Mercat de Santa Caterina roof tiles
I think El Born would have to be my favourite neighbourhood in Barcelona. It’s absolutely stunning. It can be a bit touristy at times but there are quiet streets to escape from the hustle and bustle. It is one of the smaller neighbourhoods, part of La Ribera which itself is part of the old town, Ciutat Vella. If you see a beautiful photo of a narrow Barcelona street in the sunlight, then chances are it will be from somewhere in El Born.
The food market for this neighbourhood is Santa Caterina with its beautiful mosaic tiled roof by the architects famous for the Scottish Parliament building. El Born also has my favourite church in Barcelona, Santa Maria del Mar, with its high vaulted ceilings and fascinating history. This church was the subject of the book Cathedral of the Sea. Set in 14th century Barcelona the construction of the church provides the backdrop to a story set at the height of the Spanish Inquisition. Read the rest of this article…
Inside Barcelona with… Homage to BCN
I was asked by the guys at Generator Hostels to answer some questions for a series of interviews they are doing called Inside Barcelona.
The questions were:
- Introduce yourself, who are you and what do you do?
- Tell us about your blog and what made you start it.
- What aspect of Barcelona life excites you most?
- How prominent is design in Barcelona?
- Tell us about your favourite historic Gothic and medieval buildings in Barcelona?
- What about your favourite contemporary style buildings in Barcelona?
- Tell us about the Barcelona landscape, what do you like most about it? Where are the best places to go to capture it?
- Tell us about some of your favourite hidden gems in the city?
Read the rest of this article…
The final scene of Lapin
Mention Barcelona and lots of things come to mind, but filmmaking is probably not the first. Yet you’d be surprised how fertile a filmmaking ground this city is, and it’s not just the sunshine. The locals are very film literate and have a long list of festivals to prove it, from D’A and L’Alternativa to In Edit and Mecal. There’s even a festival dedicated entirely to film and football!
At a time when obituaries are being written for cinemas all over, Barcelona has seen several new art-house venues open. But it isn’t just film buffs that love this town — so do filmmakers. Plenty of big name directors have come through here, from Woody Allen to Alejandro Iñárritu, but we’re talking about homegrown talent, filmmakers who live and work in Barcelona.
Among them is Andrés Bartos, the writer and director of the short film Lapin, une étrange histoire d’amour. The film is a dark fable about a man who falls in love with a rabbit-like girl and discovers a strange world under his apartment. The director described it to me as “though Before Sunrise were directed by David Lynch possessed by the ghost of Chuck Jones.” Consider my curiosity piqued. I met up with Andrés Bartos to find out more about the film and get his take on what makes Barcelona a good place to shoot a movie. Read the rest of this article…
You may already have seen one of Francesca’s posts, posters, emails or articles somewhere in virtual or real space over the past couple of months as she’s been campaigning hard to find as many English-speaking parents in and around the Barcelona area as possible to fill out her questionnaire.
Multilingual Families in Barcelona
If you’re wondering what all the fuss is about, read on! I put a few questions to Francesca to find out why she wants to know so much about us. Read the rest of this article…
A dear friend of mine asked if I’d like to publish this article. I answered in the affirmative.
Whether you live in Catalonia or Scotland, the USA or Russia, most people are interested in “freedom”. The question is “What constitutes freedom?”
Freedom for a Russian could mean actions to prevent invasion and perhaps the people are easily misled to think that invasion is likely. An American considers freedom as lack of government interference. The French are an enigma! A significant majority are happy with a country with more government control and involvement than most other European countries.
Democracy does not guarantee freedom. Consider Egypt, not a straightforward place to contemplate freedom but one thing is sure: A democratic election voted in a majority government which then thought that it had won the right to remove freedoms from a large proportion of the population. Nineteenth century Great Britain was not a democracy but its population had a significant degree of personal freedom.
“Freedom from a foreign yolk”. Are the people of Zimbabwe freer to express their opinions or develop their lives with education, health-care and job opportunities available, under Robert Mugabe rather than Ian Smith? Will the people of the Donbas ever rebuild their lives and have freedom, if they achieve union with Russia, compared with their potential future if a less corrupt and better-run Ukraine emerges from the changes taking place? I make these points, not as political judgements but, as evidence of the complexity of the concept of “freedom”. Read the rest of this article…
In case you hadn’t noticed Miniguide, in my opinion the best what’s on guide in Barcelona, has a new website. And this time a new app too!
I know a website redesign with such a lot of content can be a nightmare project so I caught up with Michael of Miniguide to ask him how it’s all gone.
The Miniguide Interview
So, the new Miniguide is finally here! Has it been a painful process? Have you achieved what you set out to do?
Finally! It’s taken longer than I expected, even though I took that into account (Hofstadter’s Law). So that’s just the nature of making something.
I wanted us to build a simple, clear way to give people recommendations on things to do – events and places – that we could update every day. And we have accomplished that using our own technology, not something evil like WordPress.
We still have a mountain to climb, but it’s a good feeling. And people seem to like and use what we’ve created, which is all that matters.
Read the rest of this article…
I came across this video from the Euranet Plus news agency. Presented by Brian Maguire it discusses Europe’s failure to address the right to self-determination of separatist regions. Read the rest of this article…