Monday, 24 December 2012

Feliz Navidad a Todos!

Feliz Navidad and Bon Nadal to you all. I hope you all have a lovely Christmas with family and friends and here's to a wonderful 2013 for us all. See you on the other side!

Don't forget to give your Caga Tiós a good beating with the stick later, although if you've been bad this year and you haven't fed him properly, all you're going to get is sardines...

Thursday, 4 October 2012

Street art in Barcelona - Las Calles Hablan...

Anyone who has come to this city will know that the streets are an excellent source of art from some very talented individuals, some of whom have gone on to gain acclaim outside the country also.

To celebrate this there is an exhibition upcoming from 'Mapping Barcelona Public Art' on the 25th of October and a documentary has also been made for this exhibition. The money for the exhibition was raised on Kickstarter and I'm really looking forward to it as there are some amazing artists involved.

Follow the link below to the video on Vimeo for a snippet of the documentary. I would embed the video, but blogger refuses to play ball. 

Las Calles Hablan Promo on Vimeo:

'via Blog this'

Saturday, 29 September 2012

Fiesta time in Barcelona...

Well, it's been quite the month, with everything from a huge protest march to massive street parties and all sorts in between. Here's a snapshot of what we've done so far.

We watched the people of Catalunya march for independence from Spain in a protest on their Diada Nacional de Catalunya. This is a highly emotive subject for both sides and I won't go into it here but I will say that the sheer scale and the peaceful atmosphere was something to behold. 

We watched the fireworks for the end of La Mercè 

Got slightly spooked in El Raval by the Gegants

Took walks to the top of Montjuic at sunset.

Mooched around La Ribera checking out the street art.

Saw the amazing Madrid band Luger for free as part of La Mercè. Make sure you give them a listen if you're in to psychedelic krautrock (I'm sure you all are).

Oh yes, we also walked down Via Laietana with fire breathing dragons and demons. Par for the course in Barcelona. Nothing quite like a brisk Correfoc to get the adrenaline flowing. 

Don't worry, some lovely firemen (or Bombers as they're known here) came and soaked us all later to be safe. 

We're having our local Festa Major in Barceloneta this weekend so I'll let you know all about that. After that, I need some time to relax. Although as every weekend in October has something good happening and I also have to go to work in between, I'm not sure how or when that's going to happen. 

Hasta luego! 

Monday, 3 September 2012

A chilled weekend in Barcelona...

Hola a todos! This last weekend was pretty chilled, we have quite a lot of stuff planned in the next few weeks so decided to take this one easy. 

We had lunch at El Filferro on Saturday washed down with some claras (otherwise known as a shandy).

 Mooched along to the market run by Demanoenmano at CCCB on Sunday.

Then we finished off the weekend with an evening walk through Parc de la Creueta del Coll. This park is extremely hilly, so it's much better to do this kind of walk when the temperature is a bit lower, as it has been this weekend. I never thought I would see the day when I'd be praying for a bit of cloud but after the heat wave we've just had, it's not surprising that I was doing just that. Sorry for the dark photo, it was pretty late when I took it. 

As I mentioned before, there's a lot of stuff happening in September so I'll be back with more in the coming weeks. 

Hasta pronto!

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Summer 2012 in Barcelona...

There’s been quite the long radio silence on this blog of mine, for which I can only blame the amazing weather and huge amount of activities that I’ve been going to this summer in Barcelona. Not to mention the busy work schedule I’ve had.

I’m going to resume a more regular service now, but in the meantime, here are a few snapshots of what we’ve been doing and where we’ve been this summer.

Walking on Tibidabo

Hanging out with mannequins in Palau Reial de Pedralbes for 080 Barcelona Fashion Week

Catching amazing sunsets on the beach at Gavà

Partying with DJ Sneak at the Piknic Electronik 

Celebrating my birthday with Orson Welles in The Third Man, one of my favourite movies, at the open air cinema in Montjuic 

Going to a festa in Llorenç del Penedes to celebrate the annual return of the Perseids, or the Llàgrimes de Sant Llorenç (Tears of Saint Lawrence) as they are known here.

