My trip to the Pyrenees begins with a brief tour of the Artigas Gardens that was designed by the modernist architect Antoni Gaudí. In comparison of Park Güell, which is a dry garden, the Artigas Gardens are humid because they are crossed by the River Llobregat, which has a source — the “Source of the magnesia.” They are found in a mountainous and humid place.
Another difference among both gardens is the character of urban park. It is a very ordinate structure and of many open spaces, although adapted to the nature of the Park Güell. In contrast, the Gardens Artigas that are of naturalistic type. There are few flowers — only the natural flowers of that area — and with an exuberant natural vegetation. It seems as if here, Gaudí only wanted to simplify the main walk, avoiding the unnecessary changes in the nature. Gaudí’s passions were distinctive in his creations, but arguably his love of nature and organic, fluid design is the most visually obvious influence in his work.
When I looked at my schedule in the middle of our trip, I realized that we were going to a new country and there was going to be a lot of hiking. From the moment I started my walk, I saw myself in the middle of the road where the bus stops. When I followed the path, I realized that I could see the towns we drove by and that I am in Andorra, the small country between France and Spain. It was really amazing to witness just how close the mountain ranges are from coast to coast. Sometimes, I could see the mountains of the bordering countries generally depending on which ones I was climbing. Climbing the mountains in Andorra felt like achieving a new milestone, and I wondered what it was like to have a home on top of the hills.
On the way back to Barcelona by bus, my trip ended with a two-hour hike in Ultra Pirineu. As I was walking on the path, the ground was a little wet and muddy. On the sides of the trail, I sensed the leaves changing color because of the fall season. During the hike, I crossed a swaying bridge, which I also call the “Shrek” bridge. But there is no need to step back.
I would without a doubt recommend future travelers to go on hikes in the Pyrenees if their study abroad program offers an excursion for it. These mountains provide some of the most inspiring views you’ll ever see.