Antoni Gaudí's influence can be seen all over Barcelona but Park Güell may showcase his style and talents best. Gaudi's style and imagination for using organic shapes to create surreal spaces is highlighted throughout the park.
Park Güell was originally part of an unsuccessful housing venture by Eusebi Güell in 1900. The intent was to build a community of luxury homes that took advantage of the beautiful views present from the rocky, hillside location. The project didn't generate enough interest. In 1906, Gaudi bought one of the homes and moved in with his family.
Today, Park Güell had been converted into a municipal garden and it's open to the public to explore. You will need to by tickets in advance if you want to view the whole grounds which I'd recommend. There are sections of the park that can be accessed for free if you don't have tickets or don't have the time to completely explore the gardens.
We walked to Park Güell from Sagrada Familia. It was a pleasant walk but be prepared for it to take some time. In this direction, much of the walk was up hill. There is also public transportation that can drop you near the park entry.
As of today, Park Güell has been added as a point of interest to the Duckwyn passport app.
I had the fortune to visit Notre Dame a few times. It's one of those places you never forget. The first time I visited, I remember taking the batobus there. The water taxi dropped us off right next to the cathedral. The view from the water was unbelievable. It was a warm spring day and the pattern in the clouds produced some amazing photos. I came back a few more times over the years, once taking a tour through the towers with my wife.
Today, Notre Dame was severely damaged by a fire. I had so many emotions watching it burn. It was so sad to see the spire collapse and to think about the stained glass, paintings, and other artifacts getting destroyed inside. It seems especially cruel for this to happen during such an important holy week.
Exactly 3 years ago, I was able to take my then 10 and 7 year old kids to Paris. We took pictures outside Notre Dame and toured the inside. I feel so fortunately to have been able to take them there and that they got to experience the cathedral in all its glory. Seeing their sadness confirmed to me that this 800+ year old cathedral could be appreciated by all, regardless of age, race, or religion. I hope that it can be returned to its former glory. It will take years to recover but I know the Parisians will find a way.
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Chris Wills, founder and developer of the Duckwyn Project, a Travel Passport app for parents and kids to explore and document their travel adventures.