Any time we visit a new city, we try to check out at least one of its parks. Urban parks are often what make a city livable, and ideally should accommodate both tourists and locals. This month, I’ll write about some of the loveliest parks we’ve had the pleasure to visit.
One of the most enchanting ones was Park Guell in Barcelona, designed by Antoni Gaudi. If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you’ll know how I love Gaudi’s work (I’ve written about La Pedrera and Sagrada Familla, to name just two). His park, although quite different from those buildings, was as stunning as anything else he’s designed.
This project reflected Gaudi’s love of nature. He incorporated natural designs throughout the park, from seashell motifs to the colourful dragon fountain at the entrance.
One of the strongest characteristics of the park is the amazing tile work throughout. Gaudi used cast-off ceramic pieces to create unimaginably beautiful mosaics on everything from the underside of the viaduct to that iconic dragon fountain. In the central core, tiles decorate the benches that wind, snake-like, through the area.
A footpath under the viaduct is lined with columns designed to look like trees, another way in which Gaudi made the architectural structures in the park mirror the nature around it. But these columns often contained fanciful designs, as in the photo below:
We loved Park Guell so much that we returned on our last day in Barcelona to see it one more time. To me, it represents everything that’s great about a city park – it’s unique, and both approachable and challenging. And it feels like it belongs exactly where it’s built.