Barcelona Photoblog: April 2008

April 30, 2008

Holy Water Font or Basin Made With Shell, Colonia Guell's Crypt, Barcelona, Spain

Holy Water Font or Basin Made With Shell, Colonia Guell's Crypt, Barcelona, Spain [enlarge]

Stationary fonts like this are placed at the entrance to churches as you all know but I am sure you never saw a holy water font made with an enormous shell nor have you seen perhaps such wonderful ironwork pedicle. Nothing is common and ordinary when you enter Gaudi's crypt at Colonia Guell. The place has columns, altar, stain glass and pews as any other church but you have to be prepared to digest the degree of variation of the holy elements. A church was supposed to be on top of the crypt, as the latter was part of a bigger project which started in 1908. In 1917 one year after Gaudi's art patron and friend, Eusebi Guell, died, the work was finally stopped. As you can guess foundations are very solid. Columns are made of basaltic rock and different kinds of bricks. The ceiling is vaulted in the most traditional gothic style. Every arch, every pillar, was precisely calculated with small sacks full of pellets which were tied to the ceiling in Gaudi's workshop by means of small pieces of cloth and string making up what is known as a stereostatic model. The weight of every sack was proportional to the load every arch element had to hold. But everything here is hard to imagine without visiting Colonia Güell of course. By the way, there were some posts in Barcelona Photoblog some time ago that might help: Caprice Supreme of Architecture, Modernist Door and Mosaic, Futurist Windows and Stained Glass

April 29, 2008

Colorful Bolivian Tinted Feather Hat, Moll de la Fusta, Barcelona, Spain

Colorful Bolivian Tinted Feather Hat, Moll de la Fusta, Barcelona, Spain [enlarge]

At Moll de la Fusta (Barcelona Port, Spain), there are these occasional parties organized by interracial non-profit agencies that we city dwellers tend to visit out of pure curiousity at first and enthusiastically once you get addicted to. There's the usual inexpensive exotic food offer which in many cases is the luring part of it believe me, at least for many people, let's not be hypocritical, and then there's the leisure side, particularly for parents who can't find a better place to take their kids that really satisfies them both and finally there's the integration side which originally was supposed to be the first one. At least this is the way I see it although "committed" citizens might openly disagree. Wouldn't it be better to give immigrants other kinds of opportunities rather than selling feather hats they don't wear anymore, I mean this is like selling tomahawks and rabbit paws. You have to say that the hat is beautiful and that unfortunately many people in the world have to sell traditions as if they were souvenirs for a living. I don't mean to be radical, of course, there are many color shades as in the hat.

April 28, 2008

Rambla de Mar Lightweight Bridge, Barcelona, Spain

Rambla de Mar Lightweight Bridge and Sailing Boat in Barcelona, Spain

Witnessed by the anxious crowd gathering on the Rambla de Mar lightweight bridge close to Maremagnum shopping center, gently sails this boat, stopping time for some minutes and forcing visitors to enjoy the view longer than expected, till the mechanism in the bridge extends the wooden platform towards the pier on the other side. The bridge by Viaplana and Pinion leads to Las Ramblas nearby and was featured in Barcelona Photoblog in the past: Waiting for the Bridge at Rambla de Mar and Maremagnum Wooden Bridge in Rush Hours.

And just in case you would like to enjoy the same view daily here is list of Barcelona hotels near the port:

April 27, 2008

Can Can Girls at Far West Saloon, Port Aventura, Spain

Can Can Girls at Far West Saloon, Port Aventura, Spain [enlarge]

