Barcelona, a photo a day

architecture

Sant Jaume

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Probably the very first church in BCN… Sant Jaume, well hidden in plain sight, on Carrer Ferran, just inside the gates of Barcino, the roman Barcelona, 1 mn from the Ramblas. It was renovated in 1388, but the earliest mention dates back to 985 AD, where it was called the old church…

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Palau de la Musica

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A beautiful and flamboyant modernist building, dating back to 1905. It was built for choir music, very trendy a century ago. If you mind the longish queue, it is one of the must to visit! Here is the Wiki article about it.


A hidden gem

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This is the Pati (patio) Manning, a former Casa de Caridad, hospice for the poor from 1803 till 1957. It was founded by the Duke of Lancaster. It is now the CCCB, center for contemporary culture of Barcelona. Interesting place.


The tap

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You all have taps in our house, I suppose… This one, in the cloister of the cathedral, is better!


A weekend reflection…

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…of a golden balcony, for this weekend’s reflections


Camera-shy weekend reflection…

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It’s weekend, therefore weekend reflections… Can you see me? Only a few days till the CDP monthly theme day, camera-shy self portrait!


Parque Guell

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No, no moon photo today, but one from Parque Guell, which used to be free, but isn’t anymore. Oh well, it is really, I mean really, worth a visit.


MNAC

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This is the rather magnificent cupola at the MNAC, the national catalan art museum, on Montjuic hill. An absolute must see! The view upon Barcelona from up there is gorgeous as well!


Still not Barcelona

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One more photo of my hometown (see yesterday’s post). We have a cathedral, Notre Dame, our Lady, which happens to be exactly 1000 years old. One of the side chapels, in the west wing.


Casa Batlló

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Some detail of Gaudi’s Casa Batlló, on a screen. Surreal.


The grey

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This is BCN too… Well, at least they have the seaview.


Catedral del Mar

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So many things in Barcelona are sea-related. Well, it is one of the main port on the Med.
Anyway, this is in my opinion the most elegant church in town, Santa Maria de la Ribera, the cathedral of the sea. You might have read Ildefonso Falcone’s book about about it, a local bestseller. More about the church here.


AgBar

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Stands for Agua de Barcelona, the waterworks. The tower. The tower has obviously many nicknames, none of them having with do it’s actual function as an office building. The most popular of them is about… male waterworks… Very unfortunately (to me, anyway), to access the top floor, you have to work there. Open to the public is the ground floor, where they tell you where to pay your water bill.
The thinggy is actually blue, you know. And french.


Peix

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The whale, this is what we call this big structure on the seafront in Barcelona.
No, wait… According to Frank Gehry who built it for the 92 Olympics, it is actually a giant goldfish. Ok with this, it is red indeed, made of copper and steal.

About the style of this photo ((no, I did not paint. Although, I did…), more about it on my brand new website, the painting camera, merging photography and painting. Feel free to browse.And who knows, you might want to buy a picture…


Cafe at Gaudi’s

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A nice place to a coffee, is the little bar at Casa Batllo, on Passeig de Gracia


Ajuntamiento

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Next time you’re having a cafe solo (italian: un espresso) at the Mayor’s office, be sure to check the corridors… Many nice surprises, like this charming corner.


Beaubourg

And back to Paris! Beaubourg, better known now by it’s official name of Centre Georges Pompidou (a former french president). It is a huge culture center/museum/library/exhibition center, with some cafes, situated in the Beaubourg area of the city center. Quite a lot to say about the place, you can click here and here for more info.


La Petite France, or what’s behind a name

Leaving Paris, we are now in the city of Strasbourg, north east of France, at the german border. My hometown.
This is la petite France, the area known as little France, with a gruesome history to its name. There was a hospice in the area, called l’hospice des veroles, built during the 15th century, specially for people suffering of syphilis (most of them prostitutes). Syphilis was better known as the french disease, as it was brought by french soldiers. Therefore the name of the area…
Nowadays, it is the center of the old town, with a lot of very pretty houses, most of them over 500 years old, crossed by the river Ill. No hospice anymore, just lots of good restaurants. And tourists.
Have a look here to see many more weekend reflections.


Sol i ombra

This is for many an evil place, the old bullring on Plaza Tetuan. Bullfighting was made illegal in Catalunya last year, but there is a strong movement of mainly non-catalan Spaniards wanting to reintroduce it. Whatever you might think about it, and I am personally totally against the sick compulsion of some to torturing and killing animals for fun (or watching it being done), the architecture is quite sumptuous, much more andalous than catala. The place is mostly unused now, there was an Italian circus in it last winter.
And in the bad old times, when buying your seat, you could choose between sol i ombra, sun or shade.


Sant Pau del Camp monastery and church.

The oldest church in town, by a mile. St Paul in the Field was founded in 897 AD by the Earl Guiffre Borrell.

