Sundays in Europe are different than anywhere else that I know of it the world. Things shut down, forcing people to take it a little slower. It is a time to spend with family and friends and enjoy the outdoors. It is not about work or shopping. In fact, most big stores shut down for the day, and a lot of the smaller tourist places will not peddle their wares. In fact it is the perfect day to spend at a park, and Barcelona has one of the greatest parks to spend the day at, Park Guell, designed by the architect of this great city, Antonio Gaudi.
This park has so many interesting things to look at around every corner. There are strange pillars that force you to stare at them making you wonder how they can withstand the weight of the structures they are designed to hold up. But like everything Gaudi designed, they have a touch of a natural element to them, yet they are still structurally sound. They make the architecture out in Barcelona different than any other place in the world. And if you do make it out here, make sure you take the time to look at them closely because things are carved into them that you would not expect to be there, and the surprise of finding them is part of the fun.
There is also a long park bench that winds itself around a plaza overlooking the city. It is a great place to sit back and relax for a bit and watch the throng of tourists trying to get their pictures at the perfect spot. I could easily spend an hour or two sitting there watching the people and trying to guess from which part of the world they come from. It would also be a nice place to picnic, but they will not allow you to bring in food in this part of the park. I suspect it is to keep the pigeons out of the area so they do not stain the mosaic design that you can find on the bench.
But there are a bunch of benches and tables out in the free part of the park. Christine and I bought a couple of jimon sandwiches with us to enjoy. We were lucky to find a small store open that was selling them before we left and we had many jealous looks from people when they saw our foresight as to make sure we had something to snack on. These sandwiches are really good too. Jimon is a thinly sliced ham that is unique to Spain. They put it on a crispy baguette with a fresh tomato sauce to add just the right amount of flavor. It was the perfect way to spend lunch on this relaxing Sunday.
There is also the views of the city from atop the hill. We were able to watch the ships pulling into the bay and the major city sites scattered among the concrete jungle. If you look closely in the middle of the picture you can see the Sagrada Familia, another Gaudi wonder, and one we will be visiting tomorrow.
The best views are from the Spanish mission on the south end of the park, but it does get packed with people and there are no rails so there were times where I felt like I might fall from this great height.
It was still the best thing to do on this lazy Sunday in Barcelona. It made me feel as if I was getting some culture, yet at the same time I was able to relax a little bit so I didn’t feel like I was trying to suck too much out of my vacation. It also gave me some more insight into one of my favorite architects, Gaudi, and made me excited about going back to the Sagrada Familia tomorrow. It had been almost eleven years since I have been there, and I am interested to see how it has changed during that time.