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Friday, December 11, 2015

Crypt Pillars and Ceiling at Sagrada Familia Cathedral



Close your eyes and think about architecture, try to establish a pattern of what is something astonishingly beautiful for you and for people in general and I am sure that when you open them again you will hardly come even closer to what Antoni Gaudi should have had in his mind when he created these beautiful pillars and that odd ceiling for his Sagrada Familia Cathedral. Who would have thought of such daring strange shapes then, by the end of the XIX century and who can think of them right now unless you take a computer and use an advanced software to calculate mathematical possibilities for architectural impossibles.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

10 Fun Things to Do in Barcelona



Barcelona is among the most popular choices in the world, when it comes to holiday destinations. This is because there are so many great things to do there – like these ten.

  1. Taking a stroll
Barcelona offers great weather for wandering and attractions unique to the city. Montjuic Castle, Parc de Joan Miro and Parc de la Ciutadella are among the stunning parks and buildings that you can enjoy at any time of the year.

  1. Take in a concert
While Barcelona is home to many concert venues, perhaps the best is Gran Teatre del Liceu. Fromthe luxurious red carpeting and gold leaf, to performances of Beethoven, Wagner and the annual Christmas concert, this is a pleasure to visit.

  1. Take the Picasso tour
Picasso spent his youth in Barcelona and you can grab the chance to visit haunts like the site of his former home on C/Merce, hit Els 4 Gats, where he spent time with the likes of Salvador Dali and finish at the Museu Picasso.

  1. Attend a Barcelona match
Barcelona is a city passionate about football and for anyone with an interest in sport, avisit to Camp Nou will be essential. Obviously this is best outside of summer, so you can take in a La Liga fixture.

  1. Tibidabo
This enormous mountain overlooks the city and yet many visitors neglect it. During the summer months it will provide superb views of the entire city.

  1. Las Ramblas
This area of the city is very tourist-heavy, but still well worth a visit – especially off-season. Then you will best be able to enjoy the shops, street performances and colour of this vibrant locale.

  1. Steel Donkey Ride
This means a bicycle, but the rides take in less touristy spots – such as El Borne’s back streets, the Gracia village district and the Poblenou ruins. This is perfect for anyone who wants a more individual experience of Barcelona.

  1. Skateboarding
Perhaps surprisingly, Barcelona is a European skateboarding centre, and a visit to the Plaza del Angels will be the ideal activity for any teenagers you have with you.

  1. Visit the Casino Barcelona
The city has several casinos, but the Casino Barcelona is the best. Poker is the popular game here, with the numerous tournaments having built the reputation of this casino. If you don’t fancy the hassle of going to actual casino try some online mobilepokies with sites such as mobilecasinoaustralia in the comfort of your own room. However you will also find slots and other table games in the actual casino.

  1. Try the cuisine
One of the best restaurants for sampling local Basque cuisine like Pinxtos is Euskal Etxea, making this a great stop for those who want the authentic culinary experience.

There is so much to sample in Barcelona, if you research and explore a little.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

The Best Spanish Restaurants in Hawaii



Hawaii offers plenty of culture throughout its many islands. But if you want to try something a little different and you are tired of having the local cuisine, rest assured that there are also several Spanish restaurants that you are sure to love. Check out some of the best Spanish restaurants in Hawaii in the list below so that you can plan for a fun night out with your date or your family.

Coquito's

Coquito's is a great Spanish restaurant that is located in Waianae on the island of Oahu. It is ranked one of the top restaurants in Waianae, so you definitely will not go wrong by having lunch or dinner there. The food is authentic Spanish cuisine, and the service is impeccable, with friendly staff that is prompt. Plus, the price is right for the value that you get for the money at this eatery, so you can definitely splurge on a large meal that your entire family will love.

Grondin

Offering delicious Spanish cuisine, Grondin is an ideal spot for those seeking the perfect place to eat on a Friday night or during the weekend. The menu is reasonably priced and there are plenty of food and drink options available to satisfy everyone's cravings. Many people who visit are pleasantly surprised by the bit of Spanish and French fusion on the menu, and they also really enjoy the atmosphere and overall vibe of this establishment as well. And because it is conveniently located in Honolulu on the island of Oahu, you can enjoy this restaurant many times throughout your stay if you are planning on being in Honolulu.

Bar Acuda

If you are planning on staying at a top Kauai hotel, look no further than Bar Acuda, which is one of the best restaurants on the island. This establishment features locally sourced, fresh ingredients that are perfectly paired together to provide you with an array of Mediterranean options, from Spanish and Portuguese, to Italian and French cuisine. It is also one of the best places to relax with your friends, sip on delicious wine, and share tapas with one another.

