I wiped the sweat off my forehead. My eyebrows knitted as my eyes attempted to squeeze out the sunlight. I cursed myself for not bringing my sunglasses on my little exploration. Overcast days in Barcelona are deceptive as the sun glances off the clouds into your eyes.
Okay, let’s just take this one step at a time. My legs were still burning from karate the previous night, and now I have 187 stairs in my future. I counted. Park Guell better be worth it!
Once I reached the top I got no relief. The air was thick and I could choke on the humidity. The crowds didn’t help either. The paths were swirling with people, moving aimlessly in circles as they snapped their cameras. It seemed that around every corner some musician was stationed, each vying for the small change in the tourist’s pockets. Many of them had their own CDs on display in their music case.
There was no way to escape the din.
As I entered the park, I veered left. I passed by Casa Trias, a rather stoic looking overlooking the rest of the park and Barcelona city. This house was built in 1905 and belonged to an assistant of the famous architect Gaudi. This house sits perched with a perfect view of the city skyline.
But once you break out of the bend, you are greeted by a scenic walkway that looks like it’s from a scene in Tomb Raider. The whole place looks like a set in Cambodia with thick jungle and stone structures. There is a constant cacophony of birds ricocheting through the air. Throw in a throng of tang accents and you’ve landed in the jungle.
I’ve explored most of the corners of Park Guell – at least of the free access park. A run along the crowded paths led me searching for higher ground. I climbed to find more twisted trees and wandering dogs – and a stunning view!
To see Barcelona from up high is amazing. I can see why Gaudi is so famous – his structures colour the skyline of Barcelona in almost every direction. I can’t imagine Barcelona being the same without a Gaudi twist of curvilinear modernism and mosaic tiles. In fact, his style has inspired many buildings.
As I climbed higher, it grew quieter. Safi at last. I could feel myself grow resentful of tourists, even though I am one myself. Clans paraded through public spaces with their large cameras and foreign accents – cutting the air with their voices. Sometimes I wished they could appreciate in silence, or at least in a whisper. I think as I snap away on my camera.
Park Guell really is an interesting spot. It was born in the early 1900’s when Barcelona began to boom. From the peak of the park, you could witness the expansion of Eixample as it flanked out in the inner city. Park Guell embraces modernism with ferocity. Everything in it has been graced by the nouveau.