Barcelona Photoblog: 2014

November 23, 2014

Spicy Orange Cow at Tapas Bar in Barcelona

Spicy Orange Cow at Tapas Bar, Barcelona

Some bars and shops in Barcelona feature these well known cows that originally were meant as public art as part of the cowparade and that as everything popular in this life ended up getting into the advertising business to reinvent themselves and get some extra cash to invest in public art. Who knows? 

I leave you with this poor cow that has to sell spicy sauces in a tapas bar at Rambla Catalunya in Barcelona. There were better examples published here in Barcelona Photoblog in the past: Ms. Moolevard on the Boulevard and Emdea by Pavel Lagner

October 30, 2014

5 Secret Hideaway Places in Barcelona, Spain

Parc del Laberint, Horta, Barcelona, Spain
As one of the most visited cities in Spain, Barcelona is a cultural wonderland for both tourists and residents. Though Barcelona is known for its famous attractions, such as the Barcelona Aquarium and the Picasso Museum, this lively city also has its hidden gems. Discover what Barcelona's secret places are in this mini travel guide, and include them in your travel plans to Barcelona.

The Carmel Bunkers are a hidden landmark in the hilly El Carmel neighborhood of Barcelona. These anti-aircraft concrete bunkers were built in the late 1930s during the Spanish Civil War to help defend the city against air raids.

Over 180 bunkers were strategically constructed on Turó de la Rovira hill and other high points around El Carmel. The bunkers housed machine guns and artillery used by the Republican army. Though never used for their intended purpose, the bunkers stand today as haunting reminders of Barcelona's war-torn past. Many are now covered in graffiti art, and the bunkers have become popular spots to take in panoramic views of the city skyline.

El Rei de la Magia, which translates to King of Magic, isn't your ordinary museum. In most museums, you'll find timeless art masterpieces, important historical documents or famous sculptures. But in the El Rei de la Magia museum, you'll discover magic. From classic tricks to a magic shop, El Rei de la Magia is a magical world for families to enjoy.

Are you planning a summer trip to Barcelona? Make sure to visit the open-air cinema in Barcelona: Sala Montjuic. Located between the walls of the Montjuic Castle, Sala Montjuic is a great place to enjoy a picnic with your family and friends. Also, with the Montjuic Castle right next to the open-air cinema, you can go on a guided tour of this historical monument; this location is a two-in-one attraction.

If you're looking for a way to enjoy a relaxing setting and stay active at the same time, the Parc del Laberint d'Horta -- also known as Horta's Labyrinth Park -- is a unique park to visit. The Parc del Laberint d'Horta, in the image above, features a small maze that you can challenge yourself to go through. This park also has smaller trails that you can walk on that weave through the park's beautiful landscape. Not only is the Parc del Laberint d'Horta a relaxing setting, but it's also a historical site.

Take a break from the busy city side of Barcelona, and go to Placa Reial. With bars and outdoor seating, Placa Reial sets up a wonderful, relaxing atmosphere. Buildings in Placa Reial boast stunning architectural design, so you get a resting place and scenic environment in one place.

Barcelona is more than its popular tourist attractions. Go off the beaten path, and explore these great hidden gems yourself on your next trip to Barcelona. If you are looking for the best place to stay, you can never go wrong checking out Expedia. You can find great deals on hotel and accommodation.

October 23, 2014

Ethnic Barcelona

Ethnic Barcelona

Under the Catalan flag new citizens living in the old quarters unknowingly compose spontaneous scenes that were unthinkable 20 years ago. These new Catalans come from all over the world and they seem to have been always in Barcelona. Maybe it is because their essence never left, because the Moors were here, the Jews were here, the Romans, maybe with their Nubian slaves were here, the Phoenicians, the Visigoths, you name it, even pirates came here often. So the melting pot was always here. It's just that Barcelona had taken a small break. Perhaps Franco, helped a little bit. The point is that this process will not stop because big cities have always been a lure for immigrants, for nomads like the castle walls attracted people in Medieval times and burgs appeared. The time has come to call everyone a Catalan every single person living in this burg, no matter the language, the creed and the origin.

