Under the bed, behind the door, in the attic dusty attic, in the damp basement, in the rustling leaves, in the shadows outside the window… As a child prone to nightmares I was pretty good at monster spotting. I’m still prone to nightmares—I had a doozy when I was in Argentina with coati turning out to be an invading alien species—but most of the time I just amuse myself with another kind of monster spotting. I look up and find gargoyles and wander through museums finding dragons and other beasts.
So it’s not strange that I’d look up at the Arc de Triomf (Arc de Triumph in Catalan) in Barcelona, but what I found was intriguing—BATS!
On each side of the arc, below a semi circle of heraldic shields, and the King & Queen there were bats—two, oversized bats on each side of the arc. It turns out that the bat was the symbol of King Jaume l (AKA James of Aragon) 1213-1276. He was an important leader, during a prosperous time in Barcelona. He also liberated Valencia, Menorca and Mallorca from the Moors.
But why a bat? I don’t know. I’m curious and tempted to spin a vampire story around it. I’ll have to learn more about King Jaume and his reign. Maybe it’s a batty romance?
Dragons dominated the rest of my week in Barcelona. The patron saint of Catalunya is Sant Jordi (George) and I found some lovely Saint Michaels, too. Majestic, fanciful, and fearful dragons were all over the city in Gothic and Art Nouveau incarnations.
Now that’s my kind of Monster spotting!