And last but not least, going to see the street decorations at the Festa Major de Gràcia 

All of this without even mentioning Sonar and Off Sonar, which gave us many hours of fun. There’s still plenty of good stuff to look forward to in September, I’ll be keeping you all informed.

Hasta luego!

Thursday, 28 June 2012

Nails from the Block, Barcelona...

Recent piece for miniguide magazine about new Barcelona nail salon Nails from the Block. Click on the picture to see a bigger version. 

I'm going to go and get my nails done there soon so I'll take some photos and post them here as soon as I do. Hasta luego!

Friday, 22 June 2012

Cream Espai Creatiu, Barcelona...

The madness of Sonar has finally abated and life is returning to normal (or as normal as possible in tourist season). 

Last night saw us take the opportunity to get a culture fix by popping along to check out the latest exhibition at the Cream Espai Creatiu, a compact space for exhibiting and selling work by up and coming artists. At the moment they're showing the work of artist Maria Herreros, whose illustrations of well known people past and present, and interpretations of iconic photos, are intriguing and a little bit disturbing. 

If you're here in Barcelona go along and check it out. We had a quick look last night as we got there late, but I'm very tempted to go back and even to buy a print of her work, which doesn't often happen.


Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Festa Major Barceloneta...

Last weekend we had the annual Festa Major Barceloneta. The streets were decorated with flags and the marching bands were out in force. Music and people filled the narrow streets and much fun was had by all. His Nibs filmed the closing fireworks to give you all a taste of our local celebrations. You can check out his video on Vimeo here....

Check out his video of a band playing outside our building earlier in the month... 

Hasta luego!

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Summer so far in Barcelona….

May is one of my favourite months in Barcelona. The sun starts to shine and everyone comes out on the streets to socialise and gossip. We also start to see a lot more events being organised and of course, the chiringuitos (beach bars) open up for summer.

We kicked off the month with a visit to the Feria de abril de Cataluña . The event is Barcelona’s version of the Feria de abril de Sevilla and takes place over the last week of April and first week of May every year. It’s a great opportunity to see flamenco dancers and singers as well as eating some amazing food. There’s a funfair as well so lots of good entertainment all round. 

I also took a trip to Sitges with my friend Bryan for a lunch by the sea at La Concha. The lunch was good and the fixed price menu was great value. Possibly the best thing about it was the view of Sant Sebastià beach. Sitges is one of my favourite towns and I love the beaches here, as well as the friendly people and the beautiful church and old buildings. I recommend a day trip (or longer) to anyone who comes to Barcelona, it’s well worth it. We had a stroll through the town after lunch, did a spot of birdwatching of the numerous Swifts flying around the church and ended up having a swift drink at a chiringuito.

Another great thing about this city is the amount of free events that they have here. His Nibs and I popped along to a free one day music festival called La Plaça Odissea that was held at Maremagnum, a big shopping centre in the port.  We went to see the Icelandic band FM Belfast who are worth catching live if you get the chance. Their shows are always energetic and fun, check out the video below for a taste of what to expect from them. The hot weather caused them some grief, with the whole band taking their trousers off to cool down halfway through their set.

There’s more to come from May (I told you things start kicking off this month!) but I’ll tell you about it in my next post. Hasta luego!

Saturday, 21 April 2012

Goya at Caixa Forum, Barcelona

There's currently an exhibition of the works of the painter Goya at the Caixa Forum, which I'm hoping to get to in the next week or so. I've raved about the Caixa Forum before, and we recently went to the Delacroix exhibition which is also still running. If you get a chance make sure you check either one or preferably both of these. Here's a taster of the Goya exhibition.

Thursday, 29 March 2012

The Urban Suites, Barcelona...

