I love walking along Spanish streets. Cordoba, a town I lived in over winter, boasts some of the prettiest, whitest, most charming streets anywhere in Spain. Each year on these streets, the residents hold a competition to see whom has the most beautiful patio. This makes for the some of the most colourful, vivid scenes in the whole of Andalucia.
Barcelona is different. It has an earthy feel, and the streets are earthly colours: brown, green, sandy. The contrast between the two is remarkable; one’s white, colourful, bright. The other’s dark, moody, serious. But I love them. They feel like they’ve always been this way, never-changing, and I often feel like Gil Pender probably did in my favourite film, Midnight in Paris.
Anyway, today, armed with our notoriously unreliable version of Google Maps, and looking for a strange bar (see my first blog post!), we were lost. This happens often, far too often, but does allow us to stumble upon some interesting things now and again. Walking along a busy road in La Ribera, Luna spotted a small side-street to our right with an interesting name – Carrer dels Petons, or Street of Kisses – a typical, but lovely looking long, narrow, impossibly high street that’s leads to an open dead-end.
Hundreds of years ago, still probably looking much the same as it looks today, this street was known for more ominous reasons, and it’s believed the name derived from its infamous past….
Criminals that found themselves condemned to death in the nearby Ciutedella were marched this way to say their final goodbyes to family members who were allowed to line the Street of Kisses — perhaps to blow one last kiss to their loved ones as they were escorted by. Before the street became a cul-de-sac, the road led all the way down to the gallows — a death row of sorts — offering heartbroken families had a terrifying view of what was happening below.
So they say.
The local council offer a not-so-remarkable explanation on how the street got its unique name: a popular man with a surname similar to Petons lived here and the road was named after him. Bummer.
Today though, we knew none of this. What immediately caught our attention was a message written on painted cans adorned to the wall that read “amor antes de nada, real ante todo” or “love before anything, real before everything”.
And, this lovable robot’s face made from a calculator and other bits and pieces:
And some simple, but strikingly beautiful set-pieces:
Nowadays, couples gather in the Street of Kisses on February 14th, Valentines day, to celebrate their love, and, perhaps, to remember those people that may have once walked this way to their deaths. Either way, they do so in a rather beautiful street.
Street address — Carrer dels Petons, 08003 Barcelona