Sunday, April 19

Exploring Spain’s Neighbour - Four Top Lisbon Experiences

Spain and Portugal have a great deal in common with architecturally magnificent romantic cities, picturesque beaches, clear blue oceans and an endless supply of beautiful people. We have spent time providing the reader with everything they would want to know about the hustle and bustle of Barcelona, but what about a short skip across the border and into the wonderful Portuguese capital of Lisbon? Here are four experiences that make Lisbon well worth the visit.

1. Comfy Accommodation

Although there are many luxurious hotels available, if it is the true Portuguese experience that you are after, why not spend your nights in one of the many cosy cottages that are spread across the land. These warm guest houses offer visitors a chance to achieve the Portuguese housetrip experience and the traditions that come along with it.

2. Lisbon Zoo

With over 2000 animals on show at this beautiful zoo, this is definitely a must-see for people of all ages. It is easy to lose track of time here, spending hours enjoying the weird and wonderful creatures that call this planet their home. Two of the most popular attractions, that see people flocking from all over the world to enjoy, have to be the extremely rare White Tigers, as well as the majestic Mountain Gorillas.

3. Amphibious Hippotrip Tour

If you are the type of person that believes city tours are for boring old-timers, then you have obviously never heard of the exciting Hippotrips. What may begin as a simple city tour quickly turns into something straight out of a James Bond film, as your tour vehicle darts off straight into the heart of the River Tagus. This amphibious excursion provides a memorable way to learn all there is to know about this beautiful city.

4. Castelo de São Jorge

Close your eyes and think about the most luxurious looking fairy tale castle that you can imagine. The image that you have in your mind right now is probably pretty close to what the amazing Castelo de São Jorge looks like. If you think this structure is mind-blowing from a distance, just wait until you have a chance to experience the mesmerising 360 degree views of the city below, from atop the massive castle walls.

Tuesday, March 3

The Top 5 Architectural Masterpieces of Barcelona


Barcelona is Europe’s capital of architecture. From modernist wonders to gothic palaces, the city has some of the best buildings you’ll find anywhere. Anyone who loves architecture takes a pilgrimage to Barcelona at least once in their lifetime. 

You don’t need to be an expert to appreciate and be enthralled by what Barcelona has to offer architecturally though. Maybe you’re just visiting the city and are looking to take in some cultural goodness.

 I’d recommend taking a holiday to Barcelona just to explore its architecture, as there’s nowhere else on Earth like it. Find a cheap place to stay, like one of the Housetrip apartments, and then walk the city and see its buildings. There are many more but here are my top 5 buildings you should see next time you’re in Barcelona.  


Santa Maria del Mar (1384)

The Santa Maria del Mar is perhaps the finest example of Catalan Gothic architecture in Barcelona. It’s a beautiful, medieval church built in the 14th century. It is quite rare for buildings from this period to be so visually striking in their specific character. 

The interior is an incredible sight to behold. The outside might give the impression that the church is relatively small and cramped. But once you step inside you’re hit by the enormity and spaciousness of the place.

 


Casa Vicens (1880s)

Among the first buildings ever built by the great architect Antoni Gaudi, Casa Vicens was originally made for a rich family. It’s now a UNESCO World Heritage site. 

The building is very unusual, the shape is asymmetrical and looks very different depending on where you stand to look at it. It’s made of stone and brick, and is decorated with coloured ceramic tiles. It’s weirdness has a strange charm.  


Casa Amatller (1900)

As the name suggests, Casa Amatller was built as a family home for the Amatller family at the very start of the last century. It was designed in the Modernisme style of Barcelona at the time. It is situated in Illa de la Discordia, the area known for its strong modernist architecture. 

The building was designed by Josep Puig i Cadafalch, who was one of the country’s greatest architects alongside Antoni Gaudi.
 

  
Palace of Catalan Music (1908)

The Palace of Catalan Music (Palau de la Música Catalana) was commissioned by the Orfeó Català choral society. The society wanted to start a new cultural movement aiming for a rebirth of Catalan art. 

There are no straight lines on the building; it’s all modernist curves and wonderfully dynamic shapes. It is still used for musical concerts to this day. It’s a building that is both beautiful and functional, true to the original notions of modernism.  


Barcelona Pavilion (1929)

The Barcelona Pavilion (Pabellón Alemán) was designed by a German architect; Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. It was a pioneering building as it was incredibly simplistic and minimalist. It’s all flat lines and smooth surfaces. 

It was made for the opening of the 1929 International Exposition in Barcelona. It’s now considered a cornerstone of contemporary architecture.

 

Friday, January 23

Demon Living Statue in Las Ramblas

Demon Living Statue

Watch out when you walk down Las Ramblas in Barcelona, you could fall in the claws of a demon and lose your pure soul forever, although for many of us sinners, it would be too late. I don't know who is more amusing here, the statue or the victims. This demon is a classic figure within the bunch of well known human statues spread over the famous walk. Here is another example of living statues featured in Barcelona Photoblog in the past.

Sunday, November 23

Spicy Orange Cow at Tapas Bar in Barcelona

Spicy Orange Cow at Tapas Bar, Barcelona

Some bars and shops in Barcelona feature these well known cows that originally were meant as public art as part of the cowparade and that as everything popular in this life ended up getting into the advertising business to reinvent themselves and get some extra cash to invest in public art. Who knows? 

I leave you with this poor cow that has to sell spicy sauces in a tapas bar at Rambla Catalunya in Barcelona. There were better examples published here in Barcelona Photoblog in the past: Ms. Moolevard on the Boulevard and Emdea by Pavel Lagner

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