October 14, 2014

Trumpeter at Carrer de la Merce

Trumpeter at Carrer de la Merce in Barcelona

Street musicians or buskers can be found around Barcelona by the hundreds. There are some, especially in the subway that don't seem to be very qualified but all in all, you can find great intrumentalists roaming the streets. The old part of town or casc antic is no exception. The other day I spotted this wonderful young trumpeter playing his instrument at Carrer de la Merce, next to the church by the same name. The nearby archway favored the acoustics and I am sure it was not a coincidence that he was lying there.

October 05, 2014

Canopy and Crucifix, High Altar, Sagrada Familia

Canopy and Christ on the cross, Sagrada Familia

Above the High Altar at Sagrada Familia's temple, there is an Expressionist “Crucifixion of Christ”, a bronze version of a work by sculptor Carles Mani i Roig (1866-1911). The sculpture hangs from a beautiful canopy over a block of porphiry from Iran acting as a very austere table.

September 11, 2014

V for Victory and Vote: La Diada, 300 years of honor

Estelada banner with La Merced in the background, Barcelona [enlarge]

Today September 11th Barcelona celebrates the 300th anniversary of La Diada, the day in which the city was invaded and occupied by the army of the Two Crowns, in the year that marked the end of the War of the Spanish Succession. It was a very sad day for Catalonia but at the same time an important event that has influenced its people since then. Catalans have fought for 300 years with bravery to vindicate themselves after such ignominious events, to be reborn from the ashes and defend honor. There has been a gigantic demonstration downtown where more than one million Catalans have joined to create an incredible V that stands not only for victory but also for vote, vote for the independence from Spain. The hashtag V de la Diada has become world trend topic in just 15 minutes. We must say here that although not all Catalans want the independence, a great many do, as was proven today. And in honor of the truth, from those who are not in favor of segregation, many are against the Spanish government's policy against Catalonia as well. All in all, independence or not, Catalans are sick and tired of the historical manipulation coming from the government in Madrid. On this special day, I want to share this picture of La Merced, patroness of Barcelona with a beautiful "L'Estelada Blava" (The Blue Starred Flag), the flag of Catalan independence in the foreground.

September 08, 2014

Catalan Housewife

Catalan housewife [enlarge]

I found this poster the other day at El Raval neighborhood if I remember correctly with this modern Catalan housewife in crocs and fancy earrings gazing at some point far away through the window with determination and pride. I don't know if the message was that the future looks brighter for housewives in Catalonia or that they wanted to sell more washing machines to many of them, but I get the impression that it is always the same old story that women belong in the kitchen. Maybe they just wanted to make this wall look like an open door to any odd kitchen. I leave it up to you to judge by yourselves.

September 07, 2014

Breaking Bad T-Shirts in Gracia Quarter, Barcelona

Breaking Bad Series T-Shirt Barcelona [enlarge]

Few series have been as revolutionary as Breaking Bad, few plots have given us such huge adrenaline shots. Mr. Heisenberg or Walter White, here in this t-shirt I found displayed at a small shop in Verdi street, Gracia quarter, Barcelona, emulates some sort of Raskolnikov that debates himself between between crime and punishment, driving his family to the verge of chaos while trying to save them from financial problems. Slinging meth in Alburquerque, New Mexico, this model father diagnosed with cancer, this renown chemist, sets himself into a vertiginous journey towards the destruction of the most basic principles of humanity going from complete ingenuity to a full implication in crime that reminds me of James Cagney in the famous movie, White Heat, when he yells "Made it ma, top of the world!". I never was fond of TV series, but Breaking Bad really has left a very good impression inside me. I would gladly pay the 20 euros they charge for this breaking T-Shirt! It's a shame they decided to finish the saga with the fifth season. I want more of Los Pollos Hermanos, Walt, Pinkman and Hank. I want more of a series where the good guy is more like you and me, a mixture of good and evil, a real person.

