Hey, let's visit a failed housing development!
Trip Start Mar 10, 2008
72Trip End Aug 12, 2008
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You: What did you do this weekend, friend?
Friend: Oh, I took the kids to the park and we flew a kite.
You: My favorite park in the world is Park Güell.
I'll give you some other examples as we go, but you won't be able to use this knowledge if I don't give it to you. So here goes...
Park Güell was originally a baren, rocky hill above Barcelona called Montaña Pelada, which means "bare mountain." This guy, Count Eusebi Güell, decided to turn the area into a luxury housing development since it was near other higher class neighborhoods and had great views of the city. The area was designed by none other than Antoni Gaudí and was built from 1900 to 1914. Unfortunately, it never took off as a housing development despite both Güell and Gaudí moving to the hill. Only two houses were ever built and none of the sixty planned plots were sold to anyone outside of the project. The area is now a municipal garden and tourist attraction and is definitely worth a visit.
You: Man, this housing market sure is rough.
Friend: Yeah, but I hear they are starting to build some new houses up north of the city.
You: Well, I hope it goes better than that Güell/Gaudí deal.
The main entrance is flanked by two buildings that you would think were made of gingerbread if you didn't know they were designed by Gaudí. As you go up the stairs, you pass by one of the most famous icons of Gaudí's work, the world famous mosaic dragon. When it rains, water that is collected from above is supposed to run down and come out of his mouth
You: I see you've been doing some landscaping in your back yard.
Friend: Yeah, I've put in some plants with a rock border and a few stepping stones.
You: You know what you should do? You should install a ceramic tile dragon that spits out rain water you collect from your roof like at Park Güell.
Friend: Are you on drugs?
There are some awesome walkways and seating areas that you see as you walk around the park made completely of rough stone. Gaudí purposely made each one look different from the other and as you are walking by looking at various designs and patterns, suddenly you see one that looks like a palm tree or a woman with a basket on her head. Crazy stuff. There's plenty to see around the park and it's free to get into
You: You're planning on putting a bench on your porch, right?
Friend: I'm thinking about it, yeah.
You: Well, at Park Güell...
Friend: Stop talking to me.
Park Güell may have been Gaudí's biggest financial failure, but as a park and garden area, it works. It's a nice area to walk around and see all of the strange and wonderful things that he designed. You can sit on the crazy bench and think about what this place might have been like if it would have become what it was meant to be. And you can try to pour your water bottle into the mouth of the dragon to get the sucker to spit some water out like he's supposed to. Or you can just buy a post card of him doing it. That might be easier.