Sunday morning and I explore another part of Barcelona, hitherto unknown to me, in the district of Sants-Montjuïc.
And look, I’ve been in this city for years.
Without wanting to, at the bend of a bend, I discovered, for example, the Jardin des Droits de l’Homme, an oasis nestled between residential buildings and a house with clean lines and open concept with an air of the 50s.
At this cool hour of the morning, still early and without a heat wave (as the heat wave that beats us here is called), I spot a guy painting a Labrador, two ladies walking side by side with their respective poodles, fountain, flowers, and that’s all.
Jardí dels Drets Humans, Barcelona (Susana Bragatto / Folhapress)
Nothing special, frankly. It reminds me of Burle Marx, in São Paulo, because of the reflecting pool and a few tropical specimens here and there. He must be homesick, and I sit by the water’s edge to contemplate the whole.
I later find out that this garden was erected on a former rest yard for Philips factory workers, and that the aforementioned 1950s building was actually designed in 1960 by the wife of the factory owner, a Dutch landscape designer.
Barcelona has three-star parks: Güell, Montjuïc and Ciutadella. Fountains with golden statues, Gaudinian laces, alleys of palm trees, scenarios of favorite cultural events, a marvel, postcards from the city.
Ironically, as elsewhere, most of Barcelona’s parks were born out of a collateral necessity of the industrial revolution. Suddenly, there were so many people and concrete in the city that there was a lack of green.
Parc Güell, designed by Gaudí, Barcelona (Courtesy)
The first large fortress-oasis to be built was the Parc de la Ciutadella, an ambitious project commissioned to host the Universal Exhibition of 1888.
In the first half of the 20th century, with the wave of Modernist urban renewal, other large parks emerged, such as the Güell, designed by Gaudí (1923), and the adjacent Montjuïc mountain gardens, created especially for the International Exhibition of 1929.
Parc de la Ciutadella, one of Barcelona’s most famous postcards (Reproduction)
An emblematic figure articulating this intensive parking process in Barcelona was the Catalan architect and landscape designer Nicolau Rubió i Tuduri, who was in charge of the management of the city’s public parks until his exile in France, in 1937, after the start. of the Spanish Civil War. War.
But today my heart wants to honor the anonymous green corners of our neighborhoods. The ones you discover perhaps, or by chance, have a name and a story. And that, in the routine comings and goings of the cruel city, they greet you with shadows of trees and moments of peace.
Like the Parque de La Pégaso, very close to home, in the historic working-class district of Sagrera. It is my favorite. It was built where there was a truck company that produced the famous Pegasus models.
I always go there to do my chi kung and application training under the floating eucalyptus trees. Which, in turn, reminds me of the house where I grew up, behind which there was a kind of wood that made a madly pleasant noise to us every time a summer thunderstorm hit.
I’m happy when it coincides with when they turn on the fountains to clean the water tanks (where sometimes a duck or a dog rolls around).
Ready. Here is the Labrador with a blue ball in his mouth.
This girl doesn’t speak naa-di-naa (as it sounds here, syncope), you think.
The so-called labrador (blue ball in the mouth) (Susana Bragatto / Folhapress)
I’m not really. This is my point. Today the speech is normcore (make stories, let’s go, time is running out, the screw tightens, the judgment cooks the noodles beyond the point…).
How many of our lives as passers-by (especially urban ones) we leave lifeless in corners with so much excess of everything, I wonder. Sip, swallow, consume greedily all around, from information to traffic lights to the pineapple twix.
Can we resist FOMO and just contemplate a shrub, a spring in frô? (I also wonder, because for me it is sometimes difficult)
Parc del Center de Poble Nou, Barcelona (Susana Bragatto / Folhapress)
The islands of greenery, so common in the Barcelona landscape, are, among other blessings, spaces for doing nothing. Of encounter and contemplation. Some, like me, hike the trails between the trees to catch up on their morning jog, but the most common here is this one: deceleration.
Parc del Clot, Barcelona, built from an old railway village (Reproduction) Post-pandemic tai chi class at Can Dragó Park, Barcelona (Susana Bragatto / Folhapress) My favorite statue, at Plaça del Congrés Eucharistic , Sagrera, Barcelona. I always go there to exchange an idea with the comadre (Susana Bragatto / Folhapress)
Like the countless pedestrian benches and boulevards, the anonymous parks of almost every corner are, here, a thrilling and vital part of the social fabric. Invitations to occupy the streets. They decelerate, but they nourish the heart.
See, Labrador is hunting pigeons now. He wants to bark, but he takes the blue ball in his mouth …