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  • Thursday, May 31

    Barcelona Port Mouth: A Quiet Place

    Barcelona Port Mouth: A Quiet Place

    If you entered Barcelona by sea, like say, on board of a Mediterranean Cruiser or your own boat (stop dreaming!), you would necessarily have to see this place as it is the mouth of Barcelona Port . A very quiet place, away from the noisy city which can hardly be seen from this point on the blurry horizon if you could look left of course. Those fishermen you see came walking along the long concrete wall looking for a deep place to throw the bait. I have left the harbor for the open seas twice, one going to Menorca on a big ferry at night and the other, this time, onboard of a sightseeing boat. On both occasions the experience has been very pleasing, I mean, there is so much silence out there when you are alone with your own thoughts watching the hypnotizing beauty of the sea, that you all of a sudden rediscover that you are alive, that you are not attached to the city, to that portion of land and bricks, that you are not a number in the stats but a human being only attached to nature, to Mother Earth.

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    Wednesday, May 30

    Garden Flowers: Musings

    Garden Flowers

    Not the first time I upload some flowers to my photo blog, and certainly I hope it's not the last time. Beauty is all around and as I am not going to have the eye of Ansel Adams for landscapes or Cartier-Bresson's gift for street photography, I'd better concentrate on capturing my modest reality come what may. There is always some art in minor things too. Take for example a bunch of orange flowers in a garden on your way to work or at your neighbors'. You can take a snapshot every time you pass them by and it will always be a different picture, not just because you arranged them in different compositions but because you were many times in a different mood. So art is also a state of mind, it has to do with the soul, with spirituality, and you must be satisfied first with what you create in order to please others. You may be good at it or clumsy as hell, but it's your work, and it is as legitimate as the art of Da Vinci or Michelangelo. This is what I saw, what filled my soul with joy for some milliseconds and now I want to share the scene with you.

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    Tuesday, May 29

    Singers Rehearsing at Colonia Guell, Barcelona

    Singers Rehearsing at Colonia Guell, Barcelona
    © All Rights Reserved

    The day we visited Colonia Guell in the outskirts of Barcelona it was a complete surprise to come across these singers rehearsing in front of the entrance to the crypt (the small church built by Gaudi). They were singing traditional Catalan songs and were supposed to walk towards the center of the small town to enter by surprise in bars to entertain clients.
    Places I stumbled upon today: Flash Face and Running the Numbers

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    Monday, May 28

    Well Guarded Thorny Cactus

    Well Guarded Thorny Cactus or Every Rose Has Its Thorn

    Well guarded secrets have been protected by the sword for centuries and so does nature sometimes with her treasures in many ways. These small flowers perhaps are meant to carry the fruit of this cactus in the long run so they are better kept somewhere safe among these deterrent daggers. Only insects allowed.
    Two interesting links I stumbled upon today: Sidewalk Chalk Guy and Lost Cities.

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    Sunday, May 27

    Mysterious Faces From the Past by Igor Mitoraj

    Street Art in Barcelona: Lying Head

    This has been a busy weekend for me. I have not been able to post right on time and besides I have been all day long participating as vocal at one of the electoral tables during deputy elections. So here is what I've got, an almost mortuary image with a strange attraction. As you can see in the picture these small faces on the base of a pedestal at some bigger sculptoric work by Igor Mitoraj are rather spooky, but that is what makes them more interesting. Here is a link to Igor Mitoraj's work.

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    Saturday, May 26

    Seaside View of the Solar Panel at Barcelona Forum

    Seaside View of the Solar Panel at Barcelona Forum

    This is a view of the huge solar panel overlooking the Forum esplanade, as seen from the sea while onboard one of Las Golondrinas, the sightseeing boats navigating both in the harbour and along the coast. Once you reach the Forum area it is time to turn around and navigate back. You never lose sight of this colossal piece of architecture. As the small boat is too far away to compare with the panel and get an idea of its true size I recommend you enlarge the picture and check those tiny people walking under the 10,500-m2 surface of the photovoltaic cell or solar panel. Check some old pictures of mine from other angles: Other side, underneath and the stairs.

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    Friday, May 25

    Waiting for the Bridge: Rambla de Mar, Barcelona



    These people were waiting for the bridge at Moll d'Espanya to close again after letting boats sail into the marina. The wooden platform and the path along the bridge towards Maremagnum, the big leisure center, is called Rambla de Mar. The bridge was designed by Albert Viaplana, professor of Architectural Project at the School of Architecture of Barcelona University and Helio Piñon, his partner, teaching at the school since 1970 and co-editor of Arquitecturas-bis since 1974. They are responsible for major projects in the city so I suggest you check their work here Viaplana & Piñon. Here is a Google Earth Map with a view of the bridge at Rambla de Mar and Maremagnum.

