Poble Español on the site of the 1929 Int’l Exposition, the home of one of my other fav attractions, the Magic Fountain. Poble Español was made as a “Disneyland-esque” representation of the various cities and regions of Spain – you can wander through the Plaza Major in Madrid, see the Moorish tower of Zaragosa, the streets of Seville.One day, I went for a walk. Just above the main Palau are two gated entrances, but that day – they were surprisingly open! A new adventure awaits! The entrance leads past a guardhouse and into the grounds of the Palau Abeniz, which apparently is another building created in 1929 for the Expo – a palace, really – that now only houses the King & Queen of Spain when they’re in town. The grounds are peppered with statues, mostly of women in common poses, but not just typical statues – these gals have curves! (like me!) The grounds are lovingly cared for, with fountains gushing and flowing similar to La Granja.
This “remnant” of the 1929 Int’l Expo reminds me of why I lived here. When I lived in SanFran, it was always my obsession to imagine myself walking through the 1939 Expo on Treasure Island, and it made me sad to look across the bay at the island which had been denuded of nearly all of the trappings of the Expo – destroyed or removed by the Navy once they took over the island in 1940. But this Expo lies just across the road from me, and it’s buildings, sculptures, gardens – its essence – is still there. This is the attraction to this lovely city, this beautiful place. The romance and draw of the Expo and the energy of its past is still alive there, and it is magical to me. The wonder of seeing the Magic Fountain (an amazing techno wonder of its time!), wandering the hillside gardens, enjoying the tucked away delight of the café at the Font del Gat – it is all still alive to me. Now I am two blocks away from the site of the 1915 Panama Pacific Exhibition, held in the (then) newly created Balboa Park.
It makes the Time Traveler in me DREAM… I walk back home, sort of in fog of imagination wondering what it would have been like to have been here in 1929. How funny the circle of life is! To go from living just across the San Francisco Bay from Treasure Island, to this amazing place where the buildings, the wonder, the essence of a World Expo still lives. What joy! It makes me ponder if I indeed will ever need move again. I love to travel, but the connection to this place is ingraining itself more and more each day.