And it’s just around the corner, our parish church.


Sagrada Familia, the latest update

The Cathedral, as seen from my wife’s office. Well, what can I say…

It still isn’t finished.


Gran Teatre del Liceu

 The Liceu, as we call it, the Barcelona opera house. We went there on Sunday, as it was the European Opera Day. Grandiose would an understatement. They liked to build big, in the 1840es. With it’s 2292 seats, it is one of the biggest and oldest opera houses in Europe.

 The ceiling above the main hall…

… and the one in the next room.


Up

Near the Paralel metro station, there are these 3 old chimneys. Don’t know anything else about them, sorry!

Skywatch Friday, right here!


Palau Guell

I was asked about the spires on the header of this blog. No, they are not part of a church, they are on the roof of a private house, the Palau Guell, or Guell Palace. A private house with a difference, as it was built for Eusebi Guell by his good friend Antonio Gaudi.
Here is the entrance:

Now, the interior of the house is very dark and gloomy, hard to get a good shot without a flash or a tripod (forbidden). Here is what I could manage…

It gets a little lighter on the upper floors.

Many more of those spires on the roof, with a fantastic view over the old town.


Toyo Ito did it

Out of Barcelona… We’re in L’ Hospitalet de Llobregat (aka the suburbs), home of one of the mega-shops of this Swedish packed furniture company whose name starts with an I. I was curtain shopping.
Anyway, got the curtains I wanted, and got a photo of the 2 Torres Porta Fira, by Japanese architect Toyo Ito. If you’ve ever landed in Barcelona airport, you’ve most probably seen these 2 red buildings. One is a hotel, the other an office building.
Photo taken with my very basic and quite bad HTC mobile phone.


Passeig de Gracia

Barcelona’s Champs Elysees is the Passeig de Gracia, with it’s many many noble mansions. Wouldn’t you want this house on your Christmas wishlist???

AND A VERY HAPPY ST PATRICK’S DAY TO EVERYONE!!!

Salo de Cent

The historic main hall of the city hall, called the Salo de cent, the hall of the hundred (hundred councilors ruling the city in medieval times). 2 of my friends are getting married here this year, in May and November. 


Estació de França

This is by far the most beautiful train station in Barcelona, the Estació de França. Here is what Wikipedia says about it in English:

Estació de França (Catalan pronunciation: [əstasiˈo ðə ˈfɾansə]; Spanish: Estación de Francia; “France Station”) is a major railway station in  Barcelona.
Estació de França is the second busiest railway station of the city after Barcelona-Sants in terms of regional and long-distance ridership. It may lose this status, however, with the arrival of the AVE high-speed train in Sants and the construction of Estació de la Sagrera, planned for completion in 2012, that will concentrate most of the traffic.
A railway station was first built here in the 19th century as the main terminus for trains arriving from France (as its name still suggests), but also for services to North East Catalonia and the Costa Brava.
Re-built and re-opened for the 1929 International Exhibition, the two monumental buildings that make up the station were designed by the architect Pedro Muguruza and inaugurated by King Alfonso XIII. They surround the railway tracks in the shape of a ‘U’. In total, the station’s structure is 29m tall and 195m long. The station was closed for renovation between from 1988 and 1992, reopening for the Olympic Games of 1992.
It is generally seen as the city’s most beautiful station. It is worth seeing in its own right for the restrained mix of classical and more modern styles – complete with decoration in marble, bronze and crystal, and modernista and art déco motifs. Over the last three decades it has been eclipsed as Barcelona’s main station by the subterranean sprawl of Sants. Indeed, the other stations of Barcelona are all at least partly underground, França being the only exception.
Part of the original building now belongs to Pompeu Fabra University, serving as its “França building”.


Pati Manning

One of the many nice and quiet places in the city center where to have a drink or two. It is the Pati (patio) Manning, a former seminary built during the 18th century in baroque style, and named after it’s main benefactor. It is now a culture center.


Casa Amatller

This stunning building on Passeig de Gracia is Casa Amatller. Built in the Modernisme style and designed by Josep Puig i Cadafalch, one of the great Catalan architects at the beginning of the 20th century. It is just next door to Casa Batllo, of which you can see a small part in the upper right corner. You can see much more of it here.


Treasure hunt

I try to go on a photographic treasure hunt across BCN as often as I can, and here one of the many gems to be found in our fair city, a part of a school wall.


