A letter to Catalan newspaper El Periodico from a Barcelona retiree has gone viral after the pensioner was admonished for showing his friends around the Gaudi-designed Park Güell when security guards mistook him for an unofficial guide.
Richard Galcerán, who is retired and from Barcelona was visiting Park Güell, one of Barcelona’s biggest tourist draws, with a couple of friends when he was approached by a member of the park’s staff.
“I was showing three family friends around the park when a security guard approached us,” Galcerán wrote in the letter to El Periodico.
“He asked me if I was an official guide. Confused, I told him I wasn’t and asked why. He answered that I couldn’t talk about the park if I wasn’t an official guide,” Galcerán explained.
“He said that the official guides would be annoyed,” the letter continued.
Galcerán told the security guard that he would not annoy the official guides and continued showing his friends around the iconic park, designed by renowned Catalan architect Antoni Gaudi.
A few minutes later the security guard reappeared with a member of staff in tow, who told Galcerán that he had to “immediately stop talking about the park” to his friends.
The park’s staff then said that if Galcerán did not stop talking about the park to his friends, he would “have to leave the park” because the staff “had to protect the rights of the guides”.
Galcerán then left the park with his friends to “avoid further conflict”.
He ends the letter by warning people from Barcelona that if they go to Park Guëll they will have to show people around “secretly – as if you were doing something illegal”.
One of the biggest challenges Barcelona’s new mayor, 'indignada' protest candidate Ada Colau, faces is dealing with tourism in the city, a subject that is increasingly drawing concern from locals who are being priced out of the city by expensive city centre tourist rentals.
The city's famous La Boqueria market recently banned tourist groups of more than 15 people from entering the market during its busiest times, Friday and Saturday mornings.
Last year Barcelona city aurhorities imposed a fee on tourists entering the Park Güell in a bid to stop overcrowding.