Traveliscious: August 2006: Archives

August 11, 2006

Evanescence: My Immortal genre: Traveliscious & Tuned Out

I've always loved this song, My Immortal, by Evanescence. It was one of the songs that inspired my decision to leave a career of fourteen years. I was looking at music videos on You Tube and I came across the song and as I began watching the video, I suddenly spotted Placa de Sant Felip, a location in Barcelona that I previously wrote about here at Thought Theater. If you have time, take a look at the full posting. There are some additional pictures worth viewing.

I've included an excerpt from that prior posting just to explain how shocked I was to find that the song that inspired me to drop everything and set out on an adventure around the world was filmed at the most memorable site on that trip. I've also included some photos from my trip. Placa de Sant Felip is truly a magical place and one I think everyone should visit.

From prior posting:

While visiting the city I met a man named Javier who graciously volunteered to show me the sights. We saw many things including some of Gaudi’s architectural gems, the Picasso Museum, and my favorite, the Gothic district. This is one of the older areas of Barcelona and it’s a maze of attached buildings with most streets only suitable for foot traffic. As the day came to a close around dusk, Javier led me to a place called Placa de Sant Felip Neri, a charming square tucked away down one of the winding walkways. The lighting at the time gave the square a mystical air that made the moment almost breathtaking. Javier, who spoke only the slightest amount of English, explained to me, mostly in Spanish, that it was a site where, during the Spanish Civil War, people were lined up in front of a small church and executed. The front of the church is covered in pockmarks and divots from the splash of bullets. It was stark and real and amazing all at the same time and I couldn’t help but think about the people who met an untimely end at such a beautiful and tranquil oasis. Much to my disappointment I had forgotten my camera that morning but I vowed to myself that I would return to take pictures.

Placa de Sant Felip

The next day I stopped at the front desk of my hotel hoping to get directions or a map to guide me back to the plaza. In broken Spanish I explained what I was looking to find and the clerk indicated he knew the place but it would be too complicated to try to give me directions. He suggested a map but I didn’t have the actual name of the plaza and he couldn’t recall the name either. Determined to find it, I set out alone for what turned out to be an amazing and remarkable day. I scoured the Gothic for hours trying to retrace the path from the day before but I could't locate the plaza. As it got to be late afternoon, I accepted I wasn’t going to find it so I decided I would go back to the hotel and ask again for help to search once more the following day. Resolved, I began walking back towards the hotel. I turned down a street just as a musical trio (these groups are found all over the city) was finishing a song. As I approached them, they began to play Amazing Grace…I turned at the corner where they were singing and there stood the plaza I had searched for all day. Fully overcome, I literally shed tears on the spot. Something about that moment felt so true and so right…there was something sacred about where I had arrived and I was overwhelmed by the thought of the fate that befell so many people. I wanted to know their stories and wondered what happened to their friends and families. In my mind, I had the thought that everyone in the world needed to see this place…to understand just how precious life really is…and to realize how wrong it is to take that away.

Placa de Sant Felip

Since my return, I did some research on Placa de Sant Felip. What I found was even more compelling. There is an old cemetery that lies underneath the site. In addition to the executions, a bomb also killed thirty school children in the plaza during the Spanish Civil War. Lastly, Antoni Gaudi was run over and killed while on his way to the plaza in 1928. In one of the articles I read about Placa de Sant Felip, I was struck by this statement “The squares ghosts are peaceful ones, however, and in the early evening light of a summer’s day there can be no more beautiful spot in the city". I thoroughly agree and I couldn’t have said it any better.

My Immortal

Daniel DiRito | August 11, 2006 | 7:23 PM | link | Comments (3)
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