Barcelona, a photo a day

art

Saint George, patron of Barcelona and Catalunya

Saint George (ca. 275/281 – 23 April 303) was, according to tradition, a Roman soldier from Syria Palaestina and a priest in the Guard of Diocletian, who is venerated as a Christian martyr. In hagiography Saint George is one of the most venerated saints in the Catholic (Western and Eastern Rites), Anglican, Eastern Orthodox, and the Oriental Orthodox churches. He is immortalized in the tale of Saint George and the Dragon and is one of the Fourteen Holy Helpers. His memorial is celebrated on 23 April, and he is regarded as one of the most prominent military saints.
Many Patronages of Saint George exist around the world, including: Aragon, Catalonia, England, Ethiopia, Georgia, Greece, India, Iraq, Lithuania, Palestine, Portugal, Serbia and Russia, as well as the cities of Genoa, Amersfoort, Beirut, Fakiha, Bteghrine, Cáceres, Ferrara, Freiburg, Kumanovo, Ljubljana, Pomorie, Preston, Qormi, Rio de Janeiro, Lod, Barcelona, Moscow, Tamworth and the Maltese island of Gozo, as well as a wide range of professions, organizations and disease sufferers.

He is better known here as Sant Jordi. Happy day to all Georges, in all the different languages:

Thanks, Wiki!


El Gat

A close-up of Fernando Botero’s Gat, the cat, situated on the Rambla del Raval. Botero spent some time in Barcelona in 1952, before moving to Madrid. The cat is very popular with tourists and kids: it’s fun to climb on it’s back!


Man at work…

… and he’s good!


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?


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.


Street signs

You can find these signs in several streets in the Barri Gotic, the old town. What do they say? Well, my Catalan is far from good, but from what I can understand, they describe what is happening, or what happened in the streets. The first in the second row says that people are celebrating here, the one before that people are “promenading” here from dawn to dusk… You get the general idea.

Well, That’s my World! Click here to see more.


Cats of the Raval

Some paintings on a wall in a nice small square in the Raval part of the old town.

This is for My World Tuesday. Many other people already posted their photos to this meme, so please click here to admire them!


Rambla del Raval

La Rambla del Raval is the center of the Raval area of the old town. This is very close to where we live. Nice place for a kebab or a mint tea, or a chat amongst friends! It is also here that you can find Botero’s Cat, El Gat.


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.


Colors

One of the stalls at the colorful little market next to the Corte Ingles, in the old town. Some ladies forgot their legs.


If you’re going to Barcelona, be sure to wear a dolphin on your head.

And who might that be?

Well, Salvador Dali, of course!

Our little cat Rio posted some new photos on his blog. He is very clever!


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.

The potter’s shop, part 2

Some more views from the potter’s shop. Don’t you just love the staircase!


Santa Maria del Mar

The beautiful church of Saint Mary of the Sea, in the Ribera area of Barcelona. It is Catalan Gothic, and the church was built between 1329 and 1383. A very tall and very elegant church, a beauty.

This, by the way, is for My World Tuesday. Much more my world than yesterday’s beautiful but bellicose airplanes. Please click here to see more photos. 


Casa Batllo

A few more details of Gaudi’s Casa Batllo, aka the bone house. It is one of Barcelona’s main tourist attraction.
To see more of Gaudi’s magnificent works, just click on the Gaudi label below.

I still don’t have much time to browse your blogs, but, as I am finally going back to work tomorrow, after 100 days of convalescence, I should, strangely enough, have more time.
2 new blogs coming up soon!!!


Straight lines?

Not many straight lines to be seen in this building! It is the Casa Batllo, on Passeig de Gracia, a house renovated by Antonio Gaudi. We will bring you more of this unique place in the next few days.

This is, by the way, post 500. We’ve come a long way.


Palau de la Musica

We passed the Palau de la Musica yesterday, and I just can’t resist showing you the facade.

This is for My world Tuesday. Click here to see more.

I am having a very busy week, barely any time to browse your blogs. Will be back asap.


Salvador Domingo Felipe Jacinto Dalí i Domènech, Marquis of Dalí de Púbol

Back to Barcelona.  One of the most famous artists having lived here is Salvador Domingo Felipe Jacinto Dalí i Domènech, Marquis of Dalí de Púbol, better known as Salvador Dali. For some reason, there is this giant egg at the entrance of Barcelona’s Dali Museum. Tourists are doing strange things while posing with it for THE funny photo of their Barcelona trip.
Below, Dali’s clocks, that you can buy in every tourist shop here. Yes, they work! Not quite sure about the accuracy of the timekeeping though.
In another matter, I started putting our Lourdes photos in a newly created blog. You can find it in the sidebar, with our other blogs.

Kahal, El Call, la Sinagoga Mayor

Friday morning. The weekend starts in a few hours, and we will be off to Lourdes. Sabbath also starts today by sundown for some. Which makes it a very good day to show you one of Barcelona’s finest gems, the Sinagoga Mayor, also called Shlomo Ben Adret synagogue. Just happens to be one of the oldest in the world, parts of it dating back to the 3rd century, roman times. It is situated in El Call, the old Jewish quarter. The word Call comes from the Hebrew Kahal, community.

