Barcelona is a wonderful city. Like any other place, it has it’s darker side. Take the Ramblas. A fantastic place for having a stroll, watching people go by, buy some flowers… And then, you are suddenly thirsty, or hungry. Bad thing… Be aware that BCN is like any tourist place… If you want an expresso on St Mark’s square in Venice, you pay the price! Same thing here. Also, be aware that all those restaurants with tables on the Rambla, serve overpriced and awful food. With very very few exceptions. My advice, leave the Ramblas, take any street into the Raval or the Barri Gotic, much better food, much less money!!! Not to mention the dozens (yep: dozens) of pickpockets, totally fearless due at the laxity of spanish laws. Maximum 3 days in jail if they are caught, and only if they stole more than 400 euros.
Just use common sense.
You’re in BCN? You need a furry friend! Best place to go, the cat garden!
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.
As the gat won’t do you no harm. He is 28 years old, after all!
Fernando Botero’s Cat (gat, in catalan) was purchased by Barcelona City Council in 1987. From then until 2003 the cat wandered the city’s streets in search of a permanent site. His first stop-off point was the Parc de la Ciutadella, near his fellow animals at Barcelona Zoo. Then he was taken to a site by the Olympic Stadium, and a few years later he was put in a little square behind Barcelona’s medieval shipyards. Finally, in 2003, the decision was taken to move him to a permanent location at the end of the newly created Rambla del Raval. It is maybe because cats have nine lives, that he has made his presence so strongly felt. Everybody recognises the figure of the bronze cat, with his chubby, rounded form, childish features and long tail. The sculpture has become an integral part of one of Barcelona’s most widely redeveloped areas and is a favourite meeting place. Some brave souls even clamber onto the cat’s back to have their photos taken.
The Can Ricart sport center in the Raval, as seen through a window.
This is for Weekend Reflections!
Watching people go by.
The soul of the Raval. The beauty is in the people.
It is theme day again. Click here to see what other participants did.
An electrician must be some kind of Greek god, according to this shop front! Zeus himself!
Wake up, guys and gals, spring has arrived! 25 degrees today, that is mid to high seventies, or so they say!
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.
This little guy tirelessly stands at the entrance to a cafe in our street, giving out Solidaridad Obrera, the newspaper of the CNT, an anarchist labor union.
Founded in 1907, the paper is a free publication since 2005, financed with the support of subscribers and donations.
This is for Dragonstar’s weekend in black and white, of course.
A capillary fantasy about virgin human hair…I might go for the yellow one… And you?
It’s winter. You want a coffee and a cigarette. But you cannot have both inside a cafe, as it is against the law to smoke inside public places, shops, restaurants, cafes…
Here’s the solution: some chairs on the street or square, an awning around them, and a gas heater. Et voila, enjoy your espresso and your smoke!
Looking at me from inside the Jardinet dels Gats cat shelter, and wanting to be loved and adopted.
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.
We did not have a real winter here (so far), it feels more like early spring. So, it’s time for some pruning, like here, in the garden of the old Sant Pau hospital in the Raval. A job best done in the sun!
Here is one suggestion.
And I love the lamps!
Please visit Mandarin Orange Monday, by Lorikart
OK, maybe a few words of explanation for this one. Deep blue sky, some orange trees, a fountain, water…
El jardinet dels gats, catalan for the cat garden, is an city center shelter for abandoned or homeless cats. Our very own tiger, Rio (you can visit his blog here), came from here.
If you’re in Barcelona, and if you need/want a cat, this is the place to go!
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.
Been a while… Fernando Botero’s cat in the Raval.
Regular followers of this blog know that I love balconies. Here is some more about them, just around the corner, in the Raval, in our green city of Barcelona. Warm enough for balconies, almost 20 degrees today, and they call this winter…
Groomed, dressed, perfumed (Eau de Canine, of course), READY!!! So, where are the girls?
Once again, sorry for not spending some more time on your blogs… Many of my days start at 6 AM, and after I come home at around 8.30 PM, there is just not much time left for anything else than eating, shower… Hoping to catch up a bit around Christmas.
Mr Schirosa and Mr Nikolic gave a small and intimate concert yesterday afternoon, during this year’s Raval Culture Festival. They played a very nice suite of klezmer music, israeli folklore, and music from the Balkans. Intriguing to be listening to HaTikva, the Israeli national anthem, in a predominantly Pakistani area. Intriguing and good. Some superb musicians!
