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I've seen so many photos of the Poble Espanyol in Barcelona that I was drooling to explore it. At that time, I knew little about the "replica town", which is actually a museum. I liked it, but it being artificial, the experience wasn't special either.
So, here goes my walkaround review...
Beautiful tower inside the Poble Espanyol
Just the day before I went to Montjuïc and now I was ready to dig a bit deeper into this hilly area of Barcelona.
The Poble Espanyol can be best approached from the Plaça d'Espanya metro station - it's not at all near and a 30-45 minute walk is necessary. Or longer, if you get lost!
So, I ventured up to the Catalan National Museum of Arts building again and turned right, looking for an entrance to the famous Barcelona Olympic Park (built for the 1992 Olympic Games), which I could not find.
As I was approaching the Poble Espanyol, without knowing, I had actually gone across Botanical Gardens (open air park-like area).
Some of the trees I encountered there looked rather unusual, but I thought - this is how exotic vegetation looks like in Barcelona...
Anyway, I was expecting a lot from the Poble Espanyol (after having seen many photos)...
Although - it's not a real town/village, it's a complex of buildings built for the sake of visiting - it's a museum behind walls.
I've visited various village museums in Europe, but this one was rather like a town museum, which combined various architectural styles found in regions throughout Spain.
Entering Poble Espanyol
I wandered inside, checking out the beautiful, but artificial shapes and motifs. Of course, this is a reproduction, there's nothing natural in there.
And, it's an enclosed place. You're really surrounded by walls, just that the walls are the buildings themselves. They're built around.
I had this "walking inside a tunnel" feeling
Poble Espanyol contains 117 buildings and streets reproduced to scale. Buildings are all in real size. Although to me, walking in there felt strongly like paying a visit to the "dwarfs' town".
Interesting art in the middle of the stepped street
Posble Espanyol was constructed for the 1929 Barcelona International Exhibition in order to reproduce an "ideal Spanish village" - one that reflects styles and cultures from across Spain.
It's worth visiting, if you have excess time.
But I'm not gullible, wouldn't let myself be deceived by such an artificial complex, which in some areas has quite a strong "tunnel feel".
One can also strongly feel that no-one lives there. But of course, let's remind ourselves: it's a museum!
If you look at the map of the place (Google Maps or Google Earth is a great way, by the way), you will notice a long narrow enclosed area, cramped with buildings.
It's an agglomeration of smaller replicated buildings, tightly stuck together.
Despite, the constructors managed to loosen up the atmoshpere a bit by adding a small plaza and playful little interconnecting streets.
When I was there in late September on that rainy day, it felt almost deserted with very few visitors.
Many restaurants and shops were closed, others were almost totally empty.
The souvenir shops had sky high prices...
I came across a stepped street with interesting decorative elements placed on brass poles almost exactly in the centre, as you can see above and below...
The decorative elements were all unique
It's a cute little street that adds to the "almost real" feel.
But it's not just a "dead museum", Poble Espanyol hosts various cultural events, like festivals, from time to time...
By the way, here's the official site - perhaps you can visit during an event and it will feel more loose.
Wicked decorative element on a building
They recommend 2-3 hours for visiting, but it took me prolly around 40 minutes. Only because I was taking lots of photos.
I suppose there's a lot more life in there during the "high tide" of tourism, during the summer months, when the weather's better.
Anyway, I've found it appealing that certain parts of the museum are so distinct from others... There are streets where the buildings are white and built in different styles - are less decorated and, there are parts where they're brownish and richly decorated.
At some point, I stepped out of the complex through a door on the "fortified wall" and found myself in a green park-like area... Stepped back again.
This was my Poble Espanyol experience: worth seeing, but certainly wouldn't be among my priorities.
Only after you saw all of the major attractions, should you visit this nice, but unnatural "museum town". It's a bit like a well-built theme park and it would be a shame to miss out on the rest.
See more photos of Poble Espanyol below...
Nicely decorated red building
The stairs lead up to a restaurant and a church replica
The replica church was closed...
Wicked modern benches in an old-looking replica town
At this point I had the feeling I was in a larger town... still, like a ghost town
Another coat of arms decoration
The plaza that hosts festivals, concerts and other events
Barely a few people were walking around
There are several souvenir shops near this arch
Hispanic cat with a temperament
About the Author:
Escape Hunter, the young solo traveler in his early 30's explores the World driven by curiosity, thirst for adventure, deep passion for beauty, love for freedom and diversity.
With a nuanced, even humorous approach to travel, an obsession for art and design, Escape Hunter prefers to travel slowly, in order to learn and "soak up" the local atmosphere...
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