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    Thursday, May 24

    Fideua: Paella Made with Pasta

    Fideua: Paella Made with Pasta

    Following with the odd image carrousel on which Barcelona Photoblog is often riding, lets introduce Spanish Fideua, the pasta version of widely known rice paella. As the name suggest you need noodles (fideos Sp.), but not any kind of noodles. A good fideua is made with capelli d'angelo or vermicelli noodles. Like classic paella, seafood is an essential part of the recipe. When cooking any of both bear in mind that you can obtain a delicious dish either by packing the pan with all ingredients you can or by adding just the right spices and a most tasty kind of fish, its stew and fresh seashells. Whatever way you choose don't spoil it all by overcooking the pasta (or the rice in the case of paella). Here is one of the most simple and well explained fideua recipes I found and here is another much more elaborate. During popular celebrations in Spain it is not strange to see these pans or bigger ones (called paelleras or paellas) full of fideua or paella indistinctly to treat passerbyes (sometimes you have to pay for it). This man in Terrasa near Barcelona, was being followed anxiosly by a hungry pack of humans ominously approaching for the feast.

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    Wednesday, May 23

    Cactus Flowers

    Cactus Flowers

    As I was missing my flower posts and I had a terrible need for colors again I've decided to display some tiny cacti full of "flowers". As I am not an expert in Botany here is a specific link to the so called cactus flowers. I try not to turn Barcelona Photoblog into a nature photography site but I am color addicted and I guess I am not the only one. To add some valuable content to the picture here is the web adress to the Botanic Garden of Barcelona.

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    Tuesday, May 22

    Topsy-Turvy Confidence

    Topsy-Turvy Confidence

    Being upside down, hanging from just one foot and depending on your partner's firm hold to keep your head safe some meters above the ground simply takes guts and a blind confidence in your fellow trapezist. This circus act took place in Terrasa near Barcelona recently (remember my previous post about the Perch Act). I added a vignette action in Photoshop to blur the distracting blue sign on the left.

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    Monday, May 21

    Street Art in Barcelona: Lying Head

    Street Art in Barcelona: Lying Head

    Barcelona Photoblog continues with Igor Mitoraj sculptures series. This time, a huge hollow head in the middle of Rambla Catalunya, like some long forgotten totem left behind by an unknown ancient civilization. I close my eyes and I imagine myself diving in a lost world, maybe Atlantis, and seeing the bottom littered with hundreds of these and perhaps part of the 500,000 coins found by US Odyssey submarine who recently claimed to have discovered one of the biggest hoards in a wreckage ever.

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    Sunday, May 20

    Igor Mitoraj: Hold me Tight

    Igor Mitoraj: Hold me Tight

    This is a detail of one of the sculptures disclosed recently along Rambla de Cataluña between Gran Via and Consell de Cent by artist Igor Mitoraj. I forgot to write down the name so I had to give it this title (sorry Igor!). Most of the statues appear fragmented or eroded, and evoke classic sculpture although with a modern approach. There are 20 sculptures in all, and some of them two or three times the size of a person, so it is really impressive to take a walk and see them standing among the crowd. The work of this Polish sculptor will remain on site till next July 1th and if you want to see more visit CaixaForum where some of his marble statues and sketches are also exhibited. In coming days I will show you some more pictures although it was hard to be original over there as there were photographers of all levels capturing them from every possible angle.

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    Saturday, May 19

    Folk Dancers near Barcelona

    Folk Dancers near Barcelona

    Today I would like to resume an old post of mine. It was called People in Catalonia: Dancers. I don't know if this happens to you but everytime I shoot I take several pictures about a single subject and then due to the nature of our photoblogs I am unable to post them all, or what's worse I end up publishing just the one I didn't like so much. Perhaps back in November 10, 2006 I should have posted today's picture, who knows? At least in this image you can appreciate the costumes better. If you want to know more about these dancers or the town, Monistrol, don't forget to click on the labels below.

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    Friday, May 18

    A Dalinian Friend: Portrait

    A Dalinian Friend: Portrait

    A friend of mine, while we were having dinner at one of those tourist packed terraces in front of Barcelona marina. I don't remember the name of the restaurant, maybe the Rey de la Gamba or similar. The point is that he was sitting next to my daughter, laughing and joking and suddenly gave me this stern look, with his peculiar moustache and I couldn't help thinking of that famous Dali portrait. Portrait photography is not one of my gifts so I try to learn about the light, the focal length, the best aperture and most important identify myself with the subject to trap that inner something. I can't teach you portrait photography cause I have a long way to go myself but I will recommend a good tutorial on how to take portraits to start over with and the work of a couple of modern photographers that serve as an inspiration to me. One is the solid work of Istoica and the other the provocative art in David Lachapelle's collection of portraits.

