Eusebi Güell and Gaudí were homeboys. Güell was a Catalan entrepreneur, and in 1890 he established a worker’s colony north of Barcelona, in Santa Coloma de Cervello. While Güell’s textile factory was the economic centerpiece of Santa Coloma de Cervello, Güell commissioned Gaudí, a Catalan architect, to build a church and crypt that would serve as the colony’s cultural and religious epicenter. I’m telling you, total bromance. Güell and Gaudí went on to complete many projects together, exemplifying Catalan Modernism in Spain. In 1900, Güell and Gaudí conceptualized a rich housing estate overlooking the city of Barcelona. Park Güell was originally intended to be the focal point of this rich community, but after the project went bankrupt, the park was converted into a municipal garden open to the city.
Day 3 in Barcelona started in a small cafe. I took a work call while sipping hot coffee and forking chocolate crepes. And although the air was cool and the skies were white, after breakfast a girlfriend Eva and I set off for Park Güell, intent on seeing one of Gaudí’s most renowned creations.
Park Güell is a steep hike. In fact, I highly recommend wearing comfortable shoes on your visit, especially if you approach the park from Lesseps on the metro line. Towards the top of the hill (where the park is situated) there are several escalators that help with the final ascent, and although the view is stunning, you’ll be left catching your breath due to the climb, especially if you’re from the flat-o land of bikes!However, the city vistas at the top of the hill are well worth the trek.Barcelona is gargantuan, especially compared to my little ‘village’ hometown. Once you’ve taken in the view, there’s much more to explore. Park Güell is free for visitors, but if you want to enjoy the monument area, you will have to pay €8 for a ticekt. Tip: you can save €1 if you purchase your ticket online in advance :)
The monuments are beautiful, all built-in that distinct dribble-castle style especially recognizable as Gaudí.
Gaudí’s designs are eccentric to say the least. At one point, Gaudí exclaimed to Güell, “sometimes I think we are the only people who like this architecture.” To which Güell replied, “I don’t like your architecture, I respect it.”Despite Güell’s blasé opinion of Gaudí’s talents, I do truly appreciate the bright colors and stones especially unique to Gaudí’s architecture style. After a grey (but colorful!) afternoon in the park, we headed back down into the city for one final coffee with the group. Thankfully, the sun made an appearance, and we were able to enjoy Barcelona blue skies one more time :) I’ve been to Barcelona before, but I could easily go back year after year and still find new shops, cafes, and neighborhoods to explore. This time was no exception, and I got to enjoy this amazing city with some amazing new friends. Until next time, Barcelona! xo Ali