After breakfast today I told Tom I wanted to go to Parc Guell. Another Eddie tip I was anxious to see the parc Gaudi designed. Originally he thought us create a very upper class neighborhood, and PUD if you will. Complete with one of a kind homes only Gaudy could dream up and paths bridges and walkways to get around. At the time it seemed simple enough to get to it in the most Northern end of Barcelona......... not. Actually the ill fated walk began when we listened to Claudio who asked someone else what Metro stop we should take. I can't believe people living and working in the City would not know how to get there. It would be as if I couldn't tell you where to find Golden Gate Park.
We took the Metro to the station we were directly to and upon coming to the surface discovered we were in a what seemed like a pretty seedy part of town. HOWEVER, there was what appeared to be a park up a windy street so we began to walk up the narrow street. Up and up we went. At some point there was an entrance to park but it clearly wasn't Guell. There was no one around and there were hand cut rock stairs leading up. We began to climb I don't know how many levels of stairs but it was many and because the rocks were hand cut they were uneven and difficult to negotiate, even with my comfy espidrelles. On the way up Tom moaned "we are absolutely sitting ducks for a mugger. I wasn't worried..... We reached a mid point and there was one person with a dog and another reading a book on a bench and a road that continued upwards. I kept thinking if we got high enough I could see Parco Gull because I kind of knew what it should look like. I asked the lady reading on the bench... "donde esta Park Guell" and she looked at me as if I were insane. She shrugged her shoulders, pointed down the long rock stairs and said. "abajo, abajo, abajo e izquierdo" (down, down, down and left) then resumed reading her book.
Now I had told Tom there was a Tennis Club near Parc Guell so Tom thought if we continued up the long road we might be able to see the Tennis Club. It was not to be. We finally reached the top and only saw trees and more dogs. So we turned around and hiked down the hill and steps. At the bottom was a young couple smooching, I interrupted them and asked the direction to Parco Guell.... the boy corrected my pronunciation and then shrugged his shoulders and said he didn't know. Sigh.......... I really wanted to see this parc!! We headed left up the next street and asked another young man (foreign exchange student from Connecticut) We pulled out our map and he turned it around several time and said I think It's that way pointing down another hill. We walked down through a neighborhood completely under reconstruction. Streets were closed and there were rock piles and pylons everywhere but we made it to another plaza with people. In the plaza was a small kiosk and I asked the man there where Parc Guell was. Without looking up he motioned back up the street from which we came and said "take bus 22.". BUS 22?? BUS 22?? I repeated........" Si"
Tom suggested we sit down and have some water and ponder our plight. We decided we're pretty good at getting around and we decided to use the map function on Tom's I phone to find the stupid Parc.... Darn... it pointed back up the hill and said it was 1.3 miles....Huh what? Tom says easy peasy lemon squeezy and off we went. I'd never used an I phone map but I must say this one was amazing... it lead us up the hill and right to a taxi cab. We asked the driver where the Parc was and he assured us we'd be exhausted if we hoofed it from here. So we got in. It took him about 10 minutes to get us there and most of it up very steep narrow streets. We laughed at the thought of we walking here from where we had picked up the cab. It just wasn't going to happen. The Parco was amazing and very crowded. We meandered around Gaudi's attempted creation of a Utopian neighbor, I would have thought living there to be quite fun, he use of space was very creative.
Tom humored me as we walked but ever since I mentioned the fact that there was a tennis club around here he was really just trying to find it. We entered the parc at one end and Tom wanted to "check out" the other side......I knew it, there would be no rest until we found the tennis club and I was completely okay with it. We could see the club on our map but couldn't really tell our orientation to the map and there weren't any street signs. We did find a paddle ball club and they were able to point us further down the hill to the tennis club.
We walked around the entire perimeter before finding the locked entrance. Tom fearlessly kept pushing the call button until someone finally responded and buzzed us in. No one ever asked us who we were and we just wandered around as if we belonged. It really was a beautiful club a throw back to the 1920's. All the old world charm you could want. Tom was in tennis heaven with the many clay courts, restaurants, pools, charming outdoor eating areas. Folks there sort of looked at us in wonder but no one ever said anything. We left and headed back down the hill and by now my espidrilles are no longer my friends I just want to walk barefoot but realize that is not an option, It probably took us 20-30 minutes to reach a Metro stop from the tennis club. We were so tired by the time we reached the sanctity of our hotel room. Not exactly how I imagined the day would go but hey once again Tom and I managed to get a real feel for the City of Barcelona.