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    Thursday, May 17

    Moritz Beer is Here to Stay

    Moritz Beer is Here to Stay

    Moritz is an old brand of beer still present in the collective mind of Barcelona, in spite of the fact that the factory was shut down in 1978 due to financial problems. Moritz became the first big brewery in Spain by 1864 although it had been founded some years before (in 1856) as a small factory in the Raval quarter by Louis Moritz Trautman, an Alsatian brewer. Moritz company came to life again in 2004 and the 1864 brewery of Ronda Sant Antoni was commissioned to famous architect Jean Nouvel for restoration. The place is to become a new leisure and gastronomic project called “Fábrica Moritz” and is due to open in 2007. As a curiosity you should know that the basement of the building is a wonderful sample of XIX industrial architecture according to experts. The brand is easily recognizable by a blue M on top of a canary yellow background as seen in this picture of a van at the entrance of Fira de Barcelona venue. The company has reinvented itself not long ago by means of an aggressive and clever marketing campaign that associates itself with major Barcelona city assets. Its most fierce competitors San Miguel and Estrella Damm (featured in Barcelona Photoblog some months ago, see Damm Group post here), are still the predominant brands, especially Estrella, but Moritz is squeezing itself into the little niches big brothers neglect such as a more direct relationship with clients, an impeccable efficiency in production (now you can buy it almost at any bar in Barcelona after only two years of relaunching itself), an attractive design and what's more important an exquisite flavor.

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    Wednesday, May 16

    Fountains of Montjuic in Barcelona. A Winter Photograph

    Fountains of Montjuic in Barcelona. A Winter Photograph

    This is a winter photograph I have picked up from Barcelona Photoblog archives. It depicts a line of small dry fountains as I am walking down the stairs on my way to Plaza España from Fira de Barcelona venues. In fact, the real Montjuic fountains, those that are illuminated to the beat of the music every September 24th during La Mercè celebrations are the ones you see in the roundabout. But these modest ones always call my attention and now after so much time I notice again the non-polluted light of the winter sun illuminating that perfect diagonal that I had accidentally overlooked in my previous daily publishing. For a bird's eye view of the place why don't you take a look at this Google Earth snap.

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    Tuesday, May 15

    Mosaic Wall Signs at Park Guell. Why Park?

    Parc Guell: Serpentine Bench

    Although on looking at the thumbnail (some of you come through the City Daily Photo Blog portal or directly searching for Barcelona pictures in Google images) you might think these are a couple of hand wrist Swatch watches nothing could be further from the truth. These are the two mosaics found on the wall at the entrance of Park Guell, which were made following the trencadis technique used by Antoni Gaudi. For English speakers the name is completely normal but it is odd for us that it reads Park and not parc (Cat.) or parque (Sp.). Why "Park"? Basically because the place was initially conceived to be a sort of city on the lap of the mountain based upon the Garden City model by British inventor, Ebenezer Howard, who impressed by a futuristic novel published in 1888 and some other preceding works created his own Utopian plan about a garden city, a new home for an idyllic society that would make a better world. Remember that Gaudi and his art patron Eusebi Güell i Bacigalupi were very influenced by the modern ideas of those times, coming from Europe and the United States, and besides, they were very religious men. About the image, I should say they were taken on a dull weather day and are not especially my favorite, in fact, I think the idea of mixing both words in one is not new but they surely have helped me make my point about the origin of the name.

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    Monday, May 14

    Old Trades: The Basket Weaver

    Medieval Stonecutter
    © All Rights Reserved

    The new week is here so we must all get back to work as we have been doing for centuries. Work wouldn't be the way we know it now, if it weren't for those medieval craftsmen who developed their skill at so many different trades in the Middle Ages. Man was no longer a serf bowing before the landowner but a laborer, a freeman and in doing so he developed his intellect, his culture and came out of the darkness. Here is this basket weaver at the Medieval Fair in Súria near Barcelona. I have dealt with this famous market in previous posts. Feel free to explore them using Blogger labels right below.

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    Sunday, May 13

    Yellow and Red Flowers for Mothers Day 2007

    Yellow and Red Flowers for Mothers Day 2007
    *© This Picture is Free

    Although here in Barcelona Mothers Day was celebrated last Sunday, I would like to wish all mothers in the world a very beautiful anniversary to enjoy in the company of her beloved sons and daughters. To them I send them these impressive flowers, you may use them as wallpapers, print them, sell them, this particular picture I give everyone for free. Happy Mothers Day 2007!

