A Rainy Day at Park Güell

No matter how poor the weather, the crowds still line up to visit Gaudí’s sites.

This isn’t the first day we’ve encountered rain on our trip. In fact, we’ve tried to visit Gaudí’s Park Güell twice, and both times it has rained. Those were the only days it rained! As we discovered, though, you just have to make the best of it.

Park Güell was a project begun by Eusebi Güell, Gaudí’s friend and patron. Güell was an entrepreneur and capitalist, investing in a number of projects that involved Gaudí. For the park, he hoped to create something like a housing subdivision. He asked Gaudí to design the park and a couple of house prototypes to inspire people to buy into the plan. But when little interest was generated, the project failed. Later on, it became a public space for Barcelonans. And Gaudí wound up living the last 20 years of his life in the park’s house prototype (except for the last months when he moved to the premises of La Sagrada Familia).

The house at Park Güell where Gaudí lived the last two decades of his life (except for the months he slept on the premises of La Sagrada Familia).
This is Gaudí’s bedroom and the crucifix before which he prayed every day, now a part of the Gaudí House Museum.

I visited the house today in the rain, but Taylor and I spent time on the grounds of the park last Sunday after visiting La Sagrada Familia. We walked all the way there (maybe 30-40 minutes) and got caught in a rainstorm. We had bought some bread and cheese to have as a picnic, but the rain caught us on the way, and we had to eat our bread and cheese while standing under the balcony of someone’s apartment, keeping ourselves dry. We were cold and wet, but eventually the weather cleared, and we had a nice afternoon there. The park is high on a hill overlooking the city, so our walk was mostly uphill the whole way. When the skies cleared, and it stopped raining, we could see the city and the ocean.

Notice La Sagrada Familia visible to the left of the photo with construction cranes hovering over it.

Among other things, there are a couple of notable Gaudian features in the park: the rough stone colonnades, or covered walking paths, and the winding park bench with trencadís, or broken-glass mosaics.

Trencadís, or the technique of using broken glass and tile to make mosaics, in this case, on this curvy bench in the park.
Part of the park bench is blocked off while it undergoes restoration. Meanwhile, dozens of visitors with umbrellas check out the accessible parts of the bench. Visits are timed in this portion of the park to ensure against too great a stress on the structure under the bench which is supported by columns below.
A good place to stay dry: Taylor under one of Gaudí’s stone arched colonnades.
Gaudí’s stone colonnade walking paths. There are either a few of these in the park or one long, winding one. We could not tell which.
Visitors take shelter and wonder “how did Gaudí do it?”
Seats are built in along the walkway. Many, like this one, also offer shelter from the rain.
More stone features from Gaudí, these running alongside the top of a wall.
Taylor putting on a good face despite being cold and damp.
This is the view atop the colonnaded walkways.

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