Walking off jetlag in Barcelona’s Parc de la Ciutadella

My first day in Barcelona involved acclimatizing to the lovely city, mangling Catalan by mostly speaking French, and trying to stay awake until 9 pm.

It was warm and beautiful, and either Tuesday or Wednesday (I couldn’t tell at that point), perfect for a leisurely stroll in the city’s dramatic green space, the Parc de la Ciutadella. Built on lands recovered from the demolition of a fortress built by a vanquished army, the park is great spot to wander slowly while looking at pretty things which don’t require a lot of brainpower to enjoy.

The entrance is rather grand when approached through the Arc de Triomf, celebrating Catalan triumphs.

Barcelona Arc de Triomf

The arch is covered in incredible details celebrating Catalan history and culture. It also possesses these unusual armoured bats, watching over everything and everyone who passes through.

Barcelona Arc de Triomf detail

The first stop at the park is the Museu de Ciències Naturals de la Ciutadella, the natural science museum, located in a building built to look like a castle, dubbed Castell dels Tres Dragons.

Barcelona Castell dels Tres Dragons

It is topped by a fascinating collection of ceramic tablets from the time of the building’s construction for the Exposición Universal de Barcelona in 1888. These celebrate everyday things, like flowers, and cherries, and human skeletons.

Barcelona Castell dels Tres Dragons

The castle is topped by a detailed and mysterious-looking spire, which, due to my slow meandering, I was able to capture in rather dramatic light.

Barcelona Castell dels Tres Dragons

Not bothering to look at a map, I wandered in the park aimlessly, focusing on seeing the sights and staying upright. The dramatic fountain, or cascada, is a must-see part of the park, due in part to the fact its design was assisted by a promising architecture student named Antoni Gaudí.

Barcelona Parc de la Ciutadella cascada fountain

The walking quickly proved exhausting, so I grabbed a bench along the passageway between the Arc de Triomf and the park. Barcelona life swirled around me. Like this group of senior citizens playing a lively game of petanca (or boules or pétanque).

Barcelona Parc de la Ciutadella petanca petanque boules

Easilly the most fascinating thing to my googly brain was this fashion shoot directly in front of the Arc de Triomf. Watching the fashion sausage get made was the perfect occupation for a thought-processing capacity that was quickly reaching the state of “not good.” I was never able to find it after the fact, but I’m sure the resulting photos were fantastic.

Barcelona Arc de Triomf fashion shoot

Barcelona Arc de Triomf fashion shoot

I valiantly fought jetlag during the day and through dinner, but, after a biquini sandwich and carafe of red wine, lasted until 7:45 pm when I fell asleep for 12 hours.

While I didn’t get to see it, one of the more unusual museum experiences in the world is located near the park. The Museu de Carrosses Funebres features a collection of antique funeral carriages, complete with mannequin attendants and horses. When I make it back to Barcelona, I won’t miss it twice.

How do you fight jetlag after arriving in a new location? I need some ideas for my next trip, so fire away in the comments!

See for yourself:
Arc de Triomf, Passeig de Lluís Companys, Metro: Arc de Triomf
Parc de la Ciutadella, several entrances, from Arc de Triomf on Passeig de Pujades. Metro: Arc de Triomf or Ciutadella/Vila Olímpica
Museu de Carrosses Funebres, Carrer de Sancho de Ávila (off Avinguda Meridiana). Metro: Marina




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