From the depths of my dreams, the insistent chime of my iPhone alarm signaled that it was way too early to function. A quick look at my messages suggested that it would be easy to deviate from my the mission.

“I don’t know if we’ll make it before then. Should we just go another day?” the proposition tempted.

The plan was to make it to Park Güell before 8 a.m. An insider tip recommended an early call time to beat the crowds and slip into the park free of charge before ticketing opened. With those benefits in mind I cursed the heavy pressure behind my eyes, summoned my willpower and shoved a banana and my water bottle in my tote and stepped out into the quiet streets in San Antoni. This is happening.

I entered the park through a side entrance and meandered around a path while more energetic early birds walked their dogs, jogged and did push-ups on park benches. Gaudi’s wavy, kaleidoscopic bench came into view and aside from two young girls taking selfies and a few others with serious camera equipment, I was able to snap a few iPhone photos myself; no jostling for the best angle, or waiting for other tourists to get out of my frame.

Higher I climbed to one of the viewpoints that gave me a panoramic view from the Sagrada Familia, out toward the Mediterranean and Montjuic. Planes glided over the city’s super blocks toward El Prat. Birds gossiped, pigeons cooed. Pollen tickled my nose as I tapped notes into my phone and snapped more photos.

In my periphery, elderly locals prattled away on park benches while their dogs played. The sun drenched the city in morning warmth, clouds nowhere in sight. A cool breeze brushed through the park like the final resting pose in yoga; welcome relief.

“Sube Miko, sube…Miko, adonde vas? Adonde vas Miko?” one of the men mildly threatened as he patted the bench. Miko, the most mischievous and stubborn of the pack did what he wanted. A few weeks ago, I didn’t want to get out of bed, though I’m glad I did.