Saturday, April 16, 2016

Sagrada Familia & Park Guell: Exploring Gaudi's Art in Barcelona

Anna, Martin & Sapna - Park Guell, Barcelona
So, I've finally started to visit the more touristy parts of Barcelona, a year and a half after moving here (I was waiting for people to visit who hadn't seen the sites!) Anna and Martin were in town for a couple of days last weekend, and Anna had never been to Spain before,  so I showed them around a bit.

Friday we headed to the Sagrada Familia cathedral - and wow - you must go inside. It's well worth the 15 euros (I found out afterwards that residents can apparently get a special card to get in free anytime. Of course, I'm sure this requires a very Spanish, long, drawn-out bureaucratic form-filling session, but I'll do it!). I  took Anna and Martin to the Montjuic Magic Fountain, La Flauta tapas restaurant and Mirabe restaurant, all three of of which I went to a few weeks ago when my parents visited.  Another tapas suggestion I have is to head to Carrer Blai in the Parallel neighbourhood - it has streets full of great tapas places (where Anna, Martin and I had tapas and wine Friday night).

For Park Guell, which we checked out on Saturday, I'd suggest getting the guided tour (or, get the guided tour for Sagrada Familia which we didn't). It helps to have some background info on Gaudi to guide your trek around his artwork.  Here are a few facts I remember:

  • Antoni Gaudi's style honored both religion and nature -  hence the bright, vibrant colours  and religious symbols throughout his work
  • Gaudi is buried in the crypt of the cathedral, which has a very different artistic air to the main floor
  • Park Guell was supposed to be a home for 60 families, but only two of the houses designed were actually built. There is one family that still owns a house in the Park, although this will eventually become government property
  • The ceramic lizard is most photographed part of Park Guell; there are various theories as to why it exists
  • Many of the symbols came from animals in Greek and Roman mythology
  • The Park is spelled with a "k" because its inspiration was a British garden
  • Some of the trees are Austrian
  • The benches are specifically curved in a way to encourage conversation among many people
  • The Sagrada Familia is not finished yet, but not because of a lack of money! The city actually does not have enough space to build the ten remaining buildings in Gaudi's plans. While they once hoped to complete it 100 years after his death (2026), who knows when it will be done!

Other than that, I'll let the photoshoot do the talking. Nice to see you again, Anna and Martin and enjoy your trip back to Oxford!

Check out the slideshow below. If you're on a mobile device that does not support Flash, please remember to click here for my Flickr Pro page and see the album that way. 

Stay tuned for a post on Anna G.'s birthday celebrations - and then hold on a bit, because the next six weeks are full of intense PhD analysis ;)

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