Barcelona Photoblog: December 2006

December 31, 2006

Classic Cars at Auto Retro Barcelona: Jaguar

Classic Cars at Auto Retro Barcelona: Jaguar

Thanks to some of you I found out that the red car on the right in my recent post about Auto Retro was a Jaguar and you even revealed some more details about the model. Well, in this image I can tell that we are also dealing with a Jaguar but as homework it is your turn to guess again the particular model.

December 30, 2006

Gaudi Animals: Snails in Sagrada Familia

Snails at Sagrada Familia Basilica by Antoni Gaudi, Barcelona

Not too long ago I showed you the picture of two lizards by Gaudi on Sagrada Familia's cloister walls. 

To enhance this aspect of Gaudi's creation, that is the use of mythology and animals in his work I leave you with these snails that seem to crawl as slowly as my posts go appearing this week.

Remember that modernisme was very fond of nature elements, floral or animal. I cannot imagine the faces of Gaudi's fellow citizens looking at these snails feeding on a giant lettuce wall.

December 29, 2006

Classic Cars in Barcelona

Auto retro exhibition Barcelona - MG and Jaguar XKE type

If you can see both colors you are not Daltonic or color blind...I digress. These are classic cars in the past Auto Retro exhibition in Barcelona. The one on the left is an MG but I can't tell the other make. I know there are some fans among you, for example Curly from South Shields in the UK, who can help me with this.

PS: After I wrote these lines I paid Curly a virtual visit and found out he underwent an urgent operation recently so some words of support would be just great.

Update: The car on the right is a Jaguar XKE type "E". Thanks for your help in the comments.

December 28, 2006

Bronze Sculpture of Lady Near MNAC

Bronze Sculpture of Lady Near MNAC
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Some months ago I posted a picture of this sculpture taken from a different angle and including MNAC building in the background. The woman figure in bronze is such beautiful piece that I thought I should give you a different approach, this time using some HDR treatment. As I am not a pro it has a lot of imperfections but I like the result. If you click on label "bronze" you will be able to see both posts together (at least for now). Happy New Year everyone!

December 27, 2006

The Muses at Palau de la Musica Catalana by Montaner in Barcelona

9 Muses at the stage in Palau de la Musica Catalana, Barcelona

In spite of the awful framing and the rest of technical errors, due to the secrecy of the snapshot,(remember it is generally not allowed to take pictures inside Palau de la Música Catalana or Catalan Music Concert Hall) you are able to see just there on the left, at the end of the stage...

Six of the Nine Muses by Eusebi Arnau coming from the wall like silent ghosts.

There were three ushers and a lady carrying a staff badge, personally reminding me not to shoot, although some people in the middle of the audience managed to take out their compact cameras and I could see some flashes fired. Nevertheless, whenever I raised my reflex someone came and told me off.

Anyway, this stolen glimpse at one of the altars of Catalan modernisme made breaking the rules inevitable and almost justifiable.

December 26, 2006

Optical Illusion at Palau de la Música, Barcelona

Optical Illusion at Palau de la Música, Barcelona
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On the Palau de la Música façade in Barcelona you can admire this sculptoric group protruding out of the wall. I was just shooting randomly and back home I discovered this white trail behind a jet plane that funny enough seems to come out of the soldier's groin (my rotten mind!). The sculpture by Miquel Blay is larger and it is located on the corner of the building. The group is entitled La cançó popular catalana (popular Catalan song) and its main figure is a maid located right below. The soldier on top is a copy of a silver statuette of St. George in the Palau de la Generalitat chapel.

December 25, 2006

Via Laietana in Barcelona

Via Laietana in Barcelona
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I don't have much time due to these days of Christmas celebrations but I want all of those nostalgic people craving for a fresh image of Barcelona to have their daily "dose". So here you are, an image of Via Laietana, one of the main streets crossing Barcelona from the Eixample towards the sea and one of the first ones to appear in the history of the city. It was built in 1907 and it's named after an Iberian tribe who dwelled in this zone before the arrival of the Romans. The building you see in the image is the headquarters of La Caixa, an important savings bank.

December 24, 2006

Park Güell: Chocolate, Candy and Marzipan

White Roof House,Park Güell, Barcelona, Spain by Carlos Lorenzo

Remember Hansel and Gretel story where two kids find a house in the woods made of chocolate, candy and marzipan, well maybe you imagined something like this. I don't think Brothers Grimm were alive to see this masterpiece of Catalan modernisme so I guess Gaudi read a lot of fairy tales. 