Angel

I sit and wait
Does an angel contemplate my fate
And do they know
The places where we go
When we’re grey and old
‘cos I have been told
That salvation lets their wings unfold
So when I’m lying in my bed
Thoughts running through my head
And I feel that love is dead
I’m loving angels instead

[Chorus]

And through it all she offers me protection
A lot of love and affection
Whether I’m right or wrong
And down the waterfall

Wherever it may take me
I know that life won’t break me
When I come to call she won’t forsake me
I’m loving angels instead

When I’m feeling weak
And my pain walks down a one way street
I look above
And I know I’ll always be blessed with love
And as the feeling grows
She breathes flesh to my bones
And when love is dead
I’m loving angels instead

[Chorus]

And through it all she offers me protection
A lot of love and affection
Whether I’m right or wrong
And down the waterfall
Wherever it may take me
I know that life won’t break me
When I come to call she won’t forsake me
I’m loving angels instead

[Repeat Chorus]

Robbie Williams


Santiago impressions

 

A few more photos and impression of Santiago de Compostela.


The Queen Regent

And her hall in the Barcelona City Hall.


Poble Espanyol

One of the exits of the small museum in the Poble Espanyol museum village. A museum inside of a museum, if you want… Photos forbidden, as usual. As they were some guards around, I meekly followed the (silly) law. Me, a law-abiding citizen, yes Sir!
You want to see more? Just click on Poble Espanyol just below.

And don’t forget: it’s monthly Theme Day soon! Here‘s the link (not open yet). The theme is: people watching. On your cameras, go! See you all on September 1st!


Gaudi’s sudoku

It’s theme day again! Yeah! And the portal is still down… WHAT TO DO??? No worries, mates, there is a way. Even 2 ways.
First,  you can post your posts (…) here, at Julie’s place. The more obvious choice. You know what to do, you’ve been there before.
And also, for all FBers, there is Eric’s page.


So, about this photo. This is on the Passion facade of the Sagrada Familia, the unfinished cathedral in Barcelona designed by Antoni Gaudi. Each row and column add up to 33, the supposed age of Christ at his death. In fact there are supposed to be exactly 33 different four number groupings that add up to 33; can you find them all? I tried, but guess I’m more literary minded. In fact, can’t stand sudoku, gimme my crosswords anytime, the harder the better!
By the way, and this is the Frenchie speaking, did you know that sudoku was invented by… the french? Yeah, really, don’t get confused by the not-so-very-french sounding name! Just check it out, here!


Plaza Real

Plaça Reial (In Spanish Plaza Real, meaning “Royal Plaza”) is a square in the Barri Gòtic of Barcelona. It lies next to La Rambla and constitutes a well-known touristic attraction, especially at night. On the plaza are a large number of restaurants and some of the city’s most famous nightclubs including Sidecar, Jamboree or Karma. It is also known for its many outdoor venues and is a popular meeting place during the summer and the annual La Mercè festival in September, when open air concerts take place, and during other celebrations such as New Year’s Eve, often being very crowded.
The Plaça Reial was designed by Francesc Daniel Molina i Casamajó in the 19th century. The square is twinned with Plaza Garibaldi, in Mexico City. The lanterns there were designed by the Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí, master of the Sagrada Familia.

Our World Tuesday.


Monthly theme day: chimneys

The CDP portal is down again, so please click here to see what other participants to the monthly theme day did.

The chimneys of the old Sant Adria de Besos power plant are an emblem of Barcelona, you can see them from pretty much everywhere. As they are not in use anymore, there has been talks about destroying them. But the people of Barcelona County decided to keep them as a symbol of the town’s industrial past. What will become of them, nobody really knows yet.

And yes, there are some moorings for luxury yachts just next to it. Nice touch, no?


I was right behind you 2

Having a peek into the city archive.


Palau de la Musica, the bar

After a short interlude on the beach (really hot here), back to the Palau for a quick drink. Right in front of you, through the door…

That’s right, here it is. Enjoy your champagne!


Palau de la Musica: the stage

In a semicircle on the sides of the back of the stage are the figures of 18 young women popularly known as the muses (although there are only nine muses in Greek mythology). The monotone upper bodies of the women protrude from the wall and their lower bodies are depicted by colorful mosaics that form part of the wall. Each of the women is playing a different musical instrument, and each is wearing a different skirt, blouse, and headdress of elaborate design. In the early days of the Palau, many critics found these figures unsettling or even eerie, but today they are widely regarded as perhaps the best sculptural work in the concert hall. The upper bodies were sculpted by Eusebi Arnau, and the mosaic work of their lower bodies was created by Lluís Bru.

 The dominant theme in the sumptuous sculptural decor of the concert hall is choral music, something that might be expected in an auditorium commissioned by a choral society. A choir of young women surrounds the “sun” in the stained-glass skylight, and a bust of Anselm Clavé, a famous choir director who was instrumental in reviving Catalan folk songs, is situated on the left side of the stage, under a stone tree. Seated beneath this statue are sculpted girls singing the Catalan song Les Flors de Maig (The Flowers of May).


