Today, I decided, would be my “Gaudi Day.” As in, I would check out all of the artist’s sites I could in one day. I managed to visit Casa Batllo, La Pedrera, and Park Guell before I grew tired. I had seen La Sagrada Familia from the outside on the bike tour, and I decided not to return there.
Though I am inspired by Antoni Gaudi’s commitment to emulating Nature in his art, at times I find his adaptation of it too – excuse the pun – “gaudy” for my tastes. Many – not all – of his facades don’t seem to fit in to the “natural” scheme – striped, twisting steeples look more like something out of a fairy tale than something suited to and harmonius with the location in which the building is located. I don’t think many of his buildings would “fit” anywhere except deep underwater (he takes much of his inspiration from aquatic life).
When I reached Park Guell, I continued to climb to the top. There’s a steep incline that leads to the base of the park. From there, there’s a network of escalators and stairs that takes you up the rest of the way. At the top, there’s yet another short climb to a hill that gives a nice, panoramic view of the city. I trudged up the last few stairs, and as I climbed the final step, I saw sitting before me: Francesco! (pronounced Fran-ches-co! – the exclamation mark is my own addition and not really necessary. However, it makes calling his name immensely more fun and sounds more Italian.)
Francesco! is a 28-year-old, Italian engineer for Ferrari. He’s the stereotypical Italian I have seen portrayed in America. He speaks English with a thick Italian accent, expresses frustration by shaking his clenched hands at the wrists, and dances with his index fingers jabbing the air. Moreover, he eats pasta almost every night, and his “Mama” calls him nearly every day. He’s also prone to throwing out a “Mamma Mia!” ever so frequently. An extremely nice guy, Francesco! and I first met when he was leaving Hello BCN. We had been in the same room for one night, but we hadn’t really talked then. Now that we had run into each other again, we decided to see the rest of the park together. We quickly struck up a friendship. He had also met Steph and Kathryn, and we all hung out later tonight.