Ever stumbled across a truly magical place? It doesn’t happen often but when it does, it seems like the place has been waiting for you to arrive.
This is exactly how I discovered the Palau Albéniz Gardens in Montjuic, a typical weekend jog, a curious need to uncover a new route, and bang! Did I find the Garden or did the Garden call to me, reaching out with delicate fingers, unfurling whispers in my brain?
The palace and gardens were finished in 1928 by Juan Moya, official architect of the Spanish royal family. Built to house the monarchs during the infamous Barcelona Exhibition of 1929, the small palace has been used for a changing array of people and situations.
But enough about the history. The Palau Albéniz Garden is only open on Saturdays and Sundays from 10:00 to 15:00, with the numerous fountains burbling water from 11:00 to 14:00.
This is a secret place, filled with hidden corners, a host of different trees and flowers, curling pathways, curious stone steps.
The Garden unfolds, hides itself, reveals itself, waiting to be discovered. It is tremendously quiet and hardly anyone comes to visit. Is this good or bad? On the one hand is excellent as it is a veritable oasis of calm. On the other, does the Garden wish for people?
There are rows of columns, rolling slopes, grass that can actually be walked on. There are stealthy cats and a flash of bird. If ever there was a place with a gateway to Narnia, this has to be it. I want to spend the night, hidden away, silently watching what goes on in the dark. I know the stone statues come to life. They dance, the women and the animals, free for a few hours.
How does the Garden manage to go almost undetected? Does it cloak itself? A protection against screaming children and people who don’t pick up their rubbish? Either way, this is a magical place. You can feel the Garden sometimes breathing, sometimes holding its breath. There is anticipation in the air, a feeling that anything is possible.
I discovered the Palau Albéniz Garden towards the end of last year and now I can’t stay away. I try to visit every weekend. When I can’t, it hurts. I can feel the pull. I want more, I can’t get enough of the Garden.