Travels

Travel | All is Güell

September 13, 2017

Hi dear readers!

I’m continuing #AWanderlustWednesday by recapping the final leg of the European adventure in Spain. We finished out our two incredible weeks together in Barcelona, where we experienced beautiful markets, architecture and flamenco dancing.  

Park Güell

Park Güell was built beginning in 1900 in Barcelona, when it was a modern and cosmopolitan metropolis and the project was known as the largest 19th century city development project in Europe led by engineer Ildefons Cerdà. The project was proposed by Cerda has a way to make advancements in alignment with the city and to be a part of the modern, reformative spirit that was taking place in Barcelona. During the second half of the 19th century, Barcelona expanded rapidly and the rebirth of the Catalan nation in Spain increased a desire for new ways to express the changes taking place. These changes led to the birth of Modernism and such examples can be seen throughout Park Güell.

The entrepreneur Eusebi Güell and architect Antoni Gaudí  had a working partnership and friendship throughout the years. Güell had initially been exposed to Gaudí’s work at the Universal Exhibition in Paris in 1878 and he had assigned him to various projects. Gaudí  was eventually assigned Park Güell, which was supposed to be an estate for wealthy families. The location was excellent and boasted of many views of Barcelona. There were 60 plots on the estate that were assigned on the estate for homes and there were pathways and steps to work with the land. Gaudí  respected the natural vegetation of the land and designed various systems for collecting and storing water and ways that would provide water by the estate’s inhabitants.

By 1914 the project of creating estates came to an end due to many complications and the park became a large private garden where Güell would host public events. Eventually, it became a major attraction in the city. After Güell’s death, the City Council purchased the land and the park opened up in 1963 as a museum and public park.

Sant Josep La Boqueria

La Boqueria was ASTOUNDING and GORGEOUS. There are so many fresh foods and opportunities to shop locally from different artisans, cooks, restaurants, etc. It’s unbelievable how much is available and so very different from the U.S. The emphasis on fresh goods and opportunities to eat well are numerous and it was such a fun place to wander around together, sample foods and shop for local favorites to add to our meals.

One of my favorite treats were fresh squeezed juices! My all-time favorite was a mint blend – it was so refreshing! The pressed juices don’t have added sugar, so you’re drinking the fresh fruit combinations sans all the sugary, fake stuff we oftentimes put in drinks in the U.S. to make it taste better (lame).

We visited La Boqueria a few times and had a chef take us around when we took a cooking class and made a delicious Paella (among other delicious Catalan dishes), so we were able to learn the best cuts of meat, the best spices, the best places to buy veggies and fruits… I really wish we had something like it back home!

La Sagrada Familia

When I first saw La Sagrada Familia, I didn’t know what to think about it. After being in Rome and seeing so many traditionally beautiful churches (what you think of a gorgeous cathedral or church – that’s Rome) and it’s phenomenal. La Sagrada Familia was so different to me and much more ornate on the outside and a very different kind of ornate inside of the church that I wasn’t prepared for.

By the end of the tour, I had a much greater respect and love of La Sagrada Familia and the architect. Learning about his decisions and why he chose to design certain aspects of the church made me better understand why certain choices are made. The church is not yet finished and is set to be finished by 2026 (although they’ve been saying that for over 100 years!).

I can’t explain it as well as the website can, so I highly recommend reading through the history and architecture to better understand the decisions made and to see more photos of the beautiful church for yourself!

Flamenco

Flamenco is one of the most incredible dances I have ever seen! I really didn’t quite know what to expect or what we might see, so with sangria in hand, we watched some of the most beautiful combinations of guitar, song & dance. Flamenco originated in the southern regions of Spain, but has influenced many cultures, including Latin American, Cuban and Jewish traditions.

Traditional flamenco dancing wasn’t professionally or formally trained, but was passed down to friends, relatives and neighbors. Most modern flamenco dancers today are professionally trained, although some learn on their own. The dancers express their deepest emotions by using body movements and facial expressions and the dancers also clap their hands or kick their feet. Most dancers also may snap percussions handheld instruments, which are called “castanets”.

#AWanderlustWednesday

Join me by posting about your own adventure that you’ve had recently or a part of your city or town that you never explored before! Did you find something quirky or charming by your home or in your neighborhood? Adventure isn’t just about flying on a plane to an exotic location. In the words of Ellie from Pixar’s Up: “Adventure is out there!!” and adventure can be in the beautiful moments spent with loved ones, camping out in the living room with your kids, going for a nature walk at a park or enjoying a new kind of coffee at a local coffee shop. Adventures come in all shapes & sizes, so share with me this Wednesday and show me what you’ve been up to and the ways in which you’ve explored where you’re living right now!

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