The beautiful city of Barcelona as seen from the top of Park Guell
There was one main attraction that drew us to visit the city of Barcelona. An old friend of ours Dino, told us about this park and how it’s like stepping into a scene from Alice in Wonderland. How every part of the park seems like it’s meant to play with your mind. We told Karen and Steve about this park and they were sold. So they met back up with us after their visit with family friends in Switzerland.
I somehow magically found us a nice apartment to rent for only €100 a night. Located just a few blocks from Las Rambas, the market, and a metro stop. A perfect location and such a blessing for our travels! We were all still feeling pretty ran down after partying for a week solid at Sun & Bass with not much rest afterwards. Having a little place to call our own with a kitchen, 2 bedrooms, and a LIVING ROOM! What a concept! One thing you don’t experience much while backpacking is spending quality time on a couch and we all often mentioned how we missed our couches back home. Almost moreso then our own beds!
After finding out that Karen and Steve would not arrive to Barcelona until late at night we knew what sort of moods they may be in and decided to make their arrival to Barcelona perfect. We gave them our location and directions, went shopping to the market for fresh ingredients and of course some wine, and then cooked all of us some homemade Tacos! Our evening was much like the first evening we met up with each other back in Amsterdam, all of us full of stories, smiles, and excitement.
Then the day finally came, to witness this park and other creations by Gaudi with our own eyes. Karen and Steve started us all of right by waking up, sneaking off to the store, and then making us all breakfast complete with mimosa’s! The plan was to check out as many of Gaudi’s buildings and creations as we could in one day.
The first sight we came across the lampposts that are along Las Rambas. Some of his most earliest commissioned work. Resembling something that looks like it should be in Grandma’s garden as a hanging plant hook, these intricate posts give a busy city street a very organic look. Complete with comfortable curved benches at the base to help you admire his work.
The next two buildings by Gaudi we came across on our route are located on the same street as the lampposts. The first one is the Casa Mila aka known as La Pedrera that is an apartment building. The building does not use any straight lines, thus the exterior of the building is very wavy, with its features bubbling in and out almost like a building one would find on the planet Tatooine (in Star Wars). There is a rooftop area with even more Gaudi goodness to admire that you can pay a fee to view, but it was closed for a private function when we were there.
Just a few block downs from the first building we visited is the Casa Batlló. When you approach the building from the side it looks like peopling are entering through a giant mouth. The rest of the building is a colorful array of mosaic tiles that almost look like flowering vines and each balcony looks like a skull-like masquerade mask. We decided to not pay the fee and explore the inside, as there was a long line and were feeling antsy to get to the park.
This is only half of it… it’s too huge to photograph!
We then took a walk and headed towards the world famous Sagrada Família. A church that was started while Gaudi was still alive but still is not finished. The immense size and crazy amount of intricate work is speculated to take about 200 years to complete, and was started in 1882. The hopeful proposed completion date is set to be for 2026. There are currently 8 spires completed with another 8 even bigger ones to go up. Walking up to this church is a feeling one cannot explain. It’s very dark and gothic looking with, to our opinion, scary looking statue creations in telling the story of Christ on the outside. Not being Christians our self, we wonder how people who follow the religion feel about the look of this church. It’s quite astonishing. One half of the church is built and designed by Gaudi himself, the other half is designed by other architect’s using a similar style but with a more modern approach.
Our last and most looked forward stop on our Gaudi day of sight-seeing was Park Guell, It originally was contracted to be a gated community with the best views of Barcelona. The project flopped and the entire area was turned into one of the most amazing parks in the world. We took the metro from Sagrada Família to the closest stop we could see on the map to the park. This path ended up leading us up a massive hill and towards the back entrance of the park. For anyone planning to go here, we highly suggest to take the same route. A bit of a work out, (however there is some escalators at the steepest parts), you end up at the highest point of the park with a spectacular view of Barcelona below.
You then walk down the winding paths to the main section of the park… however it was a bit hard sometimes to figure out which paths lead up and which ones lead down… almost like walking through an MC Esher painting! We soon found some steps that looked like a easy short cut and heading down on them. Each step was uneven and made you feel drunk as you walked. Looking closely at the steps we were pretty sure this was intended and not just worn over time. Our entire adventure down we felt as if we were being followed by Parakeets. Squak Squak and then we would see a flash of bright green fly by. Are those really here? Are they even native to this area??
Looks like roots!
And then we came to the clearing and saw the majestic pillars supporting a huge platform. Surrounding the platform is a covered pathway with palm trees growing above it, when you look at this from a distance it looks like the supports are actually the roots of the palm trees.
After enjoying the view from the platform we headed down the stairs to check out the majestic pillars. A violinist was playing and the echo inside this area made it sound like it was coming out of surround sound speakers. The entire park is covered in tiny broken pieces of mosaic tile to a precise beauty. We couldn’t help to wonder how long it would take to lay them all down, one by one, and how many times Gaudi’s name was cursed by the men who had to lay them as it must have been such a chore.
Other treasures to find are walkways that give you vertigo and make you feel like your walking sideways all at the same time, stone work that looks like pile of rocks thrown together up close but from a distance actually form into distinct and recognizable designs. Basically, much like our friend Dino described, it’s like walking through a scene in Alice in Wonderland and more!
Looks like a pillar or randomly place rocks….
If you love to spend your free time looking at unique art, enjoying parks, and feeling tripped out, then Park Guell is a must see for you. It’s like being inside an art project designed for entertainment.
Check out the rest of our photos from Barcelona in our flickr album by clicking here.