Park Guell

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In 2008 I faced a variety of personal challenges and difficulties that led to one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I had decided to move to Barcelona, Spain for a half year to study and live a new life. I learned so much Spanish, about Barcelona culture, their history, and even more about who I was and wanted to be. When I first left for my trip, I began a blog at Viaje de una Vida to chronicle my experiences there. However since starting this blog, I’ve decided to slowly combine these previous posts right here on Observant Nomad.

Espero que lo disfruta…

Originally Posted on 09/03/2008 | Viaje de una Vida

I’ve safely arrived and can’t believe I’m actually here! All my emotions are ranging from excitement, anticipation, shock, sadness, and pure joy. Mi viaje started on the plane over. The wait between flights was unbearable, the anticipation might have been caused by knowing I was finally going. But at the same time, I was also lonely. There was no one at the airport I knew. I was nervous and wondering how everything was going to turn out.

When we landed in Barcelona, I gazed out the window, my eyes soaking in the landscape and ocean waves. I let the realization wash over me that I was going to be living, breathing, sleeping, dancing, eating, and learning here for the next five months, and I became flushed with excitement and joy. Joy in the true sense of the word, a feeling that is almost like a buzzing throughout your skin.

That same day, after settling into orientation, a group of the program’s students and I toured the city including Park Guell. Parc Güell was constructed in 1914 by Antoni Gaudí – a famous Art Nouveau Spanish architect and artist. It was originally built as a housing area, but after it fell through, the remaining plots were converted into gardens. It’s storybook like – the strange curves and structures of the gingerbread houses. My gut tells me Dr. Suess would’ve appreciated its haunting yet childlike features.

Only two houses were built on the property and both were actually designed by Gaudí’s protege, Francesc Berenguer. The park is decorated with tall standing mosaic structures, to meander through when the heat is unbearable. The lower level of the park does nothing for me, but the upper level is nice to sunbath like a lizard on a warm day.

Flowing benches surround the edges of the upper level of the park, which sits on a large hill in Gracía, so it offers amazing views of the city. However at night, I wouldn’t suggest visiting the park, for the same reasons for you don’t in most large cities. The park is quite lovely and peaceful when it’s not packed with tourists, so I suggest visiting around non-peak hours like the afternoon or a weekday.

After the tour and the next morning I finally met my home stay family. I lived with my home stay mother Estela and her daughter Julia. Julia is 13 and seems very much like a regular young girl excited to go out and have friends. Estela often has students come live with her and spend time in her home. Right now she has another student, Lucy, from Birmingham, England who is studying here to be able to teach English as a second language to other students. She is only staying for a month, so I hope I can spend some time getting to know her a bit more, and maybe get some advice on a good pub in Britain.

hasta luego