Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Park Guell Barcelona: Gaudi's theme park

If you get off the tube at Vallcarca on Line 3 and follow the signs, you enter the Gaudi park via an outdoor escalator, stretching into the distance like a motorised stairway to heaven.

Reach the top and it's plain to see why the architect Antoni Gaudi (1852 - 1926) chose this spot for his gingerbread theme park. The view stretches out across Barcelona as far as the eye can see.

This is the back door to the Park Guell - an altogether less crowded entry to the park and one which can lead you to a false sense of serenity. Follow the winding paths to the left and you are taken past a little hill with a cross, through glades and across a pillared walkway which looks like it came straight off the set of the Flintstones.

But well before you find yourself down by the main attractions - the pink walled Gaudi museum, and the main entrance flanked by a couple of Hansel and Grettel houses which leads up to the "Doric Temple" and the plaza it supports above, you are greeted by the sound of a thousand under-fives as they search in vain for the rollercoasters.

Because that's exactly what Park Guell is. A theme park without any rides. A great place to marvel at this strange man's creations, but kids must feel like they've been conned.

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