According to historians, there have been Jews in Spain since before the Diaspora, AD 70. In his Letter to the Romans, dated A.D. 54, St. Paul reveals his interest in coming to the Iberian Peninsula to preach .

This below was the Kotel Mizrah, the eastern wall, facing Jerusalem.

On August 5th, 1391, after an uprising in the Old Town, the Sinagoga Mayor and other Jewish property were confiscated by the King of the time. The Synagogue ceased to be, and was forgotten. It was found again in 1996.

Nowadays, you can visit it (2euros donation for the upkeep), and it is like traveling back in time.



Strangely enough, in the same street, literally 10 meters away, there is this sign saying that Saint Domingo de Guzman opened the first Barcelona convent of his Dominican order in 1219, in the building next door.

And Santa Eulalia, Barcelona’s holy patron, was martyred 2 streets away.

More information on the synagogue here.

Well, everybody, have a wonderful weekend, and a good shabbes!


Abanicos

It’s been a while since I posted some abanicos, fans. Here are some nice ones I spotted yesterday.

Ha sido un rato desde que fijé algunos abanicos. Aquí están algunos que vi ayer.

Il y a un moment que je n’avais pas poste d’eventails, vu ceux-ci hier dans le vieux port.

Theme day: open air market

It is theme day again, the theme for this month of september is open air markets. Which was a problem for me, as most markets here are indoor. Until I remembered this small and open air handicraft market at  the Angel’s Gateway, el Portal de l’Angel, near Plaza Catalunya. Here is the lamp shop, one evening.

Click here to view thumbnails for all participants


The painted house

I have to confess I don’t know anything about this building on Carrer Floridablanca, except that it seems to be an alternative place of some kind. But it really is one of a kind!

Map picture

A bit later… I just learned that this building is a squat. Molts gracies, Fabien!


Photographer at work…

…at the MACBA, the BArcelona Museum of Contemporary Art


Graffiti

2 very different types of graffiti, found 2 streets apart. The first one is someone’s artistic expression, and he or she is really good.

The second one… Well, it does what it says on the box, I suppose. And this is one of the things I really like here: how to make a dull grey shutter look alive!


Gaudi!

As my health is quite poor at the moment (gonna be fixed soon!), haven’t been out for a photoshoot in ages. Therefore, thanks to the guy or girl who invented the notion of archives!!!

So… This is just another of Gaudi’s amazing mosaics, to be found in Parque Guell.


Casa dels Paraigues, the umbrella house

The Casa Bruno Quadras (or Cuadros) was built in 1883, a few years before the 1888 Universal Exhibition in Barcelona. The architect Josep Vilaseca combined the prior style of modernisme with all kinds of architectural elements inspired by other cultures in an eclectic building which amazes everyone who walks along La Rambla. The Casa Bruno Cuadros’s balconies and the top-floor gallery are replete with Egyptian imagery. The façade features elaborate sgraffito work and stained-glass windows as well as reliefs of umbrellas and fans made of cast-iron. Orientalist motifs impregnate the outer walls which features intricate carpentry, enamelled glass and paintings of people taken from Japanese prints. The Casa Bruno Cuadros’s most opulent decorative element is the ornate Chinese dragon on the corner of the façade. It was used to advertise the shop, together with the umbrella below it. The building was refurbished in 1980, and a bank now has its premises in the stunning umbrella shop of Barcelona.

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Casa Fuster

La Casa Fuster. Should you be looking for a better place to stay on a romantic holiday in Barcelona, I suppose this is the place!
It is one of the best examples of modernism. Built in 1908 by Gaudi’s contemporary Lluis Domenech i Montaner, it was a gift from the Señor Fuster to his wife, with the underlying intention to make the city of Barcelona more beautiful. Nice guy!

Now, for the last 10 years, it has been a hotel. Click here for more info.


Emotions

Emotions. Mute dreams. Emptyness. Space. The space of a second. Loving without forgiveness. To lose the innocence of being.


Emotions, by Antonio Iglesias.

A shop window.


The shadow of a duck

You might remember the doggy watering can a few days back. In the same shop on Passeig de Gracia, they had this excellent and quite surreal shadow play as part of the decoration.


Watery Wednesday

This is a photo of the water flowing on the walls of a big transparent box containing an old piano, a piano stool, an umbrella and other assorted items. Art.

The big bad icelandic ash cloud came to visit us yesterday, and everything disappeared in a brown haze, but today is a sunny, Watery Wednesday again! Click here to see photos from other participants.

NEW!

