On a typical day, upwards of 3000 vacationer would stream via her dwelling. However as Spain’s Near-total lockdown stretches past Easter, Ana Viladomiu has discovered herself weeks into dwelling a near-solitary life in one among Barcelona’s high vacationer points of interest.
For greater than 30 years, Viladomiu has lived in La Pedrera, a modernist jewel constructed greater than a century in the past by famed architect Antoni Gaudí. The passing many years noticed nearly all the opposite tenants transfer out, supplanted by ever rising throngs of tourists lured by the constructing’s rippling stone facade and knotted balconies.
Excursions of the Unesco world heritage website got here to a grinding halt final month as Spain started battling one of many world’s deadliest coronavirus epidemics. “La Pedrera closed its doorways and I stayed inside, like a guardian,” mentioned Viladomiu. “All I hear is my footsteps and silence.”
Two different tenants stay in one other a part of the constructing – separated from Viladomiu with their very own elevator and staircase – whereas a number of safety guards rotate via their shifts unseen. “So I’m actually on my own,” she mentioned.
Her uncommon standing as a tenant in a vacationer attraction got here to mild final 12 months after she revealed a ebook, The Final Neighbour, weaving collectively the historical past of the constructing along with her expertise of dwelling on the fourth ground of an attraction that obtained some 1.three million guests final 12 months.
The ebook hinted on the trade-offs of a life inside the curved surfaces that echo Gaudi’s unfinished Sagrada Familia basilica; from elbowing her manner via crowds to get to her entrance door to the various who peer into her condo as they tour the location.
Like a lot of Spain, nevertheless, the constructing has been reworked in latest weeks by the pandemic. “What stunned me probably the most is the silence,” she mentioned. “I’ve by no means felt alone dwelling right here, this constructing is at all times bustling. Now there may be no one.”
The quiet has its benefits, she famous, similar to the liberty to take out the garbage in pyjamas. “There’s often so many individuals. I might by no means dare take the elevator in a nightgown,” she mentioned with amusing. “Now I’ve been wandering round right here freely. I’m liking that quite a bit.”
She has taken consolation within the constructing’s forged iron pillars, vibrant ethereal courtyards and sculptural nods to nature. “I’m actually privileged to be surrounded by artwork and wonder,” she mentioned. “In these robust moments, they assist carry the spirit.”
Amid indicators that the outbreak in Spain is slowing, the federal government has mentioned it’s finding out the way it would possibly progressively ease the near-total lockdown. However Viladomiu mentioned she was uncertain her solitary standing would finish anytime quickly.
“I’m getting increasingly used to it,” she mentioned. “What’s going to be stunning is that first day after they open the doorways and other people begin pouring in. I’ll be like, ‘Madre mia, what is going on?’”
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