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    Saturday, May 12

    Castles: Salvana Tower at Santa Coloma de Cervello

    Castles: Salvana Tower at Santa Coloma de Cervellò
    © All Rights Reserved

    An abandoned castle near Colonia Guell in Santa Coloma de Cervelló, Barcelona city. Known as Salvana Tower, the castle was first documented in 992, the year it was sold by Ramón Borrel i Ermengol to the lord of Masquefa castle whose heirs first acquired the Cervelló name and the title of Baron until 1297. After that it was occupied by different illustrious families until 1857. Most of the castles I see here in Catalonia are lost up there in the mountains and I rarely have time to take my camera and climb up for some good pictures, so being this close has been an interesting experience. It is a pity that being so near to Gaudi's Colonia Güell , nothing is done to restore the tower, at least. Behind the building there is a beautiful valley the dwellers must have been scrutinizing constantly for different reasons and in between, the highway to Barcelona.

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    Friday, May 11

    Lonely White Dandelion on a Sea of Green

    Send Flowers For Mothers Day 2007
    © All Rights Reserved

    Gosh, I was tired that everybody had the classic photo of a white dandelion and I didn't. Maybe you don't, what are you waiting for? I have seen them from all angles, and focal distances, fully or partially blown. Take a look at a big stock of Dandelion photographs at Shutterstock for example. So there was I walking merrily down the park when I was bewildered by this lonely and tiny dandelion lost in a sea of green, calling me before the wind blew him away. Yeah I know, second post in a row pretending to be a poet, weren't they dead? Alas, behold
    what I found, hark!: White Dandelion

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    Thursday, May 10

    Reflections of a Little Girl

    Reflections of a Little Girl
    © All Rights Reserved

    Reflections of a little girl in a little hat blue; she couldn't care less about the future on earth the way you do, the way you do. They told me she was standing there, the other day in solitude, talking with her other self that wouldn't tell the hidden clue: the way to see the world beyond, where right is left and dreams come true.

    Trivia: As you now Joost is in beta and recently it has associated with the big media. So the TV of the future is cooking right there and Barcelona Photoblog has been invited as a friend to try the channel catalog in Joost. My opinion? It works and it rocks! And gee that just looks great full size in my 19 inches screen. Live streaming, no interruptions or jamming, resizable window, widgets including chat, news, clock, etc and the main course, the catalog. A little scarce as of now but fully customizable. I captured a Joost screenshot so you had a glimpse of the future of television on the web.

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    Wednesday, May 9

    Iron Bridge Over Onyar River in Gerona, Spain

    Iron Bridge Over Onyar River in Gerona, Spain
    © All Rights Reserved

    Remember the view from a bridge over River Onyar in Gerona, this was the old iron bridge where I was standing that day. As usual it seems weird that this photo blog travels to another city being a blog about Barcelona and neighbouring towns. I once said that as long as it was in Catalonia on the one hand and was good for Barcelona Photoblog interests on the other hand some exceptions could be made. So revisionists, critics, purists, friend or foe, here I go with my image of the bridge over the Onyar river, one of the four rivers surrounding the city of Girona, the ancient Gerunda, inhabited by Iberians, Romans, Visigoths, Moors, Jews and even the French.

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    Tuesday, May 8

    Circus: Perch Act. The Human Flag

    Circus: Perch Act. The Human Flag
    © All Rights Reserved

    Talking about being lucky and random photography: We came across this show in Terrassa (in the outskirts of Barcelona) where a small group of artists was performing as part of the public activities organized by local authorities. The place was crowded and we were a little at a loss since this was only our second time in town. I took pictures of many artists but one of the acts really caught my eye: there were these two men, one holding a big pole on straps and the other climbing to the top with feline agility, they were doing the Perch Act. Notice the impossible pose of this guy, with his legs fully extended like some sort of human flag or vane pointing in the direction of the wind. I managed to take a picture of them backstage and to hear their names over the loudspeaker. Well, now thanks to the magic of the web and the little traces of memory I have left, I found out that these two men are well known in the circus world and the media. Here is their official site and some beautiful pictures. Ladies and gentlemen: Luciano Martin and Kike Aguilera from Zahir Circo. Let the show begin!

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    Monday, May 7

    Two Little Ladies Looking in The Mirror

    Two Little Ladies Looking in The Mirror
    © All Rights Reserved

    This picture of two little girls having fun in front of a distorting mirror in Terrassa near Barcelona is one of those you like before you arrive home and sit to browse your work. No matter how much I plan my pictures I always come to the conclusion that spontaneous snapshots taken with a little luck end up pleasing me more by the end of the day. I chose this image to participate in the 24 Hours of Flickr Group and with it I hope the antiflower group take a little rest.