Saturday morning. Who are you waiting for, Sir? Are you waiting for the rain to come, as we all do?
A reminder, for those who forgot:
- the condensed moisture of the atmosphere falling visibly in separate drops.
Inside the old hospital in the Raval.
Dragonstar’s Weekend in black and white, right here.
A popular cafe 5 minutes from home, with a bit of HDR treatment.
To carry on with a small multicultural theme, here is a bakery in our neighborhood. DANGER ZONE! You wouldn’t want to fill your dentist’s wallet!
Don’t forget the CDP theme day on the first of may: bakeries.
One of many passages in Barcelona’s old town.
Click here to see other participants at James’s Weekend Reflections meme.
We’re still not quite there yet. It was much warmer one year ago, but we’re getting there: it’s gonna get WARM soon! And these chairs and tables wont be empty anymore.
…to be found at the back of the Boqueria market.
We just passed the 500 followers mark. Welcome to all of you!
In tune, although a bit late, with our monthly theme day, animals, here are some of our friendlier neighbors, very cheeky ones.
Once again, I need to apologize for not browsing your blogs a bit more. Life is very good at prioritizing things. And days only have 24 hours…
The entrance to the CCCB, Center for Contemporary Culture in Barcelona.
This is the MACBA, the Barcelona Museum of contemporary art, yesterday evening. In front of it is a big square, very popular with skaters. And next to it, says the Norwegian Dagbladet, they want to build the Rock!
This would be (yes, would, as I have some doubts about its feasibility) a hostel, complete with bar, fitness center, spa, swimming pool, cinema, and some … climbing facilities. If your Norwegian is not too bad, read more about it here. It is an idea of the Polish architectural company Ugo, for the Barcelona 2011 Bohemian Hostel for Backpackers International Competition
Sounds a bit like a joke to me, but hey, this being Barcelona, everything is possible!!!
And big TAK to our friend Gunn in Stavanger for letting us know. Feel free to visit her blog, Stavanger Daily Photo.
Our beautiful, very sweet and very talkative neighbor, Pippa.
To see more photos for this weekly meme, please click here.
A trendy bag shop nearby. Don’t you just love the desk?
With a little help from HDR, Photomatix Pro. See more black and white photos here.
So there’s this shop in our street…
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.
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.
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!
Been playing around lately with a panorama maker program. Here is something I did yesterday afternoon on the Rambla, 5 photos put together, 18.5 MB… Click on the picture to see it bigger, it is really worth it!
The sky, one evening above the roofs of the square just behind your house.
This is for Skywatch Friday, as usual.
Something else. I came upon a website today, offering one of my photos to download. I don’t actually mind, except that they never asked. My photos, and yours as well, are protected by copyright.
So I wrote them. I haven’t received an answer yet. If they do not answer within a decent amount of time, and if they don’t remove my photo, I will name and shame them.
So, whoever you are, if you want to use one or several photos on this blog, please feel free. BUT PLEASE ASK ME BEFORE YOU DO IT!!! If you don’t, it’s a criminal offense, and I will need to take legal steps. This is my work of love, not yours!
Cod. Extremely popular in Spain and Portugal. Literally thousands of recipes. Here is a Catalan one, which I will try soon:
Catalan fish stew
6 tbsp olive oil
1 large Spanish onion, chopped
2 fennel bulbs, chopped
150g/5oz chorizo, diced
1 red chilli, finely chopped
1 tsp fennel seeds, ground
2 cloves new season garlic, crushed
½tsp sweet paprika powder
1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
1 tsp saffron strands (optional)
3 fresh bay leaves
1 tin plum tomatoes
100ml/3½ fl oz fish stock or water
150ml/5 fl oz white wine
500g/1 lb 2oz mussels, cleaned
650g/1 lb 7 oz firm white fish (bream, pollock, cod, monkfish), filleted, dredged in flour and fried in olive oil
100g/3½ oz toasted almonds, ground
- To serve
- Heat the olive oil in a large pan and sauté the onions, fennel, diced chorizo, chilli, ground fennel seeds and garlic for a few minutes.
- Add the paprika, thyme, saffron, bay leaves and tomatoes and cook until reduced to a thickish sauce.