One of the major works of Gaudí in Barcelona, Park Güell is a public park made of gardens and architectonic elements like this beautiful house with an incredible roof made using the trencadis technique, that consists in breaking tiles to compose a mosaic. As usual Gaudi went beyond many architects of his time and of generations to come. 

December 23, 2006

Gaudi's Lizard at Park Guell, Barcelona

Gaudi's Lizard at Park Guell, Barcelona
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Resuming my visit to Park Güell, and browsing my pictures I found this closeup of Gaudi's lizard with a beautiful tourist in the background. I guess I could have entitled the post as the Beast and the Beauty but I prefer better keywords in my headings. The reason I came this close is simple, the monster (looks like the Big White in famous Jaws jumping out of the water) is so "photo trodden" that you can't hardly take anyone by surprise. From here I would like to thank my anonymous model for her casual appearance in the image.

Recommended: A new tool to search for amazon products called Amaznode. I am not promoting anything here but it called my attention for its innovative performance. Say for example you look up "Gaudi" in the books section, a whole bunch of interconnected thumbs with the book covers in 3d appearance start multiplying in front of your face.

December 22, 2006

Christmas Shopping

Christmas Shopping
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It's Friday and Christmas weekend is coming!. Shops are out there getting ready for skyrocketing sales. Me, I am just playing with colors in those scintillating Christmas balls trying not to get too affected by the throng. The new year is around the corner back again! This one passed me by and caught me unawares. Hey, cheer up! Let's go look for our presents. Oh no, not coal again!

December 21, 2006

Color Markers

color markers
Some colorful markers to celebrate my dsl service is up and running again. Thanks for your patience. These improvised boxes I photographed yesterday while singing Christmas carols in my daughter's class. Merry Christmas my friends!

December 20, 2006

Citroen DS: Classic Cars at Auto Retro Barcelona

Citroën DS: Classic Cars at Auto Retro Barcelona

Citroën DS, one of the most beautiful classic cars as seen at one of the parking lots in front of Fira de Barcelona at Plaça Espanya during past Auto Retro Barcelona exhibition last Dec 10th.

As I said before I am not much of a classic car enthusiast but I can see beauty and art in such nice design.

For the picture I had to climb a wall which gave me an attractive perspective. The orange reflection on the left comes from the plastic barriers next to an improvised mechanical inspection ramp nearby but in my opinion not even this noise can alter the nice look of the DS, the elegant sleek shark of classic automobiles.

December 19, 2006

Montserrat: The Jagged Magic Mountain

Montserrat: The Jagged Mountain

The mountain of Montserrat used to be part of a delta in the Terciary Period. Sediments came from a mountain range located on what today is the Mediterranean Sea and were deposited on a narrow shallow sea that reached the Atlantic Ocean. From those times are the conglomerate rocks present in the area which are very resistant and that form those familiar monoliths that Gaudi perhaps evoked in his famous knights of La Pedrera's chimney stacks. In between the monoliths there are fractures of clay continuously altered by erosion thus the isolation of the big solid structures and the numerous caves. I mention all this because I was always amazed when some geology teacher back in my childhood days said: "You see these layers here, well, this region was once under the sea" - and you wondered, "how come!, we are miles away!". So this post goes to all those would-be scientists who still feel nostalgic about long gone field excursions.

December 18, 2006

Tapas: A Spanish Temptation

Tapas: A Spanish Temptation
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This is a picture of a Spanish tapa called pincho or pintxo served in the Basque country in the north of Spain. There is a huge variety of them but they share a common feature they carry a toothpick that holds them to the slice of bread and that you are supposed to keep so they can count how many you eat. Pintxos are part of the big family of tapas that are known all over Spain especially in Andalusia but this way of serving them has rooted in many places of the country. In Barcelona there are lots of Basque restaurants preparing delicious combinations on that little piece of bread but they will never ever taste (this is common opinion I guess) as good as the ones you can have up North in San Sebastian, Bilbao, Vitoria, Trapagaran, Baiona, Mungia or Ulzama and Pamplona (these last two in Navarra). I am sure I am leaving someone out but it would be too long a list. I have another image to show you in coming days about pintxos. I would haven taken many pictures but I preferred to eat.

December 17, 2006

The Old Man and the Sea

The Old Man and the Sea
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Yet another shot of the beach in Barcelona city. I was trying to capture that quite restrictive sign post using the sea and the rocks as a background when this old man suddenly appeared on the corner of my eye. I had nothing but the sign in my picture and that was not too much appealing so instead of taking some steps back which would make the man notice I zoomed out and included him in my picture to improve composition.