August 29, 2014

Multiethnic Street Mural at El Raval, Barcelona

Ethnic mural in Barcelona

On one of the alleys that ends up in La Rambla del Raval, there is this beautiful mural showing the multiethnic diversity that characterizes this neighborhood in the old part of Barcelona city. Unfortunately, it is hard to know who created this art. I hope the author reads this post and gives their name. It is not strange that artistic manifestations reflect reality: El Raval quarter represents 3% of Barcelona's population. There are almost 45,000 people per square kilometer in this area, a figure that clearly doubles the 16,000 people per square kilometer for the whole city. More than half of the inhabitants in El Raval are immigrants. In 2012, there was an 18% increase in the number of immigrants in Barcelona, while there was a 49% increase for El Raval alone. Many nationalities are represented in this part of town, but the most significant in terms of members are Pakistan, the Philippines, Bangladesh, and Morocco.

August 20, 2014

The Broken Bell of Sant Miquel del Fai

The broken bell of Sant Miquel del Fai

Sant Miquel del Fai has been featured in this blog in the past. I recommend you follow the previous link for more information about this natural park. In fact the bell was included in yet another post titled Sant Miquel del Fai Church. I really love this broken bell standing still, enduring the passing of time, right in front of a church built under a cave, in a place that seems to have held acts of pagan cult a long, long time ago and that later became l'Església de Sant Miquel (the church of Sant Miquel) around the 10th century. There is nothing like the charm of an ancient object such as this beautiful bell to blow your mind and embark you on a voyage towards a time of faith, self sacrifice and devotion when monks decided to seclude themselves in the most incredible places to carry the word of their god.

Update: Sant Miquel del Fai, up to now (2017) a private estate,  has been bought by local Barcelona authorities by 1.3 M eur and remains close now. It will be opened to the public in 2018. Entrance will be free.

August 06, 2014

Gem Stores in Barcelona: Blue Howlite

Blue Howlite

Blue howlite has antiinflammatory and detoxifying properties, helps the immune system and it is used to deal with heartburn. It is also good for your memory and it is very soothing in general. It calms your anger, reduces anxiety and tension. It is said to prevent insomnia and help you remember what you dream.

Wow, considering I am not an expert in such matters and rather agnostic about gemstones and crystals I have to admit something that beautiful must have powerful qualities of some sort. Be it true or not, I love that blue. There are many gem stores such as the one selling the gemstones in the picture spread around Barcelona, here are some of them: 

Jaume I nº16
Tel: 93 268 44 52

C/ Call, 19
Tel. 933 024 830

C/Call 24-26.
Tel. 933185846

July 28, 2014

Barcelona Buildings Main Entrance: Rambla Catalunya

Main Entrance Hall at Casa Modernista in Rambla Catalunya, Barcelona

Barcelona map is studded with numerous emblematic casas modernistas. 

Sumptuous Barcelona modernist buildings with exquisite main entrances, built by renowned Catalan Art Nouveau artists along Rambla Catalunya or Passeig de Gracia are a pleasure to the eyes of those who take the time to stop and snoop inside.

This modernist house is a good example. You can find it at Rambla Catalunya near Gran Via de les Corts Catalanes.

That polished floor, the elaborate ironwork and the old elevator so well preserved, make you feel as if you were traveling in time somehow.

Another nice entrance you can admire for example is at the Palau del Baro de Quadras

Here is a list of modernist houses to start your tour or check this previous post: Modernist Building, Rambla Catalunya 61 next to Arago St.

July 19, 2014

Catalan Cuisine Suggestions: Restaurant La Violeta, Castelltersol, Barcelona

Violet Marmalade and Fried Cheese Gaspacho
Tuna Fish and rice Icecream with Strawberries on top

One the good things in life, if not the best, is to go out and find a nice meal, at a nice restaurant in a nice place. When it comes to enjoying excellent Mediterranean dishes, Catalan cuisine, is one of the best choices. It's been a long time, I haven't recommended an interesting restaurant in or out of Barcelona and in fact I always forget to use cellphone pictures I take while traveling around Catalonia to share them here with you. That's what a blog is for after all.

