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  • Location: Barcelona



Why a Booktrail?

1980: A young boy vanishes from his boarding school in Barcelona…

  • ISBN: 978-0297856474
  • Genre: Fiction, Gothic, Mystery

What you need to know before your trail

One night, 15-year-old Oscar Drai suddenly vanishes from his boarding school in the old quarter of Barcelona. For seven days and nights no one knows his whereabouts…

His story begins in the heart of old Barcelona, when he meets Marina and her father German Blau, a portrait painter. Marina takes Oscar to a cemetery to watch a macabre ritual that occurs on the fourth Sunday of each month. At 10 a.m. precisely a coach pulled by black horses appears. From it descends a woman dressed in black, her face shrouded, wearing gloves, holding a single rose. She walks over to a gravestone that bears no name, only the mysterious emblem of a black butterfly with open wings.

When Oscar and Marina decide to follow her they begin a journey that will take them to the heights of a forgotten, post-war Barcelona, a world of aristocrats and actresses, inventors and tycoons; and a dark secret that lies waiting in the mysterious labyrinth beneath the city streets.

Travel Guide


“In the late 1970s, Barcelona was a mirage of avenues and winding alleys were one could easily travel thirty or forty years into the past by just stepping into the foyer of a grand old building or walking into a cafe.”

“Time and memory, history and fiction merged in the enchanted city like watercolours in the rain. It was there, in the lingering echo of streets that no longer eixist, that cathedrals and age-old palaces created the tapestry into which this story would be woven”

Visiting the sites in this novel take you to some very interesting places where you can get really lost in the heart and soul of the city so you will feel as if you’ve had your own 7 day adventure! Although not with the same shady characters:

Estació de França

This station is a must see – Funnily enough you will also see many people wandering around – either for trains or just for a look at the architecture.

Sarria  – the Boarding school

There is a place called the desert of Sarria as there are no sandy dunes but the old mansions that had once populated the top end of Paseo de la Bonanova  were in an incipient state of ruin. The streets around the boarding house are taking on the appearance of a ghost town. As he walks to and from school, he notices rusty gates and faceless statues.

Sarria cemetery

Not the cemetery in the book, but this has a certain presence. Just nearby is the Finca Guell – very much like the Sarria streets and cemetery as it’s a hidden corner of the city and is where three Gaudí works include this wrought-iron dragon gate. A dragon gate  – not unlike those in the book.

Streetview Maps

A) Barcelona - Francia station
E) Barcelona - Sarria and Gaudi

Booktrail Boarding Pass:  Marina

Author/Guide: Carlos Ruiz Zafon  Destination: Barcelona Departure Time: 1980

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