Sunday, November 3, 2013

A Walk in Parc de la Ciutadella, Barcelona

This afternoon I went for a walk in the park with the intention of photographing some statues, but only a few minutes into my project I got distracted, and then utterly absorbed, by the park goers themselves, along with their unusual activities.

Always a great place for people-watching, Parc de la Ciutadella was in rare form this Sunday. It was packed with dogwalkers, young families, musicians, yogis, hipsters, hippies, and tourists. Lots of twenty-somethings were hanging out in circles on the lawn, laughing and listening to music. The yogis were making a spectacle of themselves, as usual, by balancing each other on their hands and feet and holding their difficult but eye-catching poses for minutes at a time. Like live statues, they were beautiful and unattainable at once.

Off to their left, a young woman was practicing throwing and spinning a hula hoop and a big group of boys and girls were walking, jumping and flipping themselves along a bungee cord that was strung between two trees. The cord, which operates like a giant rubberband, is incredibly unstable and watching these kids do jumps and flips with the precision of springboard divers was impressive.

People-watching in the park Ciutadella is a great way for tourists to experience a different side of Barcelona

In a world that is increasingly dominated by passive technologies, such as video games, I love that there are ordinary people out there inventing new ways to challenge both gravity and the human body . Like many modern sports, bungee walking (sorry folks, I don´t know what it´s really called) didn´t exist when I was a kid, but in the tradition of the best sports, it seems fun, difficult and dangerous. One could easily break one´s neck doing it.

Luckily, these guys didn´t break their necks. Far from it. Check out these videos. The first is a bit slow, but hey, this isn´t easy. Keep your eyes peeled for the guy who suddenly flies into the frame from the left.

I wasn´t expecting to see anything like this when I went for a walk in the park today, but these are the little surprises that keep life in Barcelona fresh. Those of you who might be visiting BCN in the next few months, remember to keep Parc de la Ciutadella in mind. If you have a little extra time on your hands, pack a lunch, grab a blanket from your hotel and go there for a picnic. You´ll enjoy the people-watching and experience a totally different side of the city.

A talented "slackliner" in Parc de la Ciutadella, Barcelona

Detail from fountain, Parc de la Ciutadella (left)                     Slackliner (right)