Today I want to suggest Restaurant La Violeta in Castelltersol (there should be a letter cedilla after the R but Google spiders don't like foreign letters too much), a Catalan municipality that is part of Barcelona province which historically devoted to the textile industry and took its name after a castle that dates back to the ninth century. Restaurant La Violeta and the hotel with the same name, are located in a house from 1860, restored in the 90s. Apparently is just another normal local restaurant, but I have to say that if you happen to be nearby you shouldn't miss it because its cuisine is certainly worth tasting. When I say nearby, I mean, you could be watching eagles fly in renown Cim d'Aligues natural park or admiring the views at Sant Miquel del Fai

But let's talk about the menu at La Violeta:

For starters, I recommend you don't miss their special tapas, like Formatges arrebossats amb melmelada de violetes (breaded cheese dice in violet marmalade) in the picture above, or the Patatas Bravas a la Violeta. In fact, my wife and I fell in love with that violet flavor and that's why we always try to return when we have the chance. They have a nice selection of salads like the season salad with nuts, cheese, quince and apple.

For the main course, you can either have pasta dishes like the Rossejat de fideus mariners (a sort of Paella but with noodles and sauce) or a good shrimp risotto. I would go for the Arros amb llamantol (rice with lobster) but as you can see in the image, pan fried tuna can suit you well for less money. We were fortunate it was summer and they had the Gazpacho, one of the best I have tried, out of Andalusia of course.

For dessert, there was this homemade ice cream with strawberries that was just the cherry on top of the day. As to the price, it is slightly pricey, not much, but you get quality food and they are not minimalist at all, if you know what I mean. More details on their website following the first image.

July 08, 2014

A Day at Cafe Zurich, Barcelona

Cafe Zurich, Barcelona, Spain

With more than 150 years of experience Café Zurich summons the essence of XIX century Barcelona. Founded in 1862 as a canteen called La Catalana and located in a train station the place originally used to sell beverages but soon it became a chocolate shop until a Catalan that had worked abroad, decided to name the premises after the famous Swiss city. 

In 1920 the chocolate shop was bought by family Valldeperas for 50 000 pesetas and their descendants still own the place. It was precisely the founder's son who turned the shop into a beer house around 1925. Later on and as a result of the works to bury Sarria railroad tracks underground the waiting room at the station was annexed to the canteen to turn it into a big salon. Some time afterwards, the terrace was inaugurated to give Cafe Zurich the wonderful looks it has today. Please check my previous post about Cafe Zurich

June 02, 2014

Wrought Iron Door by Manuel Ballarin, Palau del Baro de Quadras, Barcelona

Ironwork door, Palau Baro de Quadras

This a detail of the ironwork at the entrance of Palau del Baro de Quadras in Barcelona.

This exquisite modernist wrought iron door was made by artist Manuel Ballarin i Lancuentra.

From his foundry Casa Ballarin, the most important in the city by the end of the XIX century came out most of the iron art works present in the buildings by architect Puig i Cadafalch like Casa Amatller, Casa Macaya, Casa Serra among others.

Check this lamp post at Passeig de Gracia by Ballarin or this remarkable gates detail at Casa Marti.

May 08, 2014

Grape Vine Rootstocks of D.O Montsant

Grape Vine Rootstocks of D.O Montsant

D.O Montsant wines

Near Siurana town, the latest muslim stronghold in Catalonia, reconquered by Christians in XII, there lies a prosperous community of over 60 cellars integrated under D.O Montsant (Denominación de Origen or Designation of Origin/Wine Apellation).

The Romans used to cultivate vineyards in these valleys located in a vast area of Tarragona province that was once under the sea and where limestone and clay prevail. In fact, this kind of soil has an incredible drainage capacity, something that is ideal for obtaining good wine. These rootstocks in the picture above, are 80 years old! Their roots grow one meter every ten years in search of  subterranean water, so there are 8 meters of root below the surface. Isn't that amazing? Old vines, that is, any of those over 50 years old are more resistant to external factors. Such vines produce less grapes but with a higher quality. The entangled roots of the flowers in the image give the vine the opportunity to retain some water before it inevitably sinks down the natural drain.

Montsant wines due their history of success to Carthusian Monks established on these hills in the Middle Ages although they did not become particularly popular until XIX. These wines are basically an association between Grenache and Carignan grapes although some other varieties are used like Merlot or Syrah for example.