I recently received an invitation from Raquel at The Urban Suites to come and check out their holiday apartments for review on this blog. We often have friends and family visiting the city, and we have a tiny one bedroom flat which means sometimes having to find other options for guests.  I was more than happy to do some further investigation for personal as well as blog research purposes.

The exterior of The Urban Suites building

The Urban Suites are located in the Sants area, really close to Plaza Espanya and Montjuic, as well as being great for transport links to the whole city. Sants train station is within a few minutes’ walk, handy for the airport and day trips outside the city, with the nearest Metro stop, Tarragona, about 2 minutes away.

The Living Room

We stayed on a stormy Wednesday night, luckily arriving just before the rain, thunder and lightning got going. It hasn’t rained here for ages, so we were actually quite pleased to see it as there have been talks of possible water shortages recently. It rains hard here when it does come down, but usually only for one day, so it’s not so bad.

View from the roof

The first thing that impressed me was the lovely welcome we got from Raquel and the next thing was the size of the suite. We were trying out one of the 2 to 3 person suites and were amazed at how spacious they are. I think they may actually be bigger than our flat.

Me in the hallway

These suites have a double bedroom, living room with sofa bed, fully equipped kitchen and a bathroom. I won’t go on about these too much as you can get full specifications from their website but the inclusion of a DVD player,  mini stereo, free WiFi and a proper hairdryer were nice touches. The apartment felt really private, and I was massively impressed with the kitchen.  Sants Market is very close so I can see this being a great option if you want to cook.

The living room

The kitchen

Unfortunately the rain prevented us from using the roof terrace, but we had a quick peek and could see that it would be lovely in the summer. There are sun loungers and a shower up there as well as a free laundry room, another nice touch for people on longer holidays who don’t want to have to pack lots of clothes.  They even provide free washing powder and fabric softener for you.

Roof terrace

As it was raining so much we decided to stay in and go for the cosy option of watching TV and quaffing gin and tonics, and the comfy sofa made that pretty easy to do. I think we may have quaffed too much though as we both had a problem figuring out how to turn the bedroom lights off when we wanted to sleep, which was hilarious. We should know better at our age…

Roof terrace

Personally I’d be more than happy to recommend The Urban Suites to family and friends. The apartments have everything you could need, there are lots of shops and amenities nearby and it really felt like a little home away from home. There are larger apartments available for groups also. You’re not close to the beach which may put some people off, but you can get the 57 or 157 bus close by, and that brings you right to the sea in about 15 minutes. We like to go out in Sants quite often; there are lots of bars and restaurants around Plaza Osca with our favourite being the Fo Bar. You’re also close to two nice parks. 

I reckon this would be an excellent place to stay if you like self-catering options and I’m not surprised that they get great reviews. They definitely get the thumbs up from me and His Nibs.

Huge shower

The bathroom

Access to the bathroom from the hall and the bedroom, nice touch!

The bedroom

The bedroom

TV in the bedroom

Dining area and the kitchen

Saturday, 17 March 2012

Butifarra, Vermut and models in Barcelona...

Last night saw us head to the model casting for the next face of the ButiClub, a Barcelona members club for appreciators of fashion, art and the finer things in life, especially the Butifarra sausage

I don't think there are many places in the world that would combine the three above together, but in Barcelona it makes sense.

The model casting was taking place at the spiritual home of the ButiClub, La Pineda charcutería, which had the tiniest red carpet in the world outside. All of the action was being filmed by the French TV channel Canal + so there was quite a buzz in the tiny gothic street. We couldn't all squeeze in to the shop itself but a lovely chica kept bringing us all glasses of Vermut and pieces of Butifarra to keep us going.

We were able to watch some of the action on the TV screen in the shop window.

The full line up of the models came out to the red carpet outside for some photo opportunities with the owner of La Pineda at the end.

The party carried on afterwards at the Blondie Bar which was a short hop, skip and jump away. We had to zoom off somewhere else but it looked like it was set to be a lively night.