ride taking in some of the sites of the city’s outskirts along the way. My friend arrived the day before so I was able to go straight to the room and prepare for the day ahead. We stayed in a hotel in the outer part of the city which was nice to get a different perspective of the city and to see some buildings that we would not otherwise have seen, oh and we were very close to the Park Guell!
It is at the Park Guell that our adventure begins. I cannot believe it has been 12 years since I last visited this place. Upon first glance the only thing I recognise is the main entrance, which is now closed off. As there is already a big queue we decided to explore the outer areas of the park and see the main park later. Here of some of the delights that you can expect to find in this wonderful parkland setting.
When we decided to go into the main park we bought tickets and had to wait an hour as the entry is now timed to allow only 400 people in the main park at any one time, as we later found out whilst queuing again to get in at 3.30pm. I asked one of the attendants when the entry fee and timed entry came into place and apparently this has been the case since 2013. On the one hand I do not mind spending money and helping towards the preservation and upkeep of such a Wonderfull place. On the other had I find it so sad that on the two previous occasions that I have visited (although busy) it was so much more relaxed as you could just wander in through the main entrance. Now the main entrance is the exit and you have to enter through one of the other designated entry points. I do however like the fact that the timed entry limits the number of people in the park at any one time. However nothing can deter from the stunning beauty of this place and the incredible attention to detail which is what makes this park truly magical.
The above buildings show the porters lodge (left) and the administration building (right)
Gaudi was commissioned by his good friend Eusebi Guell to design the park and the individual residences that were due to be built here.
The land was bought by Guell and his intention was to build a community for the wealthy of Barcelona in a natural setting outside of the city. Designs for the park were based upon the idea of the English garden cities, whereby people could escape the urban city life and live in a more natural environment. 60 plots were due to be built in this parkland setting. The development was eventually stopped by Guell in 1914 for a number of reasons, largely due to Guell’s strict restrictions on the site. The main being that he would not allow public transport into the park which made the park very difficult to access, and put people off buying plots on the site. The park remained as it is today and upon Guell’s death was bought by Barcelona council and opened up as a wonderful public space that is now a UNESCO World heritage site.
The famous serpentine bench, designed by Gaudi was designed as a communal area for the park’s residents.
This building is where Guell and his family lived, (not designed by Gaudi) and is now a school.
Sadly, there is building work going on at the park at the moment (which I guess makes sense as it’s only March. They are doing the work now so the park will be looking its best for the popular summer months). Although disapoinnting it was actually quite interesting to see some uncovered areas of the park.
In the above picture you can see the dome shapes in the ceiling whereas on the area above you have the gravelled path that is clearly flat and shows no evidence of the shape of this ceiling.
In these photos you can see the stripped back raw surface of the ceiling below and just how much gravel is used to create the lovely smooth surface that is usual in the park.In this picture you can see how flat the surface is usually
Building works also meant that you could not access all of the bench but no matter how many times I see this bench is does not fail to take my breath away with it’s sheer beauty.
And that was it for the day. What a great reintroduction to Barcelona.