“La Cemeteria de Montjuic.” I said proudly. I’d been practicing.
“Cementiri,” he corrected. He switched to English for obvious reasons. “Do you have family there?”
“No. We’re tourists.” I didn’t know how culturally acceptable it was to admit that I wanted to ogle the dead people of his city. It’s barely culturally acceptable in the States.
“Ah, it’s a beautiful cemetery. Very much worth seeing.”
“Awesome,” I said.
“My family is all buried there.”
“Oh, that’s great.” I said.
“Eh, not really,” He then dragged his thumb across his neck and made that extended K sound with his mouth that for some reason universally means dead.
He offered to drive us around the cemetery, but we declined. Five minutes after he dropped us at its south entrance, we regretted it. The entire cemetery clings to the sides of a tall hill, its Montjuic namesake, and our legs and feet had already been beaten pulpy from miles of wandering the city for the past week.
At least, I think it’s a great view. We didn’t make it to the top, but we didn’t really need to. We were there for two specific graves, both of which, it turned out, were located at the base of the hill. Neither one has a story behind it, but, man, does each have something fantastic atop it.
The first was a few plots down the road from the south entrance. There, reposing on the 1888 tomb of one Dr. Farreras Framis, was a full-sized shrouded skeleton, as if projected there by the human remains beneath it.
Everything I know about this grave I pulled from the grave itself. The name of the deceased, his title, the sculptor (Rossend Nobas), and below it all, the phrase, “Catedratico de Anatomia”—professor of anatomy. That means the sculpture is both a memento mori and a memento vitae for Framis. The real impressive thing about this grave, though, is that the doctor resisted the temptation to epitaph it with, “My grave is way cooler than yours.”
So we headed off, rounded a bend, and there he was. Or, rather, there they were.
In which case I would hope to get funerary art atop my corpse as cool as Dr. Framis or Mr. Juncosa.