Barcelona, a photo a day

culture

Siesta

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A very good spanish thing… although I took this photo in Sintra Portugal. To be fair, they do it in many warm countries as well. In Spain, many shops and offices are closed in the afternoon, too hot to work.

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Stylish!

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It’s theme day again, on the City Daily Photo portal! Summer is coming (in the northern hemisphere anyway), so let get stylish!
2 stylish people in a stylish car, bliss! Click here to see more photos on this theme.


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.


World food, with overgin

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Empanadas! Anywhere, anytime! An empanada (Spanish pronunciation: [empaˈnaða]; also called pastel in Brazilian Portuguese) is a stuffed bread or pastry baked or fried in many countries in Latin Europe, Latin America, the Southwestern United States, and parts of Southeast Asia. The name comes from the Galician, Portuguese, and Spanish verb empanar, meaning to wrap or coat in bread.
In Spain, empanadas and empanadillas are two different types of cooking a similar thing. Empanadillas are often made from a rather thin, pliant, but resilient wheat pastry, cut into a round shape, stuffed and folded. The filling varies, but tuna, sardines, or meat are used most commonly in a tomato puree, garlic and onion sauce. Spanish empanadillas are often fried in olive oil but can also be found baked.

In Galicia, the empanada can also be prepared similar to a pie, with a variety of fillings like cod, pork loin, cockles, mussels, or octopus, the empanada galega. Empanadas can be eaten at any time of the day. As I mentioned before.

They are everywhere! More about them here.

No comment about overgin (open up the photo to know what the heck I’m talking about). Someone’s sense of humor at the Boqueria market, I hope…


El mercat antic del Born

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The old covered market in the Born, now a culture center, complete with 2000 years old roman street. A must see!


How do you didgeridoo?

They even had some antipodean stuff at the Earth Day festival! Crikey!
Hi to all our friends down under!


By George! Or by Jordi? William?

Special theme day today, as it is St George’s day. Or Sant Jordi, as we say here. George is a truly universal saint, as he is the patron of such places like England, Greece, Portugal, Cyprus, Timbuktu, Egypt, Bulgaria, Russia, India, Palestine, Moscow, Beirut, Rio de Janeiro, and so on and so forth, as well as of the Scout Movement, and a large range of professions. Well, he died this day in 303AD.

The tradition here in Catalunya is for the boy to offer a rose to his Dulcinea, and for the girl to offer her boyfriend/husband a book. Why a book? Well, William Shakespeare died on the same 23rd of April, in 1616, 397 years ago. He was actually probably born on a 23rd of April as well, but historians differ on this subject. So, hail to all Georges, Jordis, Jorges, Yorgos, and to all Bills, Wills and Williams! Read a book, find a florist! Being a George myself by my second name (Georges, in French), I WILL celebrate!

More about this theme day right here.

And here comes Bill, courtesy of the world wide web.


Comedy!

One of the theaters on Gran Via de les Corts Catalanes. On in this one right now: Leo Harlem and Dani Delacámara, comics


Welcome to the…

…tarot reading place, on Carrer Tallers, 08001 Barcelona!


Publicity is EVERYWHERE!

Even on this cow in a cafe window. Mandy discovered her.


Tintin et Milou

A little piece of Belgium, inside the Arenas shopping center. Dedicated to Luna, Leia and Cezar, in Belgium, and not in Luxembourg anymore.


Smelly vials!

Among the 100 or so museums in Barcelona, there is also a perfume museum, which Mandy visited some time ago. Situated in the back of a … perfume shop on Passeig de Gracia, it must smell quite heavenly.
Photo courtesy of Mandy, of course.


Where is Nr 6?

Some of you might remember this British 60es TV series, the Prisoner, with Patrick MacGoohan. The series follows a British former secret agent who is held prisoner in a mysterious coastal village resort where his captors try to find out why he abruptly resigned from his job. And when he tries to escape, he is followed and captured by a mysterious balloon-like device called Rover. MacGoohan was called Prisoner Number 6.
Well, I just spotted Rover in a photo from last year’s Gay Pride. Scary.Watch out, fellow photographer, he’s right behind you!

Having 60 hours working weeks at the moment,  I am not able to visit your blogs, or even to answer your comments. Will be back in July 2013… Or doing school holidays.


A new word…

As an English teacher, I absolutely like discovering new words. Found the very nice boustrophedon the other day…   Anyway, fashion made of trash? TRASHION, of course! In this case, bags made of recycled plastic.