The Palau de la Musica: The Luis Millet Hall

The Lluís Millet hall is a salon located on the second floor of the Palau that is named after one of the founders of the Orfeó Català. The hall is a popular gathering place for concert-goers and also serves as a teaching area for visitors touring the building. From floor to ceiling the hall is two stories high and affords views of the intricate mosaics on the two rows of columns outside its windows that are much better than those available from the street.
It is ornated by several bronze busts of musicians related to the Palau: Lluís Millet and Amadeu Vives (Orfeó Català founders), Pau Casals, Eduard Toldrà (founder and first conductor of the Orquestra Municipal de Barcelona, Just Cabot (Orfeó Català president) and pianist Rosa Sabater.


The Palau de la Musica: the concert hall

The concert hall of the Palau, which seats about 2,200 people, is the only auditorium in Europe that is illuminated during daylight hours entirely by natural light. The walls on two sides consist primarily of stained-glass panes set in magnificent arches, and overhead is an enormous skylight of stained glass designed by Antoni Rigalt whose centerpiece is an inverted dome in shades of gold surrounded by blue that suggests the sun and the sky.

Our World Tuesday, right here.


World Heritage

The Palau de la Musica Catalana… So many things to say about this absolutely magnificent building, a must see, should you ever come to Barcelona.

The Palau de la Música Catalana , (English: Palace of Catalan Music) is a concert hall in Barcelona. Designed in the Catalan modernista style by the architect Lluís Domènech i Montaner, it was built between 1905 and 1908 for the Orfeó Català, a choral society founded in 1891 that was a leading force in the Catalan cultural movement that came to be known as the Renaixença (Catalan Rebirth). It was inaugurated February 9, 1908.
The project was financed primarily by the society, but important financial contributions also were made by Barcelona’s wealthy industrialists and bourgeoisie. The Palau won the architect an award from the Barcelona City Council in 1909, given to the best building built during the previous year. Between 1982 and 1989, the building underwent extensive restoration, remodeling, and extension under the direction of architects Oscar Tusquets and Carles Díaz. In 1997, the Palau de la Música Catalana was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site along with Hospital de Sant Pau. Today, more than half a million people a year attend musical performances in the Palau that range from symphonic and chamber music to jazz and Cançó (Catalan song).

And once a year, you can visit it for free… So get ready for a small series about this marvel!


Tranquility…

…is today’s theme.

Click here to view thumbnails for all participants


Sagrada Familia: the doors

Josep Subirachs, author of the Passion facade, also made some truly fantastic bronze doors for the cathedral, based on the gospels of St Matthew and St John, and depicting Jesus’s last days. Here are some more details. All inscriptions are in Catalan, not Spanish.


Sagrada Familia: staircase to… heaven?

One fine spiral staircase, if I ever saw one! But wait… What could entice an adventurous mind more than a staircase to… where? Heaven? But no. Access forbidden. What a shame! But this makes it mysterious, and this is… nice. What might there be up there, in this place so different from any other churches?


Sagrada Familia: the zoo

Looks almost Celtic, doesn’t it? Well, it’s catalan, made by the Barcelones painter and sculptor Josep Subirachs. The whole cathedral is literally covered with animals, snakes, dragons, frogs, couple of cows, a giant turtle, birds, and so on. Here are a few of them.


Sagrada Familia: the windows

Another feature of the cathedral is at the entrance:

With a special thought to our friends in Israel, as today is Yom Yerushalayim, the 45th anniversary of the reunification of Jerusalem. Shalom, friends.


Sagrada Familia: the altar

The main altar. The light in this most unique of all churches is a splendor.


Sagrada Familia, post 1100

Every few years, I like going back to the Sagrada Familia cathedral, to check out the progression of the work. Not sure I’ll be there to see it finished, as the dates quoted by different sources go from 2026 to… 2150. Don’t want to live till 2150!!!
Anyway, they finished the main nave 18 months ago, and I hadn’t been back since. It is VERY impressive! Will show you more on my next posts.

This is the ceiling of the main nave by the way.


Here be dragons

After Tuesday’s post, I realized/remembered that Barcelona is actually full of dragons! The modernists loved them, Gaudi made some,  the most famous one being the one in Park Guell. So here is one which figures on the monumental vases on both sides of Passeig Lluis Company. There are many many more, you jusr have to know how and where to find them. We will!

The title of this post refers to the Hunt-Lenox Globe, a map made around 1503-1507, the world’s third-oldest world map. In modern day China, called East India on the map, it says HC SVNT DRACONES, or here are the Dagroians, described by Marco Polo as living in the Kingdom of “Dagroian”. These people… feasted upon the dead and picked their bones” (B.II. c.14).

Dragons appear on a few other historical maps.

