Wednesday, June 30

El Born, Carrer de la Princesa in Barcelona: Where The Past Meets The Present

El Born, Carrer de la Princesa in Barcelona [enlarge]

This is the intersection of Carrer de la Princesa stretching ahead in the distance, Carrer del Rec to the left and Carrer d'en Tantarantana to the right which you can explore here in this Google Map street view link of this side of El Born in La Ribera quarter. I thought it was interesting you could compare the picture with the map and have the chance to move around in this old neighborhood of historic narrow alleys. Remember El Born is not just old stones and rickety buildings with balconies full of exuberant plants and clothes lines, of orange butane gas cylinders or barking dogs. El Born is also one of the most active areas in the city when it comes to nightlife, food, shopping and cultural activities.

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Friday, June 25

Riding a Bike Near Arc de Triomf, Barcelona

Riding a Bike Near Arc de Triomf, Barcelona [enlarge]

There's not much I can say in this one. A man riding a small bike near famous Arc de Triomf in Barcelona. Passeig de Lluis Companys, which is the name of this promenade is a beautiful place to explore with your bicycle while taking care of the extra pounds. Our Arch of Triumph has been fully covered in Barcelona Photoblog and I recommend you follow the link as a starting point

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Monday, June 21

Ginseng Root Sample in El Born, Barcelona

Ginseng Root Sample in El Born, Barcelona [enlarge]

Ginseng roots have this peculiar shape which might look kind of bizarre inside a pharmacy container. They remind me of an alien foetus in formaldehyde about to move or some abyssal creature in a natural science museum. But as ugly and uncanny as it may seem, ginseng, derived from the Chinese term rénshēn or "man root", is almost a miraculous plant due to its many virtues when it comes to healing and keeping a healthy balance in our body. I am not familiar with traditional medicine but the age factor is changing my approach towards conventional methods lately. According to what I read, this is good to treat depression, diabetes, cholesterol problems, or even our good old German friend Alzheimer, if you know what I mean. And then there's the eternal concern about impotence which this human-like root seems to handle quite efficiently. Of course, you should consult this with an expert cause there are side effects too. I found this beautiful specimen at a small store in El Born area. According to their description they sell: grains, flour, dried fruit and nuts, herbs, spices, soy, soy milk, pet food, rice, pasta and much more. Here is the location on a map.

Open Mon-Fri 09:15-13.00/16.15-19.30, Sat 09:15-13.30.
Pg Picasso 34, Ciutat Vella, 08003, Barcelona.
Tel: 93 319 7 636

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Wednesday, June 16

Plaça de les Olles, Barri de La Ribera, Barcelona

Plaça de les Olles, Barri de La Ribera, Barcelona [enlarge]

In the old part of town, Barcelona can boast of several squares with this atmosphere of intimacy only given by the very architecture, by the space in between buildings. I mean, behind the next corner you may find a hidden spot with no sidewalks, few trees...sort of esplanades with terrace chairs and a fountain at most. In those places you certainly travel in time and in that sense you are just another old villager, part of the historical settings, part of the scene. A good example is Plaça de les Olles at Barri de La Ribera in the center of El Born. I am not fond of making gratuitous publicity but a few exceptions when it comes to recommending places to visit or enjoy the local food do help. As it happens to be in the picture here is a link to an interesting place to have tapas and taste some excellent wine: El Celler de La Ribera. At least the terrace well deserves spending a buck or two.

Celler de la Ribera
Plaça de les Olles 6, 08003, Barcelona
93 3107845

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Monday, June 14

Flamenco Dancer in Sant Andreu Theater, Barcelona

Flamenco Dancer in Sant Andreu Theater, Barcelona [enlarge]

This is a flamenco dancer performing at Sant Andreu theater. I happened to be there cause my daughter is in a small local dance school near home taking hip hop lessons. They include other styles in their repertoire like flamenco, salsa or bollywood dance so they were giving this end of the course performance where all classes had their chance to show what they learned during the year. We were lucky to sit up front so it was interesting to capture them from a very low angle.

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Thursday, June 10

Playing Petanca, Passeig de Lluis Companys, Barcelona

Playing Petanca, Passeig de Lluis Companys, Barcelona [enlarge]

Here are some retirees playing petanca in Passeig de Lluis Companys, next to Arc de Triomf. This as you know is quite common in Catalonia and I have covered it in a previous post. I like the fact they are standing in groups and they are quite concentrated in the strategy of the game.

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Tuesday, June 8

Moving in Barcelona

Moving in Barcelona [enlarge]

Moving to a different house or apartment in Barcelona is of course as in many cities something very common. It is not strange to see these huge ladders with a lifting platform hanging from balconies here and there. This was not always like that. I remember that in the 80s heavy furniture in general had to reach upper storeys by means of pulleys hanging out from the roof or using the staircase or elevators if any. In the picture, moving service staff at work in one of those El Born buildings with the beautiful arcades right in front of Ciutadella parc.

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Sunday, June 6

Barcelona Railway Stations: Estació de França

Barcelona Railway Stations: Estació de França [enlarge]

Railway stations have that certain nostalgic mood associated to departures, to waving goodbye and leaving your beloved behind. Many times we think of steam, of steel, of ticket collectors and whistles as if we were in the XIX century, maybe evoking famous movies, you know, the kind where the guy runs along all the platform to find the girl and hold her hand or to try in vain to get her off the wagon. After I finished writing these words I found there was a good article about trains in films. Among other things the author talks about the different emotions triggered by a railway station. I think Railways in Film by Jiro Hanyu fits the kind of atmosphere I wanted to portray with this photograph of Estació de França in Barcelona.

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Thursday, June 3

Down El Born Streets

El Born, Barcelona, Spain [enlarge]

Walking down El Born streets in Barcelona. Early in the morning. The smell of night and terraces still fading away, diluting in the puddles left by cleaning city services. Sidewalks populated little by little. Lamp post bulbs still warm. Artists setting up their painting boards. Curious cameras stalking behind corners.

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Tuesday, June 1

Barcelona Bars: Opening Ceremony

Barcelona Bar, El Born [enlarge]

A small bar called Rincón in El Born neighborhood. One of the many terraces in Barcelona city to enjoy the fine weather and the great food. Most of them do not need to be very pretentious to offer good service and quality products for a reasonable price. Before the play begins, the staff needs to set up the stage to amuse the audience. On many occasions these are family businesses as seems to be the case here. This is what we would call el bar de la esquina (the corner's bar), our friendly place to chat over some beers with our neighbors. A tradition that is clearly losing ground to modern times and new business models.

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