The Practical Laneways of Barcelona

04-06-2007 Just another of the many, many gorgeous side-streets that beckon a stroll! Each entirely different from the other, each their own distinct voice and the characteristics of the hour: the smell of freshly mopped floors and the never dull chime of a nearby bell tower striking but once.

It is astonishing to the eye to look down these many side-streets and lane ways and see not a single car. On a warm evening there would be walking, cycling or scootering to the squares which so often these streets would lead to: the unfamiliar passerby rarely goes unnoticed by those who know these streets.

Imagine Flinders Lane without the cars, with every space almost entirely offered for residential premises and trees… imagine this multiplied across Melbourne in the 10’s of thousands.

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2 thoughts on “The Practical Laneways of Barcelona”

  1. What a great experience! Such a big city, so many associations over the centuries, so many lives and stories crossing paths; too many to know, only fugitive fragments pursued down a multitude of streets and laneways, where the only reality is the map of the city, slowly, insidiously insinuating itself into your every fibre, until the city becomes your story.

    Lose and find yourself there.

    I can hear the rifles crackling there in the Spanish Civil War as rival groups took potshots at each other, and acted out their terrible betrayals, as described in Eric Blair’s (Orwell’s) Homage to Catalonia. Where did Orwell lodge his peculiar commitment into the Spanish psyche? Where is his famous lost diary—burnt, or hidden in the archives of the Generalissimo?

    City of Gaudi and of Pablo Picasso; haunt and inspiration of Australian art critic Robert Hughes … It’s still a mystery for me, who have never been there. My brother has been there for conferences; our friend Heidi was mugged and had her handbag stolen in a back street in broad daylight, despite the heroic efforts of one daughter who sprang onto the back of one of the bandits until her mother told her to let go …

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