  • The T-O Psalter world map (ca. 1250 AD) has dragons, as symbols of sin, in a lower “frame” below the world, balancing Jesus and angels on the top, but the dragons do not appear on the map proper.
  • The Borgia map (ca. 1430 AD), in the Vatican Library, states, over a dragon-like figure in Asia (in the upper left quadrant of the map), “Hic etiam homines magna cornua habentes longitudine quatuor pedum, et sunt etiam serpentes tante magnitudinis, ut unum bovem comedant integrum.” (“Here there are even men who have large four-foot horns, and there are even serpents so large that they could eat an ox whole.”) The latter may refer to the dragons of the Chinese dragon dance.
  • The Fra Mauro Map (ca. 1450) has the “Island of Dragons” (Italian: Isola de dragoni), an imaginary island in the Atlantic Ocean. In an inscription near Herat, Fra Mauro says that in the mountains nearby “there are a number of dragons, in whose forehead is a stone that cures many infirmities”, and describes the locals’ way of hunting those dragons to get the stones. This is thought to be based on Albertus Magnus’s treatise De mineralibus. In an inscription elsewhere on the map, the cartographer expresses his skepticism regarding “serpents, dragons and basilisks” mentioned by “some historiographers”.
  • A 19th-century Japanese map, the Jishin-no-ben, in the shape of Ouroboros depicts a dragon associated with causing earthquakes.

Saint Filipo Neri

Probably the nicest square in the Barri Gotic, the plaza San Filipo Neri.

The holes in the walls near the door are bullet holes, remains of the civil war in Spain in the 30es.


Glockenspiel

 Nice glockenspiel spotted from the top of the cathedral.

Santa Eulalia: gold



Santa Eulalia: the cloister and the powder room

A last look at the magnificent 13th century cloister in Barcelona’s Saint Eulalia cathedral, and the garden within…

…and the 13th century urinal (yes, you read it right), which has now a section for the lady in need as well.


Golden Fleece

Back to the cathedral. Some of the sumptuous stalls in the choir, with the emblems of the  Knights of the Order of the Golden Fleece. The order held it’s 19th chapter in the cathedral in 1519. More about this order here.


And happy spring to everybody!!!

Santa Eulalia 2

The cathedral’s inside.


13

It has been a while I hadn’t been back inside our cathedral, and I ad almost forgotten how beautiful she is. Above, some of the 13 geese living in the Gothic cloister. 13, because Santa Eulalia was 13 when she was martyred by the Romans under Emperor Diocletian, and they subjected her to 13 different tortures. That’s European history for you.
Why geese? She was a geese shepherdess.

 Many more interesting things in the cloister, even a 13th century urinal… Will show you much more during the coming week!


Santa Eulalia, aka Laia

The Cathedral of the Holy Cross and Saint Eulalia (Catalan: Catedral de la Santa Creu i Santa Eulàlia, Spanish: Catedral de la Santa Cruz y Santa Eulalia), also known as Barcelona Cathedral, is the Gothic cathedral and seat of the Archbishop of Barcelona, Spain. The cathedral was constructed throughout the 13th to 15th centuries, with the principal work done in the 14th century. The cloister, which encloses the Well of the Geese (Font de les Oques) was completed about 1450. The neo-Gothic façade was constructed over the nondescript exterior that was common to Catalan churches in the 19th century. The roof is notable for its gargoyles, featuring a wide range of animals, both domestic and mythical.
The cathedral was constructed over the crypt of a former Visigothic chapel, dedicated to Saint James, which was the proprietary church of the Viscounts of Barcelona, one of whom, Mir Geribert, sold the site to Bishop Guislebert in 1058. Its site faced the Roman forum of Barcelona.
It is a hall church, vaulted over five aisles, the outer two divided into chapels. The transept is truncated. The east end is a chevet of nine radiating chapels connected by an ambulatory. The high altar is raised, allowing a clear view into the crypt.
 The cathedral is dedicated to Eulalia of Barcelona, co-patron saint of Barcelona, a young virgin who, according to Catholic tradition, suffered martyrdom during Roman times in the city. One story says that she was exposed naked in the public square and a miraculous snowfall in mid-spring covered her nudity. The enraged Romans put her into a barrel with knives stuck into it and rolled it down a street (according to tradition, the one now called Baixada de Santa Eulàlia). The body of Saint Eulalia is entombed in the cathedral’s crypt.


Shame on us!!!

Sooo…. After 3 1/2 years in Barcelona, we finally went to the famed maze and garden in Horta. And it immediately became our favorite place in town! Will show you much more in the next few days. For today, suffice to say that it is a right royal place!

And if anyone knows how to get rid of the halo in HDR, please let me know?


Time for school

The entrance to a catholic school in the old town. Nice, no?


Montjuic

Someone’s dream house come true in Montjuic, with a bit of HDR. A dream…


Shadow play

One of the buildings along the Ramblas, in the sun.


Art deco?

One of the cafes behind the City Hall, with a very art deco style.


CCCB

The entrance to the CCCB, Center for Contemporary Culture in Barcelona.


So what’s the news then?

Not Barcelona, but Plaza de Espana in Madrid, last time Mandy had to go there.