D.O Montsant has gained recognition in the international arena over the last 10 years and has been declared as 'a great discovery' by prestigious magazine 'The Wine Spectator' recently among other outstanding reviews. To conclude, I would like to point out that over 70 % of the total amount of bottled wine in this cooperative of wine makers is sold abroad. According to them, this is due to the fact that their production is relative small and competition is harder in Spain plus a relative lack of trust of Catalans towards local wine. I have to say, that as a local, it is true that many times we choose wine from other D.O's like Ribera de Duero or Rioja. This attitude is clearly changing at the moment as marketing of local wines improve.

May 01, 2014

Ceiling Frescoes by Salvador Dali at Palace of the Wind, Dali Museum

Ceiling Fresco at Salvador Dali Museum
Ceiling Fresco at Salvador Dali Museum

These giant dancing feet by Salvador Dali can be admired at the ceiling of Palace of the Wind in the Dali Museum of Figueres and they date back to 1972 - 73 when the museum was built upon the remains of the former Figueres theatre. 

Oil on canvas
114 x 570cm
Dalí Theatre-Museum

Palacio del Viento

Dalí created this painting in his workshop in Portlligat, but it was eventually placed on a large scaffolding and installed in his Theatre-Museum. On the first floor of the town theater, the Sala Palau del Vent (‘Wind Palace Room’) was the site of Dalí’s first exhibition in 1919. The painting is based on the poem "L'Empordà" by Joan Maragall, which alludes to the Empordà region of Spain and the tramontana, a strong wind that blows through the region.

In the center of the painting, Dalí depicts himself and Gala in a forced perspective, creating an allegorical representation of the different stages of his life. The painting can be seen as a kind of idyllic journey through Dalí's dreamlike memories. At the end of the painting, Dalí again depicts himself and Gala, this time contemplating the ship of destiny that is about to depart.

Some of the key elements of the painting include:

  • A rain of gold coins falling on the viewer, which Dalí claimed was one real coin.
  • A reference to Lullian wheels, a type of symbol used by the Catalan mystic Ramon Llull.
  • Elephants with insect limbs.
  • The outlined silhouettes of the princes of Spain, who are the current king and queen of Spain.
  • The silhouette of the photographer and friend of Dalí, Melitó Casals, "Meli."

The painting is a complex and allegorical work that offers a unique glimpse into Dalí's life and work. It is a masterpiece of Surrealist art, and it is one of the most important works in the Dalí Theatre-Museum.

Salvador Dalí's painting The Palace of the Wind is a complex and enigmatic work that is full of symbolism. It was created between 1969 and 1973 for the ceiling of the "sala nobile" or rest room of the old municipal theatre in Figueres, Spain. The painting is now on display in the Dalí Theatre-Museum, which is housed in the same building.

The painting consists of five panels, each of which is filled with images that are both familiar and strange. The central panel depicts a large, golden sun that is surrounded by a swirling vortex of clouds. The clouds are populated by a variety of figures, including a woman with a long neck, a giant lobster, and a group of musicians. The other panels depict a variety of other scenes, including a landscape with a castle, a seascape with a boat, and a cityscape with a cathedral.

The Palace of the Wind is a visually stunning work that is full of Dalí's signature surrealist imagery. The painting is a testament to Dalí's incredible imagination and his ability to create images that are both beautiful and disturbing.

The Creation of the Painting

Dalí began working on The Palace of the Wind in 1969, shortly after the purchase of the old municipal theatre in Figueres. The theatre was originally built in 1847, but it had fallen into disrepair by the time Dalí acquired it. Dalí planned to transform the theatre into a museum dedicated to his work, and The Palace of the Wind was to be one of the centerpieces of the museum.

Dalí worked on the painting in several different stages. The first panel was completed in 1970, and it was hoisted into place on the ceiling of the sala nobile on November 13, 1970. The painting was taken down the next day, however, so that the restoration of the theatre could continue.

Dalí continued working on the painting in his studio at Portlligat during 1971-72. He completed the central part of the painting during this time, and he also added the side panels. The entire painting was finally put in place on the ceiling of the sala nobile in 1972 but officially declared completed by the author in 1973.

