When we travel to a city like Barcelona, we want to enjoy as many highlights as possible. That is why we usually go to the same places and follow the same route that someone did before us. We want to see the tourist attractions; we don’t have time to waste. Sometimes, though, the highlight is not finding that particular cathedral but finding yourself by getting lost.
One of my favourite parks in Barcelona is definitely off the beaten track and it’s called Parque del Laberinto de Horta (in Spanish) or Parc del Laberint d’Horta (in Catalan). It’s located in a neighbourhood called Horta. You can get there with the green line, Mundet station.
I remember going there with my cousins when I was small. Our parents would go with me and my siblings and cousins to the entrance of the maze. Then, while we giggled and ran to find our way out, my parents and aunts and uncles would chat and patiently wait for us to get out.
In case you don’t remember your Greek class, here’s a summary of this Greek myth: King Minos of Crete had won a war against Athens and then, he commissioned Daedalus to build a maze to hold a Minotaur, a monster with the head of a man and the body of a bull. Every 9 years, seven Athenian boys and seven Athenian girls were devoured by the Minotaur in the maze. Theseus was the hero who ended the sacrifices. He had the invaluable help of Ariadne, who had given him a sword to kill the minotaur and a threat so he could find his way out of the maze.
At the entrance of the labyrinth, there is bas-relief of Ariadne and Theseus. In the centre of the maze, you will see a statue of Eros. Another of my favourite spots in the park is Echo (see photo below). Legend says Echo was a nymph who loved her own voice but she was damned to lose her voice and repeat someone else’s words forever. She fell in love with Narcissus, but he was only in love with himself.
Have you seen the film ‘Perfume’? The story is set in 18th-century France, but in fact it was shot in many different places of Barcelona, including Laberint d’Horta, and Plaça Reial, Catedral de Barcelona, Barri Gòtic, Plaça Sant Felip Neri and Poble Espanyol.
If you are visiting Barcelona, I recommend visiting this maze. Just go there and wander, play, and enjoy the moment. You know that you will find your way out, either alone or with the help of your particular Ariadne. Plus, you don’t need to kill any Minotaur. At least, I have never killed one in Barcelona’s maze. If you went to Laberinto de Horta and got lost at first but then found yourself, you’re lucky, you are alive!
Today it’s our pleasure to introduce another new contributor, Marta García. Marta was born and grew up in Barcelona and is going to write about Spanish and Catalan culture. She also writes a blog, English in Barna.
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