After a long journey through all attractions in Port Aventura amusement park, the best way to rest is choosing one of the many shows available. The Far West area is for me one of the most complete and genuine. This is a picture I took in the saloon where these beautiful girls were dancing can can ("The can-can (also spelled cancan or Can Can) is regarded today primarily as a physically demanding music hall dance, performed by a chorus line of female dancers who wear costumes with long skirts, petticoats, and black stockings, harking back to the fashions of the 1890s. The main features of the dance are the lifting up and manipulation of the skirts, with high kicking and suggestive, provocative body movements. The cancan first appeared in the working-class ballrooms of Montparnasse in Paris in around 1830. It was a more lively version of the galop, a dance in quick 2/4 time, which often featured as the final figure in the quadrille. The cancan was, therefore, originally a dance for couples, who indulged in high kicks and other gestures with arms and legs. It is thought that they were influenced by the antics of a popular entertainer of the 1820s, Charles Mazurier, who was well known for his acrobatic performances, which included the grand écart or jump splits—later a popular feature of the cancan. At this time, and throughout most of the 19th century in France, the dance was also known as the chahut. Both words are French, cancan meaning "tittle-tattle" or "scandal", hence a scandalous dance, while chahut meant "noise" or "uproar"." Wikipedia). Suggestions: Try to finish your drink before the show ends cause the house is emptied so the next group of people standing in line comes in.

April 26, 2008

Cello Duet: A Close Look

Cello Duet: A Close Look [enlarge]

Recently I went to see my daughter play the piano. She attends a music school called Tritó, one of the many small academies subordinate to the Municipal Conservatory of Music of Barcelona. Twice a year, students are supposed to play in front of an audience and seniors are sincerely worth listening to. In the picture, you can realize how near my chair was from the musicians, so close, these two cellos wouldn't fit completely in my viewfinder. Not that you haven't seen a cello before but it was curious to notice how aesthetic it is when both hands catch up in a similar position, both bows being parallel and all. The cello duet, made up of teacher and student, did quite well and we enjoyed some classical moment in an almost intimate atmosphere. To add some mood to the post, here is a cello video I came across on YouTube: Bach Cello Suite No1 i-Prelude.

April 25, 2008

The Bat in Colonia Guell At The Secretary's House

The Bat in Colonia Guell At The Secretary's House

This is a bat, a symbol that was part of Güell family's coat of arms, and on top the omnipresent pigeon, that seems to be some sort of evil partner watching me from his master's shoulder, sorry, wings. She may not harm anyone but she did cover the historic figure with all her glorious s***. The house, belonged to Colonia Guell's secretary (remember Colonia Guell was an industrial estate in Santa Coloma de Cervelló, near Barcelona). It was founded by Eusebi Güell i Bacigalupi in 1890. Güell was a wealthy man and his wife Isabel López Bru, was the daughter of Antoni López i López, first Marques of Comillas who was also a very rich man. Güell ran important textile factories in Barcelona but those were hard times for the sector. To be competitive, especially with the British industry, workers had to produce more for the same money or less. So people started to get organized and to claim for their rights and Güell decided to build a better place out of the city where workers could live around the factory and integrate themselves more in the company. He managed to do so for some time but trade unions and their claims arrived to Colonia Güell in the end.

April 24, 2008

Rats at Exotic Animals Stall in Las Ramblas, Barcelona

Rats at Exotic Animals Stall in Las Ramblas, Barcelona [enlarge]

Some baby rats at exotic animal stall in Las Ramblas, Barcelona. As I am no expert and I can't tell a rat from a mouse I leave you a link about these rodents' morphology: Rats and Mice: Differences. Of course the study of animals is not the purpose of this blog. The rats were in Barcelona and they happened to make a perfect pack.

April 23, 2008

Barcelona, Gothic Quarter: Casa de los Canónigos at Bisbe Irurita Street

Barcelona, Gothic Quarter: archway Casa de los Canónigos at Bisbe Irurita Street

Casa de los Canónigos o Casa dels Canonges (Canons' House) at Bisbe Irurita street and next to Sant Jaume square is a XIV c. Gothic building restored in the 1920s by Rubió i Bellver and Jeroni Martorell. It was then that neogothic elements were added to the original building like this bridge connecting Palau de la Generalitat premises with the above mentioned religious house that until 1980 used to be the Official Residence of the President of La Generalitat. Jordi Pujol, the first elected Catalan government president after the 1978 Constitution discarded the house as private residence and so have done his successors.

