And dragons in the afternoon

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The dragon park of Antoni Gaudi

Our last afternoon in Barcelona and a hot and sultry one so where better to spend some time than walking in Gaudi’s Parc Guell.

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By now I was getting acclimatised to the organic-geometric nature of Gaudi’s work although I think there’s still just a little too much organic life in these buildings for comfort.

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The most obvious of Gaudi’s works flank the entrance to the park with the terrace providing the central focus for the whole. Tiles, salamanders, serpentine seats all decorated with symbols from myth, Catalan history and religion. You know the usual…

The story goes that Gaudi had a workman drop his pants and sit in a plaster cast so he could get the contours of the serpentine seat of the upper terrace just right. 🙂

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And there’s the mosaic spires of course. Not bad for a failed real estate development all in all, though if you stand back and look at it, it does have a little of the gated community about it.

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But what’s really interesting is how he designed the roads on viaducts with the pedestrian pathways running underneath in the sheltered colonnades, very clever use of space.

The material for the construction is quarried from the park and Gaudi mirrored the forms of nature in the arches and columns. You can see a guy who loved to joke here; rubble formed arches growing from the ground, columns that look like palm trees. Soft undulating surfaces of mosaic. Mirroring birds nests and trees in viaducts.

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Climb to the top of the park and you find a sweeping view across Barcelona, you can see why this was considered a very desirable residence. From here you could barely smell the smoke from those dark satanic mills of the early twentieth.

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And here’s our intrepid heroes, myself looking a little more frazzled than my doctor wife, how does she do it?

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But the day draws on and we’ve one last call to make.

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