Saló de Cent

This is the main room of our City Hall, called the Saló de Cent, the Hall of the 100. So called after the main government council of Barcelona in ancient times, the council of the 100. The Council was established in the 13th century and lasted until the 18th century.
Its name derives from the number of its members: one hundred (Catalan: cent).
In 1249, James I created the fundamental structure of the municipal government of Barcelona: a board of advice of 4 members, helped by 8 counselors and an assembly of probi homines (leaders), all them members of the mà major (Catalan for senior hand, or the upper class formed by wealthy merchants).
After several modifications, by the year 1265, the municipal organization gained its more permanent structure: the municipal authority rested on 3 counselors elected by a Council of one hundred individuals.
In year 1335, Peter III the Ceremonious permitted the Consell de Cent to use the royal insignia of the four (red) bars.
The importance of the Consell de Cent is supported by many examples. For instance, in year 1464 it proclaimed Peter V of Aragon (known as Peter the Constable of Portugal) as count of Barcelona. Another example is the rejection by the Consell de Cent of Martin the Humane’s foundation on January 10, 1401 of the General Medical School in Barcelona with the same prerogatives as the University of Montpellier, because they felt this encroached on their municipal jurisdiction. This ultimately led to the creation of the University of Barcelona in 1450.
The Consell de Cent was abolished by Philip V of Spain with the Decretos de Nueva Planta upon his occupation of Barcelona after the Siege of Barcelona in 1714.
A main street in the city of Barcelona, the Carrer(street) Consell de Cent (where we used to live), is named after this institution (before 1978 it was known as Calle Consejo de Ciento, in Spanish).

 The first meeting was held in this hall on August 17th, 1373.

And here is an interactive panoramic view of it.


September 11th…

…is also La Diada, the national day of Catalunya. It commemorates the defeat of the Catalan troops during the War of the Spanish Succession. The Catalan troops that supported the Habsburg dinasty were defeated at the Siege of Barcelona by the troops of Bourbon Philip V of Spain on 11 September 1713 after 14 months of siege. The holiday was officially reinstated in 1980 by the autonomous governing body of Catalonia, the Generalitat de Catalunya, upon its restoration after the end of the Franco dictatorship. Independentist organizations and political parties traditionally lay floral offerings at the monuments of the leaders of the defense of the city Rafael Casanova and General Moragues for their fight against the king Philip V of Spain. Typically, Catalan nationalists organize demonstrations and meet at the Fossar de les Moreres of Barcelona, where they pay homage to the defenders of city who died during the siege and were buried there. Throughout the day, there are independentist demonstrations and cultural events in most of the country.
Nowadays… We’re going to a crisis, as you know. We have a new government in Madrid, which seems to do all they can do to make things worse. Catalunya, by far the richest community in Spain, is bankrupt, and had to ask Madrid for a 1 billion bail out, so schools and hospitals can remain open. Even though Catalunya actually finances the rest of Spain. About schools, it started again a few days back, with 20.000 alumni more than last year,  and 3.000 teachers less. Many schools have to close in the afternoon for lack of money.
Hospital… Are closing. Fast.
So, as you can guess, some very strong feelings  are going around. Most people want independence from Spain. 

I don’t know where we’re going. We just all hope it won’t be as bad as it is in Greece. And we certainly don’t want Mrs Merkel to take over here as well!

 UPDATE: 1 and 1/2 million people, according to the police, on the streets of Barcelona right now, and what do they all want? Independence from Spain.


Jamon, jamon!

Fancy a slice of 2 of jamon serrano, cured mountain ham, late at night, as we all do now and then? That’s the place to go!

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!


100 years later….

 
Over 200 artifacts from the Titanic, some of them actually rescued from the wreck, to be seen at the Maritime Museum until the end of September. You can also see how the Titanic has been built, how life was on board, the passenger list, and much more. After Singapore, Melbourne, etc, now in Barcelona!


Hairy business

I am always very surprised by what people wear, or what they put on their heads. My wife tells me these are called extensions. After thinking about it for a (short) moment, I decided not to supplement my few short blond hair with any extensions. But that’s me, losing my flair for adventurous things.
What about you, which one would be yours, should you go for it?


Peggy Sue’s American Diner

Discovered this new place nearby, Peggy Sue’s American Diner, with some fabulous burgers and dogs! Had a James Brown, and it was great! Now I just have to learn to be JB. And you know what? I feel good!
Oh, and the wall-boxes, they work! The hottest hits of the 60es!


The golden ant

La Formiga d’ or, or golden ant, is one of the nicer bookshops in town. We just love the place, being giant bookworms. There are 2 of them in town, one in the cathedral’s cloister, and one nearby. Both have a very medieval feel. What’s your favorite bookshop like?

The weekend in black and white.


To be French in Barcelona on May 6th…

… means you were called to vote for a new President of the French Republic. As one of the almost 24.000 Frenchies registered at the french consulate (very few bother, so it is hard to say how many french are living here. Lots), I did. There were 3 places where you could vote, depending of your postcode. I went here, the Institut Francais de Barcelone, representing proudly french culture.

The results are out, we have a new president. Will it change anything? Let’s just wait and see.


Ahlan Wa Sahlan, welcome ترحيب ترحيب

Yes, this photo was taken last Sunday in Barcelona. Barcelona is a very very multicultural place, and we love it!


