DAY 3 in Barcelona, Spain:
Miriam made a really smart move (she’s full of smart moves 😎) during the planning of this trip: she searched “Unusual things to do in Barcelona”. The Labyrinth Park in Horta (Parc de Labirint d’Horta) was one of many that surfaced during that search.
It offers free entry on Wednesdays and Sundays, so on Sunday, the 12th of June, we ventured off to the labyrinth bright and early.
The Labyrinth Park, located in the district of Horta, is the oldest park in Barcelona and since it’s located outside of the tourist radius, it’s something of an undiscovered treasure. Inside the neoclassical garden is the 820-yard long labyrinth and in the centre of the labyrinth is a statue of Eros, the God of love. Reaching Eros took a lot of patience — there were moments when we were on a roll, moments when we’d meet dead ends continuously and even moments when one of us moved too quickly/ lagged too far behind and almost lost touch with one another! We had fun nonetheless. Finding baby acorns, using the abundance of greens as a beautiful backdrop for selfies and ‘candid’ shots (haha), and even trying to cheat our way through the maze because some of the ‘walls’ hadn’t grown out enough yet and we could see through some of them!
The cherry on top was the view of the entire labyrinth we got at the end of the maze. It was funny seeing others having a tough time with the maze and all I wanted to do was give them directions ha!
Miriam mentioned during out ‘ordeal’ that different types of mazes exist, and I wanted to follow up on this, so I googled it and found a cool page on ‘Maze Typology’ . Did You know that mazes could be differentiated based on whether the maze can be solved by keeping one hand in contact with the wall? I’m pretty sure that the labyrinth in Horta was a ‘multiply-connected maze’…
Next up was taking the metro to Espanya, which was in close proximity to all of our remaining stops for the day — Arenas de Barcelona, Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya, Spanish Village, and Montjuïc fountain.
Miriam and I had a late pizza lunch and later smoothie dessert at Arenas de Barcelona. What was once a bull-fighting arena (bullfighting never really caught on in Catalonia and the last bullfight took place here on June 9, 1977) is now a shopping mall.
Then, we walked over to Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya (featured at the beginning of this post) (recognise this from the Cheetah Girls’ Movie?). Along the way, we met an Indian lady who was persistent in getting a good photo of her with the grand building in the background. That was how we spent the next 5-7 minutes taking pictures of her as she switched up her angles and poses.
“It’s for my Facebook cover photo, you see, so it has to be good,” she told us with embarrassed giggles.
The museum had unfortunately already been closed for the day by the time we arrived. We missed it by a mere 10 minutes! It stung, but turning our backs to the museum led us to viewing what we agreed then as the best bird’s eye view of Barcelona we’ve chanced upon so far.
A man stood with the company of 6 unnaturally colourful birds not too far away from where we were. The birds’ feathers were purposely messed around and pulled in different directions so the birds couldn’t fly anymore. The poor animals were used for nothing more than the tourists’ photo-taking pleasure. They were used as ‘props’. There was nothing that could justify this treatment. This really ruffled our feathers.
Next, we walked over to the Spanish Village, which was in the vicinity. It is one of the city’s most popular visitor attractions: a unique combination of architecture, contemporary art, traditional crafts, shops and gastronomy. It resembles an actual village with replicas of 117 buildings from different Spanish regions. Whilst in the village, we visited an art exhibition, got lost once or twice, watched glass being made, smelled deliciously scented soap, and had vegetable paella (pronounced pa-aye-ya) for dinner. Paella is a Spanish dish of rice, saffron, vegetables/ chicken/ seafood, etc., cooked and served in a large shallow pan.
What followed happened in quite quick succession. We walked away from the restaurant, despite having not paid (we forgot!) for our meal! These flowers were a stone’s throw away from the restaurant and they prompted me to stop and take pictures of them. Just as I did, the restaurant owner ran towards us and reminded us that we had forgotten to pay! Oh thank goodness the flowers were placed where they were!
Miriam and I got green apples (the green variant is unbelievable sweet here in Barcelona) for dessert before we made our way back to the Magical Fountain of Montjuïc. It was about 8.30pm when we arrived, about an hour before the fountain show was due to commence. We wanted good seats to allow a good view, You see. 😉
During the one hour of wait, we struck conversations with an American and an Indian man who thought we were Americans from the ‘accents’ we spoke with (😅?), I took my favourite photo in Barcelona, and we were an audience to a cool (like really really cool) breakdance group who, I quote them, ‘don’t dance for money, but dance for love’. The crowd of hundreds went wild, they were incredible!
The Magic Fountain of Montjuïc is without a doubt one of the most amazing spectacles in Barcelona, and it’s free of charge! It was a beautiful display of water, lights and music from The Godfather, Disney movies, Star Wars, E.T, Lord of the Rings, the music of “Barcelona” by Freddie Mercury and Montserrat Caballé, Miley Cyrus, One Direction, Ellie Goulding, among many many other mainstream artists.
With the magical fountain in front of us, glowing Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya behind us, and overflowing joy and appreciation in our hearts, that moment made for the best possible end to our stay in Barcelona.
Pisa, here we come.