The route I am proposing begins far away from the city, taking as its starting point an attempt to find the place where an event that no one witnessed took place on a summer night in 2016. We continue to a natural site created not long ago that has become inseparable from the memory I have of Barcelona, and following that, we visit a couple of monuments of which we do not know much, yet which have produced multiple meanings. Then we will approach the city center, following the trail of a footprint that apparently no longer exists, yet not without first visiting some tombs in front of the sea.
CAN BALASCH BIOLOGICAL STATION In the summer of 2016 I spent a long period in Barcelona for the first time since I had left the city in 2007. I was there to make an artwork with the help of the team at Can Balasch Biological Station, as well as many other people.
Close to the station there is a hidden area where groups of wild boars tend to wallow in the earth during the night. There we installed a fresh clay floor of approximately 17 m2. During the second night, a couple of boars walked over it. The next morning, when I discovered the hoof prints, Nuk, a hunting dog living at the station, tried to follow the route of the boars, and left its own footprints.
VALLVIDRERA RESERVOIR This reservoir was built in the middle of the 19th century to supply water to Barcelona’s upper neighborhoods. In 1908 a small train was installed to transport Barcelona citizens who wanted to spend a day of leisure in the Collserola hills, above the north-eastern part of the city, traveling through the same tunnel through which the water was channeled. The train operated for a very short time yet nowadays the tunnel continues transporting water, although in the opposite direction, to Sant Cugat del Vallès and Sabadell.
The reservoir is an important amphibian sanctuary although in recent years it has had to be dried twice to eradicate invasive species. I often like to go and eat here when I visit Barcelona. There is a lady who lives right in front of the bridge who every weekend sets up tables and sells food cooked in the garage of her house.
STONE OF COLLSEROLA Below the Tibidabo Amusement Park, just where the BV-1418 and BP-1417 roads meet, there are some stairs that go up into the forest. Climbing them, a few meters up on the right, we will find a large stone hidden among the trees. This site is little known, although it is widely believed that the various holes on the surface of the stone were made by prehistoric man and probably served to place the organs of sacrificed bodies. It is also said that it may have served as a trap for animals.
PEDRALBES MONASTERY MENHIR This monastery was founded by Jaume II of Aragon and his wife Elisenda de Montcada, and was completed in 1327. As with many Christian constructions, the location of the enclosure was determined by previous pagan sacred sites. In one of the two entrances that we find in its fortified walls, the one on Carrer de Montevideo, we find a large stone blocking the way. It is believed that this stone is the upper point of a buried menhir of unidentified height and age. It is also known as the Angel’s Menhir and it is said that if someone hits their head on its surface they will hear angels singing inside.
MONTJUÏC CEMETERY Before public transport from Barcelona to the Collserola mountain range was available, Montjuïc was the most popular weekend recreation area. As a result of the turn-of-the-century growth of the city, a cemetery was inaugurated on the hill in 1883. If one arrives into the city from the south, along the road by the sea, it is the first image one has of Barcelona, together with the industrial port right in front of it. Its architecture recalls steps of a mountain sculpted by a quarry. It currently has 152,327 graves and is the largest cemetery in the city.
DEVIL’S HOOF PRINTS, SANTA MARIA DEL PI It is said that on steps 99 and 100 leading to the bell tower of the church the devil left his mark after agreeing a pact with the master builder, who had asked him for help in finishing the construction of the tower. The devil accepted the deal in exchange for taking the soul of the worker when he’d built the 100th step. Yet the builder managed to evade the pact by never surpassing that step; his successor concluded the remaining work in 1497. Currently these marks are erased by order of a rector who wanted to stem the curiosity of the parishioners and visitors.
— JORGE SATORRE