Monday, August 19, 2019

Mosaics, Curves and Stone...It’s Park Güell

Park Güell is high on a hill above central Barcelona, so there are no close metro stations.  I agonized and studied the maps to find the best route from our hotel.  Two years ago, I had taken a route that was so steep and arduous, I told Caroline, “not this time!”  But, alas, after we walked across a few blocks to ride a different metro to take us to the Vallcarca stop to save us steps, I found that it was the same route I’d taken before.  The advertising said escalators. Two years ago, there was one set of escalators, but all others up the very steep hill were not moving.  Millions of steps awaited us.  Maybe it’s been renovated, I said under my breath...I was wrong.  The first set was perfect.  And then a stone staircase  and a long sidewalk greeted us going up and up and up.  This is the first escalator we saw when we started upward.  Then the view from the first flat spot looking down to where we’d begun the crazy walk.  We were about a fourth of the way to the park entrance...
Caroline and I were frizzed out by the time we arrived, breathless, hot and exhausted.  We were 2-1/2 hours early because our timed ticket was 11:30.  Lots of water and sit-down time for us, but people watching and waiting finally took us to the time we could go into the park.  We’d seen spires on buildings, covered in the advertised mosaic beauties, but seeing it was over the top. Tall columns, stone caves, buildings and animals covered in thousands of various colored mosaics told a real story.  Again, Gaudí’s creativity was awesome. The special area was surrounded by a stone wall topped with serpentine shaped mosaics that looked like a gingerbread house.  Gorgeous.
I knew that Caroline probably would not follow me anywhere again if I didn’t lead us out without the massive trek we’d taken to get into the park.  Last time I was there, I didn’t get into the park because I was too exhausted to wait and explore, but I’d taken that walk from hell, so I’d found a secret route. Today, I remembered it and she is still talking to me. (Smile). Of course, we found a street café and had a cold drink that certainly made everything better.  Oh, and food.  We had food.

And then we wove our way to a metro, made the transfer to our train and arrived back at the hotel to sag with exhaustion.  And we are sure employing the Spanish routine of having a nice siesta.  We did that too.  Another 12,000 steps today.  I had to throw out my Vionic walking shoes...

Tomorrow: The cathedral, historic area and dinner at the port near the water.  That’s the plan.  We just need to avoid the stampeding Nigerians who will be running across the bridge to stake out their vendor spots.  We’ll be ready this time.

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