Friday, August 6, 2010

Spanish Style! A European Look

La Sagrada Familia, Barcelona
At Parque

Beyond Tomorrow
Parque Guell

While in Spain, you will have the opportunity to explore this country's many facets.  The gardens here are unique and special.  I got a lot of ideas from my travels here.  One of those places is Parque Guell.  So while it's storming outside during this monsoon evening,  I thought I'd share a couple of thoughts about what I saw and how I'll use the ideas in my garden.

This place is truly magical...I felt like I was in Alice In Wonderland!!!

Here is some basic info on Parque Guell located in Barcelona, Spain.  If you're visiting the park by metro be prepared for at least a 20 min walk. The last 200 m walk is up a steep hill. If you have difficulties going up steep steps then a taxi or bus may be a better means of transport. You'll find bus information at the tourist information office at Placa de Catalunya.

Park Guell was commissioned by Eusebi Güell who wanted to create a stylish park for Barcelona aristocracy. Park Güell is skillfully designed and composed to bring the peace and calm that one would expect from a park. The buildings flanking the entrance, though very original and remarkable with fantastically shaped roofs with unusual pinnacles, fit in well with the use of the park as pleasure gardens and seem relatively inconspicuous in the landscape when one considers the flamboyance of other buildings designed by Antoni Gaudí.

Gaudi enjoyed creating shapes that were natural to the environment.  It's a must see landmark in Barcelona!! In several other pictures above, you'll see the color contrast between the nature like buildings, some shaped like a bird's nest, along with plants like the palms and agaves. The plants used were very much of the Mediterranean variety.  His use of mosaic tile is breathtaking as the colors make everything POP!!!

Other areas in Spain that we visited were the famous Atocha station in Madrid.  Inside you'll  discover a tropical rain forest before you get on that subway ride.  They have little restaurants inside for you to sit down and enjoy this inside garden.  Around the center of town, you'll see formal garden surrounding water fountains using the traditional reds and yellows that make up Spain's colors.  The tulips are placed in mass plantings of red and yellow around their parks.

Finally, you can see the old.  Toledo, Spain is located about an hour from Madrid.  Here you can see great paintings done by the famous Greco.  You will also see some really cool older gardens mixed in around the plaza and on the outside of the city near the river.  My recommendation is to see Barcelona first before you see Madrid or Sevilla as the parks and the city themselves are much more fantastical like something you would see in a dream.  Don't forget to check out the tapas bars there!!

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