Never on a Sunday: The tall tale of an Iberian Roland, Part 3

“L’avió del Tibidabo” or Tibi-Air, the best known and most iconic ride of the Tibidabo amusement park, Barcelona, Catalonia.

Welcome back, my reading friend. Do you remember what this text is all about? The nearly all metal Rohrbach Ro VIII Roland? Heywood “Woody” Allen? No? No matter. You can read Parts 1 and 2 of this article later on. For now, let us proceed. The Madrid-Barcelona and Barcelona-Madrid flights of December 1927, organised by Iberia, Compañía Aérea de Transportes Sociedad anónima and mentioned in the first part of this article, so impressed a group of people that they decided to keep their memory alive. These individuals operated an amusement / theme park located on top of the Tibidabo, a hill overlooking the fair city of Barcelona, Catalonia. Opened in 1901, the Tibidabo amusement park, the largest in the region, was still going strong as of late 2017. Some of its rides are almost a century old.

What did the owners of the Tibidabo do to keep the memory of the December 1927 flights alive, you ask, my thirsty for knowledge reading friend? Well, in September 1928, they inaugurated a new ride: a near full size single-engined replica of a Roland airliner, the very type used for the 1927 flights, mounted at one end of a gigantic rotating arm. Much of the circuit went, and still goes, in 2017, over the edge of a building, with a lot of empty space below. The propeller of the replica is said to provide the thrust needed to make it go all the way around. Yours truly must admit he finds this hard to believe but let’s not dwell. Originally painted yellow, “l’avió del Tibidabo” or Tibi-Air, as it is also known, was painted red many years ago. It is arguably the best known and most iconic ride of the Tibidabo. Tibi-Air came down from its perch for the first time in January 2017, to undergo restoration. It went back up in June, to much acclaim.

Tibi-Air was briefly visible, well behind two characters, played by Penélope Cruz, born Penélope Cruz-Sánchez, and Scarlet Johansson, in Vicky Cristina Barcelona, a well received and multi award winning movie from 2008 directed by none other than, tadaaa, Heywood “Woody” Allen.

Being absent for a few days next week, may I wish you the best for the holiday season.

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Rénald Fortier