The Symbolism of the Painting

The symbolism of The Palace of the Wind is complex and has been interpreted in many different ways. Some scholars believe that the painting is a representation of the Empordà region of Spain, where Dalí was born and raised. The Empordà is a region that is known for its winds, and the swirling vortex of clouds in the painting could be seen as a representation of the region's strong winds.

Other scholars believe that the painting is a more personal allegory, representing Dalí's own life and work. The central panel of the painting depicts a large, golden sun that is surrounded by a swirling vortex of clouds. The sun could be seen as a representation of Dalí himself, while the clouds could be seen as representing the challenges and obstacles that he faced in his life.

The other panels of the painting depict a variety of other scenes, including a landscape with a castle, a seascape with a boat, and a cityscape with a cathedral. These scenes could be seen as representing different aspects of Dalí's life and work. The castle could be seen as a representation of Dalí's childhood home, while the seascape could be seen as a representation of his travels. The cityscape could be seen as a representation of his life in Barcelona and Figueres.

The Legacy of the Painting

The Palace of the Wind is one of Dalí's most famous paintings, and it is a centerpiece of the Dalí Theatre-Museum in Figueres

Please check this other post about the Mae West Room.

April 27, 2014

Meat Grinder for Sausages

Meat grinder for stuffing sausages

The color of raw meat, the remnants of a life that is no more, the blood and tissue that randomly entered the food chain on the expense of any odd pig to feed some any odd civilized and superior animal thanks to a sophisticated tool this very same primate took eons to produce: a meat grinder. This one in particular prepared to stuff sausages with a funnel. Please check previous posts about sausages: Rack of Catalan Blood Sausages and Botifarra: The Slaughter

April 22, 2014

Pigeon on Street Water Tap

Pigeon graffiti on water tap in Barcelona

Don't bother trying to feed the pigeon, in fact you can go and drink from the tap, the bird won't fly. It was funny, cause the fact pigeons are so many here in Barcelona and so exposed to a great range of illnesses, makes them look sort of unhealthy and you tend to regard them as rats so probably you wouldn't drink with one of them that close. This painting on the wall, did play a trick on me. It is so strikingly real. This picture was taken at a square next to carrer Carders. If you want to see more street art in our city please visit my previous posts: Crucifixion on Decay Wall or Graffiti on Ancient Door or follow labels street art and graffiti.

April 17, 2014

Fruits of the Forest Icecream in Barcelona

Fruits of the forest icecream detail

Warm weather is here and with it the everpresent icecreams. I spotted this lucious fruits of the forest icecream somewhere in La Barceloneta. Actually, I took a big pistachio scoop. Not that I don't enjoy berries but pistachio and mango are my favorites. Nevertheless, from all the possible choices for an icecream shot, I think forest fruits or frutas del bosque probably is the best. Which one is your favorite?

April 15, 2014

Paella Menus at La Barceloneta: Lover's Choice

Lovers kissing at Paella restaurant, Barceloneta

On a lovely sunny day of April, tourists and locals alike start storming the streets of La Barceloneta not only to have a first rendezvous with the beach but also to frequent one of the many restaurants along the promenade in front of the marina. Not that all locals are prone to choose at random in that area as it is well known that many of those restaurants offer pricey menus and could do better with the same old ingredients. The amount of tourists is so gargantuan that it is better to sit and catch the easy fish without a bait than to learn the art of angling. Of course there are nice restaurants along the walk, I have been there sometimes but be careful. Anyway, no matter the quality and the good taste or not, those terraces with people basking in the sun while having some succulent paella and drinking sangria do create a wonderful scene for the expectator's eye on the way to the waterfront. These lovers and their magic kiss unknowingly portray the happy atmosphere of a perfect day of Spring when you are about to enjoy the perfect meal with the perfect sight. On the glass panel, the paella menu, luring or deterring, make your choice.

