Words that I have Known: Urquinaona

While it has happened that I have taken pictures of Metro signs in the past, I’ve never really talked about the name of my favorite Metro stop in all of Barcelona: Urquinaona. There is nothing that makes this stop any better than the others, except for it’s vowel-laden name. I never really knew what the name was all about until reading that it’s the name of the former bishop of Barcelona, José María de Urquinaona y Vidot. So, all it is, is the name of a Catholic bishop from 1878. This really isn’t so interesting after all, but it still does nothing to tarnish my love of this word that rumbles around in the mouth and when properly pronounced sounds like a bubbling brook.
I guess it’s really not that hard to say if you are up on your Spanish (or ahem, Catalan) pronunciation guidelines, but still it can be a tongue twister. To really say it right, watch the first half hour or so of L’Auberge espagnole and you’ll see the main character, Xavier, encounter himself on the street and tell himself how to say the word correctly. It’s a good moment in a great film that really should be a must-see for all those heading to Barcelona to experience more than just the beach.
So remember, Urquinaona. It’s a great word and while it probably got José beat up as child (but what doesn’t?) it lives on in Barcelona, slightly slanted on directional Metro signs and perfectly horizontal the street signs above the station, directing millions of tourists a year who probably don’t get these four consonants and six vowels stuck in their head nearly as much as I do.
Words that I have Known: Urquinaona