Happy Birthday Antoni Gaudi!! Born in Reus, Spain, in 1852, Antoni Gaudi is one of my favorites. His parents were coppersmiths. Gaudi was sick with rheumatic fever in his youth, causing him to be alone much of the time perhaps leading to his love of nature. Although he worked during the Art Nouveau period, he had his own style. Known primarily as an architect, Gaudi had an unusual organic approach to his structures. He was also incredibly adept at mosaic work with broken tiles, called trencadis. His most spectacular feat was the (unfinished) La Sagrada Familia, a cathedral in Barcelona. He worked with the Gothic structure and transformed it into a spectacular, natural wonder. It is still being worked on, with completion speculated for 2026. My husband and I were fortunate enough to visit this incredible vision in Barcelona as well as his Parc Guell, also never fully realized. Gaudi's patron, Eusebi Guell envisioned his property as a garden city for the rich with the land divided into 60 plots. Only 3 of the plots were sold, two to a family who still own them and the other to Gaudi himself. The idea was to have homes above in the natural surroundings with viaducts below creating an underground space for a marketplace. Gaudi worked with the existing land formation (a bald mountain) planting Mediterranean trees and vegetation. Rock rubble columns support the underground structure. A serpentine mosaic tile bench snakes around the top, creating a spectacular, panoramic view of the city below. You may have noticed in my blog portrait, I am sitting on that bench. Street musicians can be found playing in the cave-like area below ground, while artisans peddle their wares above. Many of Gaudi's plans were cut short with his untimely death in 1926 after being hit by a tram. A visit to Barcelona reveals several of his architectural visions and countless examples of his influence as his dreams live on. I have included two pictures of the park, one above and one underground.