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Barcelona in the North East corner of Spain on the Mediterranean coast is an ideal vacational city break holiday destination. There are lots of cheap flights and hotel, bed and breakfast, motel plus villa accommodation. Renting a car is cheap and easy. It is a delightful Spanish city. It has elegant boulevards and attractive side streets, A visit to Gaudi's architectural gems is a must. The Christopher Columbus waterfront has to be visited. Make sure you go to the Maritime Museum even if you do not like boats you have to see the splendid richly decorated Mediterranean giant oared galley warship. The Olympic village and the fort on top of the hill are an ideal place to spend an afternoon and take in the fantastic vista of Barcelona in font of you.
Temple de la Sagrada Familia
Before I went to Barcelona I was not looking forward to going around Gaudi’s works. It did not interest me. I am not religious and do not like going around Churches. I did not understand it. I was dragged along by my wife. Once Antoni Gaudi’s vision is explained to you and you see the real thing up close your perception and views change to appreciation and wonder. You can climb to the towers and admire the snail shape stairs, there is an elevator to the top. You can visit the crypt and see Antoni Gaudi’s tomb.
The original project included 12 towers (the 12 apostles) of which only 4 (the smallest) are built. He received the commission in 1866 from a religious right-wing organization that wanted to build an “Expiatory Temple” as a reaction to the more liberal ideas that were running through Europe at that time. Gaudi died in 1926 when he was knocked down by a tram. During Spanish Civil War most of the models, plans and drawings were destroyed. The project continues following what present architects think were Gaudi’s ideas of how his cathedral should be finished. This being Spain construction is very slow. The projected deadline is 2022 for completion. Of the 4 facades only 2 are finished (Nativity and Passion).
It is a pig to get to if you use the metro. The Park is very high up and the bus will take you to the entrance while if you take the Metro you have to walk uphill for half an hour along, not very attractive, dirty rundown side roads. I would definitely recommend taking the bus or taxi. Take the bus number 24 from Plaza Catalunya.
Mr Eusebi Güell was the main patron of Antoni Gaudí's work. Park Güell was, designed as a real estate development for Eusebi Güell in 1900. During the levelling of the park a mineral water spring was discovered. Güell Park became a municipal park and was opened to the public in 1922. Gaudí planned and directed the construction from 1900 to 1914. It was built as a residential garden city based on English models. The plan was to have 60 single-family houses on the site but the project was financially unsuccessful and not finished. Only two were built.
In creating the park he has used shapes, which harmonized with the landscape as can be seen by the curves on the upstairs balcony tiled seating area. Hids designs were very organic. Gaudi built a complex garden of staircases, animal like sculptures, curvy ramps, and viaducts. Since 1984 the park was declared a monument of world interest by UNESCO. Admission to the park is free.
When you enter the park there is a grand staircase with fountains and the city's mascot, the mosaic lizard greeting you. Go up the stairs and you will come to large doric columns near an area called the marketplace. Above this area is a grand plaza ringed by the famous tiled, curving benches. To the side and back of the plaza are these unique natural stone pillars. Beyond this is a vast natural park with winding pathways through wooded areas. At a very high point in the park is a little tower with 3 crosses on it.
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