Cactus

Cactus is a restaurant located in Kailua on the island of Oahu, and it offers a mix of Spanish, South American, Chilean, Latin, Brazilian, and Mexican cuisine, so there is definitely a wide variety of options on the menu and many different flavors to enjoy. Head over there for a fun happy hour with delicious drinks and appetizers, or go for a full dinner complete with dessert. No matter what you choose, the service will be friendly and accommodating, and you are sure to have a great time.
Remember that, in addition to heading out to these Spanish restaurants, you can also enjoy other local and global cuisine throughout the Hawaiian Islands. Many of the resorts on the islands, such as Koloa Landing Resort, even have their own award-winning restaurants on-site, so you definitely do not have to go very far to enjoy an unforgettable meal during your trip.

Guest post

Thursday, October 1, 2015

El Vaso de Oro: Authentic La Barceloneta Style Tapas



They say that an image is worth a thousand words, so see for yourselves in a nutshell all that El Vaso de Oro can give you and don't just take my word for granted.

Notice that the place is crowded with people that look pretty satisfied with the quality of the food, the special charm of the place and the friendly professional waiters (that one leaning on the counter, is an authentic showman and almost the soul of the bar). But let's go with the food, cause no matter how warm the atmosphere is, you go there to entertain your stomach and then let your mind do the rest.

El Vaso de Oro is well known for its Solomillo con Foie (Sirloin and foie gras), which is highly recommended but it also serves great Ensaladilla Rusa or delicious croquettes. Besides that, you can try their Patatas Bravas (fried diced potatoes with spicy sauce) or the great variety of seafood and why not their good serrano ham. Considering they have an exquisite draft beer of their own and the fact that they really know how to pour one in a flute glass, I can say that what you really have to worry about is your diet and how sober you'll get back home.

All in all, this is a small and rather noisy bar with an attractive decoration and a lot of history behind. Be prepared to eat while standing behind other lucky customers that take long to leave their seats. Be prepared to fight a little bit to be heard and served, but rest assured that you will enjoy good tapas in a traditional La Barceloneta neighbourhood style. 

El Vaso de Oro: Address: Carrer Balboa, 6
Phone: +34 933 19 30 98

Monday, August 24, 2015

Cloister at Santa Maria de Santes Creus Monastery, Tarragona, Catalonia



This splendid Gothic cloister arcade can be admired at one of the gems of Cistercian art in Catalonia, the Santa Maria de Santes Creus monastery (1160). Cistercian architecture is well known for its austerity, following the precepts of Abbot Bernard of Clairvaux (St. Bernard), who was against any sort of superfluous adornment that distracted monks from their religious path. Although the original cloister was Romanesque in style, most of it was demolished and replaced by this sober but admirable Gothic architecture. Santes Creus is not the only Cistercian monastery built throughout the 12th century in Catalonia there are also the monastery of Poblet (1150) and Vallbona de les Monges (1157). Santa Maria de les Santes Creus holds the royal tombs of Peter the Great and of James II and his wife Blanca of Anjou, as well as the great admiral Roger de Llúria. How to go from Barcelona to Santes Creus Monastery

Monday, August 17, 2015

New Stained Glass Windows at Sagrada Familia Cathedral



Here is a detail of one of the stain glass windows at Sagrada Familia Cathedral. Many of these stained glass works of art are meant to harmonize with the light according to the season and the hour of day. Inside the cathedral, you notice that on the Nativity side green and blue tones are predominant, colors that announce Jesus birth, in opposition to red, yellow and orange on the Passion side. New stain glass has been designed by artist Joan Vila-Grau following strict original indications by Gaudi.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Quick Tips for Choosing a Hotel in Barcelona

Jorge Franganillo

Whenever you book a trip, one of the most important decisions to make is where to stay. Even if you're hoping to spend your time out and about, a good night's sleep is essential. You don't want to be kept awake by partying downstairs, next door or outside. And you certainly don't want to spend your time in Barcelona staying in a dirty or unsafe room. Whether you go for cheap and cheerful, or you're looking for the ultimate luxury, choosing the right hotel could make or break your vacation. Try using the tips below to pick the right place for you and have an enjoyable time in Barcelona.