April 22, 2008

Vildsvin, The Old Tavern in Ferran Street, Barcelona

Vildsvin, The Old Tavern in Ferran Street, Barcelona [enlarge]

Vildsvin, The Old Tavern (L'Antiga Taverna), 38 Ferran, Barcelona. It is funny to use a Swedish word to baptize the stylish but informal middle European tavern conceived by Sagardi Euskal Taberna Group. If you are reading this you know English, so Vildsvin might ring a bell. Let's see in German: Wildschwein. Huh, do you get it now? Wild Swine? Ok, let's quit it. That's a wild boar. Would you believe that a cute, chic place, with tiled floor, noble wood furniture and an oyster bar in the ground floor is called the Wild Boar? Nope. So I can imagine some smart guy, saying hey, it has to be a wild boar cause a tavern is a tavern but we are going to make it sound a little posh so we create an atmosphere here. 

Update 2023: Vildsvin is now: Orio Gotic restaurant also by Sagardi. A restaurant venue in Barcelona changes easily after 15 years. Restaurants come and go like mushroom.

April 21, 2008

Bubblebou Show by Pep Bou - Port Aventura Amusement Park, Salou

Bubblebou Show by Pep Bou - Port Aventura Amusement Park, Salou

Welcome to Bubblebou, that is, one of the bubble shows created by Pep Bou, a unique artist when it comes to creating magical shapes out of common and ephemeral soap bubbles.

The first of my three day stay at hotel El Paso in Port Aventura amusement park (Salou, Tarragona) it was raining cats and dogs so we had to spend our time in indoor shows. Lucky us! My wife told me we were going to the Chinese pavilion to see something called Bubblebou. No idea. There we were, an off voice was reminding us about the usual "don'ts". No food, no cell phones, no nothing...but thanks God they said they just excluded flashes and spared cameras.

So there I went, shooting like mad. Thanks to that I can share this tender moment with you: A girl from the audience, covered by a gargantuan multicolor bubble and the artist, satisfied by his evanescent creation.

Here is a link to Pep Bou's homepage (I couldn't find the name of the man in my photograph who obviously is not Pep but is part of his artistic group).

April 20, 2008

Magic Bubblebou Show at Port Aventura Amusement Park: Silhouette

Magic Bubblebou Show at Port Aventura Amusement Park: Silhouette
Silhouette of a Man Holding Bubble

And now for a totally different picture, ladies and gentlemen I would like to introduce tonight the Bubblebou Show. No, it is not about Chinese silhouettes although it takes place in the China area of Port Aventura Amusement Park.

It is all about bubbles, huge bubbles of impossible shapes that this man behind the screen tames with dexterous and exquisite talent. Please come back tomorrow to know more about Bubblebou and its creator, Pep Bou, the master of bubbles.

April 19, 2008

Port Aventura Amusement Park: Dragon Khan Attraction, Salou, Tarragona

Port Aventura Amusement Park: Dragon Khan Attraction, Salou, Tarragona, Spain [enlarge]

The eight-inversion-ride roller coaster called Dragon Khan designed by Bolliger & Mabillard (B&M) is Port Aventura Amusement Park's major attraction. Although the Furious Baco, a recent addition, is following closely, the impressive mountain of steel and its red silhouette visible from miles away still draws thousands of visitors. When you talk about amusement parks in Spain (I don't know in Europe) it is common stuff to boast about how many times you rode on Dragon Khan as if that was some sort exploit, you know. My personal record, is three times. Of course I am getting too old for this. My stomach was OK this weekend when I last tried the famous attraction, but my cervical bones ached all along. Not because of the initial 148 ft lift hill or the following 118 ft tall vertical loop but because of the roller coaster elements coming next: the diving loop, zero-G roll, cobra roll, etc. I posted this image so you had an idea although you may find it repeated hundred of times on the web since it is the classic spot you stop to point and shoot. About the other attraction, Furious Bako, I have to say, it is not fit for cardiacs. The speed is so huge that your head shakes and you look like having an epilepsy spell. In this case you don't need any height to fall and gain acceleration, you are literally fired at an almost unbearable speed: Top speed: 84 mph in just 3.5 seconds, G-Force: 4.7 G's.

