Existing Member?

The Leaving Journal

Cementari Poblenou

SPAIN | Sunday, 27 October 2013 | Views [418]

On my return to Barcelona, I tried to escape the crowds by going on a weekday and exploring some less popular sites. I got off at the Estacio Franca stop, which was new for me. There are three main stations in Barcelona: Barna Sants at the west, Passeig de Gracia in the center, and Estacio Franca by the coast and furthest east. I chose Estacio Franca because it's far out of the "center" of town and there were a few things in that area I was curious to explore: The Arc de Triomph, Parc de la Ciutadella and Cementeri Poblenou. 

The Arco del Triunfo is beautiful, with detailed stonework and funky little gargoyles. I walked under the arc and down the boulevard into the Parc de la Ciutadella which houses the Barcelona Zoo and Castell dels Tres Dragons. My favorite spot at the Parc is an epic fountain that rivals the Trevy, complete with a shiny, gold statue of a naked chick riding a 4-horse carriage flanked by gold geese and 4 water-spewing stone dragons. The fact that there are 4 dragons irked me because the Castle only mentions 3, but regardless, it was a grand display.

I then walked quite a ways east to the Cementari Poblenou, the gem of the day. I was eager to see this after my positive experience wandering the little cemetery in Sitges. This one had the same layout as the one in Sitges- rows of graves stacked on top of each other like a library of the dead, surrounding a courtyard of tombs - but Poblenou is much larger, with separate departments and multiple courtyards. As I walked among the tall, white walls, I find myself contentedly lost in the redundancy of the labyrinth. It is order coated with chaos: the symmetry of gridded squares dripping with wildly-colored fabric flowers, trinkets and old photographs. Knotty trees grow out of the stone ground, shading the small pairs of mourners dotted throughout the complex. There is something fascinating and sacred about cemeteries. Perhaps it's a morbid fascination but I've always found it interesting how people create elaborate rituals around death. We are obsessed with producing a tangible depiction of love for the passed. The grandness of some tombs is overwhelming, the life-like angels of marble hovering over an elaborate script of names long passed. Small shrines, so delicately decorated with notes, flowers, love poems, statues of porcelain and crystal, are scattered like the breadcrumb trail of someone's loss. It's peaceful and tragic all at once.

Tags: barcelona, cementari poblenou, cemetaries



Travel Answers about Spain

Do you have a travel question? Ask other World Nomads.