April 12, 2014

New Trends: Facial Massage, Carrer Carders, Barcelona

Facial massage carrer Carders, Barcelona

Walking along carrer Carders in Barri de la Ribera, Barcelona there was this very chic salon where this guy was giving his client what it looked like a very proffesional facial massage. Massage is not something that I am very familiar with and thus I shouldn't be talking about here but the skillful hands gently rubbing the man's face, the light and the perfect design of the shelves in the background did make me snoop inside the shop with the camera. As you can see I could not remain anonymous in this case. The fact is that this neighborhood has grown in brand new trendy places such as this that in a way help clean the image of this part of town and attract tourists and locals alike to otherwise forgotten alleys of casc antic.

April 07, 2014

Top 3 activities in Barcelona

Barcelona History told by its graffiti

The walls of Barcelona are the secret keepers of its history, guarding who why and when many works of art were created and made visible to all the citizens around the city. But it’s possible to get those secrets out and analyze the modern art of graffiti to understand more of the evolution of Barcelona through its society and political circumstances. It’s a curious and overwhelming discovery that will make anyone look at the city in a different artistic way.
Sailing in the Mediterranean Sea
Barcelona sleeps and wakes up by the waves sound murmuring sweet and inviting words to the entire crowd around the seashore. However, sometimes that calling comes from a boat and there’s the option to sail on the Mediterranean Sea along the coast of Barcelona and enjoying the beauty of the beaches, the outstanding buildings and the almost infinitive blue while filling up the bellies with tasty tapas and living the life of a real fisherman.
Free fall the Barcelonese skies
The adrenaline, the fear, the desire and many other mixed feelings cannot be detached from the scare of losing the floor underneath the feet. But that is also what pushes someone out of edge; it is what drives someone to finally jump. Free falling the Barcelonese skies is a one in a lifetime experience! Accompanied by a professional instructor, the feeling of jumping, the falling at fast spend and the view around is truly breathtaking and as astonishing as it can be. 

This is a guest post by

March 27, 2014

Catalan Modernist Ceiling at Hospital de Sant Pau to Celebrate Barcelona Photoblog's 2.000.000 visits!

This is one of the ceilings inside one of the many pavilions in the modernist complex at Hospital de Sant Pau.

All buildings have been restored  and opened to the public inside a complex called Recinte Modernista. Now a small fee is charged to enter and admire these beauties reborn.

This and other pictures I have, were taken with a cellphone and do not make justice to the real thing. The impression I get when I take a look at the result of such magnificent restoration is that everything has turned back to be like brand new, as if the hands of the skillful craftsmen had been working on those mosaics and those stain glasses yesterday.

A whole range of architectural wonder has been unveiled for all the world to see.

(By the way, I am happy to announce that today Barcelona Photoblog has reached 2.000.000 visits since it first saw light back in 2006. It's been years of hard work and of meeting very nice people here at the blog. I hope you have enjoyed it somehow. That really means something to me. Thanks to all those that made this incredible figure come true, thanks for your time and your comments. Happy to share my modest work with you all)

Update: In 2017 Barcelona Photoblog reached almost the 3 M figure but I decided to stop using the website that kept track of my visits.

March 17, 2014

Catalan Blood Sausage or Botifarra Negre, Vallverd d'Urgell, Catalonia

Catalan blood sausage

Here is a rack of Catalan blood sausages (Cat. botifarra negre). Originally they are red and become black during the boiling process that takes about 15 minutes. Later on they are hung to dry before they are finally grilled. This picture was taken during a local annual gathering (265 people this year) in a town called Vallverd d'Urgell, in the Catalan province of Lleida. Once a year a whole town meets to prepare what is known as freginat, a mixture of white beans (fesols), caramelized onions (ceba) (cooked slowly during 4 hours), ribs, liver and chunks of pork. This delicious dish is served with two sausages, white botifarra and black botifarra which are elaborated right on site after the killing (matança) of two pigs early in the morning or the day before celebrations. 

March 10, 2014

Cistercian Architecture: Poblet Monastery, Catalonia

This cloister gallery with its rib vaults and pointed arches can be admired at Poblet Monastery, a wonderful example of Cistercian architecture founded in the XII century that was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1991. Cistercian architecture is a great legacy of medieval architecture. Early Cistercian architecture shows a transition between Romanesque and Gothic architecture and this monastery at Poblet, in the comarca of Conca de Barberà, Catalonia, is a good example although other styles such as Barroque and Renaissance are also present as the institution underwent later transformations. The different buildings integrating the complex are extraordinarily well preserved. Please check my previous post about Monasteri de Poblet for more information.

