Monday, November 9, 2009

A trip through Barcelona and The Shadow of the wind

The Shadow of the wind, the bestseller of Carlos Ruiz Zafón conquered the hearts of readers all around the world. It is set in Barcelona, in the years after the Spanish Civil War and shows us a mystical Barcelona full of dark alleys, hidden places and intriguing inhabitants. Join us on this journey; follow the footsteps of Daniel Sempere and Fermín as they try to resolve the mystery of Julián Carax.


We start down at the old port, where the modern Maremagnum shopping centre is. When Clara didn’t show up at Daniels birthday party, he stormed out of the house and wandered through the streets, before he finally sat down at the steps by the water. It was here that Laín Coubert first approached him. You can see Montjuïc from here, though the cemetery where Daniel’s mother is buried lies more to the west.

Head down the Ramblas, until on your left side you see the beautiful Plaza Real. In the middle you’ll find an emblematic fountain, surrounded by palm trees. The square is always bustling with people, since there are numerous restaurants and bars to be found. But it’s also the place where the wealthy Barceló and Clara used to live, in their spacious and luxury apartment. And on a dark and rainy night, it was below the arches of this square that Daniel met the drifter Fermín, who would become his good friend.

As you continue along the Rambla, imagine what it must have been like in these days without the souvenir shops, street actors and entertainers. It was on a misty morning at the beginning of the summer of 1945 that 10 year old Daniel followed his father to the cemetery of forgotten books. Sadly, even the ‘large door of carved wood’ that gives access to this mythical place was invented by the author, but those of you who are suspicious can go see for yourselves in the Calle Arco del Teatro.

Almost at the top of the Ramblas, on the right side is a busy shopping street, the Calle Santa Ana. Nothing to see but big chain-stores such as H&M, but in this very street used to be an old and dusty bookshop, specialized in collector’s editions and second-hand books. Sempere & Sons, the lifework of Daniel’s father and their home. At the end of this street, turn right towards the cathedral. It dates back to the 13th century, and on its steps is where the parents of Julián, Antoni Fortuny and Sophie Carax first met.

A great part of the novel takes place in Tibidabo. The famous ‘Avenida del Tibidabo’ was constructed in the 20th century, and soon it became a neighbourhood for the upper class, who contracted the best architects to build gorgeous modernist houses. The old blue tram that Daniel takes (under the watchful eye of the conductor) is still running. Could it be that one of these fairytale houses is the Angel of the Mist, where the remains of Pénelope Aldaya lie? Was it here that the final battle between Julían Carax and inspector Fumero took place? Is there a house somewhere with a fountain in the garden, the hand of an angel emerging from the water? Who knows?

Now, let’s return to the barrio gótico to end the day with a drink and a snack in Els Quattre Gats (Calle Montsió) where, according to Fermín, they serve the best ham sandwiches in a 3 mile radius! It is also the place where Barceló held his literary meetings, and where Daniel’s parents first met in 1932.

Want to experience a different Barcelona, see with your own eyes where Julian Carax became Laín Coubert? Rent the best apartments in Barcelona, and experience the love story of Daniel and Bea all over again.

Posted via web from barcedona's posterous

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