Last week, for the first time in over 6 years, I went on a summer holiday! Understandably, I was more than a little giddy with excitement from the tiniest things (like the airport – still quite a new experience for me) to exploring some of the beautiful sights that Barcelona has to offer. Before I’d even set foot there I knew I would never forgive myself if I left without seeing Antoni Gaudi’s incredible creations, including the Sagrada Familia and Park Guell.
So on the second day of my trip, I took a solo visit to see the Monumental Zone of the incredible Park Guell. After exploring some other sights in the morning, the time came to go and see the park. A 20 minute ride on the metro, 15 minutes walk down the main road and a 10 minute climb up a very steep, very tall hill and I reached the top, only to be told they were fully booked until 5:30 pm later that day. Safe to say I was NOT IMPRESSED. But I took it in my stride. I booked tickets for 5:30 online to make sure it didn’t happen again and spent the next few hours wandering around and exploring some of the local area.
Finally after a few hours I went back to the park. My excitement by this point was too much! As someone who is hugely motivated by colours (they just make life so much happier!) and a photography fan, I couldn’t wait to get into the monumental zone and explore everything it had to offer.
My time slot of 5:30 came and I was handed a leaflet full of original pictures from when the park was built in 1908. Comparing these old sepia style pictures to the vibrant reality of the park was absolutely incredible, especially as I made it my mission to find the exact positions that all the old photos were taken at. The first thing I did was go to the lookout point from which you can see the sea and Plain of Barcelona.The view from there was absolutely stunning, I’d never seen anything like it and the pain of the uphill climb in nearly 30 degree heat was instantly forgotten.
I sat here for a while studying the incredible detail and artistry that was a visual representation of Gaudi’s imagination, absolutely blown away by how such a beautifully constructed park could come out of one persons mind. Whilst I was sat in complete awe I was approached by an elderly couple from the states (who thought I was Spanish) and wanted their picture taken. Clearly surprised by the fact that I spoke English, we got into a chat and walked around some of the park together; it was nice to have the company and they joked that I was “too nice to be here on my own”.
I eventually said goodbye to my newfound American pals and went around the rest of the park using my leaflet as a guide. I was astonished to find out that what essentially began as a park meant for rich families to take their children to (explaining the two massive gingerbread houses that Gaudi had built) containing plans for water-collection systems in the droughts and viaducts for people on foot actually ended up as such a spectacular masterpiece; in short an absolute work of art. One of the most exciting things for me was having such a wonderful canvas to practice some photography on. I’d bought a new camera on eBay recently and had been waiting for SO long to find a place where I’d actually be able to get some stunning shots and test out some of the camera’s professional functions (for example there is a setting which shoots scenery but enhances the colour blue for that little extra pop of colour – obviously Park Guell was the perfect place to test out this function).
My evening at Park Guell was definitely a highlight of my trip to Barcelona. It was exciting for me to see such a mix of (relatively) modern construction from the early 1900’s compared to some of the original stonework around the edge of the park. It was a lovely tranquil place for me to sit and have some alone time, relaxing in the sun and taking in the beauty of Antoni Gaudi’s imagination.