It is written…

by Evans Yonson

For it is written...

Barcelona – The first time I have been to Barcelona’s Montjuic Cemetery was in 2009. I didn’t bring camera because we were walking a few kilometers uphill. I found the cemetery very picturesque because it is situated on top, overlooking Barcelona. The steep slopes of this cemetery give this burial grounds its unique character. Montjuic (or Montjuich) means Hill of the Jews in medieval Catalan. This is the second public cemetery of the city. The other one being the Poblenou Cemetery near the beach. The Montjuic Cemetery opened in 1883 and since then many of the city’s famous people have been buried there like the past presidents of Catalonia, Lluis Companys and Francesc Macia, the actress Carmen Amaya, and poet/priest Mossin Jacint Verdaguer.

In November 2010, I went to Montjuic with Karen and this time with my camera in tow. It was the usual November 1 weather. No blue skies. Cool winds . And the smell of paraffin wax and fresh roses welcome the living. There are two possible entrances to the cemetery. One on the seaside and the other from city side. On special days like this, there are buses going up the hill. There is one bus plying within the cemetery grounds. The locals are always advised not to bring their cars for parking is a big problem for this memorial park.

Because this more than a century old public cemetery and with the penchant of the Catalans and Spanish for the arts, the graves are decorated with elaborate works of art especially sculpture. These pieces of art are found in the older part of the cemetery and have become a tourist destination of sort for the art enthusiast. The city even holds weekly guided tours for free.

But on this special day, we could not take photos because the bereaved families want privacy in this time of sorrow and remembrance. Security personnel are everywhere and taking photographs becomes a challenge. But with close 200,000 graves to guard, they don’t have enough guards to reprimand us. Besides, I always believe in arriving early to catch the best worms but not today. Catching the best angles for these fallen angels is always the perfect worm for anyone like me.

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