- Add the fish stock (or water) and white wine and bring to a simmer.
- Add the cooked mussels and cook until they are all open. Discard any that have not opened.
- Put the fish pieces into the stew and stir in the almonds.
- Heat for a minute or two and serve with seasonal greens, steamed potatoes and wedges of lemon.
Curious name for this hotel in the Raval indeed.
Click here to see more of My World Tuesday.
One of the strange creatures seen at last weekend’s Gay Pride.
This is My World on Tuesday, where very bright, funny and decorous people come specially to our streets from Tel Aviv to participate at Barcelona’s 2011 Gay Pride. Welcome, friends, and shalom!
Many more photos from this event right here!
Photo courtesy of Mandy.
Valhalla, Hall of the Slain, in Norse mythology is the hall presided over by Odin. This vast hall has five hundred and forty doors. The rafters are spears, the hall is roofed with shields and breast-plates litter the benches. A wolf guards the western door and an eagle hovers over it. It is here that the Valkyries, Odin’s messengers and spirits of war, bring half of the heroes that died on the battle fields (the rest go to Freya’s hall Folkvang). These heroes, the Einherjar, are prepared in Valhalla for the oncoming battle of Ragnarok. When the battle commences, eight hundred warriors will march shoulder to shoulder out of each door.
Nowadays, a rock club in Barcelona. The wolf is doing the bins in the Raval, and the eagle flies free…
Took a photo of this entrance to this most glorious hall for Louis la Vache’s new(ish) meme, Monday Doorways. Have a look! Have a look a bit later, as it is still Sunday in Frisco.
Meanwhile, have a look at the Barcelona Gay Pride 2011!
I’m away in France, this is an automated post.
These magnificent modernist lamps illuminate the Ramblas every night.
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!
… and he’s good!
A short update about Rio, the abandoned cat we adopted at the end of October. He is now 8 1/2 months old, and weighs just over 4 kg. But he still hasn’t learned how to clean his nose properly after eating!
Jabs are done, and he will be neutered on April 7th, as we promised by signing the adoption contract in October. He is a very sweet cat, full of life, and he did not so far break anything important! And he is EXTREMELY talkative!!!!!
And his is slowly becoming a blogging star! Check out his blog here!
Isn’t blogging the perfect bridge, linking people from all over the world??!!! We were very fortunate to meet David and Julie, together with Julie’s mum Glenda. David is doing Costa Rica Daily Photo, and his wife Julie Scottsdale Daily Photo, all the way from Arizona, both of them wonderful blogs. Here we are, after a huge paella and some more food afterward, the paella being the starter… A very nice evening.
This is for our other friend, Monsieur Louis La Vache, as well, as we are talking about blogging as a bridge!
Our thoughts are in Japan.
…sells handbags made of recycled stuff.
The shop’s furniture looks kinda groovy, but is it recycled?
Anyway, welcome to Good Luck Square, la plaza del Bon Succes.
Our street, at night, with the palm tree.
This is for My
Street … I mean My World Tuesday. You know what comes next. I will ask you to click. Don’t ask, just do it. Right…HERE!
Weird graffiti reflected in the windows of one of the Raval’s popular student cafes.
This is for James’s meme, Weekend Reflections. Please click here to see more photos of the participants.
Some more Christmas lights, on Gran Via de les Corts Catalanes…
…on Ronda Sant Marti…
You might remember the summer of 1982 (if you’re old enough, that is). This little guy came to visit us by accident. All he wanted to do was to phone home. He did indeed fly home at the end of the summer.
28 years later… TIME flies. But…What happened to him???
Well, and this is breaking news: we are very happy to report that he chose the beautiful city of Barcelona for his long awaited comeback!
His planet’s money not being worth peanuts here, he was lucky enough to get this job, selling TIMEpieces in the Raval, in Carrer Tallers. Bienvenido a Barcelona, tio!
PS: original picture reworked, as it was very dark, and as I somehow had to get rid of the reflections on the window.
This is for the monthly theme day, this month’s theme being TIME.
This is also for ABC Wednesday, Round 7 hosted by Mrs. Denise Nesbitt and the ABC Team of Denise, Roger, Jay, Troy, Barb, Gattina, Sylvia, Annelie, Linda, Donna, Helen and all those I forget or don’t know about. To participate and view what others have in mind, please log on to this site.