December 16, 2006

Green Peppers

Green Peppers
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These green pickled peppers called my attention while we were visiting the medieval market of Suria. I took many pictures there so you will hear the name of this town near Barcelona in many of my posts. I also like the color of those olives back there. I am not fond of peppers myself but they really make a good subject for a picture. I have managed to post today through one of my friends. Have a nice weekend!

December 15, 2006

Couple at the Beach in Barcelona

Couple at the Beach in Barcelona
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Today I am in a bit of a hurry but of course I won't let you without your daily picture of Barcelona. This time I chose another romantic image in the same line of a very recent post: Love Me Tender. As you can appreciate the world could be falling appart and they would still be holding each other. I think they call it love, an ancient "illness" as old as humanity itself.

December 14, 2006

A Dog's Day

A Dog's Day
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As far as I am concerned I had no pictures of dogs. Recently I posted my first cat so I've got my classic animal pictures after so much time. Maybe I can even start an animal photoset at Flickr, who knows!. Last weekend, on our way to the Auto Retro exhibition in Fira de Barcelona and some steps ahead of me was this beautiful dog, a boxer or a bullboxer I guess (please correct me if I am wrong) walking unleashed near his owner. The light was so good that I started to chase him trying to find the right moment. I got his butt all the time in my viewfinder but suddenly he paused to wait for the master and here is the result. Then came the eternal question black and white or color. I settled for bw, using a tritone combination that looks more like sepia but maybe you prefer the original color version.

December 13, 2006

Palm Trees in Barcelona

Palm Trees in Barcelona

Palm trees are common in Barcelona, almost 5,000 according to official figures. Besides the Mediterranean fan palm native of Catalonia, you can also find the Canaries palm or some members of the Washingtonia family like the California fan palm or the Mexican fan palm. In today's picture you can see the striking colors of Phoenix dactilifera or date palm tree and its fruit. In recent years a foreign species of bird has invaded Barcelona choosing such trees to nest and feed on the colorful and tasty dates. As many of you already know this bird is the quaker parrot.

December 12, 2006

Barcelona Street Artists: Cleopatra in a Trance

Cleopatra street artist and living statue in Las Ramblas, Barcelona

You have seen her before on this site. This time I managed to come up closer to Cleopatra to take a good look at those bracelets, those rings and the pearl tiara with the lethal asp.

Apparently she is still in a trance induced by the dreadful bite although she is quite aware of the noise of those coins falling in a can at her feet.

As you can see she is sitting on a chair which is quite more comfortable than standing still like many of the human statues along Las Ramblas: wise girl indeed!

December 11, 2006

Auto Retro Barcelona: Antique Cars and Motorcycles Exhibition

Classic Cars at Auto Retro Barcelona - Citroen

Auto Retro Barcelona (2006) came to an end after four days of exhibition in the Fira de Barcelona venue.

I am not a big fan of classic cars or motorbikes, at least not from the point of view of engines, value and so on. What I do like is the aesthetic aspect of these collector's exhibits, especially when you can capture them in your pictures.

Admission fees were a little above my standards (not being a fan and all) so I wandered about the esplanades at the entrance where improvised parking lots lodged some beauties you could easily snap. This was the case of this black Citroën. I've had a hard time identifying the brand and finding a proper link so I leave it up to you to suggest.

Fortunately, it appeared unexpectedly driving down the access road and against the marvelous Palau Nacional building in the background where MNAC (National Art Museum of Catalonia) is.

If you want to know about the history behind Fira de Barcelona i.e. the International Exhibition of 1929 please check my previous posts about this topic.

December 10, 2006


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More spices at the Medieval Market of Súria. Remember I showed you turmeric or tumeric in a past post, today you can see madras curry, cayenne pepper, some varieties of tea among others.

December 09, 2006

Nativity Façade Detail in Sagrada Familia

Wingless Angels with Trumpets - Nativity Façade Detail in Sagrada Familia

This is a detail of the Nativity Façade by Gaudi. An explosion of imagination, the artist at his most. 

I like those wingless angels blowing the trumpets. Did you know that Gaudi firmly believed that angels had no wings and so it goes that no angel in the basilica is represented as such?

Composed by Portal of Hope, Portal of Charity and Portal of Faith and with Joseph, Jesus and Mary as the center in each of them, Nativity façade  is my opinion much more attractive to the eye.