Catalan recipe of the week

Carquiñolis
1 lb flour
3/4 lb sugar
3/4 lb marzipan
1 cup milk
1/3 lb of thickening agent
1/3 lb almonds toasted
Lemon rind, grated
A little cinnamon

The marzipan is made in the traditional way, mixing the egg whites, almonds and icing sugar. Next mix the flour with the sugar, add the milk and the marzipan. Knead with the hands and gradually add the thickening agent, the almonds, the grated rind and cinnamon.
Roll out the dough mixture on greaseproof paper on a baking tray, and place in the oven at 150ºC for about 15 minutes. Then remove and cut the mixture into strips two centimetres wide, glaze with the egg yolk and return to the oven until it turns golden.


This lion wont sleep tonight!

Having his nails and his hair done… This lion is getting ready for a night out!

 

Map picture

The Triumph Arch

The Arc de Triomf at night.
No internet at home, as our router went out in a puff of smoke. So, I´m posting from an internet cafe around the corner. Wont be able to browse any of your lovely blogs today, sorry!!!


Artists!

I admire these artists on the Rambla, not just for their skill, but also, and maybe mostly, for their patience. Sitting there for hours, waiting for clients, in the cold, in the heat, in the often very crowded Rambla. A job for saints…
And hasn’t she got a big nose… Oops, sorry: it’s a caricature!


Boys, let’s have fun!

During our stroll through Ciutadella Park the other evening, we came accross this lovely little fountain, boys having fun.


Barrilonia, house of the rebels

Barrilonia, the house of rebelling people, is a very colourful house on the Rambla del Raval, near Botero’s Cat.
The name Barrilonia is a contraption of barrio, neighborhood area, and, of course, Babilonia, Babylon.
The house itself is a kind of political art and workshop center (here is their website, for those interested, in Catalan). It seems to be very cosmopolitan.
Several interesting graffitis on the house front, particularly this one.

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Sagrada Familia

Some of the incredible and so organic stonework on the flanks of the Sagrada Familia Cathedral. I am almost enclined calling it needlework. Please click on the picture to see the finer details, it’s worth it!
Latest updates on Sagrada Familia and Barcelona. Although the cathedral wont be finished this century, the nave is almost finished and will be inaugurated in October this year by the Pope.
More info about it here, as usual.
Weather: it is absolutely freezing, day temperatures barely above freezing. The snow has gone, almost overnight. A lot of fuss for 2/3 inches of snow. But maybe not for the 70.000 people or so still without electricity, heat and hot water.

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Valencia

Valencia, the slightly mad  fountain in front of the cathedral

More photos about yesterday’s snowstorm here.


Lamps


                                    
A couple of lamps at the MNAC, with a very distinctive modernist style, what they probably would call Art Nouveau in Paris, I suppose.


Map picture



The pinkish orange room, a forbidden picture

At the Caixaforum museum.


Organic biomorph

This is what is commonly called Gaudi’s masterpiece, Casa Mila, better known as La Pedrera, the stone quarry. A view of one of the staircases. More info here.


Visitors

To finish the series dedicated to Parque Guell, here are some of the visitors and musicians.


Stones

 
After some tiles, some wood, here are some stones, in the vivid imagination of Antonio Gaudi.
These are some of the walkways and corridors in the Parque Guell. And no, I wasn’t drunk with some discounted minnesotan wine when I took the first photo!


Thankful Dragon

For the invisible man we posted yesterday, it must be quite easy during summer: I suppose he just takes his clothes off, puts on some suncream, and keeps the hat, supposing, of course, that he really is invisible. If he isn’t, no big problem: enough people roam the streets totally naked in the summer in Barcelona. Legally.
Must be much more difficult for this Dragon Man, in his very fancy, and seemingly very hot costume.

And a warm welcome to Regina from Kilauea, Hawaii, our 250th follower!

Il fait 13-14 degres en ce moment, voici le meilleur moyen de rester chaud: se deguiser en dragon. Mais le pauvre va souffrir cet ete! Pour l’homme invisible d’hier, c’est beaucoup plus facile quand il fait tres chaud: il lui suffira d’enlever ses vetements et de garder le chapeau. En supposant bien sur qu’il soit vraiment invisible… S’il ne l’est pas, ce n’est pas tres grave, beaucoup de personnes totalement nues dans les rues de notre bonne ville en ete, tout a fait legalement…

Mosaic music

Underneath the Parque Guell’s main square, underneath the serpent bench, Gaudi built a very special kind of music room. Supported by 86 doric columns, the vaulted ceiling reverberates the sounds, and it is a good place for buskers and other musicians. The 2 photos above show some of the decorations on the ceiling.

2 more views of the columns themselves.

La salle de musique de la colonie Guell. Gaudi avait une excellente comprehension des regles de l’accoustique. Le plafond alveole et les 86 colonnes doriques forment une tres bonne caisse de resonance.

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Twisted

Tiles.
The Parque Guell, 17ha or 42 acres, was originally meant as a city. As every city, it has a main square, with a fantastic view over the city and the Med.
And there is a public bench. Just one. Well, it is the longest in the world, 826 meters, half a mile. The bench is in the shape of a sea snake, and decorated with broken tiles, in a technique known as trencadis. Here is a view of a part of it.

And some more detailled views of the tiles.