Who let the elephants out?


The last post of the year

Last post of the year, with a very fine example of the buildings along Gran Via, our main thoroughfare.
Time to forget about the crisis, and to celebrate the end of a year. We will be very happy to see all of you next year!

And don’t forget to have a look at Dave’s Weekend Reflections blog!


El Pabellon del Espejo

We spent the day in Madrid on Thursday, and we came across this very nice cafe, the pabellon del espejo, or mirror pavillion, near Plaza Colon.


Monday Doorways

As my health is ever so slowly, but steadily, improving, I did last Saturday what I’ve been willing to do for 3 years, without it ever coming to it: I went to visit the old Poblenou cemetery.

Well, it is a beautiful place, the mausoleums are an open air museum. Recognized many names of the Barcelona bourgeoisie.

But… Why is this door open/broken???

I couldn’t resist taking a photo, of course, and posting it for Louis la Vache’s excellent Monday Doorways meme.

And of course, being me, I just had to photoshop it a bit!

Here is some more info.


Skywatch Friday

The golden moments in the stream of life rush past us and we see nothing but sand; the angels come to visit us, and we only know them when they are gone.  ~George Elliot

Skywatch Friday, right here.


SOOC versus HDR

A few more trade secrets… Above, a photo processed with Artizen, a High Dynamic Range program.

In image processing, computer graphics, and photography, high dynamic range imaging (HDRI or just HDR) is a set of techniques that allows a greater dynamic range between the lightest and darkest areas of an image than current standard digital imaging techniques or photographic methods. This wide dynamic range allows HDR images to more accurately represent the range of intensity levels found in real scenes, ranging from direct sunlight to faint starlight, and is often captured by way of a plurality of differently exposed pictures of the same subject matter.

The two main sources of HDR imagery are computer renderings and merging of multiple low-dynamic-range (LDR) or standard-dynamic-range (SDR) photographs. Tone-mapping techniques, which reduce overall contrast to facilitate display of HDR images on devices with lower dynamic range, can be applied to produce images with preserved or exaggerated local contrast for artistic effect.

Sounds complicated, but it isn’t really. Basically, it allows you to recreate on your photos what you’ve really seen. Up to a certain point, of course.
There are many places where you can learn more about it, for example here. If you want to start doing it, I would suggest a little free program called EasyHDR. Or Photomatix.

And you can find many fantastic examples right here.

Below, the original SOOC, or Straight Out Of the Camera picture.


Looking up…

… you can see so many marvelous things.

Our world on tuesday, right here.


Out of Barcelona, a bridge on sunday

One more archive photo, from an earlier trip to Lisbon, Portugal. The bridge leading to the Torre de Belem, an old watchtower on the Tagus river. Wanna see more bridges? Check out Louis La Vache’s San Francisco blog, right here!


Caixaforum

I am stuck at home for a while, so here is one more archive photo, the entrance of the Caixaforum museum of modern art.

This is for Dragonstar’s Weekend in Black and White.


Indios

Indios in Barcelona. Not exactly what you might be thinking. Indios, Indians, were people from Catalunya who emigrated to the West Indies, mainly Cuba, during the 19th century, made a fortune there, mainly with cane sugar, rum, and so on. They later came back rich, and built many of the fine buildings in Barcelona. One of them opened this shop in the Raval, where you can still buy good quality sheets, linen, blankets…Many of the rich merchants who helped the struggling modernist architects such as Gaudi at the begining of the 20th century were Indios.


Free theatre

This is the Teatre Lliure, or free theatre, on Montjuic Hill. More info here. Not sure what Agricultura’s got to do with it, but the building is quite somptuous.
On, right now, something called “Thank you Satan”.


L’Hivernacle

In Ciutadella Park, between the Zoological and the Geology museum stands this building called the Hivernacle, or winter glasshouse. It was designed by Josep Amargós in 1884. The structure is an excellent example of the iron and glass based architecture from the same period that saw the construction of the Eiffel Tower.

Underneath, a fish-eye sight of the side of the Hivernacle.


No photos!!!

The bar at the entrance of the Palau de la Musica. Nice, no? You might notice the ‘no filming’sign on the side. Well, no photos either, as we have been firmly told by one of the minders. We played the not-knowing tourists, of course… Well, we didn’t know, we noticed the beauty of the place, not the ugly little signs next to the trash cans.


Arc de Triomf

The Arc de Triomf. Built 1888, for the Universal Exposition. A very familiar monument, passing in front really often. But… last saturday, I spotted this…

There are 2 of them, and I don’t know why they’re there.

