Sunday, 26 February 2012

My name is Maria and I am a cactus.

Now, while I do primarily blog about Korea and Korean-related events / topics, occasionally I like to throw something new into the mix. As many of you have seen from my previous review of 산길 restaurant in the north of Barcelona, I did promise that I would share a little more about my trip in my next blog entry so, here we go I guess!

Morgan and I had decided a while back to escape somewhere for her birthday and get lost in a city far from home so that we bought plane tickets, booked a hotel and went. Pretty much just like that. 

After a somewhat uneventful flight, we arrived in Barcelona and headed straight to our hotel...for a power nap. ((I normally don't mention this makes our story sound less cool.. :/ ) After that we went on an adventure to find a Korean restaurant and succeeded - see my 산길 restaurant review here :

After lunch we saw signs to Park Güell and as one of the things on our list to do, we figured it was worth doing while we were there. All I can say was thank god we'd eaten! We walked for ages and nothing ... we were pretty sure we'd got well and truly lost but then a strange sense of déjà vu hit and from my previous trip to Barcelona, I started to get an idea of where we were...which wasn't even that close >< The signs didn't mention it was actually mention how far it was going to be but in for a penny, in for a pound; we weren't about to give up! 

Eventually, after climbing the pretty large hill that leads up to the main park entrance, we'd arrived. 

For those who haven't had the opportunity to go (and I would highly recommend that you do), Park Güell is situated on El Carmel hill in the Gràcia district. It was designed by the Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí and was then built between 1900 and 1914. Personally, I think it's absolutely stunning and I'm obviously not the only one who thinks so as it is actually part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site "Works of Antoni Gaudí".

The park features a number of levels up the side of the hill which are connected by stairs...lots of stairs (I picked the wrong day to wear heels~) Here are some pictures from the first level:  

There's an amazing little... I'm not quite sure what to call it...but we found "it" quite entertaining!  
After that it was up the stairs to the next level which included the incredibly famous mosaic dragon, probably one of the pieces most synonymous with the park.   
Me up the stairs - note the heels! ^^ 

Both the above photos exhibit some of the amazing mosaic treasures that can be found all over the park..wonderful aren't they? 

A level up brought us to an area filled with doric columns, which actually support the plaza-style overhang above. We indulged in an incredibly mature game of hide and seek in the columns...but I was cheating and peeking. Morgan was not impressed ^^ The photo on the left shows another of Gaudi's tiled ceiling creations. 

So, we levelled up again to the plaza - the views over the city were breath taking but would only get better as we climbed higher. We stopped here for a little break to rest our feet soak in the beautiful scenery before moving on!

See~! Bad things happen when I'm not in charge of the camera ^^
Another level up and the Park continues to impress. In the left photo you can see the birds nests built by Gaudi to imitate the trees in the surrounding area. We also found a good-looking gate and got all excited at the prospect of an adventure....but it was locked. No secret garden adventures for us. 

Shortly afterwards, we had the pleasure of meeting Maria, the cactus, which gave us great amusement. Morgan called me over and said "Anna, look! It's Maria and she's a cactus!". Whatever is in the water there - it needs to be bottled! Thus "my name is Maria and I am a cactus" became our line for the rest of the trip.  

We unfortunately had to leave Maria and continue climbing - but it was worth it for the views. The weather was gorgeous so we could actually see all across the city to the sea. Amazing. 

After commenting (rather loudly) to Morgan on how impressed I was by the views, a passer by told me I should buy the house, which is currently on sale. Intrigued, I inquired as to its price. Guesses anyone? Well, I'll be saving for a while because unfortunately I don't have €47 million in my back pocket... Any takers? 

But then again, imagine waking up to views like this~ 

And they have a really cool tree in the garden...looks like a running man, no? 

Goodness, after taking some more pictures - see left - we didn't want to leave - but there was still one more level to go. In the corner of the park, there was another tier with a cross on the top...and no safety rail (what has England health and safety overload done to me?!). With only a few curses and "Do you think we'd die if we fell from here?" comments, we finally reached the top, which in ankle boots was no mean feat but it was so worth it! 

But then it really was time to go ~ we had walked all over the park and seen all there was to see and taken so many photos I swear I have every angle covered! 

For anyone considering going, I would definitely recommend it. Not only for the breath taking views, the stunning art work and the possibility of meeting a cactus called Maria but it's a damn good work out! 

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