The clouds started to clear up and reveal a nice blue sky, so it turned out to be a really wonderful time to go for a stroll in the park. I had read a little bit about Parc de la Ciutadella from the back of the map that I got from the Aerobus, but all I really knew was that there was a giant mammoth somewhere and I needed to find it.
Parc de la Ciutadella gets its name from an old Spanish citadel that used to stand in the location before being torn down, restored, and torn down again. The citadel was built to quell rebellions in Barcelona and had become a symbol of the Spanish rule, but only parts of it remain, including the arsenal, which now houses the Parliament of Catalonia. After the citadel was demolished in the nineteenth century, the area was turned into a 70-acre park.
There are a lot of trees and vegetation, especially around a lake where people can rent paddle boats and take a leisurely (if you’re not the one doing the paddling) float on the water.
The elusive mammoth that I was looking for was actually not so elusive at all and stands practically a few steps away from one side of the lake. It was hard to miss since it really is just a giant mammoth standing by some bushes. According to a corresponding stone plaque, the mammoth, or el mamut, is a scale reproduction made in 1907 at the request of members of the Board of Natural Sciences of Barcelona. Naturalist Norbert Font is singled out even further on the back of my map as the one who really began the project of filling the park with scale animals that had once lived in Catalonia. Unfortunately, the mammoth was the only one created since the project stopped after Font’s death. The trunk seems to be the key photo-op place for most people.
After hanging out Mr. Snuffleupagus, I bought some watermelon ice cream from a stand nearby and it was refreshing and delicious. I needed to point this out because I probably had four or five of these during my time in Spain and it was my go-to popsicle of choice.
Across from the stand is a fountain that was designed by Josep Fontserè (possibly with a little help from Gaudí). It has some pretty lavish adornments and decorations featuring dragons and horses with wings. You can even climb up stairs on either side of the fountain to the archways behind the waterfall and see a different view of the park.
Continuing down the path I was following before, I made it to the other side of the park, where I could catch a glimpse of the Arc De Triomf. I wasn’t too far from my hostel at all and headed back to plan out what I was doing next.
Parks are really great places to take a break from adventuring (though parks can definitely be adventures in themselves). One of the biggest things that I love about Barcelona is the city’s vibe and it was what made Barclona (and Spain, in general) my favorite stop of my trip. I would really like to come back to this park again just to relax and read a book on a nice sunny day. Me encanta este ciudad.