Barcelona Photoblog: March 2011

March 30, 2011

Medieval Pottery: Evoking Ancient Crafts

Potter at work

Pottery is an art that goes hand in hand with the history of man and civilization. It is said that the first known pieces were found in Japan between 400 and 10,500 BC (see A history of Pottery). Along the way,  a slow wheel or tournette was substituted by the fast potter's wheel around 2000 BC. Potters between XIII and XV had enough tools and skills to produce house utensils and building materials on a big scale, thus developing social relationships around this market and more specialization. But I am not here to write a treaty on pottery. My mission is to attract your curiosity and pave the way to your own research on possible topics on the web. If this happy potter image in a medieval fair in Vic, triggered your intellectual hunger, then the goal has been attained. In case you want to know what the sign says in the background: Taller de fang amb aigua calenta is Catalan for clay with hot water workshop.

March 24, 2011

Bubble Dreams

Man and child making soap bubbles in Barcelona [enlarge]

This image speaks for itself so I won't bore you with the place and what was happening. Well, it was in Barcelona and there was this man making soap bubbles in front of some kids. I tried to stand behind the man so you could see what that small kid was witnessing and more or less participate in the fantasy. To us adults this may not say much but the mind of a child makes wonders with the most insignificant of things. I wish I could see this way again but it's no use. At most, I can only remember my own childhood dreams, my own bubbles, somewhere lost in time.

March 20, 2011

One Handed Handstand, Parc de la Ciutadella, Barcelona

One Handed Handstand, Parc de la Ciutadella, Barcelona [enlarge]

Gymnastics is that stuff that always made you feel envious back at school when you saw the guy next to you showing off in front of that girl you had a crush on, easily making a handstand and walking on both hands, doing pull ups with just one arm, the flag, the L-sit, you name it. Still after so many years, this perfect one handed handstand captured today at Parc de la Ciutadella gets on my nerves and reminds me of that insane anxiety for successful mating. Now I know that there are people for everything, some for the muscle and some for the mind. And here I was lost in my thoughts, reminiscing, indulging in my past, bringing back memories...trying to stabilize the camera on my belly, watching the girls across the park drooling and sighing for the wonderful gymnast. By the way, happy Spring for those on the northern hemisphere!

March 18, 2011

Passeig de Lluís Companys and Barcelona's Arch of Triumph

Passeig de Lluis Companys and Barcelona's Arc de Triomf [enlarge]

Here is yet another angle to better appreciate Barcelona's Arch of Triumph (Arc de Triomf). This time as seen from Passeig de Lluis Companys, a great site to bask in the sun, reading under a wonderful modernista lamp, ride a bike, jog or just walk. The place has been described here in Barcelona Photoblog many times so I recommend you check these popular posts. By the way, we are having a wonderful pre-spring weekend over here, fair skies, 18º C, what else could you ask for!

March 16, 2011

Shoe Shopping in Barcelona

Shoe Shopping in Barcelona [enlarge]

Barcelona shops have been evolving from a small commerce model with scarce impact in the international arena into a more powerful network of famous brands both foreign and local which have chosen the downtown area to promote and sell their products. Passeig de Gracia for example has become the most expensive street in Barcelona and Spain partly because of the stores established along this main artery  and the success of the real state business before the crisis. I never quite understood how this process goes but money calls more money. The square meter price has skyrocketed in this part of town so only the richest can resist, the shops exhibit almost unaffordable merchandise but still somebody comes and buys it, mainly tourists with higher purchasing power and the crème de la crème of our society. Of course, you can make an exception one day and not all of them are jewelries. I guess this was not the topic that best fitted the shoe shop in the image. In fact there are many trendy and chic Barcelona shops offering attractive stuff for a reasonable price where poor mortals like us can find relief and satisfy our buying anxiety.

March 11, 2011

La Pedrera or Casa Mila: Inner Court and Air Shaft

La Pedrera or Casa Mila: Inner Court and Air Shaft [enlarge]

Casa Mila also known as La Pedrera, by Antoni Gaudi, as seen from above is a magnificent sample of fully functional organic Art Nouveau design. Notice the undulated eaves, the arched attic walls that used to hold the washrooms, the small windows not always at the same level to allow ambient light and provide ventilation for the laundry and the peculiar inner court and air shaft of the building. Perhaps you would get the mood better if you admired La Pedrera in this video on YouTube about modernista architecture in Barcelona.

March 09, 2011

Casa Mila by Gaudi: Modernist Staircase Detail

Modernist Staircase at Casa Mila, Barcelona [enlarge]

Art has many ways, just as mother nature never stops surprising us with her capricious designs. The creativity of man knows no boundaries and a good example of that is the work of Catalan genius, Antoni Gaudi. In this image, the staircase at Casa Mila also known as La Pedrera is just a staircase, a beautiful one in fact, but the handrail, oh, the wrought iron handrail is so profuse in impossible adornments, so elaborate, that it is difficult not to surrender to this architect's divine talent. Not that complex motifs were invented by him, since we have Baroque for that, but the new approach, the use of natural elements like leaves, conceived with such uncanny mathematical precision, sometimes quite hard to translate from his mind into the final piece, makes these architectural jewels unique.

March 07, 2011

Medieval Musicians at the Annual Medieval Market in Vic, Osona

Musicians at the Medieval Fair in Vic, Osona, Barcelona Province

There are occupations that do not seem to change much throughout centuries. Take a look at these musicians dressed in medieval attires impersonating those wandering minstrels going from town to town entertaining the crowd for gratuities and think of how this eventually derived into today's buskers. Yes, street musicians keep working for peanuts and having a hard life. This image was taken last December in Vic, Osona during the local medieval market held each year. Check this video found on YouTube showing more or less what the medieval market looked like. In fact the old city streets do create a fantastic scenario to get the idea about medieval times.

March 05, 2011

Obama British Africa Pub, Gran Via de les Corts Catalanes, 603, Barcelona

Obama British Africa Pub, Barcelona [enlarge]

Obama British Africa Pub at Gran Via de les Corts Catalanes, 603 is an interesting place decorated with pictures and sculptures depicting the colonialist past of Great Britain in Africa. Gin, rhum, ales and stouts, the usual thing, you know, but imbued with that special mood. Coincidence or not, to the right of the big flashy Obama signs, the shop next door reads: Si o Si. Obama, Yes or Yes!
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