Gaudi Town, Barcelona Revisited
We had visited Barcelona, what I call Gaudi Town, for a week about 90 days ago as the termination point to our trans-Atlantic cruise. Antoni Gaudi has four wonderful architectural master pieces in Barcelona, including Sagrada Familia which still being built 120 years later, Casa Milá and Casa Batlló. We will now get to see a fourth major work by Gaudi, Park Güell. We are concluding a 90 day, clockwise visit to the Iberian Peninsula.
Park Guell, by Antoni Gaudi
My plan of frequent visits to Park Guell during varied lighting conditions was quickly dashed as I learned reservations were not only required but hard to obtain, primarily due to the bus loads of aggressive ‘far eastern’ tourists. The totally clear skies on most days, void of any interesting clouds and temperatures nearing 100 also sapped my energy. When I finally did make it to Park Guell, taking photos was a futile exercise in waiting for others to stop taking their endless selfies. How is it they are not embarrassed with all this posing?
Park Guell was designed as a residential area for the Barcelona elite. Homes for the wealthy were to be built in this park high above the noise, pollution and congestion of Barcelona. The park was never a residential success. However, its popularity as a park has resulted in a €8 admission fee instituted since 2013. Just as Gaudi constructed in his other Barcelona icons, chipped and colorful tiles adorn the many curved surfaces.
As a photography note, the only way one can get a photo of the above lizard with no people in the background, shadows on the lizard and vain selfie posers is to take numerous hand-held shots and blend the good parts using a software like Photoshop. This photo is a composite of four pictures omitting the parts with selfie posers and shadows.
Below the large central plaza overlooking the view is a large shaded area supported with pillars, allowing Gaudi to maximize the available space.
Below the few roads constructed within Park Guell, Gaudi made use of the space by providing shaded walkways with natural rock supports. Of course Gaudi could not have straight upright pillars.
The Model Home
One house in the park was designed as a model home for the Park Guell sales effort. As expected in Gaudi designs, there are few straight lines.
This is the outside of the model house with the beautiful blue tones throughout the interior.
Our Visit to Spain Ends
Spain and Portugal combined are about the size of Texas. Ninety days, it turns out, is way too long to spend on the Iberian Peninsula. We chose to return to Barcelona as it offered direct flights to Bucharest, Romania, our next stop. A better decision would have been to leave prior to our Schengen 90 day legal limit, allowing us more travel flexibility. During our second seven day stay in Barcelona, our only tourist involvement was one short afternoon trip to the Gaudi designed Park Guell. The rest of the time was spent foraging for non-Spanish food on the residential outskirts of the city and trying to survive the heat. We slept in the living room by the air conditioner as the bedroom was stifling. The most tiring part the past 90 days was the lack of food variety. We really needed to hunt for any ethnic restaurant. This week we were intent on not having any more of the all too common Iberico Jamon, the thin sliced ham, veal, potato or fried egg products. Most every dish comes with french fries, and seldom the good kind. However, their ketchup is much better, richer than what is available in the US. The Iberico Jamon hangs from grocery stores and many restaurants. While it is full of fat, gristle and tendons, when sliced paper thin, much of the mastication is taken care of already. It is fine served as a free appetizer with beers for the first few days, but after that, try something else… Please!
The white triangle cups hanging from each pork leg are to catch the drippings which accumulate over the period of months the legs hang in the stores.
There were likely 40 or more Iberian Hams hanging from this small restaurant and bar. How long does an inventory like that take to whittle down? I’m thinking years!
Next Stop, Bucharest