Barcelona Photoblog: August 2008

August 31, 2008

August 30, 2008

Barcelona Retirees and Pensioners

Barcelona Retirees and Pensioners

Walking slowly they come usually in pairs, observing, judging, supervising, peeking through fences to keep daily control over construction sites in the city on their way to the elderly home or the park. They have their own weapons that they can point at you in a menacing way. Notice one of them hidden rather clumsily behind his back. They fear nothing and know about everything. They've got plenty of time. As part of their code of honor they can wear whatever they want to. Fashion is for the weak. Tough guys indeed with the experience of a lifetime. They are the retirees! Do you remember the post "Home Bad Home" published a couple of days ago. They were the ones and this was the fence. Check it. All my due respect to pensioners in Barcelona and the world.

August 29, 2008

Street Lamp Crown Detail in Barri Gotic, Barcelona

Street Lamp Crown Detail in Barri Gotic, Barcelona [enlarge]

This kind of lamp is the most abundant along the streets in the old part of the city. You can appreciate on the ironwork a detail of Barcelona coat of arms.

August 28, 2008

Home Bad Home

Homeless people in Barcelona

In plain daylight and quite near La Boqueria market in Barcelona there was this young couple sound asleep alien to passersby peeking up through the chain link fence. Two old guys stood right next two us, you know, retirees of those that approve or disapprove things up, nodding disdainfully.

August 27, 2008

Flag Waving Free

Catalonia's Flag Waving in the Wind[enlarge]

Arguments, disputes, quarrels and battles apart, I am going to concentrate on the abstract beauty of a flag waving in the wind, freely, against the sky. I can almost feel the battering of the cloth now and hear the murmur of a thousand causes and hundreds of deaths in the name of a land and those who on her, dwell. This is La Senyera, the flag of Catalonia. 

August 26, 2008

Dali Standing on Barcelona Balcony

Dali Standing on Barcelona Balcony [enlarge]

On the balcony of the Reial Circle Artistic de Barcelona there is this cardboard image of Salvador Dalí. This cultural institution is located at Carrer dels Arcs 5. Follow link above for a previous post.

August 25, 2008

Via Laietana in Barcelona, Spain

Woman in white crossing Via Layetana street in BArcelona
Crossing Via Laietana Street in Barcelona

Via Laietana, is normally a very busy street in Barcelona but not much if you go early on weekends.

Via Laietana was first projected in 1879 and started in 1907, with the aim of communicating Eixample with the waterfront, amid much controversy. The demolition of a large number of houses and the removal of the streets in the area was required to do so. As some of the traditional guilds of the city, some dating back to the Middle Ages, were located there, they had to be relocated in different parts of Barri Gòtic, notably Plaça de Sant Felip Neri.

The first section to be built was named Carrer de Bilbao, which nowadays is a separate, shorter street that stems from the larger Via Laietana. The avenue was finished in 1926.

Francesc Cambó, a prominent politician of the time, built his personal residence in the avenue. During the years of the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939) it was renamed Via Durruti.

Check this interesting movie walk related to Via Laietana where they also show a map of Erasmus students in Barcelona in the vicinity of the famous street.

August 24, 2008

Cornice Mask at Barri Gotic, Barcelona

Cornice Mask at Barri Gotic, Barcelona[enlarge]

When you visit Barri Gotic in Barcelona don't forget to look up to the skies. You'll see balconies full of interesting things, people leaning out of the window and staring at you, colorful towels drying up on improvised clothes lines. But wait, don't stop gazing. Keep searching near the roof. A universe of the most beautiful architectural elements will open before your eyes. This is a modest example: a sort of theatrical mask that stood out thanks to the morning light.

August 23, 2008

Candy Mix

Colorful Sweets - Mix Candy [enlarge]

In my spare time I am beginning to take the first steps on the world of small things. I neither master the technique nor have the adequate gear so you may call this a house experiment. I set eyes on a bag of sweets at random. This is not publicity. I don't sell candy. But the brand name was there and it came handy for choosing the title of the post.

August 22, 2008

Stray Cats Going Wrong Way

Wrong Way for Stray Cats

I have to admit the wall is not much clean. The wrong way sign was quite dirty too, believe me. But what the heck was the cat doing there? Maybe the neighbors were sick and tired of stray cats wandering down their alley? Perhaps it was a dog only way? Barcelona like many other cities is full of stickers, posters, graffiti, etc. Some with very good taste but the streets will look better if they were neat and polished.

August 21, 2008

Street Shave in Barcelona

Street Shave in Barcelona [enlarge]

You can walk along the streets of El Raval and discover many Barcelonas. One of them is the Barcelona of the homeless people. They gather sometimes near a church as La Mercé and help each other. This young man had been washing his body before in a water fountain nearby. Then he got ready for this special free service: street shaving.

