Category Archives: Barcelona

An Excellent Fail: Parc Güell

Defies description? Perhaps. But I’ll try.


Parc Güell is an oasis of green above the city of Barcelona. It is also the most unusual municipal park I’ve ever roamed.


Antoni Gaudi’s whimsical touch transformed this rocky hill (originally “Bare Mountain”) into a blending of art, architecture and gardens. A place to both wander and wonder. A space filled with artistic revelations and superb surprises.

Intended to be a commercial housing development back when it was conceived in the early 1900′s, the project failed for lack of buyers.

But it was ultimately a splendid success. The property was converted into a city park filled with Gaudi’s nature-inspired architecture and art. Exploring Parc Güell was like walking into a fantasy world of twisting, melted and yet ordered geography. Part of it reminded me of the worlds I’d imagined as a girl in the far-off mountains and cliffs beyond my back seat car window. Only now they were real.


Forests of columns formed tunnels or provided support for overhead bridges. Gaps became windows that previewed the next discovery. Overall, it was about the unexpected around each corner. About following trails and tunnels that could lead anywhere. About anticipation. And beauty. And finding footing for imaginings that were no longer merely imaginary.

Artistic merit often lies in eluding the obvious. Gaudi defied it.

Antoni Gaudi’s fanciful works including the massive Sagrada Familia (begun in 1882 and with estimated completion to be around 2026) are scattered throughout Barcelona.  


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Art with a Side of Music

The lilting classical music fit the elegantly fanciful setting so well that it seemed almost to have leaked from Gaudi’s art and slid through the tree leaves to where we stood. But looking down from a stone columned tunnel that appeared to have stretched and twisted its way up from the earth, we spotted a curving mosaic roof line and followed Mozart’s melody to the terrace beneath.


The cavernous open air hall at Parc Güell seemed made for music. Rows of pillars were capped by an undulating ceiling sprinkled with mosaics and tiles.

A duo on bass and violin rocked the acoustic space, enhancing aesthetic sights with elegant sound. We lingered. To take photos, yes. But also to breathe it all in —in gentle cadence with the strings.


More album photos at Heather Dugan Creative on Facebook.


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Simply Sunday

Our first evening in Barcelona capped a grueling 25-hour day, but the city had engaged us since our early arrival with its remarkable architecture and unique energy.  Sleep could wait. Barcelona could not.

Our day-long wander had taken us through the eerie labyrinths of the Gothic Quarter, to the Waterfront and then finally northeast to Barcelona’s majestic Arc de Triomf. From there we chanced upon a typical Sunday evening at Barcelona’s biggest park: Parc de la Ciutadella.

In the United States, Sunday evening is often but a prelude to busy Monday mornings. But here in Barcelona, families gathered.Friends played music and games. There was juggling, tight-rope walking, acrobatics and exuberant gymnastic dancing. Dads kicked around soccer balls with their sons. Couples and families rowed boats around the small lake next to the zoo.

It was a random celebration of everyday life. And as difficult as the details of daily living can be, at that moment and in that place, there seemed to be plenty to celebrate.

Barcelona Things To Do on raveable
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