Quelque vues du banc de 826 m de long en forme de serpent de mer sur la grand place du parc Guell. Entierement decore de bouts de mosaique casses, il s’agit d’une technique nommee trencadis.
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Gaudi’s pet

I have a couple of days off, the weather today is awesome, so we decided to go to Parque Guell, on a photo shoot. Parque Guell, or Guell’s park, was built between 1900 and 1914 by Antonio Gaudi, and named after Count Eusebi Guell, Gaudi’s patron. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Well, the park is a fantastic place. We took over 230 photos, so we do have plenty to show you, a bit later.

Let’s start with the dragon, aka the lizard, aka the thing. You’ll find his picture in absolutely every single guide book about Barcelona. I was a bit reticent showing it earlier, as I didn’t really want this blog to be just another tourist thing. But it didn’t happen, so here it is.

You’ll almost have to queue to get a picture of the dragon alone, as EVERYBODY wants to be on a picture with it. Anyway, 10 minutes, and a bit a cropping to get to this. Enjoy!
Much more about the park in the next few days, or here, as soon as I choose and post something.

Tres beau temps aujourd’hui, nous sommes donc alles au Parque Guell, voir la bete de Gaudi. La bete, ou plutot le dragon, est partie d’une fontaine a l’entree du parc, et il faut vraiment faire la queue pour pouvoir prendre sa photo seul: tout le monde veut SA photo avec le dragon.
Bref, 10 minutes et un peu de rafistolage photographique plus tard, voici le resultat.
Nous avons pris beaucoup de photos, je vous montrerai donc beaucoup plus du parc dans les prochains jours. Si vous ne pouvez pas attendre, cliquez simplement ici dans quelques heures!

Vampires in Barcelona/ Vampires a Barcelone

Here is the story… You are a perfectly innocent passerby (are you really?), looking for nothing in particular, just walking down the Ramblas, enjoying the day.
Or maybe you are looking for a bit of excitment.
You might be new here, maybe a tourist. You’ve heard that Barcelona is a city that never sleeps.
And then this: you’re attacked by some vampires lurking on the streets or in the protection of some conveniently situated coffin.

And you smile, thinking they are just some more street entertainers.

But are they really???????????

Alors voila. Vous etes a Barcelone, vous profitez d’ une semaine de vacances bien meritees. Vous vous promenez sur les Ramblas, ne pensant a rien de special. Il fait chaud, vous devez avoir soif.

Et soudain, vous etes attaque par des vampires!
Et vous souriez, pensant qu’ ils sont des statues vivantes, communes sur les Ramblas.

Mais le sont ils vraiment?????


Stairs with peacocks

Last sunday, we saw this absolutely fabulous picture as well, at the Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya. And it remains a mystery to this day: the description was missing. Does anyone know anything about it?

Latest news from our adventures in XTML land… Hope you like the new favicon, and there is now a random post widget in the sidebar.


Blog day: best photo of the year 2009

Hmmm….. Today is a blog day with the theme mentioned in the title. Hard to say which is our best photo in 2009, but here is one we really like. Enjoy!

Click here to view thumbnails for all participants


250th post: Names and dolls

My name is Robert. I was named after my godfather, to honor him.
People in many countries do this, nothing new here.
But in Spain and Portugal, it is a bit extreme :you honor not only your godfather, but also other relatives, and saints. Which makes very long names. One of our favorite french actors, Jean Reno, was actually called Don Juan Moreno y Herrera Jiménez by his parents. He is a kind of Don Juan for sure!

Which brings me very nicely to this guy you all know of. I suppose his mum called him Pablito, little Paul. Well, get a drink, have a seat, because here is little Paul’s real name:
Pablo Diego José Francisco de Paula Juan Nepomuceno María de los Remedios Cipriano de la Santísima Trinidad Ruiz y Picasso. 
 More commonly known as Pablo Picasso.
There are probably millions of books and websites you can dive in if you want to know more. But I guess you wont see this picture very often… Yes, you can have your very own Picasso doll!!!

 


Mother of God with Child

This anonimous altarpiece depicting the Mother of God with Child was painted some time between 1437 and 1439 in the parish of San Esteve, Banyoles. Another of the wonderful pieces to be seen in the MNAC.


Art nouveau

I am starting today a small series about the MNAC, Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya. The Museum is celebrating it’s 75th anniversary, with an exhibition called ‘Convidats d’Honor’, guest of honor. It’s a kind of best of the museum’s pieces, and it is worth the visit, believe me!

The first piece we want to show you is this wonderful catalan art nouveau dressing table, the finest we’ve ever seen. Wouldn’t you love to have it in your boudoir??? We would! Without the people in the mirror though.

The header, by the way, is another rendition of the museum’s cupola. The best way to see it is to sit down on one of the too comfortable sofas put there for this purpose. Lean back and enjoy, in other words!


Art Nouveau lamp in front of the Arc de Triomf

Street lamp near the Arc de Triomf, Passeig Luis Companys. This area was totally transformed for the 1888 Universal Exposition. Nowadays, it is a popular place for gigs, concerts, exhibitions.