August 20, 2008

Lion Head Door Knocker

Lion Head Door Knocker [enlarge]

This is a detail of a lion head door knocker on a building located at carrer de la Mercé 14, a small street paralel to La Mercé church, home of the Virgen de la Mercè, patron saint of Barcelona. To be more specific the knocker is located on the very corner of such street and carrer Boltres. According to historical records Boltres was a family that owned properties in the area in the XIV century. Check the place on my Google Map.

August 19, 2008

The Boy and the Fishing Net

The Boy and the Fishing Net [enlarge]

The boy and the f...ishing net. Yep, that intonation would suit the picture better. Gosh, wasn't the little guy crying like mad because mom wanted to leave and he was dragging behind to play a little longer. Kids! Aren't they lovely?

August 18, 2008

Beach Volley at Premiá de Mar, Maresme, Barcelona

Beach Volley at Premiá de Mar, Maresme, Barcelona [enlarge]

For sports fans, especially for beach volley enthusiasts I happened to take this picture recently while I was sitting in a bar terrace by the beach - Premiá de Mar, Maresme Coast near Barcelona. The color picture was fine but didn't convince me much so I used this sepia toned choice. I hope you like the moment. He smashed it if that's what you are wondering now.

August 17, 2008

Perspective, Premiá de Mar, Barcelona

Perspective, Premiá de Mar, Barcelona [enlarge]

The place is just a small park in Premiá de Mar, a town on the Maresme Coast near Barcelona city. Not much to say here, just that the columns and benches directed the eye towards that man in the background.

August 16, 2008

Balcony Drain Figure: Fish Head

Balcony Drain Figure: Fish Head [enlarge]

Sometimes the most horrible and old fashioned facade adornment can be perceived or might be considered as art. This fish head that acts as a balcony drain in one of the many buildings built during the 60s and 70s in Barcelona might be considered kitsch by some or a beautiful retro water drain by others in a couple of years. Who knows?

August 15, 2008

Cake Garnish

Cake Garnish

Obviously I forgot to mention this other stuff I found on top of my cake besides last post's strawberry. This garnish with leaves and fruit seems edible and I swear I've seen it lots of times but never gave it a try. Suggestions would be appreciated.

August 13, 2008

Catalan Embutidos


Catalan embutidos or sausages may look gross indeed but taste good, believe me. My wife has just advised me not to publish this picture. I laughed. I know it is disgusting but that's what makes it more interesting! By the way, those of you with linguistic habits should know that "embutir" means "to stuff", that's why they call it sausages in English. We use "salchicha" for hot-dog-like sausages and "embutidos" for all the products prepared in the same way, i.e. stuffing meat and fat, generally pork derived, into the clean bowels or guts of the animal.

August 12, 2008

Trixis in Barcelona

Trixis in Barcelona [enlarge]

Trixis are mixture of tricycles and taxis and are one of the main means of transportation for tourists in Barcelona, especially when moving around the narrow streets of the old part of town, that is, the part of the city which used to be surrounded by walls. For more details check previous posts: Touristic Transport in Barcelona and Trixi Taxi Service in Barcelona.

August 11, 2008

Drinking Fountains in Barcelona: Fighting the Hot Weather

Fighting the Hot Weather [enlarge]

Barcelona has a good number of drinking fountains similar to this although on many occasions they are dry. As far as I know the quality is pretty good and contamination is rare. Sometimes it is the presence of pigeons or pets that stop pedestrians from quenching their thirst. But let's not digress. During hot summer days these faucets are like little urban oases, so local authorities should give us perhaps a sort map to get to the nearest source.

August 10, 2008

Reial Circle Artistic in Pignatelli Palace, Carrer dels Arcs 5, Portal del Angel, Barcelona

Reial Circle Artistic in Pignatelli Palace, Carrer dels Arcs 5, Portal del Angel, Barcelona (Small Figure on Brick Wall) [enlarge]

Walking down Portal del Angel street you get to the intersection with Carrer dels Arcs. There is a small building over there called Palacio Pignatelli which holds the Reial Circle Artistic (Royal Artistic Circle). This entity was founded in 1881 although its royal category was granted by Alfonso XIII in 1926. The aim of this non-profit organization is to gather all those persons interested in Fine Arts and support them in their creative experience. The place has held many important exhibitions in Barcelona. But I only wanted to show you a detail of the beautiful figure on its facade.

August 06, 2008

Avenida Palace Hotel, Gran Via, Barcelona

Avenida Palace should be among the first options on your list if you are looking for a strategically located downtown hotel in Barcelona.