Update: Ken just sent this to me.
On the triumphal arch, you will find attached some stone  bats. It was
the emblem of King Jaume I. (1213-1276) (James of Aragon). Under Jaume
I., Barcelona flourished economically and he liberated Valencia,
Menorca and Mallorca from the Moors. On 31 December 1229 his troops
conquered the city of Medina Mayurka. The bat was his lucky charm. The
city of Medina was later called Ciudad de Mallorca and in 1717 it was
renamed again in Palma de Mallorca, as the city was called in Roman
times.
The bat is still the emblem of Valencia and was for example also part
of the first crest of FC Barcelona.

Fodor’s Barcelona Guidebook says:
“Jaume i’s affinity for bats is said to have stemmed from his Majorca
campaign, when, according to one version, he was awakened by by the
fluttering rat penat (literally, “condemned mouse”) in time to stave
off a Moorish attack.  Another version attributes the presence of the
bat in Jaume I’s coat of arms to his gratitude to the Sufi sect that
helped him successfully invade Majorca, using the bat as a signal
indicating when and where to attack.”

Moltes gracies, muchas gracias, thanks Ken!


The secret garden

Inside Ciutadella Park, there are the Umbracles, or glass houses. One of them is closed, you can just peek through the wooden bars.
So I did. And this is what I found: a well maintained secret garden.

The same photo, activated. http://photosynth.net/embed.aspx?cid=b40e5996-550f-4c03-8570-bf1f9ae1b9bf&delayLoad=true&slideShowPlaying=false


Weekend Reflection: CCCB. AKA post 877

The Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona (also known by its acronym, CCCB) is one of the most visited exhibition and arts centres in  Barcelona.
Situated in the Raval district, about 3 minutes walking distance from where we live, the Centre’s core theme is the city and urban culture. Its success is based on quality, its rather eclectic approach, attention to a broad cross section of publics and the unique way it addresses issues with the aim of linking the academic world with creative processes and citizens in general. The CCCB organizes and produces exhibitions, debates, festivals and concerts; programmes film cycles, courses and lectures; encourages creation using new technologies and languages, explores and promotes the ongoing fusion of languages and different genres, and takes in-house productions to other national and international arts centres, museums and institutions. The underlying aim of these activities is to generate debate, thinking and reflection on the theme of the city and public space, and other issues that define current affairs. The CCCB is also an open space for creators, associations and freelance programmers with whom it has forged links over the years.
The CCCB offers the public access to part of its holdings, a manifestation of its activities in the form of a multimedia archive comprising materials created by the Centre during its years of activity. A wide variety of materials (documents, publications, digital files, audiovisuals, etc.) on key themes of contemporary culture and society are available for consultation in the CCCB ARCHIVE, which is constantly updated. Also available for public consultation is the Centre’s XCÈNTRIC ARCHIVE, a digital archive of experimental and documentary film, comprising over 700 titles related to its programme “Xcèntric. The CCCB’s Cinema”.

Thank you, Wiki. And here is a kind of 3D panorama of the fabulous courtyard of the same CCCB, one I made earlier, as they say on TV cooking programs.

http://photosynth.net/embed.aspx?cid=cf9304a3-a0df-4598-a86c-9e6c92c0f86d&delayLoad=true&slideShowPlaying=false
For those interested, I used a (free) program called Photosynth. It’s very easy to use, and I absolutely love it!!! You’ll find it here.

OK. This post is for James’s Weekend Reflection meme. You’ll find it here!


Monthly theme day: mystery objects

Aaaaahhh…. Second post for today, as I totally forgot about the theme day, as usual. Must be getting old.
So, mystery object. What is it, you will ask… Have a look:

It is a lover’s park bench! Any volunteers for sitting down on it?
Let’s hope the link below will work this month!

Click here to view thumbnails for all participants


Merce 2011: the enchanted city hall

This year again, our city hall was transformed into a feast of light, colors and music. A very good computer operated animation on the whole facade of the building.
My apologies to all the people whose heads I cut of while cropping these photos. Hope it didn’t hurt too much.

More photos here.


Watery Wednesday

Does anybody know what this type of fountain is called, if it has a specific name? Spotted it in the archetypical Spanish village in the Poble Espanyol a few weeks ago.
Whatever it is, it is for Watery Wednesday, right here.


Skywatch Friday

Having a drink on top of the hotel next door… Nice.

Skywatch Friday, here!


Poble Espanyol: the romanic monastery

Just outside the village at Poble Espanyol, there is this wonderful 11th century romanic monastery, with it’s sculpture garden. Unfortunately, it was closed when we went there. This is where yesterday’s fountain is situated.


Poble Espanyol

The Spanish Town (Catalan: Poble espanyol; Spanish: Pueblo español), where we met the Illustrious Hidalgo Don Quijote de la Mancha, is an outdoor open-air architectural museum, located on the mountain of Montjuïc.
It was constructed in 1929, for the Barcelona International Exhibition, that was held in Barcelona that year.
Josep Puig i Cadafalch had the idea for the museum: a town in which the architecture, style, and culture of various locations from around Spain were preserved in a single place. The aim was to produce an ‘ideal model’ Spanish village, a synthesis of monumental Spain. The architects that designed the town were Francesc Folguera and Ramon Reventós. In total, the town was built in 13 months, and although it was only needed for 6, for the exhibition, it was not demolished and was kept open as a museum.
The museum occupies a total area of 42,000 m² or about 138,000 ft² and contains 117 buildings, with streets and squares reproducted to scale.