December 08, 2006

Catalan Modernisme: Múrria Grocer’s Shop in Barcelona

Catalan Modernisme: Múrria Grocer’s Shop in Barcelona

This is a small shop called Queviures Múrria (Cat.) or Colmado Múrria (Sp.) and located in the Eixample quarter, at carrer Roger de Llúria 85. The shop was opened in 1898 and it was called "La Puríssima" but it was a coffee roasters’.It is another example of Catalan Modernisme, one of the many scattered all around Barcelona. There are beautiful signs on the exterior like the one at very corner which has been preserved, advertising famous Spanish brands such as Anis del Mono, a strong anisette liquor still on sale. This grocery store is one of those in which we can still find the savoir faire of family traditions and the excellency of good products so elegantly exhibited that you can't help stopping to look compulsively at the shop window like the three men in the picture.

December 07, 2006

Stonecutter at Súria's Medieval Market

Medieval Stonecutter

I felt like black and white today so I selected this stonecutter in the Medieval Fair at Súria near Barcelona (see the original color image here). True craftsmen disguised for the occasion showed you the secrets of old medieval trades. There was the basket weaver, the coal burner, the potter, the weaver, the glassblower and a long list of other crafts represented. Stonecutters or stonecarvers were highly appreciated and well paid at the time and their history is linked to the masons lodges of the middle ages. Learn the basics of stone carving art. An amusing reading to learn about medieval crafts, especially stonemasonry is The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett. I couldn't help thinking of Tom Builder when I saw this man.

December 06, 2006

Cat at Large

Cat at Large
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That's it, just a little cat beating around the bush. As you noticed I don't have many pictures of animals and I think this is my first cat. Everybody's got a cat or a dog in their repertoire so I thought I'd give it a try. I liked the place most of all, next to an old house along the road to the fortress town of Suria, although it could be anywhere else. Suria is in Barcelona province but the cat is just a cat.

PS: I am doing my best to keep daily posting. As you know my dsl is down. I proceed to publish past and upcoming posts in a row till next Sunday. I know it is pretty weird but I won't be able to have a connection until Monday when I am back at the office. Friday is a bank holiday here in Spain. I don't want to bother anyone with a "push button" request now since I don't know how long my problem is going to last.

December 05, 2006

Parc Guell: Serpentine Bench in the Afternoon

Parc Guell: Serpentine Bench

Parc Guell is a place to visit early in the morning or late in the afternoon when long shadows and golden rays of the sun magnify the complex geometry in Gaudi's architecture.

Don't let those unique images you take only once in your lifetime be adorned by blown up skies or the strong highlights on the numerous white tiles of the serpentine benches of the famous hallmark in Barcelona.

I thought I had arrived late to the park the other day, even the little museum inside was about to close but once at home and going over my photographs I was very pleased with the light and colors of the vanishing afternoon.

Other posts about Park Guell

December 04, 2006

Stained Glass Windows at Palau de la Musica

Stained Glass Windows at Palau de la Musica

Dark interiors is not one of my gifts if any! but stained glass windows stand out nicely even when the rest of the image loses shadow detail. I was satisfied with the result considering it was forbidden to take pictures inside Palau de la Musica Catalana concert hall as I mentioned in a previous post and some of you have corroborated.

December 03, 2006

Love me Tender

Love me Tender

Still trying to relax I pick up some more soothing images. This is a lovely couple sharing an intimate moment with me. Is it ethical to spy on people with your camera to show the world? For the sake of beauty and art? I prefer to protect their faces a little bit but of course family and friends will identify them immediately, sorry boys!

Recommended: America from the Great Depression to World War II: Black-and-White Photographs from the FSA-OWI, 1935-1945

December 02, 2006

Barcelona Beach: An Ever Changing Waterfront

Barcelona Beach near Hotel Arts

This was the way the beach looked at the beginning of November 2006, the waves had swallowed most of the sand as it happens every year. They want to build some new barriers to stop the sea from altering the shore, a group of 15 piers acting as artificial dams and as every rule has its own detractors, now surfers oppose and claim for their rights.

December 01, 2006

Costumes in Monistrol de Montserrat

Costumes in Monistrol de Montserrat

No more food for now, I promise. Now we will deal with people, people wearing costumes. These three characters were walking down the streets of a small town near Barcelona called Monistrol de Montserrat. You would think: it is a boring picture for a post, is! My archives are running out of images! On second thought, why not just cropping the lady's feet. It would be great for promoting DP theme day - please read the Recommended section below - From the Waist Down Theme. Besides, I like the funny guy on the right standing in the sun with a smile, almost detached from the scene: maybe you could help me with the character, is he Mr. Gadget or Keanu Reeves traveling incognito in Europe?.
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