March 05, 2014

Barcelona Carnival 2014: From a Child's Perspective

Small girl wearing costume, Barcelona

Barcelona's Carnival 2014 is coming to an end, as today is Ash Wednesday. Images from the parade will remain vivid in our memories but who knows how magic they can be in the eyes of a child. The world seems so different through the lens of an innocent soul that even from the distance while sticking her face against this glass, this girl must think the parade is some sort of fairy tale, full of giants, weird creatures and creepy monsters that decided all of a sudden to jump out of her parents' bedtime stories. This girl is my goddaughter.

March 03, 2014

Carnival 2014 in Barcelona: The Actors

Last Saturday was La Rua's day of Carnival 2014 in Barcelona. La Rua is the Catalan name for the  parade that takes place in some carnivals around the world and as usual in these events people let their imagination fly. As you should know from previous posts here in Barcelona Photoblog about Barcelona's Carnival, there is the main parade and then there are secondary ruas in many districts of the city. Besides the floats and the parades it is very common to see shop clerks or market staff working in their costumes as you can appreciate in this picture taken at one of the stands in La Merce market. This week I am going to show some costumes both from the market and the streets and I would like to thank those who gently accepted to pose for the camera. Please check also: Some days of Pagan Joy, Carnival Costumes, Feather Masks

February 08, 2014

Frederic Mares Museum, Barcelona: An Act of Faith

A head, just a head, just a bloody head, sad fate, that of martyrs, eyes lost at the final moment,searching for a divine help that never came perhaps because everybody is meant to suffer in this valley of death, awaiting for that final judgement. Did they die in vain? The light falling upon this polychrome carving at the museum Frederic Mares in Barcelona remind me in a way of that last hope, that last glimpse of light at the end of the road, when nothing human can save you from your misfortune and you are all alone with nothing but your faith.

January 14, 2014

Love in Barcelona and Beyond

Couple kissing each other - Las Ramblas - Barcelona

Love is all around us, it is always there, it will never ask you when to come, it is in the air, on those leaves, on the bark of that tree, in the way the time freezes around this warm embrace. This is such a universal scene, it has been so many times portrayed!!!

When I take a picture of a couple sometimes I feel I am violating something sacred so I tried to conceal the faces. Who they are, is irrelevant. It should be. Love can happen to you, can happen to me. The way I see it, is that this is something so deep that I could write a book about it. I would only say, that for me, love is like washing away the rest of the scene. I am sure that Las Ramblas, this extremely busy street, disappeared for an instant around this kiss, passersby became but silent blurry ghosts, signs got distorted, and a sudden secret swirl of energy started to form around the lovers, that mysterious matter, that causes numbness inside our brains, that gives you a lump in your throat, pushes your stomach against your bones, right beneath your diaphragm, dilates your pupils, accelerates your pulse, sends shivers down your spine, opens up your pores, boosts up your senses up to the point you fall into a trance and you are no longer there, but somewhere inside the soul, not just your soul, but some other person's soul and that my friends, is the real magic of it all, to walk into somebody's beautiful soul, unexplored, full of treasures, full of light, richer than yours sometimes, because yours you apparently know already, which of course, is not completely true. But you don't want yours, you want to walk along this new path, to enhance your experience, expand your senses to the world beyond and the only tool you've got is something right behind your eyes connected to something in your chest that is capable of seeing without using your vision and transforming reality into whatever whimsical image you could think of. To be more precise, you are not precisely thinking. I am sure this comes from a place inside our hearts.

Lovers' hearts are prepared to catch the weakest universal signals and fine tune them into a perfect symphony without having super powers, without knowing about music or instruments, they are simply connected to the source and the source is not outside, it comes from within.

Let's respect the peace of this moment, this private kiss, let's envy in a way, the ones who are able to know love, real love and wish we can find it some day, in this life or in any other life.

Have you ever felt this way? How would you describe love?
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