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  • Thursday, February 28

    Caganers and Politicians

    Catalan caganer with stelada [enlarge]

    Caganers and politicians have one thing in common, they both do the same s***. Caganers do it on the floor and it looks funny, politicians do it everywhere they go to give a speech and pass an antidemocratic law and that is certainly not funny. A caganer can impersonate almost everybody, it depends on the imagination of the artist that designs them. Caganers are used frequently to mock popular personalities although originally these figurines are meant for Nativity scenes. Caganers are from Catalonia and other regions nearby and it is common that they wear Catalan traditional clothes, that is, a white shirt, a barretina (red cap), dark pants and a faixa (a sort of sash or band around the waist). We have seen some interesting examples of caganers in Barcelona Photoblog in the past, as is the case of George Bush next to Fidel Castro and Artur Mas or Rafa Nadal, the famous tennis player. In today's image we see a traditional caganer turning his back on us, surrounded by a bunch of similar fellows and apparently just doing what they do best, dropping their stools, although this time there is a certain difference, he is wearing the Estelada or starred flag that is waved by Catalan independentists that is slightly different from the Senyera, accepted as the official Catalan flag. As you can see, although Caganers still represent the common people and mock almost anything, even politicians, they can be used to send a subtle message to whom it may concern.

    Tuesday, February 12

    Barcelona Carnival 2013: Elvis

    Barcelona Carnival 2013 - Elvis [enlarge]

    Not than an Elvis impersonation is anything new to see specially without glasses but that tupee certainly caught my attention. This picture I took at Plaza Ibiza, Horta quarter once the local parade had come to an end. Participants and spectators joined at the square and started sharing experiences about the event. It's been yet another great year for Barcelona's Carnival this last weekend although technically it comes to an end tomorrow which is Ash Wednesday. Worth mentioning is famous Sitges carnival that really lasts till the very end tomorrow and where many people from Barcelona go to if they have the chance.

    Sunday, February 10

    Barcelona Carnival 2013: Some Days of Pagan Joy

    Barcelona Carnival 2013 [enlarge]

    Carnival in Barcelona is enjoyed with passion, all the passion that a European carnival can have. I mean, this is not Rio with all the moving flesh and the stamina the tropic brings. Within Europe, maybe it is not as beautiful as the one in Venice. In that line of thought, Venetians also tend to be a little rigid when it comes to shaking their hips in comparison to a Brazilian girl, probably in fear that masks fell from their face, who knows? In other words, we celebrate it with joy, shake our butt a little and try to make it as colorful as can be in order to forget for a while about economic crisis and corrupted politicians. In Barcelona, for carnestoltes as it is also known here, there is the big parade or Rua (Catalan) in which each guild shows off their float and group choreography, and then there are small ruas held in parallel celebrations at neighborhood level. As you may know, Carnival starts with Dijous Gras (Fat Thursday) and finishes with Ash Wednesday right when Lent begins. It is based in old pagan winter festivities normally drenched with wine and open to other liberties which Greeks and Romans were so prone to and such habits were later adopted by Christians in their own let's say penitent way, interpreting this brief period as a time for a relaxation break before dealing with the fasting hardships of Lent. Only for a hearty meal and a little wine, of course. Around here, on Ash Wednesday, we make a funeral and bury a sardine, yes, we like to be different. Who wants to have sardines after having so much food and drinks. We have even created the figure of a guy, Carnestoltes, the appointed King of the Carnival, that dies every year, in some towns of a sudden death and in some others including Barcelona, after a public trial in which he is sentenced to death. The king, always ends up burnt to ashes, and as you may have guessed already, sometimes alive and sometimes being already a corpse. Whatever the way, he is given a non religious burial in accordance with his dubious nature and as a way to purify our repentant community from these days of sinful behavior. Obviously there is still a lot of pagan in our Christian souls somehow.

    Friday, February 8

    Barcelona's Twin Towers

     [enlarge]

    Barcelona's Twin Towers, called 'Las Torres Gemelas' in Spanish, are tied for the tallest buildings in the city. At 154 metres tall, the Torre Mapfre (on the right) and the Hotel Arts (on the left) look over the Catalan capital from their location by the beach at Port Olímpic. The Torre Mapfre is owned by insurance company Mapfre and is home to their offices, as well as those of several other companies. Its sister, the Hotel Arts, is quite different as it is one of the city's most luxurious hotels. Many a celebrity has been known to stay in one of the Hotel Arts' 483 rooms that overlook Barcelona's beaches.

    Photo is courtesy of Oh-Barcelona

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    Thursday, February 7

    Offer of the Day, Barri Gotic Shop, Barcelona

    Offer of the day, Barcelona [enlarge]

    Now that the Carnival is starting in Barcelona, is not strange to see someone wearing costumes, in particular people disguised as Star Wars characters so if you come across this mannequin at the entrance of a shop in Carrer Arai, Barri Gotic (Gothic quarter) don't talk to it by mistake as it is probably just the offer of the day. In this case, the dress. I'd like to say that I find this kind of daring welcome more attractive than the classic stuff. Arai street is a very narrow street turning right at Carrer Avinyo.

    Tuesday, February 5

    The Artist and its Work, Las Ramblas, Barcelona

     [enlarge]

    Here is a real artist contemplating his drawing at one of those spots specially assigned to painters and caricaturists along Las Ramblas, Barcelona. Nothing like the pleasure of staring at your work with the satisfaction of having created something you feel proud of. It happens with almost everything in life, and certainly, we are here because we like to create stuff and have goals that make us find a place as individuals in society. Of course you create for yourself but you need some recognition for your creation to be valuable. Being an artist many times depends on just that, good reviews. Although, then, there's the real artist, the one with the gift, like, Mozart for example, people that are great simply because they are, and the only thing you can do about it is bow and worship in awe. In other words, there are gifted souls and the rest of mortals. Within the latter, you've got, individuals that try real hard, and come out with a remarkable result and then there is the mediocre kind, divided into those who accept they are and those who regard themselves as artists. Do what you do, your work is of course respectable because is yours but don't expect everybody to like it. But beware of critics that may be part of that mediocre bunch and their snobbish ways, because sometimes genuine art is judged by shortsighted minds and they are really harmful.

    Monday, February 4

    Smurf icecream, Las Ramblas, Barcelona

    Smurf icecream [enlarge]

    It's winter around here, not too cold but certainly not the best time to have an icecream, but you know, Las Ramblas never sleeps, tourists are always storming the place, going up and down, along the mall and probably more than one person will fall for this luscious sight, the sight of beautiful creamy icecreams like that blue one with the Smurfs on top that in Spanish are known as pitufos
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