I’m sure you can all figure out that the title means ‘Barcelona’s Historic Botanical Gardens’ if you remember anything from doing languages at school and by that logic, I guess you have now also sussed out that this post will be about my day walking around the gardens that reside behind the Olympic stadium on the top of Montjuïc! With money being a little tight, I haven’t been able to go on as many weekend excursions as I would’ve liked but that’s okay because Barcelona has so much to offer and the weather is steadily getting distinctly summery (spring and autumn hardly exist here, let’s be honest).
Yesterday turned out to be a pretty perfect day to head up to the Botanical Gardens. As the funicular and cable car up to the top are currently closed for annual maintenance, Macey and I hopped on the replacement bus that drives you to the top of the hill in about 10 minutes from Paralel metro stop. Our trip began with some tourists giving us something to giggle about as they loudly stood behind us exclaiming their confusion as to whether the bus was going to take them to where they wanted to go. Macey and I exchanged a bemused look before being good citizens and helping the befuddled, bickering pair. Once at the top, it was slightly difficult to figure out how to get to the Botanical Gardens because there was about 4 signs for other gardens that are in the area so we just continued to head uphill in the hope that we would stumble across some directions, which actually worked pretty well because the Olympic stadium appeared in front of us and helped us figure out where to go. By the way, the stadium is very impressive and both of us wondered how exciting it must have been to be in Barcelona during the Olympics in 1992 because Barcelona really became a tourist destination after the games – 2 miles of the beach exists because of them and the sand has to be artificially replaced even now to keep the beach.
After about 15 minutes of moderate uphill walking we reached the Botanical Gardens, entry is 3,50€ or 1,70€ for people under the age of 29, which is a slightly strange age limit but I’m not complaining when I get discounted entry. Much to our surprise, it was pretty empty for a saturday, if you go anywhere you can take your family on a weekend in the UK that’s moderately sunny you can guarantee the place will be packed. We got given a map of the gardens, which is divided by geographical area such as the Mediterranean, Australia and Chile etc. There is also a Bonsai area that had just reopened after the winter period so I was quite excited about that. There was tiny olive trees and even a juniper that reminded me of how much I wanted a gin & tonic in that moment. One of the nicest features of the gardens was that there was several water fountains and seating areas so you could definitely spend a fair amount of time there, even in the middle of summer. However, the strangest thing about the location was that right next to this serene, green area is a small RC racetrack and the sound of the little cars was akin to that of a swarm of bees, yet more annoying, and it echoed over most of the gardens. I mean, I know I was spending my afternoon looking at trees but I couldn’t quite fathom spending an afternoon racing tiny cars around a dirt track but hey, to each their own I guess! Weird place for it though.
After spending just over an hour wandering through the areas and taking plenty of photos we headed back out to explore some of the other gardens we had passed on the way up. We ended up by a very decadent house in the Jardins de Joan Maragall, which had actually shut 30 minutes before so we only got a quick look before a very nice security guard ‘scolded’ us and we headed back out. I definitely want to head back up there and wander around all the beautiful gardens, they are a good way to escape the madness of the city below and quiet spots aren’t exactly abundant in Barcelona although I’m sure the Montjuïc area is packed during peak tourist season. I did get my wish of being surrounded by some greenery that wasn’t palm trees, something I have been going on about for a few weeks now, I think I was spoilt growing up by the sea and woods. I think I will get to return soon however, as I have my family visiting me in March and they give me ample opportunity to do touritsy things.