Books, dragons and roses: la diada de Sant Jordi


La Diada de Sant Jordi (Catalan pronunciation: [ɫə ðiˈaðə ðə ˈsaɲ ˈʒɔrði], Saint George’s Day), also known as El dia de la Rosa (The Day of the Rose) or El dia del Llibre (The Day of the Book) is a Catalan holiday held on 23 April, with similarities to Valentine’s Day and some unique twists that reflect the antiquity of the celebrations. The main event is the exchange of gifts between sweethearts, loved ones and colleagues. Historically, men gave women roses, and women gave men a book to celebrate the occasion—”a rose for love and a book forever.” In modern times, the mutual exchange of books is also customary. Roses have been associated with this day since medieval times, but the giving of books is a more recent tradition originating in 1923, when a bookseller started to promote the holiday as a way to commemorate the nearly simultaneous deaths of Miguel Cervantes and William Shakespeare on 23 April 1616. Barcelona is the publishing capital of both Catalan and Spanish languages and the combination of love and literacy was quickly adopted.
In Barcelona’s most visited street, La Rambla, and all over Catalonia, thousands of stands of roses and makeshift bookstalls are hastily set up for the occasion. By the end of the day, some four million roses and 800,000 books will have been purchased. Most women will carry a rose in hand, and half of the total yearly book sales in Catalonia take place on this occasion.
The sardana, the national dance of Catalonia, is performed throughout the day in the Plaça Sant Jaume in Barcelona. Many book stores and cafes host readings by authors (including 24-hour marathon readings of Cervantes’ “Don Quixote”). Street performers and musicians in public squares add to the day’s atmosphere.
23 April is also the only day of the year when the Palau de la Generalitat, Barcelona’s principal government building, is open to the public. The interior is decorated with roses to honour Saint George.
Catalonia exported its tradition of the book and the rose to the rest of the world. In 1995, the UNESCO adopted 23 April as World Book and Copyright Day.

 And yes, Mandy had her magnificent rose, and I got a sumptuous (cook)book.

Our World on Tuesday


Sardana

The sardana is a type of circular dance typical of Catalunya. The dance was originally from the Empordà region, but started gaining popularity throughout Catalunya during the 20th century. When you walk through Barcelona on any holiday, be it religious or not, you’ll almost automatically come across some groups of people dancing. And several statues across town celebrate it. This iron one is on the Fundacio Fran Daurel, in the Poble Espanyol, by Manuel Alvarez.


Un tallat

The time has come back for having a coffee on a terrace in the sun. This is a tallat, or cortado in Spanish, I had last night, around 6. Yes the sun was still shining, 16 degrees. A catalan tallat is a cafe solo, aka espresso, with some added milk. Coffee, the juice of life. I know many of you will agree to this statement!


Chinese new year part 2

Lots of kids singing and dancing on a big stages. We do to believe in flower power!

As there are so many Chinese citizens in Barcelona, this is dedicated to them!

Our World Tuesday, here.


L’Any del Drac

Maybe a bit late, but Barcelona celebrated this weekend the Chinese New Year, the Year of the Dragon, l’ any del drac in Catalan. Plenty do see, plenty to do, and plenty to eat. So, happy new year! We do have a very important Chinese population in town.


The young dancers

Dancing in the light…

Having very little time and energy to browsing your blogs, or commenting on them, at the moment. But I have a 3 days weekend coming up, will try to catch up then.


CCCB

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


The seedy (weedy?) post

So there’s this shop in our street…


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!


Catalan vs Spanish: BIG trouble in little Catalunya!

This is what Wiki has to say:

Catalan (English pronunciation: /kætəˈlæn/, /ˈkætəlæn/, /ˈkætələn/; Catalan: català, IPA: [kətəˈɫa] or [kataˈla]) is a Romance language, the national and the only official language of Andorra, and a co-official language in the Spanish autonomous communities of Catalonia, the Balearic Islands and Valencian Community, where it is known as Valencian (valencià, IPA: [valensiˈa]), as well as in the city of Alghero on the Italian island of Sardinia. It is also spoken, with no official recognition, in the autonomous communities of Aragon (in La Franja) and Murcia (in Carche) in Spain, and in the historic Roussillon region of southern France, roughly equivalent to the current département of the Pyrénées-Orientales (Northern Catalonia).
Although recognized as a regional language of the department Pyrénées-Orientales since 2007, Catalan has no official recognition in France, as French is the only official language of that country, according to the French Constitution of 1958.                  

OK, thank you Wiki. Now… BIG trouble! Since 1982, teaching in catalan schools, kindergardens, universities, is in the Catalan language.
But since there are some Spanish people (…) living in Catalunya as well, some of them protested. They want their kids to be tought in Spanish, the language of Cervantes and Lorca.
So, what happened? This week,the highest tribunal in the country (meaning Catalunya, not the other one, not Spain) decided that, to respect a tiny minority’s wishes, teaching will from now on be done exclusively in Spanish, in schools, universities, kindergardens, etc.
The Catalan majority literally exploded, as you can imagine!

To be continued…

Meanwhile, in Barcelona… I took this photo in February, long before this story started. The owner of this shop, with an originally Spanish sign, tried to ‘ catalanise ‘ it, transforming escritorio into escriptori, papeleria into papereria. He might be a member of one of the few political parties here fighting for independance from Spain.

Many economists say that without Catalunya, Spain would long be bankrupt… As I said earlier, TBC. We’re living interesting times.