Jazz!

Let there be jazz!
It is cold, and getting colder every day, we might even get snow in Barcelona, how nice would that be!
Anyway, it was hot last summer, so we went to a few concerts, mainly jazz. Don’t remember the singer’s name, but she was good!

My adventures in XTML land… Struggling, but getting there slowly.


The clown

This is not me, I swear!


Holy Family

A very small part (compared to the rest, anyway) of the nave in the Cathedral of the Holy Family, better known as the Sagrada Familia.


Palau de la Musica Catalana 2

Further derails of the Palau.


Reflections

Reflections on the Palau de la Musica Catalana, the Palace of Catalan Music. It is a very interesting building, modernist but with a lovely touch of art nouveau. Covered with glass…
There is much more to say about the institution, as it is unfortunately in the centre of the biggest scandal to shake Barcelona in the last 10 or 15 years. Apparently the management of the Palau used many millions of euros for their own… needs, travels, cars, houses, etc. Are they in jail? No, they just had to surrender their passports… As I said, BIG scandal. And a big loss for the wonderful Catalan culture.


Blue women carrying water

Found near Barcelona’s Cathedral, in the Barri Gotic.

Sorry, friends, don’t have much time to browse your blogs lately, as I am a bit under the weather at the moment. Will be back a bit more, as soon as I am better.


Murano glass

Small horses, lamps, glasses, necklaces, boxes, vases, etc. You can make pretty much anything out of glass. Here is how they do it in Murano, island world famous for it’s… glass.

And here is a woman. Made of glass. Beware: glass women are FRAGILE!


Water Closet Palace Hotel

In the same shop where we found those strange bearded women yesterday, there was this, the Water Closet Palace Hotel.

Needless to say, this was not OUR hotel!!!
I am creating another small blog with some more classic views of beautiful Venice. Here are the first pictures. You can also click on our Venice blog, just above this post.


Palau de les Arts Reina Sofía

A bit more of Valencia, a picture that combines both my love for music and my love for science fiction. Just behind what I showed yesterday is this building, the Palau de les Arts Reina Sofía (Queen Sofia’s Arts Palace). An opera and concert hall looking like some stranded space ship.

Will go tosee Puccini’s Madame Butterfly in January. It will be a GREAT evening!


Asterix and Obelix in Catalunya

October 29th, 1959… That day, for the very first time, was published a comic which would become famous around the world, as it has been published in 107 languages: Asterix and Obelix.
The went pretty much everywhere: America, Rome, Egypt, England, Belgium, Spain…
Even to Catalunya, the proof being this picture! Yep, another shutter, another closed shop!

Other birthdays today: Winona Ryder, 38, Richard Dreyfuss, 62, the Internet, 40. 40 years since Charley Kline sent some data from the University of California to the University of Stanford, an L and a O, on a Honeywell computer.
Happy birthday! Have some cake!


Posting 1 and 172: El Cul


This, my friends, was my very first posting, almost 6 months ago. I didn’t know by then anything about this sculpture.
Very recently, I came upon some info about it, and… I just can’t resist sharing it with you guys, as it is totally silly, and so typical of Barcelona!!!

The photo was taken in a little park off Avinguda Icaria.

Open quote:
This park holds one of the sculptures built to celebrate the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona. It is El Cul (The Bottom), a bronze piece 6.5 metres high by Eduardo Úrculo, and was dedicated to Santiago Roldan, the President of the Barcelona Holding Olímpic between 1989 and 1993. Úrculo was very pleased that “Barcelona was the first Western city to have a monument dedicated to the bottom”. The sculpture, situated next to the Himalayan cedar forest, consists of long thick legs supporting two perfectly round buttocks.
End quote.

Stay tuned, folks: tomorrow is an important birthday for many people, specially for Frenchmen.


Casa Amatller

Welcome back to Passeig de Gracia, the street full of weird and wonderful buildings.
This is Casa Amatller. Built between 1898 and 1900 by architect Josep Puig i Cadafalch, for the chocolate king Antoni Amatller, and inspired by 17th century dutch townhouses. The sculptures are by Eusebi Arnau. Another fine example of modernism. Very very touristic, of course, very long queues to actually visit the building. Haven’t had the time yet to do it, but I will, asap. And I’ll take some pictures, promised!


Living statue

A living statue. Quite a few of them around, specially on the Ramblas (check the very public toilet I posted earlier). Many of them are actually really inventive, really good. I found this one in the Casc Gotic, near the cathedral.
How it works: they stand there, frozen, until someone puts some money in the hat or basket commonly found near them. Then suddenly starts a flurry of activity, as they obviously need to uncramp (not sure if this word exists, but you know what I mean, I’m sure) their muscles. Usually something funny, getting shot by a cowboy, or bitten by a vampire, funny things like that.
This one just made a few steps and froze again. Why not.

