On February 29, the Círculo Ecuestre inaugurated the series of colloquiums Barcelona through its writers with the notable presence of the writer Carlos Abella.

After the welcome from the president of the Círculo Ecuestre, Enrique Lacalle, Abella had a dialogue with the cultural journalist from La Vanguardia, Joaquín Luna.

The event began with an introduction to Aquella Barcelona, the author's latest work that covers Barcelona life from the post-war period to the 1992 Olympic Games. During his explanation, the author highlighted “the many aspects that made Barcelona an overwhelmingly active and with many facets, even during the Franco regime”. Following this idea, Carlos Abella stressed that “one of the mistakes we make is brushing off the past, but the richness lies in the nuances” For this reason, he wanted to highlight “the brilliance of the initiatives that the city had at that time.”

The writer recalled significant events in the history of the city during those years, such as “the opening of the season at the Liceo with ‘La bohème’ at the moment Franco's troops arrived in Barcelona”; “Picasso's first exhibition in the Sala Gaspar” or “The meeting of a group of intellectuals in 1944 to create the Nadal Prize, when the rest of Spain was dark”, an award that, he said, “was won by Carmen Laforet with 'Nothing'” and it was “a fact that proves the bravery of the jury”.

Apart from mentioning that “Barcelona was a pioneer city in the introduction of Jazz” and “the capital of Castilian literature, being home to great authors and editors such as Gabriel García Márquez, Carmen Balcells or Mario Vargas Llosa”, Carlos Abella expressed that “Barcelona has always been a very advanced city that the rest of Spain was amazed at”. Along these lines, the author of Aquella Barcelona also did not want to forget the bullfighting past of the Catalan capital: “Bullfighting was an extraordinary and culturally enriching activity in the 40s and 50s, a time when Barcelona became a universal city that all the bullfighters wanted to return”.

Within the framework of the colloquium, Abella praised the work of “figures linked to the Franco regime who also did very good things for the city”. To do this, he mentioned “Juan Antonio Samaranch, who gave Barcelona its first contact with the sporting world and had the Olympic dream”, something that “was important for Barcelona, since many projects were carried out that managed to rejuvenate it” or “the work of the former mayor José María Porcioles, who made the Ronda del mig possible and who Pasqual Maragall and Jordi Pujol defined as the man who laid the foundations of the city.”

In the exercise of comparing the Barcelona of before with the one of now, the writer looked back at “the time when the 'Barcelona from above' went down to the Rambla to enjoy, because it was where all the fashionable places were”. “There was a time when not everything happened in the elite part of the city”, he added.

Carlos Abella concluded his presentation by defending the thesis that “Barcelona has evolved very well over time and that is due to the coexistence of environmental Francoism with its French and advanced style”.