SMALL TRAIN COMING(07/08/2008)
Aquest article no estā traduīt al catalā; es mostra la seva versiķ en anglčs
On a miniature train circuit in Barcelona.
CATALONIA TODAY SECTION: LONG-TERM RESIDENT - ARTICLE ONE HUNDRED AND TWELVE
Not too many people know about Barcelona's Parc de l'Oreneta and indeed neither did I until tipped off by my own family one recent Sunday. The park's steepish slopes north of the Sarriā district include a donkey sanctuary, a chicken restaurant and, at the very top, a miniature railway circuit, complete with a downsized station, old-fashioned cardboard tickets, hand-built steam locomotives and a route that leads through the narrowest of tunnels, around compact bends, over brief bridges and back into the station after a change of tiny little points.
As far as I know, Catalonia has only two other similar circuits, in Cornellā and Sabadell respectively. I've been on all of them and will go on all of them again, partly because the steam flow reminds me of my frequent train trips to Liverpool when I was five or so in the early 1960s but mainly because sitting in a dwarf railway carriage makes me feel like a child, period. I even played a minor role in the setting up of the Sabadell track. When the City Council (rightly) suspected that the (English) suppliers of the rolling stock were deliberately short-changing them, I was hired as an interpreter and joined a Council representative on the next plane out to Manchester. After hours of tough haggling we managed to save the Sabadell ratepayer a bunch of money and flew back the next morning so full of job-well-done glow that when the hostess offered us free champagne at just half past ten we nodded yes and got euphorically tipsy in the a.m. sunlight as the plane began its blue-windowed seaward approach to Barcelona. It was one of those inconsequentially blissful moments that nevertheless are never forgotten: almost as good as riding on a miniature train.