Barcelona Photoblog: December 2013

December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas by Carlos Lorenzo - Barcelona Photoblog

Christmas Stand, Barcelona, Spain [enlarge]

I wish all of you my dear visitors Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Here is the stand at the entrance of Mercat de La Merce in Virrei Amat looked last weekend. Good luck and good health, prosperity and all the best for the rest of the season and coming 2014.

December 23, 2013

Ohla Hotel Barcelona Dressed up for the Holidays

Ohla Hotel, Barcelona [enlarge]

Ohla Hotel in Via Laietana, 49 looked this way last Friday night. The picture is taken with my cellphone. I liked the illumination for the holidays. If I were to select a hotel with good access to casc antic (old part of town) this one would be one of them. Ohla Hotel has a Michelin-starred restaurant, a rooftop swimming pool with great views over Barcelona and modern design rooms. Nearby you have Palau de la Musica, Las Ramblas, the Cathedral, Plaza Sant Jaume and Plaza Catalunya among other important main attractions.

December 19, 2013

Palau Baro de Quadras - Ramon Llull Institute's Brand New Headquarters

Built between 1904 and 1906, Palau Baro de Quadras, is a beautiful sample of Catalan modernisme. This palace was designed by architect Josep Puig i Cadafalch for Baro de Quadras (baron of Quadras). The building's main entrance is at Avinguda Diagonal 373, where you can appreciate a very elaborate façade of European Gothic influence blended with Neo-Plateresque style.

From across the street you seem to be standing before a Renaissance Italian palazzo rich in lattice work. Worth mentioning are the gargoyles and floral adornments on this side of the palace. On carrer Roselló there is a backdoor entrance. That side, features a Modernista style with some hints of the Wiener Sezession school (Vienna Art Nouveau or Jugendstil).

This emblematic place was known till last October as Casa Asia, which is a public cultural institution devoted to the promotion of projects to strengthen relationships with that continent and that is going to inaugurate its new premises inside Hospital de Sant Pau's modernist complex. For those who don't know, the old Art Nouveau buildings there have been restored and will be used for other services.

Palau Baro de Quadras has been donated by the City Town Hall to Ramon Llull Institute. As part of their mutual collaboration, the City Council will integrate in the institute's consortium with the intention of participating in the international promotion of Barcelona and Catalonia.

Institut Ramon Llull is a public body created to foster Catalan language studies at international universities and to promote Catalan cultural production in all artistic areas.

But let's return to our palace. Notice in the image above, the stairway to the upper floor. Upon entering through either the main gate or the backdoor, you arrive to this place which has a small fountain to the right over a beautiful mosaic floor. Besides the profuse adornments surrounding the stairs, you really ought to see the stained glass ceiling that is slightly shown in the upper part of the photo. Some other day I will show you the gallery in the second floor and other details of this wonderful building so well preserved.

I hope you enjoyed yet another Barcelona photo here at Barcelona Photoblog. Perhaps you want to check this previous post about Palau Baro de Quadras.

But to know a place you need to see it for yourself and not just an image. Take a look at this very short video with slides that show the whole palace.

December 07, 2013

Cheap Flights from London to Madrid or Barcelona: Pros and Cons

Aerial View of Mountain Range [enlarge]

Before talking about cheap flights from London to Madrid or Barcelona and giving my personal opinion, let’s check some stats and facts first:

About 400 international destinations are visited on board of flights departing from London airports: Gatwick, Heathrow, Luton, Southend, Stansted, London City Airport. Altogether, the six airports handled 133,709,327 passengers in 2011 including both domestic and world travelers. Considering only EU flights, there were 122 107 837 passengers moving in and out of London Area Airports that year, a 7 % difference with respect to 2010. Nevertheless, according to an annual passenger survey on passenger numbers at Britain’s airports carried out by the CAA (Civil Aviation Authority in the UK) 2012 was completely different due to the Olympic Games. 800,000 passengers passed through London’s airports for Olympic-related journeys during July and September last year.

In the case of Spain, 2,496,921 traveled between London and Madrid and 1,661,301 between London to Barcelona back in 2011. The lure of Barcelona and Madrid attracts people from all over the world via London airports. Taking into account figures from Heathrow airport, 737 571 passengers landed in El Prat airport, Barcelona in 2012 (Easy Jet, Monarch, Vueling and British Airways) and 1.190.486 flew to Barajas airport in Madrid. As you can imagine, the volume is considerably higher if we count the other five airports.

With such figures, it is not surprising that there is a fierce battle between aviation companies and between travel agencies to attract the most clients and catch as many fish as possible in the turbulent waters of an always seasonal and uncertain market. Low cost carriers and regular airlines, offer cheap flights for last minute birds or for methodic passengers that plan ahead. Most of them, try to get the cheapest flight while avoiding the lousier companies. Yes, some of them are really frightening. Just to give you an example, very near one, I am traveling with the family to London, next January. I have already booked the flight with a low cost company, EasyJet after weighing different options. Some of them were really insulting, especially when you have to fly at 6.00 am in the morning and come back almost at midnight, on a plane with a ridiculous narrow corridor, stuffed in a narrow seat, assisted by a horrible and ill-mannered air hostess with your feet over the handbag you couldn't stick into the compartment. I finally got a decent flight, at a decent hour and I hope that with a decent company I know of from other flights. If I were you, I would check twice before buying any odd cheap flight from London to Madrid or to Barcelona. Many times, it looks cheap and then you get a big surprise when they add extra charges for the credit card at the end of the transaction. Beware of that. I would like to suggest a site or two to find your cheap but safe flight although there is a huge list out there to choose from. I almost always use to search for my flight, although I might use, eDreams or Expedia sometimes.

Those that are looking for London-Madrid Flights should definitely try the services of, which I've seen has good reviews from customers and I tried myself sometimes.

December 03, 2013

Casa Comalat Backside at Carrer Corsega 316, Barcelona

Casa Comalat: Balcony and Windows

Casa Comalat is one of those secret places of Barcelona everyone would like to discover but sadly it is closed to the public. This Modernista house has two completely different sides which have been featured in Barcelona Photoblog in the past. There is the front side, magnificent, full of adornments, but sober in comparison with the backside façade, at carrer Corsega 316, which I find much more interesting and attractive.

But before we start, you should know some facts: The building is named after the its proprietor, Sr. Comalat, a moneylender that commissioned it to architect Salvador Valeri i Pupurull (1873-1954). Salvador Valeri built a house that is slightly different to other Modernista houses of the times, very rich in ornaments, very decorative, it became a perfect sample of Late Modernisme. Maybe you need a video to fully comprehend what Late Modernisme looked like and to discover what only a local Barcelona TV has unveiled, the inner secrets of Casa Comalat. The video is not in English but you really ought to watch it.

With regards to the Barcelona photo of the day, Casa Comalat Backside, you can appreciate the elaborate  ceramics on balconies and windows by artist Lluís Bru i Salelles and the over-undulating shapes framing wood blinds for the first time in Modernisme. Rigalt i Granell, a renown company at that time, was in charge of the stained glass works. Certainly, never backsides were so much better than front doors.

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Art Nouveau Balconies
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