Park Güell occupies the eastern heights above the city and was supposed to be an innovative planned community at the turn of the last century, the brainchild of the park's namesake, a local developer and friend of the great architect Antoni Gaudí. Several spec homes, a school, and expansive public spaces were created across a beautiful mountainlet, all based on Gaudí's architectural visions and philosophy.
Things didn't work out as expected, though, and the wealthy Catalonians failed to ante up for the new district, which was at the time inconvenient to reach and viewed as not fashionable enough for the intended clientele. Once its co-visionary Güell passed on, his heirs deeded the whole property to the city for development as a public park. And so it has remained ever since, although the public grew to a point where certain areas needed to be restricted lest they be ground up under the tourist heel; admission is now charged for that section and entry is limited.
We wandered the 'free' areas of the park for a couple hours till our 'restricted' passes kicked in, then completed the circuit. Overall it was a delightful time, in spite of the sidewalk hawkers and the denizens of fellow tourists. Climbing high rewarded us with stellar views of the city, and we were left to imagine what it might have been like to own a Toll Brothers type of home up here if Güell and Gaudí's vision had panned out. But for the city and the citizenry, things worked out pretty well in the end.