Set Your Budget
The first thing you should decide is how much money you want to spend on your hotel. If money is no object, you can look at four and five-star hotels that have everything you could need. But if you need to watch your wallet, it's better to set yourself a budget. There are different levels of accommodation you could choose from, from hostels or pensions to budget and luxury hotels. If you want to stick to somewhere in the middle, look at three-star hotels.

Choose Your Requirements
You need to think about what you're looking for in a hotel. Barcelona has a lot to offer in terms of accommodation, so narrowing down your wishes will help. Perhaps you have to have a pool, or you want somewhere with a bar. Are you looking for a hotel in a certain location or one with a gym? Remember that the price will be influenced by the location and facilities. So don't expect to find everything you could ever need at a budget hotel.

Use Booking Sites
The easiest way to find a Barcelona hotel that's perfect for you is to use booking sites. Visit Venere or a similar site and browse through the many hotels available. You'll be able to look at photos and read information about each hotel. Then you can book your stay without having to leave the site. Most sites also have ratings and reviews too, so you can see what other guests thought.

Check the Photos
Having a look at a hotel's photos is always a good idea. If you love photography, it's an even better idea. You could find a hotel that's perfect for taking a few shots. If you can, try to find photos taken by guests too. Doing so will give you a more accurate picture of the state of the hotel, and not just a carefully-controlled professional image.

Read Reviews
It may seem obvious, but reading hotel reviews is essential. You don't want to check into an awful establishment, only to find it could have been avoided if you had read the reviews. However, they're less important for more expensive hotels. And if you want to stay closer to the center of Barcelona, you probably won't find anywhere horrible.

There are lots of hotels to choose from in Barcelona, and some of them are beautiful buildings. Just take your time choosing one to make sure you don't get duped.

Friday, July 24, 2015

United States Immigration: Basic History that You Must Know

United States immigration has always been interesting to many historians. It can be recalled that the first indigenous people crossed the ice bridge connecting Asia to North America some 12,000 years ago yet it wasn’t until the end of the 15th century that Europeans entered the country’s borders. The French and Spanish were the first to establish settlements while English and Dutch followed soon after and founded their first permanent colonies. 

Many immigrants that came to United States were in search for greater economic opportunity while Pilgrims in the early 1600s arrived in search for religious freedom. It was during the 17th to 19th centuries when thousands of African slaves were delivered to United States in forceful manner. Humiliation and discrimination were reported to increase after the imports of the blacks. The first significant federal legislation restricting immigration was the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act. Ellis Island opened up and became the country’s first federal immigration station. Individual states regulated immigration then after. In 1965, new laws ended the quota system that favoured European immigrations. And today, most of the country’s immigrants are coming from Asia and Latin America. 

Since the foundation of United States, immigration laws have been reformed. The change was based on the needs of the time but political agendas were assumed to influence the amendments. 

Why Early People Migrate to United States? 

a. Indentured Servants Young people were paid for their passage to United States by working for a household for a certain number of years. This labour system was widely practiced in the 18th century in the British colonies in North America and elsewhere. It was expensive for Europeans to cross over to the American Colonies and this was one of their easy techniques to obtain passage. When the contract ends, the servant is free to work on his own. The system gained success that it claimed half of the white immigrants in the 17th and 18th century as indentured servants. Although some people voluntarily indentured themselves, others were found kidnapped in European cities and forced to serve in United States. Convicts were also shipped across the Atlantic for the same purpose. 

b. Economic Opportunity United States was the perfect place for cheap land and freedom of enterprise during the colonial period. Farmers, tradesmen, fishermen, shipbuilders and craftsmen are secured with work. There was an independence of resources and the trade among colonies and indigenous peoples have produced massive improvement. 

c. Religious Freedom Early people migrate to United States to preserve their religious identity. Some were quick enough to migrate to prevent persecution in Europe. Immigrants wanting to preserve the purity of their spiritual views were free to live their lives the way they wanted. Today, United States is packed with numerous religious institutions which is a testament of the freedom that was enjoyed so many decades ago. 

Who were the major immigrants in United States? 

Apart from British and Asians, another large group of immigrants who arrived in the country were the black slaves from West Africa. They were among the early slaves in America who were forced to indentured servitude. From 20 African servants in 1619, the number increased to 7,000 by 1680 and tremendously escalated to 700,000 by 1790. It was during 1808 when the American congress outlawed the importation of salves to the United States. However, no law has ever stopped their imports. Although there were no exact estimates made, it is believed that 500,000 to 650,000 Africans were shipped to America for slavery between the 17th and 19th centuries, a big population to consider. People from Northern and Western Europe began to flock to United States around 1815 to 1865. About 1/3 of the population was from Ireland which suffered a great famine in the mid-19th century. At around 1820 and 1930, the number of Irish immigrants was estimated to reach 4.5 million. Joined the Irish immigrants were the Germans. Their population was estimated to reach 5 million in the 19th century. Many of them were found buying large portion of farms in many major cities such as Milwaukee and St. Loius. 

