El Rec Comtal. March 2018

From an article in the ARA newspaper about Rec Comtal (the ditch of the city of counts) I found Enric H. March blog. There is a wealth of information on this hydraulic infrastructure that has carried water from Besos river to Barcelona since the Middle Ages and which may have been preceded by an aqueduct in Roman times.

From Montcada to the orchards of Vallbona you can still follow the route of the ditch until it disappears before reaching the Trinitat neighbourhood.

The Water House in Montcada

Besos river at the beginning of the ditch

Vallbona neighbourhood

The Ponderosa orchards

This narrow stretch, between the C58 freeway and a fence, is like a secret, humble garden, out of time. Nothing would suggest that we are just 300 meters away from the huge Trinitat roundabout in the big city of Barcelona.

Here the ditch disappears. From now on we will have to make an effort of imagination to visualize the outskirts of Barcelona in the Middle Ages, when all the area were farming fields.

Water House in Trinitat Vella. The old pictures collected by Enric March show the Trinitat neighbourhood without buildings. You can try to follow the ditch track through Sant Andreu, La Sagrera and El Clot until you reach Arc de Triomf, where we would have found the entrance to medieval Barcelona in the Sant Pere district.

The names of the streets reveal the past of the Rec Comtal ditch.

And finally a fragment preserved in the Born CCM.

Here, the track at wikiloc, not accurate, as I was not able to follow always the detailed directions of Enric March’s blog.


+amor, poblenou, barcelona

Some graffiti are just dirty walls, the result of a mislead anxiety about leaving an imprint behind. But often we can find graffiti that are quite remarkable (an example, those of Besós cathedral), and when I stumble upon one of them I take a picture of it. In my neighborhood in Barcelona, el Poblenou, some years ago, in a plot of a demolished building leaving the naked interior walls visible, a line crossed all the missing rooms connecting two messages that said “+amor”. There was also a big heart. I was like contemplating some strange Pompeii frescoes from a neighborhood archeological site.

I wondered whether actually there was a love connection between some neighbors, living in that place, time passing, and the line depicted exactly that connection.

Later I discovered more graffiti that could be attributed to the same author, or project, simple messages that, despite their obviousness were not perceived as too “sugary” but as an appeal or invitation to take into account. Big letters at Pujades/Llacuna:

Love … your partner, children, parents, friends, coworkers, aubergines, primary colors, clouds, rain pools … Some human figures at Taulat-Bilbao seem to say “Stop! +amor!”:

And more at Pere IV and a window at Dr. Trueta, 142.
At Panoramio the locations are plotted. Some of them do not exist anymore.

In some TV series, such as Heroes or Misfits, we find supernatural powers in marginal neighborhoods. I like the idea of these graffiti as frescoes with special powers. Perhaps the locations where there were situations with a lot of love involved, emit a kind of energy that can be perceived by the artist and compels him to paint something. Perhaps later, when someone passes by and takes a glimpse of it, undergoes a transformation that enables him to recover the lost ability to love, at least for some time. I can envisage a scene where a character wanders through the streets, looking in vain for that graffiti that changed his life, missing that ability to feel, or to care for. He starts meeting graffitists, trying to discover who was the author of “+amor”. Never mind … speculations for a script of an inexistent TV episode.

Back to reality, goggling for +amor uncovers who stands behind those graffiti, a Brazilian artist, tom14, democraciaurbana who explains his projects in an interview.

Thank you, Tom14.

Besós Cathedral


Some months ago there was some discussion about demolishing thetermic power plant of Sant Adrià del Besós, no longerin use, for aesthetic reasons. Well, I’ve always admired the pureelegance of the three chimneys against the Maresme landscape and, ifthe authorities were so worried about aesthetics, they should dynamite the whole “Diagonal Mar” quartier, the outcome of theworst urbanism in Barcelona since the 60s atrocities.

The building is not the only attraction of the so called “Besos  Cathedral”, anonymous artists have left there works whose interest far exceeds what can be usually found at MACBA museum.


More pictures here

Creating a paradise in hard surroundings

Enjoying puddles: cycling in the sky

After many weeks of drought it has rained a lot.

Now we can enjoy clean skies, dramatic cloud scenery and rain puddles.

Probably the first time we enjoyed puddles we were young children and splashed in them with rubber boots, transforming a quiet surface into an ephemeral ornamental fountain.

Now, as a cyclist, there is a new way. There are thin puddles, a wet surface on asphalt that act as mirror and reflect the image of the sky and canopy leaves. When we pass over them riding a bicycle, during a brief lapse of time we have the feeling of pedalling in the sky, over clouds and trees. If the terrain is flat and we move without effort it is like flying.

So, on my way to work, I look for those puddles that allow me that kind of experience.

Rain puddles set sky tiles on the pavement, and while they do not dry out we have different lights, colours and shapes on it. Escher captured this wonderfully in his engraving of 1952.