April 18, 2008

Tibidabo Amusement Park: Hurricane Thrill

Hurricane attraction Tibidabo Amusement Park
Hurricane attraction at Tibidabo Amusement Park

I will be out of Barcelona city for the weekend cause we are going to visit Port Aventura amusement park in Tarragona. I hope I bring many pictures of the park although heavy rains were forecast. In the meantime to introduce the topic, I leave you with one of the most thrilling attractions in Tibidabo: Huracan (Hurricane).

The ride is short but as you see they turn you upside down for a while and then move you down towards a fountain that sprinkles some water on your face. The block of seats spins around its axis, swinging dizzily every time the big arms go up and down.

April 17, 2008

Salvador Dali and Disney Studios

Salvador Dali and Disney Studios - Elephant souvenirs

Surrealist elephants standing on impossible legs that remind you of Don Quixote's famelic horse Rocinante or ghostly Dumbo's pink elephants could only be imagined by the twisted and brilliant mind of the most peculiar painter of modern times, Salvador Dalí. In this shop at carrer Ferran you may buy yourself an exclusive souvenir, a Dalinian symbol to impress your friends at home. In case they ask, tell them that you bought it because you are an expert on Dali and somebody stole your "The Elephants" (1948), "the Temptation of St Anthony" (1946), "Atomica Melancholica" (1945) and/or "Triumph of Dionysus" (1953) and you miss them so much that you need a keepsake to mitigate your grief. Now that you are at it, show them the melting clock too, and suggest it helps with The Persistence of Memory (1931).
Note: I found this video: Destino (Disney/Dali) (and I thought that comparing Disney elephants with Dali's was odd and daring!)

April 16, 2008

Cruise Ferries at Barcelona Port: Grandi Navi Veloci

Cruise Ferries at Barcelona Port: Grandi Navi Veloci [enlarge]

This is a view of Barcelona Port as taken from the gardens of Montjuic. Besides the harbor paraphernalia in the foreground, perhaps you can manage to see a big boat and you happen to see her name, Grandi Navi Veloci. This is one of the cruise ferries sailing the Mediterranean Sea between Italy, Spain, Tunisia, Morocco and the islands of Sicily and Sardinia. You can always search for Grandi Navi Veloci ferry prices online if you wish but that's not the purpose of this post. Maybe it only means that the port of Barcelona is one of the most important stopovers for Mediterranean cruisers.

April 15, 2008

Altafulla Beach on the Costa Dorada


100 kms away from Barcelona and 11 from Tarragona, Altafulla beach is one of the most beautiful on Costa Dorada (golden coast), an old fishermen town that still keeps its charm in spite of the menacing new buildings and the presence of a well known camping site in the area. There is a castle that dates back to XI around which Altafulla expanded and some remnants of Roman villages that are also worth mentioning. The sea was rough due to a heavy storm the night before but it was a very pleasant morning anyway. Check Altafulla on Google Maps.

April 14, 2008

New Catalan Architecture, Sabadell, Barcelona

New Catalan Architecture, Sabadell, Barcelona [enlarge]

I came across this relatively new building in Sabadell in the outskirts of Barcelona. Not that I am normally attracted by modern architecture, especially when applied to apartment buildings but the fact that it resembles some sort of isolated monolyth, its circular shape and the neat surroundings caught my attention for more than a minute. I don't know how it must feel when you live inside a circular building but it looked innovative enough in the sense that it avoids that monotonous look which city dwellers too frequently have to cope with thanks to inefficient architects that for some enigmatic reason tend to live in state-of-the-art houses.

April 13, 2008

Iberian Ruins: The Lichen Boy

Iberian Ruins: The Lichen Boy [enlarge]

A boy sitting on the foundation walls of an old Iberian town in Lleida, Catalonia. Obviously the kid is not surfing the imaginary waves of time to picture the ancient civilization that once lived in this vast prairie but he is rather amused by the curious surface of the rocky wall. What's this greenish-yellowish thing? Perhaps his parents not faraway, listening to the explanation of the local tourist guide, already told him that the odd thing is a symbiotic organism called lichen. Please check old posts: Lichen on Ancient Rocks, On the Tracks of my Ancestors and IR Iberian Ruins in the Spring.