The influx of newcomers to United States has posed unwanted competition for jobs and discrimination for due to religious beliefs. Anti-immigrant and anti-Catholic American Party tried to trim down the wave of people coming in into the region but it was until during the Civil War that United States has experienced depression that resulted to the slowdown of immigration. 

United States: Future Immigration Condition 

During the last century, US government had left immigration policy to individual states but the ever-increasing influx of people has never stopped. President Benjamin Harrison opened up the Ellis Island in New York to serve as the federal immigration station. Around 12 million immigrants were admitted to United States through the Ellis Island in between 1892 - 1954. During the rapid industrialization and urbanization (1880 – 1920), about 20 million immigrants were admitted however, the peak year for admission of new immigrants was during 1907 where 1.3 million people entered the country legally. 

Today, the majority of United States immigrants are from Asia and Latin America rather than Europe. 

Bio: this article is brought to you by estapermits.org, a professional US visa agency.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Renting an Apartment in Barcelona

Post courtesy of Apartment Barcelona

Why choose an apartment?


With more space and homely touches, along with the possibility of saving some pennies and sleeping larger groups together under one roof, more and more visitors are choosing holiday apartment rentals in Barcelona rather than hotel stays. In terms of the apartments available in and around the city, the variety of accommodation is vast and there is indeed something to suit all tastes.




Where to stay?
 
Barcelona boasts an amazing choice of different neighbourhoods, each with its very own personality, allowing you to really make the most of your visit to the city and find exactly what you need. From apartments overlooking the sandy beaches and those found at the heart of lively nightlife to those with a more local feel surrounded quirky cafés or chic stores, you’re sure to find the ideal area for you.




If what you enjoy most is basking in the Mediterranean sun, then Barceloneta is the perfect choice for you. The vibrant seafront, lined with sandy beach bars, local hangouts and amazing seafood restaurants along with the area’s proximity to the city centre make this an ideal spot for those wanting to combine the metropolitan with the surf.

Dating back to medieval times, the beautiful, maze-like neighbourhood of El Born is one of Barcelona’s oldest areas and today wows visitors with its wonderful monuments, fashionable boutiques, and enticing bars and restaurants. The area is home to some of the city’s most best loved attractions including the Picasso Museum, Santa María del Mar basilica and Santa Caterina Market.

Crazy about Gaudí? Love classic architecture? If so, then Eixample is the ideal place for you. The area is home to some of the most renowned architectural works in Europe including the amazing Casa Batlló, weird and wonderful La Pedrera and the towering Sagrada Familia. Eixample boasts endless and glamorous turn of the century buildings which today house swanky stores and up-market restaurants.

At the top end of Eixample lies the cute, quaint area known as Gràcia. Originally a separate village from Barcelona, it has a distinctive Catalan atmosphere, and is today filled with charming restaurants, arty cafeterias, and locally-owned boutiques. With plenty of local students and young residents, this area comes alive at night, with a trendy laid-back bar scene.




For a true taste of Barcelona’s dramatic past, you’ll need the incredible Gothic area. Nestled between El Raval and El Born, the neighbourhood offers guests a first-hand experience of the rich and fascinating history of this buzzing city. Characterised by small, winding alleyways and beautiful medieval architecture, renting an apartment in the Gothic Quarter will surely transport you back in time. The neighbourhood is home to plenty of tourist attractions including the Barcelona Cathedral, Plaça Reial and the government buildings of Catalonia in Plaça de Sant Jaume.




Apartments in Barcelona come in endless shapes and sizes all across the city and are able to cater to all needs. So whether you’re looking for a child-friendly apartment with a pool, a spacious six bedroom rental for a large group, or a super-stylish studio for one, you’re sure to find the perfect accommodation for you.

Apartment Barcelona

Apartment Barcelona is an online apartment agency with more than 1000 apartments to rent in Barcelona for both short and long-term stays, as well as apartments for sale. The Tripadvisor-recommended agency offers a large variety of rentals, from luxury apartments to studios, and from beach apartments to Ramblas apartments. For more information, visit www.apartmentbarcelona.com

Sunday, April 19, 2015

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, 2015

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, 2015

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.
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