March 20, 2006
Morbid Travel Adventures...
I recently returned from an incredible trip to Barcelona with my friend and co-author, Meg. In addition to seeing the usual feats of astonishing Gaudi architecture, buying espadrilles and eating churros y chocolate — muy delicioso! — we also sojourned a bit off the beaten track to the Museum of Funeral Carriages. Realizing this would satisfy our mutual love for all things historical/morbidly creepy, we made our way to Carrer Sancho de Avila. After getting lost and stumbling into an actual funeral home (where several funerals were underway -- whoops!) we eventually made our way to the offices next door.
After an awkward, 15-minute wait in the lobby (witnessing half a dozen grieving family members arrive to make arrangements for the deceased), the security guard finally motioned for us to follow him into a maze of hallways to an elevator, which led us down into the building's dark basement. I attempted to practice my very poor Spanish with the guard, who spoke not a lick of English.
Me: "Tiene muchas turistas aqui?"
Guard: "Un poco...pero, no es mucho alegria...."
Me: "No...no...es verdad."
At this point, FREAKING OUT from the utter randomness of this experience, Meg and I are merely trying to stifle our VERY nervous laughter as we stumble into the pitch black basement. The guard switched on a battery of fluorescent lights to reveal a rather bizarre showcase of 12 to 15 funeral carriages from different periods in history, complete with teams of fake, lifesize horses and scary-looking coachmen in powdered wigs, breeches and tricorn hats. (Now I know where Sears mannequins go to die.) Considering Meg, the security guard and I were the only ones rambling through this eerie set-up, it was a most unusual experience. We suspect that the mannequins actually come alive at night in some sort of "Twilight Zone" scenario. This museum exhibit may not be for everyone, but I reckon there are more than a few "Romancing the Tome" fans who would get a kick out of it. Best of all, it's free! -- Amy