Instawalk: Through El Raval to the Sagrada Familia, Inspired by L’Auberge Espagnole

see also Part 1: Old Barcelona and Part 2: Hills and Beaches

sigh, my last day in Barcelona and there’s still so much i haven’t seen. thanks to stumbling across a great tumblr someone put together of filming locations, i had a great itinerary for this morning to see, firsthand, some of the lesser-known spots in the old city center that were used in the movie, and then finally check out the holy grail of Barcelona sites, La Sagrada Familia.

For use in a blog post.

But first, a cortado. I’m gonna miss these! (I wonder if it’s possible to replicate with a Nespresso?)

la paloma

ahh, the club where everyone partied like it’s 1999 and got horribly wasted. it’s a big confusing because there were hints online that it had closed down (which is why i didn’t try to go earlier in the week) but i think it was actually closed for refurbishment and it’s open again now? i’m not sure since their website is down, but the neighbors, at least in one building, seem to despise this club based on the banners they’ve hung out front — clearly these “silenci” posters aren’t (weren’t?) doing much to help matters.

La Paloma, where they had their crazy night out. #laubergeespagnole

“I don’t like clubs, and I don’t like dancing…techno music bores me, all right?”

plaça de sant agustí

ahhh, one of my favorite scenes in the movie, partially because it’s so clichéd (some American nomad with a guitar, leading everyone in “No Woman No Cry”) and partially because i’m jealous i never had such an experience in my youth. whatever bench they were sitting on in the movie is now gone — if it was there at all (maybe it was a prop), and as it turns out, the small square/intersection is quite a busy pedestrian one with a hotel on one side and a church on another. the first picture is from the actors’ point of view (i.e., the movie camera was facing the opposite direction); the second picture shows the side of the church, along which they all walked after their night of drunken fun.

The little square where they sang "No Woman No Cry" doesn't have a bench (anymore?) and is actually quite a busy pedestrian intersection.

“Everything’s gonna be all right, everything’s gonna be all right.”

After they sing (and puke) they walk down this street by the church. #laubergeespagnole

“Except uh, the monsoon started, and that was a bit of a problem because at the hotel we had snakes coming out of the toilet…”

i should note that i was all too ecstatic to find this place:

carrer d’en xuclà

near the beginning of the movie, Xavier and Isabelle sit with some of their classmates and discuss cultural identities. the area has swankified a bit since the movie was filmed, i think. there is currently construction going on next to the cafe they were at (Mirinda, closed when i went this morning), but not to worry since there are posh-looking cafes on either side. the following picture is of the statue at the beginning of the square.

The place where they talked about "identidad" with classmates is actually a nice small square with this statue in front. #laubergeespagnole

“Yo no creo que sea contradictorio combinar las dos identidades.”

gran via

Gran Via de les Corts Catalanes is a major boulevard that crosses town, and in this neighborhood (in the heart of downtown), is full of retail stores, hotels, and banks. the building that the tumblr guy proved to be the actual “auberge espagnole” (number 629) is near Passeig de Gràcia. it must have been rent controlled because this is some high dollar (euro?) territory!

Thanks to some amazing sleuthing by a guy with a tumblr, this is the building where they "lived". It's on a fancy street and is now at least partially a hotel. Clearly must have been rent controlled. #laubergeespagnole

“That means somebody has to share a room.”

la sagrada família

ah, the icon of Barcelona! and perhaps, at least from the outside, one of the most hideous buildings on the face of the planet. ok, i had to get that off my chest. nope, most definitely not a fan of the exterior. but the interior, now that’s another story. i could spend an entire day, if not an eternity, in there. the geometry (hyperboloids ftw)! the branching of the tall columns that stretch ever so high! the colorful stained glass painting the interior! it truly is like entering an enchanted forest. this might just redeem Gaudi in my eyes…

sidebar: protip if you can commit to a time, buy your tickets online as far in advance as possible. prepurchase timeslots are limited, but you don’t have to wait in that crazy line, in the sun. and, you don’t need a printer! just show the barcode on your phone.

in the movie, Anne-Sophie and Xavier go to the top of one of the towers (which at that time didn’t have the protective netting) and she faints. maybe they didn’t have the elevator installed back then? 😉 descending, you have to walk, but there’s an amazing spiral staircase! oh also, the film was made before the nave was completed, so it’s pretty cool when Anne-Sophie looks down and we see an open ceiling.

The inside of La Sagrada Familia is so much nicer than the outside!

A bridge between towers, where Anne-Sophie fainted. #laubergeespagnole

“C’est beau, hein?”

Descending the tower

alas, if i didn’t have to work i would have stayed all day inside the Sagrada Familia. there were choirs from around the world coming in and out, singing, as part of an international choral music festival. through the constant construction noise and the hubbub of the visitors, it was still able to retain its magical hold on me. i’ll definitely be back, despite the €€€ entry, just to see the interior again and to spend more time in the exhibits downstairs.


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