Monday, June 9, 2014

Barcelona, Day 4: Park Güell

To go to Park Güell, you have to take the bus, line 24, at Plaça de Catalunya. The bus will drop you off right in front of the main entrance. If you take the metro or other buses, you will have to walk a long way to the park. Remember, the park is on the hill, so it's not going to be an easy walk especially during a hot day. Line 24 is the best option.

The bus ride (line 24) was about 45 minutes long as it made several stops. We arrived around 3:30pm. I thought I got it all figured out to avoid unnecessary walk. Just when I was happy we got off the bus right in front of the main entrance, the ticketing office staffer told us we needed to wait for 2 hours and more until 6pm to access Gaudi's monument. That really sucked. If you just want to access the green area (trees and hills), you can go right in and it's free. If you want to see the monument designed by Gaudi, then you have to wait for your appointment and it's 8 euros.

I don't understand the capacity limit. It's a park not a nightclub. That monumental area is big enough for all of us to get in. Unless they are trying to time it and make sure everyone can spend some quality time with the lizard to have pictures taken. That's just silly. It's a just mosaic lizard (they call it dragon), not an architecture wonder. Who gets upset about not having a portrait shot with the lizard?

It was an agonizing wait, few backless benches to sit on, dusty dirt roads to walk on. The park looked quite funky to me. I didn't know how to make of it. It's not beautiful, I can't say it's ugly. It's just different.

This was my view during the long wait. I could see Sagrada Familia from here.
There's not much to do in the green area. If the view is not spectacular enough for you, then you are not going to be happy stranded here. The only cafe outside the monumental area is a lame one with overpriced food and cramped seating, it's not appealing.

The view over the terrace
These two buildings look like gingerbread houses.
A pavilion housing exhibitions
A gift shop
Komodo dragon is just a lizard, not those cool looking dragons in the storybooks.
Anyway, we got in at 6pm. I found the monumental area looked like an artsy theme park. People took turns to have photo ops with the played out fat lizard. What else could you do? The monumental area is really small. There is not much to see. You either like the design or you don't. If you don't, then it's not worth going through all the trouble, it's a lot of commuting and waiting.

I hate to say this one is a dud. Going to a park is supposed to be relaxing. If it is a hassle from transportation to getting access, then it defeats the purpose. The park is far away from the center of Barcelona. It's in the middle of nowhere. You can imagine how tired we were after the visit to the park. I was certainly not blown away by the design.

If you have plenty of time, by all means, visit this park and judge for yourself. If not, don't treat it as priority, this should be at the bottom of your must-do list.

Park Güell General Info (opening times, tickets)

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