THIS pic was taken in a quiet, pretty little square in Barcelona. Inside its walls you’ll find kids from the nearby school playing games and scores of couples whiling away the day holding hands and sipping coffees at a pleasant little cafe. See those chunks of stone missing from the wall? The result of machine-gun fire. There’s a lot of history surrounding San Felipe Neri square – dark history. The land where it now sits was actually a Jewish cemetery during Medieval times. Many years later, during the Spanish Civil War, the nearly-300-year-old church took a hefty battering when bombs were dropped on the city. One bomb caused the collapse of the underground part of the church, killing 42 civilians including 20 kids who were taking refuge there. Apparently troublesome locals were rounded up here and killed with machine guns during Francisco Franco’s ensuing reign over the country, pockmarking the walls forever. Spooky shit. The message scrawled on the wall today is a very relevant one.
I learnt this stuff and a shit-ton more on a free walking tour of Barcelona last week, and it was one of the most interesting things I’ve ever done on the tourist trail. There’s so much history over here compared to the super-young Australia (I realise Australia is pretty old too but I’m talking young in terms of ‘history’ – it wasn’t that long ago that we came and started up our country, fucking over all the Aboriginal people). I also learnt that I bear a striking resemblance to Wilfred the Hairy – a famous Count of Barcelona – and I finally found out who the Moors were (remember the famous argument between George Costanza and the Bubble Boy?). We got to go to Picasso’s old art school and our guide pointed out where the painter got his first root (it was apparently on a balcony in the street we were in). Anyways it’s dinner time, must go ‘cos the babe is getting restless to buy some eggplants. It might be a little while between drinks on the old blog, we’re hiring a couple of cars tomorrow to scour the north coast for waves and good times but I’ll be in touch soon. Ciao.
See last week’s photo of the week here.