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    Sunday, May 6

    Barcelona Guided Tours

    Barcelona Guided Tours
    © All Rights Reserved

    This is one of the many sightseeing buses in the city. They add up color not only visually but also literally to your skin. On top of a double deck bus you really get a good tan. As you can see Barcelona Tours has an official site where you can learn about the routes and book tickets online. In the image, Christopher Columbus Monument right in front of Barcelona Harbour. Check labels for similar pictures and info.

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    Saturday, May 5

    Plants and Flowers: Carpobrotus Modestus

    Send Flowers For Mothers Day 2007
    © All Rights Reserved

    This is a Carpobrotus Modestus. A succulent perennial herb with flowers that can be pink, purple or blue. I got a snapshot of one of them to share its beauty with you.
    I wish you all a nice weekend.

    Friday, May 4

    Send Flowers For Mothers Day 2007

    Send Flowers For Mothers Day 2007
    © All Rights Reserved

    On the first Sunday of May we in Barcelona and the whole of Spain celebrate Mothers Day. Unlike the United States, Denmark, Finland, Italy, Turkey, Australia, Belgium just to mention some of the countries that celebrate Mothers Day on the second Sunday, we will be busy till next May 6th trying to find a good present, writing a beautiful postcard, stealing the most precious flowers from our neighbors or looting the nearest park (hey this is just a joke!). Many of my visitors' mothers will have to wait until next week, some others already got their present as it is the case of the UK, but the important thing is that we all think of that very important person in your life and buy her a nice bouquet or at least a small bunch of flowers like the ones in my picture.
    Note: This also includes surrogate mothers, mothers-in-law, stepmothers, mothers-to-be, adoptive mothers, etc. Find a good quote here but try to write your own card or poem for Christ sake!

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    Thursday, May 3

    Colonia Guell: Windows - A Futurist Vista

    Colonia Guell: Windows - A Futuristic Vista
    © All Rights Reserved

    These windows with futurist design at the crypt in Colonia Guell, Barcelona are more credible in a manga film, an avant-garde video game or a scifi illustration than drawn from the mind of a visionary architect in the XIX century. Gaudi in his constant search for perfection, beauty, divine inspiration and architectural challenges came out with these sort of armored skylights to absorb as much natural light as possible. The impossible lines of the building, the innovative stained glass work inspired in natural themes, the odd shape of the windows confirm the wonderful, almost supernatural, futurist vista of Gaudian architecture.

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    Wednesday, May 2

    World Trade Center Barcelona: A Close Look

    Barcelona World Trade Center
    © All Rights Reserved

    This is a close look on World Trade Center Barcelona (WTCB) at the end of Moll de Barcelona (moll means "wharf"). Built by Henry N. Coob of Pei, Coob, Freed & Partners, also known by his Hancock tower in Boston, WTCB is an eight storey complex divided in four buildings. Three of them, WTC North, WTC South and WTC East hold offices and the fourth is the Eurostars Grand Marina Hotel. Grand Marina with its 273 rooms is a 5 star GL hotel. Here is a map with an impressive view and helpful information. I got this picture from the deck of a sightseeing boat. If you use the cable car or teleferic which happens to have one of his towers (Torre de Jaume I, the intermediate station which is 158m/519ft) in front of the hotel you will have a privileged aerial view of WTCB and the cruiser terminals on the same wharf. Zurbaran is one of the ships that belong to Acciona Trasmediterranea, a company sailing to the Balearic Islands, the Canary Islands, Ceuta and Melilla. See Zurbaran coming out of Maon port in Menorca. There are international cruises in Barcelona port too departing from Adossat Wharf nearby but that is part of another story.

    Now, commercials: Remember that now you can book anything you can think of from Barcelona Photoblog as for example cruises. Not that I am in the travel business myself. I think this is a new way of financing my photography while helping visitors find the best choice for travelling in Barcelona. There are more travel options at the bottom of each post (perhaps booking a room at Grand Marina Hotel!). Please tell me if you find this annoying in any way.

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    Tuesday, May 1

    No War, More Graffiti

    No War, More Graffiti
    © All Rights Reserved

    As part of the XIII Solidarity Party organized by Intermon Oxfam (member of Oxfam International) some days ago at Moll de la Fusta in Barcelona, visitors had the opportunity to unleash their creativity on an improvised wall. See this young man here, expressing his ideas about war on a colorful mural. Graffiti fans might think it a decaf way of street art but anything counts if it is for a good cause.

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