14.07.2012 - 14.07.2012
After two lovely weekends admiring the works of Gaudí I decided to leave behind the hustle and bustle of the tourist route and opted for a more relaxed and quite day out. On this outing, I made it my aim to visit the “Parc del Laberint D'horta” or Laberinth Park of Horta in English, so-called due to its location in the Horta-Guinardó district of the city.
After exiting the metro station Mundet and searching for the labyrinth park, it became slightly ironic as I began to get lost trying to find this attraction. In the end, I admitted defeat and asked someone for directions to the park. Once I arrived I approached the small kiosk in which sat a contented security guard who doubled up as the ticket vendor. The normal ticket price here is 2.23€ but I also noted that on Sundays and Wednesdays that entry is free. You can also pay 1.80€ for a guided tour, but I didn't opt for this.
The first thing you notice about this park is the overwhelming tranquillity and peace, being surrounded with greenery and the sound of running water from the fountains, you no longer feel as though you are in a city, rather a small paradise. And with a limit of only 750 visitors per day, there was hardly a person in sight.
To begin my tour I took a look at the gardens, particularly the romantic garden which was created in the 1800s. In stark contrast to its name this garden's theme was apparently death, though the replica graveyard that was once here is now long gone, and what remains is a sea of flowers that sit alongside a lovely canal.
I arrived in the neoclassical section where I began to see signs of other visitors as well as two lion statues guarding the boxwood gardens which were unfortunately off limits as they are right by the seemingly derelict palace. This part of the park has the theme of love and contains temples to Greek gods, as well as the main attraction; the labyrinth.
Putting on a brave face, I decided that it was time to step into the maze and test my luck. I'd never been in proper maze before, and there are no markings on the floor or hints about where to turn, but judging by the joyful sounds of children playing, it couldn't be so hard. Unlike finding the park itself, getting through the labyrinth only took a bit of logic and memory. The midway point is at the centre of the maze where there is a sculpture of the Greek god Eros.
Upon exiting the maze you reach a terrace where up the stairs and to each side you will find a temple, one to Danae who Zeus impregnated, and the other to Ariadne who married the god Dionysus, both carrying on the theme of love in their own ways.
The last place I toured was the pavilion, beside a beautiful pond which was overlooked by the water nymph Egeria. You can imagine society's elite gathering here for events and celebrations. The park was often visited by nobles, and in its history has been visited by three different kings. After walking alongside the canal behind this building, accompanied by some ducks and swans, I realized that I had lost track of time in this Eden, so I made my way to the exit and thus returned to reality.
I can imagine that this park wouldn't be particularly interesting for most tourists, however, if you need some time to relax and forget about your worries, whilst taking some lovely photos or even having a peaceful picnic with your family... Well, I couldn't think of a better place than here.