Tag Archives: gardens

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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People Watching in Paris

 

 

I freely admit it. Landmarks are lovely, but I also enjoy observing others interacting with their surroundings. And, I like to do my people-watching with my camera at the ready.

 

Paris in September requires a full suitcase. You could as easily be fumbling for a warm winter jacket as a sundress -or searching out a warm latte versus a refreshing gelato. The weather seems to fluctuate along with the euro, bringing chilly rain some years and summer sun in others. When I last visited, a long stretch of warmth filled the benches and lawns and Seine River quays with Parisians simply enjoying their city. Weekend or work day, we found masses of people savoring the sunshine and delights of outdoor Paris.

 

While I would have enjoyed the city in any weather, but warmer temperatures seemed to entice more Parisians outdoors, allowing us to soak in a little more Paris energy along with the sun.

More photos on Facebook at Heather Dugan Creative and on Google+

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Summer Stored in Franklin Park Conservatory

An In-Town Tourist Feature:
…because Adventure begins in the heart and Travel starts at the end of your own driveway.

 

Ohio winters challenge the hiking, biking, beach girl in me. Bundling up for a hike or layering for a run in the woods isn’t too bad most of the time, but the lingering listless gray can creep into a body even when the chill has been held at bay.

I have to attack the winter months a little. Find ways to ride over them like a beach ball on a wave. The gym works. Warm weather getaways work even better! But one of our better options locally is Franklin Park Conservatory. I can always find a bit of summer inside that stately structure and, for a few minutes, completely forget the wind chill waiting in the parking lot.

The Conservatory is a Christmastime tradition with festive poinsettias, a model train display and whimsical gingerbread houses. The seasonal attractions, including a phenomenal juggling act are always top notch. But for me, the best part is always wandering into greened spaces and spying summer blooms.

Updated from January 12, 2011.

Columbus Couple Travel Tips

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