As promised, here is a video of me reading the poem ‘Barcelona in my dreams.’ It is by no means a professional reading or recording, but will hopefully give some idea of how the poem should sound.
Also please forgive my pronunciation of Spanish and Catalan words: we British are not renowned for being very good at ‘foreign’ accents! I am sharing this with dVerse Poets Pub for the live edition of Open Link Night, where we will be reading our poems.
The places in the poem
A lot of people commented that they had either been to Barcelona or would like to go, so here’s a quick tour of the places mentioned in the poem:
- The Museu del Toro or La Monumental is Barcelona’s museum of bullfighting. Bullfighting was banned in Catalunya in 2016 (though the ban has since been overturned) and no bullfights have been held there since 2011. It is housed in a beautiful Art-deco arena which is now used for concerts and exhibitions. When we first moved to Barcelona we lived across the road from it.
- Eixample is the district of Barcelona built in the late 19th century along a gridiron pattern and separated into residential blocks, ‘manzanas’ with rounded corners so coaches could travel easily through the streets in the area. You can find out more about it in this article: you may even recognise the author!
- Las Golondrinas are the famous tourist boats which offer tours of the Port of Barcelona. I recommend taking a trip at sunset if you’re visiting Barcelona for the first time.
- Las Ramblas/The Rambla is Barcelona’s most famous thoroughfare, but it’s normally overrun with tourists so escape into the hidden alleys of El Barri Gòtic while you have the chance! George Orwell describes gunfights in the area during the Civil War in his book Homage to Catalunya.
- Santa Maria del Mar is a beautiful Gothic church in Barcelona’s old town. It doesn’t look very imposting from the outside but the interior is breathtaking. If you also visit Gaudi’s famous Sagrada Familia, you can see that the architect took inspiration from this earlier church.
- Parc de la Ciutadella is Barcelona’s main park which was built on the location of Philip V’s infamous citadel, erected after the conquest of Barcelona during the War of Spanish Succession in 1714.
- Barceloneta is the city’s fishing district which has been taken over by tourist accomadation. La Cova Fumada is a small seafood restaurant where the fish is so fresh they don’t even have a refrigerator: they cook and serve everything fresh on the day. They are only open at lunchtimes.
- Passeig de Gracia is Barcelona’s answer to London’s Bond Street: a broad avenue lined with designer shops and home of two of famous Gaudi’s most famous buildings.
- La Manzana de La Discordia is a play on words: it is a discordant block of buildings (of which one is Gaudi’s Casa Batlló) and it is also the apple which led to the fall of mankind.
- Casa Batlló is Gaudi’s ‘House of Bones’ – the bars of the windows are shaped like bones and the roof is tiled with the scales of a serpent. Well worth a visit, though book ahead to avoid the queues.
- La Pedrera, ‘the Quarry’ is another famous Gaudi building also on the Passeig de Gracia. To my mind the iconic figures on the rooftop (see Featured Image) look like chess pieces. George Lucas allegedly took inspiration from them for his storm troopers in Star Wars.
These are just a few of the highlights of Barcelona. I have missed out many of my favourites. So perhaps I need to write some more stanzas, but I think I’ll save these for a later publication…