Barcelona Photoblog

July 02, 2019

What to See When Vacationing in Spain

Alhambra Palace, Granada, Spain

Spain is one of the world’s countries most steeped in culture and history. The nation draws in millions of tourists each year to enjoy its beaches, food, music, art and sculpture. Spain’s ideal geographic location in Europe helped the creation of its centuries old empire. Remnants of the empires last today seen in the bits and pieces of Spanish culture that dot places from Latin America to Northern Africa. Visitors to Spain have a lot to choose from when it comes to itineraries. They could spend the whole time soaking in the Mediterranean sun or dancing to music in the evening streets. If they’re road warriors, they can spend weeks traveling the country trying out the wide variety of food, people and architecture that Spain offers. Even better is the fact that Spain offers a more affordable travel destination than other European tourist powerhouses like France and Germany. You can spend less, get more out of your stay in Spain and walk away with a five-star experience. Here are some of the best things to see across the country on your Spanish getaway.


Granada is home to the most visited monument in Spain: The Nasrid Palace is famous around the world for its tile work, exquisite stucco ceilings, as well as beautiful pools, fountains and gardens. Over three million people come to Granada every year. The Alhambra is a place and fortress that was built in 889 A.D. on top of old roman buildings. The palace is a literal storytelling of Spain’s history as it changed between the hands of different rulers over the years. The building’s Muslim architecture is a relic of past Islamic empires that ruled the region. The Alhambra is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Visitors to Granada will learn that a lot of songs and tales in Spain are tied to the palace and its history. One of the biggest draws inside the palace is the Court of Myrtles. The Court was used to help cool the palace and was also a symbol of central power. The center pool is crafted with marble pavement with galleries alongside the corridors. One of the most incredible technological feats inside of the palace is the Fountain of the Lions. Twelve marble lions supporting the fountain were made to spew water from its mouth each hour, a hydraulic feat for its time.

The Sagrada Familia Basilica

Located in Barcelona, the Sagrada Familia is perhaps the most recognizable of all Spanish architectures. Though initially started under Francesc de Paula del Villar in 1882, famous architect Gaudi took over the job the next year and worked on the church until he died in 1926. In fact, Barcelona is known for other Gaudi projects across the city, and people love the way old avant-garde Gaudi buildings mesh with traditional modern and old Spanish architecture, many visitors are surprised to find out that construction is still ongoing, meaning the building has been on for 137 years. Currently, Joseph Maria Subirachs leads the construction project, and the basilica is nearing completion. The Sagrada Familia is known for its tall spires and detailed exterior. The twelve towers symbolize the twelve original apostles, and the three facades represent the Nativity, the Passion and Death, and the Glory of Christ. The Sagrada Familia is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Construction is funded by ticket sales and private donations.

Madrid’s Prado Museum

The Prado Museum is one of the greatest collections of art in the world. It’s recognized as the largest art gallery in the world, housing more than 7,500 paintings. Only a small portion of the collection can be displayed at any given time because of space restrictions despite recent additions. The Prado Museum came into being when Charles III combined the disparate royal collections so the people could view them in one place. An interesting bit of history- during the Spanish Civil War, the Prado collection was sent to Switzerland for safekeeping. Once the war ended, it was sent back during the Second World War. In addition to its thousands of paintings, the Prado Museum is home to many marble sculptures, coin collections, and other pieces. Construction on the museum started in the late 18th century and continued for around thirty-five years. Many art collectors still choose to leave their pieces to the Prado Museum when they die, so the collection continues to grow. As a result, more additions have been put on the original buildings. In 2007, a US $219 million addition that took ten years to complete was built to hold large temporary exhibits.

Cathedral of Seville

Seville is one of the most scenic locations in Spain, drawing in international visitors who want to take in the culture of the renowned city. The Cathedral of Seville is the heart of it. It’s also among the oldest of Spain’s famous architecture. Started in 1401, the cathedral was symbolically constructed on top of the Moorish mezquita that was there before. The final stage of the cathedral was finished over three hundred years after building began. No expense was spared during construction. The building has over 75 stained glass windows, marble floors, bronze candelabras and more. Among the other draws to the city, the Cathedral of Seville is famous because it houses the tomb of Christopher Columbus, the famous explorer who discovered the Americas. The cathedral is home to over 500 pieces of priceless artwork, and, you guessed it, the cathedral is also UNESCO World Heritage Site, underscoring the amount of historical treasures to be found in Spain.

These four locations are just the foundation to a wonderful Spanish vacation itinerary. The country has hundreds, if not thousands, of other worthwhile locations and attractions. You’ll find world class music, food, sport and shopping around the country. Getting around is easy and the Spanish people are among the friendliest in the world. Visitors walk away from Spain with a greater appreciation of the region’s history that has done so much to shape the world around us.

June 24, 2019

Sant Joan's Eve Cocas and Fireworks

One more year Catalonia and its capital Barcelona celebrate the arrival of summer with this traditional festivity known as Revetlla de Sant Joan /Verbena de San Juan / Saint John's Eve.

Sant Joan is a moment to share with family and friends and who made the first bonfire is certainly unknown since all the summer welcoming celebrations of history occurred once in a long gone night of mankind when it was time to thank the gods, make a toast for past victories, blessing crops and guarantee a better future. The longest day of the year, the solstice seems to be the perfect occasion to rejoice from dusk to dawn drinking and eating in the most pagan ways. Fortunately there is no need to sacrifice animals or virgins anymore.

Of course in spite of the 'tribal rituals' of the night there is also the feast that commemorates Saint John The Baptist's birth that no one seems to remember anymore. The fact is that bonfires made of bones and wood, something rather hard to find in Barcelona nowadays, are called St John's Fire and that was perfect to repel witches in the past, who knows if even today!

The bonfires can be seen along the Catalan geography by the thousands especially at the beach (a celebration that this year 2019 generated 20 tons of crap on the capital's waterfront)

Those who prefer to celebrate at home or on the city streets, limit themselves to fireworks of all sorts like the one on top that, as somebody suggested to me at the Barcelona Reddit, looks like one of Dr. Strange's portals.

The stars of the night are the famous Cocas de Sant Joan which are of different kinds according to the ingredients. Here is a Coca made of brioche, candied fruit, pine nut and cream filling.

Here is another Coca de Sant Joan known as Coca de Llardons, a flat pastry cake made with eggs, sugar, pork crackling (llardons) and pine nuts. What if you try a Coca de Llardons recipe?

Do not forget some nice Catalan cava as the perfect dressing of a memorable evening!

June 17, 2019

Citroën DS 23 in Black, A Sleek Shark

Citroen DS 23 Black Front View

One of the best French cars ever made and I believe of the most beautiful in the whole history of car design is Citroën DS. This Citroën DS 23 in black with that sleek shark look, so well taken care of, so polished, I shot during a Classic Car exhibition in Montjuic a long time ago. Check this article about DS 19.

Citroen DS 23 Black Rear View

Other cars who became classics appeared in Barcelona Photoblog in the past. Take a look at some of them now that you are here: Classic Cars
Web Analytics