Recently I visited Park Güell, the famous Barcelonan park designed by Gaudí. If you haven’t been there, you might know it from movies such as Vicky Cristina Barcelona in which both Cristina and Juan Antonio use the park as a source of inspiration. Often in literature and motion pictures the park is a spot for inspiration and creative freedom.
In reality the park has turned into a horrid mass-attraction devoid of all artistic charm.
Those parts not covered in yellow under-construction tape, are crowded with photo-happy tourists. A strict guard blows his whistle every time a visitor steps out of line. Nowhere to sit down quietly and read. Nowhere to draw. Shut up, walk around quickly and move on. It made me think of some of the art museums I’ve been, those where a security guard tails you.
A couple of blocks down the road from Park Güell, near the Lesseps metro station, a small park is recently opened. There’s a small wooden amphitheatre overlooking a field where dogs and their owners meet. Also, there’s a small fountain. No guards with whistles. You can sit down, talk, read, draw, flirt, talk, sing, whatever. Nobody cares. It’s there to do these kinds of things.
It’s there Gaudí would have gone for inspiration, I guess. Not to his present-day Park Güell.
Not everything is at its best as an international top attraction. Not everything is meant for mass-consumption. No matter how beautiful and important as cultural heritage, some things are better left unknown. Only then can they be used as they are meant. Only then can they be fully appreciated.
The park near the Lesseps metro station, Barcelona.
Header photo by Nick Wright Planning on Flickr.