The tower above is a copy of the Torre de Utebo, near Zaragoza.


El ingenioso hidalgo don Quijote de la Mancha

The Ingenious Gentleman Don Quixote of La Mancha, aka Alonso Quixano, was obviously not from Barcelona! But we met him here yesterday, looking for his Dulcinea, Aldonza Lorenzo.
This seems to be his place when he is here, a very fine 16th century house from La Mancha, in the Poble Espanyol.

And if you’ve never done it, please read Miguel Cervantes’s book, or watch one of the many good movies or operas about El ingenioso hidalgo don Quijote de la Mancha. It’s marvelous!


Theme of the month

This month’s theme day is about postcard-worthy photos. So, I made a postcard of the glass ceiling in the Palau de la Musica Catalana!

Click here to view thumbnails for all participants


Sunday Bridges

Monsieur Louis la Vache, apart from having a very nice blog and a balcony with a view, also has a weekly meme about bridges every Sunday. So, this is our entry, the pedestrian bridge just behind the big and very expensive hotels in the Forum area. Enjoy some more photos and bridges right here!


Black and white weekend reflection

This is not an easy picture. It was taken at the Forum building, which is a paradise and a nightmare for photographers, all at the same time, with it’s unlikely shapes, and with so many reflective materials.
Well, have fun trying to make sense of it! It probably helps if you make it bigger.
This is for Dragonstar’s Black and White Weekend in Ireland, and James’s (formerly from Newtown) Weekend Reflection meme.

After reflection (…), here is a color version of the same shot. Might help.


Skywatch Friday

Skywatch Friday again! This is an archive photo, the sky over the biology research institute on the seafront.

We’re off to France again this weekend, yiipeee!


Balls.

And then there is this, at the end of Via Laietana, the hotel covered with hundreds of balls. Don’t know what they are, maybe lights, but I rarely go to this part of town at night. We will one day.


The lights on the Ramblas

These magnificent modernist lamps illuminate the Ramblas every night.


Palau Marycel

The entrance to the Marycel Palace in Sitges.


The house

Unusual and beautiful building spotted in the Eixample a few weeks ago. Does any one of my Barcelona visitors (or others!)  know anything about it?


The water tank

The Poblenou water tank, built in 1906. I don’t know much more about it, but I suppose the style can be called modernist, as it has been built very much during the same period of time.
Even water tanks are beautiful in Barcelona, yeah!



Frank Gehry’s Fish

El Pez, the Fish, by Frank Gehry. It was built to be a focal point for the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, and is, with its 45 meters height, one of the worlds largest sculptures. The tower next to it is the Arts Hotel, with it’s 10.000 euros a night suites.
Let’s go into the fishes belly…

And a closer look at it’s skin…

And finally, this must be the guy feeding it, complete with fancy hat…

More about Frank Gehry here.

PS: whilst researching for this post, I noticed that it is Gehry’s birthday today. And then it totally slipped out of my mind. Happy 82nd, Frank! And thanks, Genie, for reminding me!


Classical

No, this isn’t ancient Rome, this a bit of a more classical Barcelona, seen in the Barri Gotic, the old town.

It is not too late, you can still add your photo to yesterday’s Food for Thoughts meme, as it remains open till Saturday night, Spanish time.


Calatrava in Valencia

Let us leave town for today and head south to Valencia, to admire Santiago Calatrava’s masterwork, the City of Art and Science. The Valencian architect Calatrava is known for having built bridges in Venice, Jerusalem, a train station in Lisbon, and many more things around the world, Athens, Milwaukee, Lyon in France, and so on. Have a look at his website, it is most definitely worth at least one visit.
And here is what Wiki has to say about him.

As for the photo, it is an attempt to playing around with HDR.


Mercat Santa Caterina

El mercat Santa Caterina, St Catherine’s market. In the Old Town, it has been a market since 1848, and was Barcelona’s first covered market. Totally renovated in 2005 with brilliance by the architects Enric Miralles and Benedetta Tagliabue, is a little marvel located in the district of Ribera. Beautiful architectural idea for this multicoloured ceramics roof having the shape of wave posed on an air structure of wood, which shelters all the stalls of the market.
The last time I was there, ready, my camera on hand, they had just closed. I’ll be back, to show you the inside!

 
Asignar imagen

This is for My World Tuesday. Please click here to see many more photo of my co-blogger’s world.
Also, a very warm welcome to Jules, aka follower 356.