Just a few steps away from Passeig de Gracia, one of the most famous streets of Barcelona and Spain, Hotel Avenida Palace is an accommodation as convenient as those located near to New York's Fifth Avenue for example although Passeig de Gracia is not only the street of expensive shops but also of the most remarkable modernist houses that renown Catalan architects ever built, like Casa Mila aka La Pedrera, Casa Batllo both by Gaudi or Casa Lleo i Morera, Casa Amatller and Casa Rocamora.

But not only shops and architecture festoon the surroundings of the prestigious Avenida Palace Hotel, there is also the very center of the downtown area, Plaça Catalunya or Catalonia Square, at a 100 meters walking down in Las Ramblas direction. That's the ridiculous distance that separates you from the old part of town or casc antic. Casc Antic was that part of the city that used to be within the walls.

151 refurbished rooms, including the Sagrada Familia suite with a spectacular 10 meter square terrace or the Beatles suite where the Liverpool band stayed in 1965 make part of the perfect accommodation this great art deco style hotel has to give you.

Rooms with carpeted and parquet floors are comfortable, spacious and well distributed. There is air conditioning, Satellite TV, safe, mini-bar, soundproofed walls, en-suite bathrooms and wifi.

One of the best spots in the hotel is the rooftop bar with pool that overlooks Gran Via Street and from where you can see the unique Sagrada Familia cathedral by Gaudi.

Restaurant Beluga also in the venue might be a good option for a decent brunch although there are much better places in the vicinity. Maybe this would be one of the few things to be improved in the excellent services of Hotel Avenida Palace in my opinion.

By the way, a little bit of history for Avenida Palace's visitors-to-be:

Back in 1952, one of those great events that have skyrocketed hotel reservations in Barcelona, in this case the 35th International Eucharistic Congress, accelerated the inauguration of Avenida Palace hotel, once the legendary chocolate shop, tea salon and restaurant Casa Llibre, owned by Guillermo Llibre and designed by prestigious modernist architect Enric Sagnier in 1924. Only twelve days before the congress the hotel was opened in a rush to welcome important personalities of the ecclesiastic world. All in all, there were 300.000 visits to Barcelona city in less than a week. Another interesting fact is that hotel founder, Joan Gaspart Bonet was the grandfather of Catalan entrepreneur Joan Gaspart Solves. Joan Gaspart the grandson, is not only known for being the general manager of HUSA hotel group but for his successful 22 years as vice president of FC Barcelona and his not so good 3 years of presidency.

Here is an old image for you to compare the old building with nowadays' 4 Star Hotel Avenida Palace located at 605 - 607 Gran Via de les Corts Catalanes, Barcelona.

August 05, 2008

Lake Reflections, Lleida, Barcelona

Lake reflections of birds in the trees at a lake in Lleida, Catalonia

The same place I showed you the other day in Lleida province near Barcelona: The Ivars' pond, late in the afternoon. I would like to thank you all for all the best wishes regarding my holidays. I am still having a great time in Miami, Florida. See you soon.

August 04, 2008

Colmado Quilez at Rambla Catalunya, Barcelona

Colmado Quilez Grocery Store in Barcelona

Located at Rambla de Catalunya 63 there's this old speciality grocer called Colmado Quilez. Besides the good customer service, the variety of high quality products makes this gourmet shop a must in Barcelona.

You can find really good asparagus, anchovies, peppers, vinegar, caviar, foie gras, nougat and a long etc here. Not the cheapest place to buy but you can grab a thing or two. Maybe you prefer to sit in your car, put your feet on the wheel and contemplate the nice display of canned food and wine.

August 03, 2008

Landscape: Ivars Pond, Lleida, Catalonia

Ivars d'Urgell pond in Lleida, Catalonia

I will be abroad till August 20th for my holidays but I will keep posting more or less regularly, you know, my own strange way. To start this period of peace and relaxation I wanted you to share a little nature with me.

This is the pond of Ivars, a small town in Lleida which is also a province of Catalonia like Barcelona. I'll keep you all posted so come back often.

August 02, 2008

Tom Waits in Papier Mache, Barcelona

Tom Waits in Papier Mache, Barcelona

To continue with my series of papier mache celebrities, I'd like to feature today, Mr. Tom Waits. Remember there were other famous characters or actors that appeared in Barcelona Photoblog in the past: John Lennon, Marlon Brandon as Don Corleone, Hugh Laurie as Dr. House and Woody Allen accompanied by Keith Richards.

August 01, 2008

Platoon of Tin Soldiers

Platoon of tin soldiers at Barcelona shop

A platoon of tin soldiers at a shop near Barcelona Cathedral in Barri Gothic, valued in "just" 200 eur.
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