April 12, 2008

Daisy Paradise

Field of multi color daisies
Field of Daisies

This a picture of daisies, multi-color daisies as seen from ground level the way you would see them if laying on a field.

The image is over saturated on purpose, to magnify the idyllic experience.

I didn't want the scientific approach to the flower, on the contrary, I thought of a painting, the limit between reality and fiction, the point where a photograph starts looking like a painting, when flowers seem to be a sort of nature's brush strokes.

April 11, 2008

Withered Flower

Withered Barcelona Flower [enlarge]

Flowers come and flowers go, the essence of life. Splendor dissapears but you can still find beauty in withering things. Nature is like a whimsical damsel that needs to wear new makeup and dress every single day, every single minute, ever since the world began.

April 10, 2008

The Flower in Red: Spring Wishes

The Flower in Red

Red hot spring fire emanates from this flower in red, let the good vibrations its beauty provokes thaw your winter lethargy and invigorate your soul.

April 09, 2008

Sardana Elder Dancers: The Joy of Life

Sardana Elder Dancers: The Joy of Life

The joy of life, that secret stimulant that pushes elder people into frantic activities, gathered a bunch of them in this square in front of Barcelona Cathedral to participate in a collective traditional dance known as sardana. Take a look at a color version that appeared in Barcelona Photoblog sometime ago: Sardana Dancers.

April 08, 2008

Mitoraj: Art and Publicity in Barcelona

Mitoraj: Art and Publicity [enlarge]

When I took this picture some months ago, last summer I think, and I was about to publish it here I suddenly found out that someone else had posted a very similar shot, from the same place. I thought the scene wasn't original enough to show. Things like that happen in public places, you are not the only one around shooting for the web. But now I think, hey, this is my picture, so what the heck, the fact someone posted it first doesn't make me a cheater. So here it is, back from my archives, a detail of one of Igor Mitoraj's itinerant sculptures against a very idyllic billboard at Rambla Catalunya. By the way, the lady, the pose, the golden reflections remind me of (now you will think I went crazy, hmm, more or less) that famous The Graduate scene where Dustin Hoffman is laying back on a beach mattress in the middle of the swimming pool with a hand behind his neck and wearing sunglasses. Need a little help?: The Sounds of Silence. I reckon the comparison is a little ackward, but you know how weird daydreaming can get to be sometimes. How about adding some common sense to the photograph by recalling other Mitoraj sculptures featured in Barcelona Photoblog in the past: A Closer Look on Igor Mitoraj's Sculpture , Grande Toscano, Mysterious Faces, Lying Head and Hold Me Tight.

April 07, 2008

Skateboarding in Barcelona

Skateboarding in Barcelona [enlarge]

Experience has taught me that I shouldn't talk about modern trends be it in music, fashion, hobbies or sports. Why? Well, I simply get too old for that. I am only 44 but there are things I am not prepared to understand just because I was born and raised in the 60s. Gosh, ancient history now! There are specially a couple of posts I sadly remember too well, one was about a jacket with a logo that read "social distortion" and the other was about "ska". I won't bring the issue back though. It was just an example of how can a middle-aged man screw things up when it comes to young people's stuff. This elusive preface will be my alibi to tiptoe over today's picture: Skateboarding in Barcelona. The only thing I can tell you for sure is that the photograph was taken at the beach in Barcelona.

April 06, 2008

Grilled White Sausages

Grilled White Sausages [enlarge]

When in Catalonia do as the Catalans do. Have yourself a nice plate full of grilled sausages, aka botifarra de pagés white or black. You ought to get off traditional routes of course. Not in Las Ramblas if you know what I mean. Go out, take a trip to the countryside now that it is spring time and see to find a place where you can have them cooked in the open, in front of you. As you wait, be generous with the wine, not sangria for Christ sake, no, a good wine or at least not the lousy concoctions tourists use to get for a higher price. Enjoy good Catalan food while you enjoy the nice weather. You can make it if you try, believe me.

April 04, 2008

April 01, 2008

Reflections in Heron City

Reflections in Heron City [enlarge]

Another new version of an old image of mine. I showed a cropped picture in a previous post. This time I feature the whole building which is part of Heron City center in Barcelona.

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