Well, 2 good news today… IT’S RAINING!!!!!!!!!
And, according to a local newspaper, El Periodico, Forbes says that Barcelona is the third happiest town on earth, after Rio de Janeiro and Sydney. Melbourne comes next. What do you think about, people from Rio, Sydney and Melbourne? And other places?

And what does it actually mean??? For myself, I believe it’s just hot air, nothing more, just pure nonsense.


This is not a wedding cake!


No, it isn’t, believe it or not! This is the Casa Batlló, built for a middle-class family (!), and remodeled by Gaudi. Not a lot of straight lines in there, very organic! Locals call it the bone house.
The building itself is situated in Passeig de Gracia, Barcelona’s Champs Elysées, and is an absolute tourist magnet, as you can imagine! For myself, I just love it! Then you wonder where Hundertwasser got his ideas from!

Here is a detail of the house:

Want to know more about it? No problem, just click here! Wiki will help!

The Casa next door is about as crazy. More about it… later, in another post.


Window shopping

Right. This is one of a kind. I explain: if there is something I very rarely do, it is taking pictures of shop windows. Maybe I’m wrong, maybe I should do it more. Who knows.

Anyway, this is one I really liked. All kind of weird creatures roaming a shop window in the old town, near the Cathedral. Looks almost like some kind of strange rockabilly/funk/punk/glitterati music band. One of them might actually be Gary Glitter… Or is it Saint Saens’s Carnival of the animals? Questions, questions, so many questions…
Good night, or good day all.

Message to VP: yes, Grimaldi Lines go from here to Livorno, Sardegna and Civitavecchia.

And also: I’m having a few very busy and very exhausting days, and I can’t roam your blogs as much as I would love to. Should be back to normal in a short while.


Justice


This is at the entrance of the Arxiu Municipal, the City Archive.
I was not able to find out who did this, but his idea of justice was like this: the idea of justice soars high, like a swallow, but in real life, it is rather like a turtle, slow and earthbound.

My coup de coeur, aka blog of note for today is for the beautiful small town of Sintra, near Lisbon. It is a world heritage site, and it is fantastic. Please click here to see more of it! It is a glorious eden!


Big bang!


Let’s finish this week centered on the Festa Major de Gracia with a bang, a big one! One street’s theme was, you guessed it, Big Bang. This is, I suppose, the creation of stars and planets.
And welcome to Vogon Poet!!!


Festa Major de Gracia, under the sea

I’d like to be under the sea
In an octopus’ garden in the shade
He’d let us in, knows where we’ve been
In his octopus’ garden in the shade

I’d ask my friends to come and see
An octopus’ garden with me
I’d like to be under the sea
In an octopus’ garden in the shade.

We would be warm below the storm
In our little hideaway beneath the waves
Resting our head on the sea bed
In an octopus’ garden near a cave

We would sing and dance around
because we know we can’t be found
I’d like to be under the sea
In an octopus’ garden in the shade

We would shout and swim about
The coral that lies beneath the waves
(Lies beneath the ocean waves)
Oh what joy for every girl and boy
Knowing they’re happy and they’re safe
(Happy and they’re safe)

We would be so happy you and me
No one there to tell us what to do
I’d like to be under the sea
In an octopus’ garden with you.

Before I get into trouble: no, the lyrics are from the Beatles, not from me!!!


Festa Major de Gracia 2

Festa Major de Gracia, day 2.
Amongst many many things going on, around a dozen streets or squares are decorated with recycled material. Each street has it’s own theme: a medieval street, a spooky one, Alice in Wonderland, Big Bang, and so on. One entire street has been transformed into a streetcar! Will show you later.
One of my favorites had the following theme: everything is fragile. This is what you can see hanging over this street. Once again, I repeat: all of it is made of recycled materials!
More to come!

Thanks to all for your comments and wishes!


100th posting! AKA Festa Major de Gracia 1

Festa Major de Gracia. This is Catalan for Gracia’s main fiesta. One week of music, dancing, fire, drinking, eating, fairy tales, etc in the barrio of Gracia.
One of the most immediate things you see when you come into Gracia is the street decoration. Not any street decoration though: they brought it to a level and a scale I haven’t seen before. It is a photographer’s dream. And maybe the best thing about it is that almost everything is made of recycled stuff.
It is just amazing. Watch and enjoy.
When the festa in Gracia is over, the next one starts in Sants! Great! Many photo opps!!!


Mice!

Found this on a wall in the barrio of Gracia, the leftist-artist-colony-like area just north of the city center. They seem to have a problem there, a real infestation.

I will tell and show you much more of Gracia during the following days, as they have their annual Festa Major, with some totally amazing stuff. You wont believe your eyes! Stay tuned, folks!

My Blog of note today is Nathalie’s very excellent Avignon blog. Visit her and tell her what you think, she’ll be delighted!


Salsa cubana!


We do have many many free concerts here all along the year. This is a Cuban band, playing some excellent salsa just outside the Farinera del Clot civic center, 3 minutes from home.


Floating candles

Floating candles, from the Maritime Museum shop.


