A little dazed and half confused, we disembarked off the T2A bus at the top of Tibidabo mountain overlooking Barcelona city. As we stepped off the bus after our rollercoaster ascent, we blinked away the bright sunlight.
I breathed in the fresh mountain air. I felt right at home. We staggered onto the hillside, marvelling at the 360° panorama of the forest and city life. The beach we had partied at the night before felt far away. It felt good to be above the bustling skyline. The six of us continued.
We took a left turn and ended up in Toy Land. Water fountains twisted into the sky in sharp bursts, and the children were delighted. There is an Afrikaans saying a family friend used to share ‘As die voete nat word gaan die moondjie oop” (If the feet get wet then the mouth opens). It was true in this now.
The next stage was a huddle of trampolines. The springs were tight so you couldn’t jump very high. In fact, they were more like launch pads. It was even coupled with a boing sound effect! And then there were still slides to follow.
Needless to say, we felt a little out of place in this kiddies playpark.
As we pushed towards the gothic tower, we entered a surreal world. Bright rainbow colours splashed across the sky as the Ferris Wheel made slow revolutions against the sky. A decadently decorated carousel rotated in the foreground. Everywhere I looked I saw vivid colours and peculiar park rides. Somewhere above us, an aeroplane came to life, whizzing just above our heads.
We pushed on past the popcorn cart and the hotdog stands. The ice cream was dripping in the summer sun and children were sticky with candyfloss. A melody strung in the background and in front of us lay Barcelona. We took our time to survey the panorama, drinking in all the corners of the horizon.
Below us, more rides from the amusement park spilt across the mountainside. Nestled between the trees I spotted another carousel and rides. The squeals of ‘an ingratitude of children’ (the group noun for children, Google it) rose up to us and mingled with the sweet smell of chocolate fondue.
The landmark that sits as the crown jewel in the Barcelona skyline, piercing the heavens, is Temple Expiatori del Sagrat Cor (‘Temple of Tibidabo‘). This silhouette that dominates the highest point of the Tibidabo mountain is one of the most iconic sights in the city. As you approach the looming temple, you come to appreciate the finer arts and gothic flairs worked into the architecture. The bold facade of the crypt is decorated with sculptures representing the Virgin of Mercy, Saint George, and Saint James, the patron saints of Barcelona, Catalonia, and Spain.
Unfortunately, our visit coincided with a wedding at the Temple of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, as it’s also known. But we did manage to catch a glimpse of the rich mosaic tiles plastered on the interior. The colourful images were modelled after the modern pixeled effects, as my friend Rebecca was quick to point out, a concept hundreds of years after the wall art was completed.
We swayed around the park for a while longer, feeling a little lost in the Saturday afternoon sun. I enjoyed this sweet time out of the city, in a completely different world. Eventually, we made our way back down to the bus stop and descended back into the buzzing Barcelona life.