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!
Barcelona is a very youthful city. For a person in his late teens or twenties, it is a paradise: beaches, bars, discos, many many concerts all the time. And surfboarding! Here is the little shop in our street, selling the free spirit.
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.
May we introduce Rio, the newest member of our family. He’ll be with us for the next 15 to 20 years. He is extremely affectionate, follows us wherever we go, and is a tiny PURRRRRRR machine!
Rio was born on july 8th, so he is almost 4 months old. And he has some very very sharp little teeth!
He is a fine example of a classic catalan street cat.
The sky, as reflected on the MACBA, Barcelona’s contemporary art museum. I left the guy in the picture to give an idea of the size.
This is for James’s Weekend Reflections meme. Click here to see more lovely photos.
October. Here, in the northern hemisphere, it is slowly getting cold. Big big storms in our area here, with 7 meter waves battering northern Catalunya, floods, etc. Time for some vitamins!
It’s theme day again, and it’s all about graffiti this time. Here is a nice one in my street.
Click here to view thumbnails for all participants
Closing the parade on friday was this fascinating Hispano-Suiza, probably from the late 1920es-early 1930es. Hispano-Suiza was a car company founded in Barcelona in 1904, making luxury cars. Here is what Wiki says to it.
Who’s the guy saluting? Your guess is as good as mine.
This was the old Hospital de Sant Pau i de la Santa Creu, until it moved to it’s present location in the early 20th century. Now it hosts some parts of the university, a public library, a garden, some cafes and other offices. Very nice place for a drink in the evening. Parts of the building go back to the 10th century.
Fruit is good for you!
This is what happened… Walking down the ramblas to go shopping, I was blessed by this angel. Hope the same will happen to all of you! There are angels around you, just find them! Come on, it’s easy!
4 hours later: good news, the blessing worked, we have internet. Gosh, got a lot of catch up to do!
This is the eggman at the Boqueria market. And yes, you can buy the ostrich eggs as well. Nice big omelette!
Around the corner…
…at the MACBA, the BArcelona Museum of Contemporary Art
Right, we moved to the Raval, and it wasn’t too bad or tiring. We even came across a nice special offer on internet, but… it will take 10 to 20 days for a technician to come and to set it up. Meanwhile, I am sitting here at the terrace of a famous Seattle-based coffee company, with free wifi, posting a hot dog place. Amazingly, you can even have your hot dog with some choucroute/sauerkraut, (xucrut in catalan)which is quite rare in Catalunya!
One more example of cultural diversity in the Raval: Ganesha, El Che Guevara, a cheese nibbling mouse and some marijuana.
We are currently exploring the Raval part of Barcelona a bit further, as we will be moving there this saturday. Some of the things we really like in the area is the cultural and gastronomic diversity.
This one below is specially for our many filipino blogger friends: the first ever filipino restaurant we’ve really noticed in Barcelona.
Unfortunately, as they seem to have mostly fried dishes, and as my doctor say I should NOT (!!!), not sure we’ll ever eat there.
Christmas is over in the Raval. For now.
What could be more Spanish than this; Sangria!
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.
La Rambla del Raval, yesterday afternoon. The Raval is a part of the old town also know as Ravalistan, due to the high number of Pakistanis living in the area. In the 1920es, it was known as Chinatown…
Anyway, 2 policemen on duty are watching, so that nobody graffities Botero’s Cat, further down on the square. Spanish police uniforms are quite fierce, they look more like paratroopers than like your friendly neighborhood cop.
Here is the same picture after playing a bit with it.
In the part of the Old Town called the Raval (aka Ravalistan), there is a street full of shops selling vintage clothes and furniture, dating back up to the 1920es. Prices? 21st century prices, of course!
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.
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!
Today, exceptionally, 2 pictures.
Walking through the Raval part of Barcelona, I saw this building. Interesting, a metal bar, with a curious name. I’ve read somewhere that there are several Hell’s Angels gangs in Barcelona. Maybe this is one of their places.
What makes it a bit more interesting is this next photo. Same street, maybe 10 meters away.
I wonder what they think of each other? Maybe the hard rockers think the Church is Hell, and the bar is heaven, and vice versa. The Church goers might think the name of the bar is very appropriate. Who knows.
And yes, the Nestle sign is weird… I can’t really see them rockers drinking milk… But why not.