Palau de la Musica Catalana

One more detail of the fantastic Palau de la Musica Catalana, from inside the building.
They were in the news recently: some of their personnel were caught by the Economic Police, embezzlement.


Copito de Nieve


Ladies and gentlemen, allow me to introduce the very unique Copito de Nieve! AKA Floquet de Neu, or Snowflake, he was for many years one of the most famous inhabitants of Barcelona (zoo).

Snowflake was the only known albino gorilla. He was born around 1964 in today’s Equatorial Guinea, and unfortunatelydied of cancer on November 24th, 2003. In human terms, he was around 80 years old. During his life, he had 22 offspings, none of them albino. The famous Catalan primatologist Jordi Sabater Pi discovered him in 1966, and brought him to Barcelona, where they were received by the Mayor himself.

Sabater Pi died last wednesday, this is the reason for this posting.

The photo itself…. was taken in the Barcelona Chocolate Museum, one of my favorite museums here (hehe!). Snowflake’s statue is entirely made of white chocolate. Yummy!

For more info, click on the links in the text. And to see photos of the real Snowflake, just google Snowflake Barcelona.

MY BLOGS OF NOTE

Please have a look at the marvelous photos on Thessaloniki daily photo blog. Kostas truly has the eye of an excellent and gifted photographer.


Frank Gehry’s Fish

Another very hot summer day in Spain. Well, this photo was taken on a wet, cool and windy day in April. The longer I stay in Spain, the more I love rain! They promised us some for today, but nothing yet but heat, sun and more heat.
This is Frank Gehry’s Fish in the Port Olimpic. 35 x 54 meters of steel lattice and copper. It is situated in a zone full of restaurants, night clubs, Irish pubs, right on the beach. Just underneath is the Barcelona Casino.
More about Gehry here.

MY BLOGS OF NOTE

Oh yeah, I’d like to start something new (to me anyway) today. I’d like to invite you to have a look at blogs I like, now and then. Not necessarily CDP blogs, just… nice blogs.
Entirely up to you all, of course.
Here is my first… coup de coeur. Toronto, city dear to my heart, has it’s very own Daily Toronto Photo now. Check it out!


The Holy Grail


Short trip to another big Catalan-speaking town: the beautiful Valencia. This is the Seu, or Saint Mary Cathedral. According to the Catholic Church, and Pope Benedict XVI, this silver box contains the Holy Grail. The real one. More info here. And here.
I didn’t see it, I think they show it on Easter Sunday only.


Parella


La Parella, Catalan for couple, is a beautiful work from Lautaro Diaz, on the Moll de Fusta, in the Port Vell area.

What I could find out about Diaz is that he is Chilean, from Valparaiso. He studied in Warsaw, and came to fame here, in Barcelona.

How do you call a mermaid when it’s a man?
A merman?


Botero’s Gat

This is Fernando Botero Angulo‘s “Gat”, Catalan for cat, in the Raval area of Barcelona. El Raval, from the arabic ar-rabad, outside the walls, where I also took the Heaven and Hell photos, was a former belt of garden plots. In the 18th century, it turned into Barcelona’s working class district.
Mostly slums.
It still has quite a bad reputation, drugs, prostitution. As the rents there are low, the Raval is nowadays populated mainly by immigrants. It is also known as Barri Xino, or Chinatown.
The city tries to clean the area, and it is actually up and coming. It hosts amongst other things the MACBA, Museum of Contemporaneous Art of Barcelona.
And also what might well be the biggest and roundest smiling cat in the world!


La Niña de la Constitucion, a bronze statue

The time between 1975 and 1982 in Spain is called the Transition Time. It took the new Spanish government 3 years after General Franco’s death to start rebuilding democracy and to establish a Constitution.

In 2003, to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the Constitution, 25 Spanish artists created these pictures you see on the wall. And, the same year, an artist, whose name is, I believe, Carlos Lopez Hernandez, created the Niña de la Constitucion, the bronze statue of a little girl you can see looking at the paintings, the daughter of the Constitution.


Art Nouveau detail


This is a detail of a folding screen I saw in the MNAC, or Museu Nacional d’Arte de Catalunya, a while ago. Somptuous, isn’t it?


This picture’s got me thinking


Many things one could say about this picture…
Marine: got that sinking feeling
Philosophy, the french way: I sink, zerefore I am.
Musical: I’m sinking in the rain… I’m happy again

Anyway, you won’t see this kind of things… I mean: sinks, everyday! This photo was taken in a trendy restaurant in the Port Olympic.

Can you sink, think, of anysink else to say on that subject???
And sorry, these puns just don’t work with wash basin. Unless… any idea?
Photo courtesy of ML


AMERICA!!!


This is a special post for all my friends and followers in the Americas, on a very special day. 40 years ago today, Neil Armstrong was the first man to set foot on the Moon. I actually remember watching it on television. I was 8. This is the event which probably started my lifelong passion for science fiction.

Another traveler came back from his first trip to another unknown place, America. Barcelona is the place where he was received by the Catholic Kings of Spain.

