Saturday, June 27, 2009

Parc Guell

[warning: another post with a whole slew of collages. only parents/grandparents are obligated to click on them] After the Ramblas we caught the metro to go to Parc Guell. I'd been here two or three times on my mission and I loved it. But we got off the metro and I didn't recognize anything. We came to a set of a dozen escalators and I was certain I'd never been there. It was quite a hill and we were deeply grateful for the escalators -- about like climbing up to Coit Tower only somewhat longer, I think (maybe my perception was skewed by the stroller). It turned out well because we came in at the top of the park and had an amazing view of the entire city. We were able to point out several places we'd already visited (the beach, cathedral, sagrada familia, etc.) and the three towers of Badalona where I served. Badalona had very similar hills, only without the escalators, and instead of a great park at the top, we had only our ramshackle cinderblock hut at the end of an alley in the middle of a drug ring. Story for another time.
Intended to be a master planned community, the deal fell through and Barcelona was left with this unique public space -- two houses were built, and a marketplace/plaza with the gatehouses and a lot of very interesting walkways. I thought it looked like gingerbread house meets Mad Max of Thunderdome when I was here on my mission. Again, I came in the off season and it was cool and deserted. We played soccer up on the plaza in the rain. This time it was packed and hopping with tourists and people hawking their wares. Three guys played acoustic guitar on the plaza and audience members started dancing together spontaneously. I'll stick a bad video on at the end here of these musicians playing so you can get a feel for it.
Gaudi lived in one of the houses for a while, so they've turned it into a museum, bringing in some of the furniture he designed for other buildings. Rob and I made tag-team visits.

I took the kids down to the plaza where they broke out their butter cookies and were soon serenaded by pigeons. Will and Maddie had them eating out of their hands while I chirped at them about avian flu. They loved it. It's such a pleasant space. It's so beautiful. I didn't have to pretend to play soccer this time!
The young man on the left expressed his desire to sleep for three hours. We decided to break for food instead. Rob got to try the Tortilla de Patata bocadillo, which had long been touted as a rare treat (at our house, anyway). Kids had ice cream. Fluff is eating a magdalena, which is a sort of muffin. Barely related memory from my mission: one of my companions had only the most tenuous grasp of the Spanish language. She often described a woman from Madrid, which is a madrilena as a magdalena or a muffin. Which is what Sebi wanted to be when he grew up, so I guess it all evens out in the end.
This is the famous mascot of the park, and often of Barcelona. Will is wearing it on his shirt. Maddie got a shirt with the Sagrada Familia made out of lobsters, and Sebi has one with Pa amb Tomaquet, which is just toasted baguette with tomato rubbed on it and olive oil drizzled over it. Good stuff, though.
Joss finally gave in and slept for an hour on my lap (he wakes up if I put him back in the stroller, the stinker!). We sat in the shade looking at this most glorious view and smelling the lavender on the breeze. It was amazing and perfect and I loved just sitting there and being in Barcelona, having Rob and the kids climb all over Parc Guell and discover the quirky and lovely things about it.
You feel bad dragging your kids around, making them walk miles and feeding them strange foods at irregular intervals. Then they give you a picture like this, and you're ready to do it all over again.
And if they give you several fantastic pictures? Well, they're asking for it.

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jenlinmin said...

I've just about got to sit on my hands right now so I don't try to book a trip to Spain! We never made it that far north when we went, but it looks like a place not to be missed. Beautiful sites, beautiful pics, beautiful family. Thanks again for the vicarious vacationing!

Kerri said...

So many memories come back! I'm at work and obviously awake (since yesterday am) and your blog is keeping me going! One more hour till sleepy time. I'm jealous you went to Spain. I'm too tired to think of dragging my kids across Europe but so proud of you!