A 7 meters high statue stands now on top of a 47.10 m high cast iron column, in the port area, just next to the ferry terminal and the Maritime Museum. It was erected from 1882 to 1888, the year it was dedicated.

Much more about the Cristobal Colon Monument here.


Let the music play!


Welcome back to Barcelona, with some more music! Plenty of music everywhere, every day! There isn’t a day without some free concerts in parks, classic, jazz, world music, etc. I lived in many places around the world, but Barcelona is without a doubt the most musical one.
Buskers in every street in the old town, in metro stations, trains, buses, on the beaches… Here is one I really liked, he really is an accordion virtuoso, despite of the statue’s bored face. He was playing next to the Santa Maria del Pi Church, famous place for choirs, fantastic acoustics.
Here is some more information about the guy in the back, Àngel Guimerà


Collioure, Catalunya, France

Well, this is Collioure, one of the prettiest towns in France. The village (2750 inhabitants) had quite a strong impact on 20th century European paintings. People like Derain, Braque, Matisse, Picasso, Charles Rennie Mackintosh, to quote only the most famous, lived and painted here. Just google around, you’ll find their Collioure paintings quite easily.
The church in the foreground is called Sainte Marie des Anges, Saint Mary of the Angels, and the square building just behind is the Royal Castle, with quite a long story. More about the castle here.
Collioure is basically an extremely pretty holiday spot, laid back, with many many restaurants, bars, 1 disco at least, many hotels, several beaches (gravel, no sand), a short distance from Spain and from Perpignan (Perpinya, the other capital of Catalunya). I didn’t know the place, and I loved it!
Amis d’outre-Pyrenées, une fois de plus, toutes mes excuses pour avoir empieté sur votre territoire!


Lamp angel


I will be away for a couple of days, leaving Spain, but not leaving Catalunya. Going to Catalogne, which is the french part of Catalunya. Same as the Basque country, a bit of it in Spain, the rest in France. Holidays!!!!! Seaside and mountains!
Anyway, not sure if I will be able to post “live”, and not sure I will be able to visit all your wonderful blogs either, but I should be back on wednesday or thursday.
This is one of the nicer lamps I’ve seen here so far. Is it an angel, is it a butterfly? One thing is sure: he is a painter. Enjoy!


Art Nouveau at the MNAC


We went to the MNAC, Museu Nacional d’Arte de Catalunya, a while ago. Very fine museum, absolutely not to be missed!
Among many other beautiful things, I discovered this Art Nouveau furniture. I actually took a note of what it was and who had made it, but I lost the paper. So, If anyone knows more about it, please put a comment! Molt gracies!
09 July: might have been Miucha


Feet


Feet was last month’s theme. Well, I took this picture 3 weeks later. I was coming up from some museum’s underground, and that’s what I saw. Hope you like it as much as I do! My blog is pretty colourful, but I really like black and white as well. More of this later.


Big green shoe


To stay on the color green a little longer
You’ve probably all heard that our bloggermate Amir is safe and well.

Anyway, this is a big green shoe on a beach. I could not find out anything about it. So, I suggest the following: just let your imagination go wild. What could it be?


Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau

Another day, another World Heritage Site. Plenty of them around. Even our local hospital is one. But what a hospital! 18 pavillions, built between 1901 and 1930 by the catalan architect Lluis Domenech i Montaner, situated in a rather lovely, but already a bit dry, park. It was built as a hospital city, the architect did it very much with its patients in mind, convinced that aesthetic, harmony and pleasant surroundings were good for the health.
The 18 pavillions are adorned with the medieval flourishes that characterise the architect’s style.
Unfortunately, as the buildings are getting too old for modern medicine, a new hospital is being built, made of concrete, steel and glass. Shame.
Even though the buildings are from the 20th century, there has been a hospital here since 1401.
And you can also see it in Woody Allen’s Vicky Cristina Barcelona.
You want to know more? It’s here.


Gaudi


Another picture from Parque Guell. Gaudi made several of these round tile things, on ceilings. Quite amazing.
By the way, in Parque Guell, you will also find the longuest park bench in the world, over 800 meters, or half a mile, entirely covered with multicolored tiles, snaking it’s way through the park. I hope being able to post something about the bench soon.


Last night, after almost 9 months in BCN, I finally managed to see one of the more beautiful attractions in town, the Fons Magica, or Magic Fountain (more about it tomorrow).
Took the metro, came out Plaza de Espana. And on the way out, I found this. We had an international car show here last week, and one of the companies had this absolutely brilliant idea for their publicity: the stairs leading out of the metro. Enjoy!

Lucky!

By day, it’s a haberdasher shop. Boring!
But by night, when the shop is closed and the curtains are drawn…
Here comes Lucky Luke!

First post

After deciding to join the Daily Photo idea, well, this is my first posting about where I live now, the beautiful city of Barcelona.

This was taken in a park on the Avenida Icaria, in the area known as Poblenou. Poblenou was an industrial area, and was totally transformed in time for the Olympic Games in 1992. Lots of art everywhere, some a bit weirder than others. Well, I like this statue.