2012 17/09

La Mercè Barcelona 2012

photo of the Correfoc

The Correfoc at La Mercè

After a summer of festivals for each barrio it is all brought to a close with La Mercè – Barcelona’s very own festa major. The festival is a celebration of the Roman Catholic feast day of Our Lady of Mercy, (La Mare de Déu de la Mercè in Catalan) on September 24th. This first became an official holiday in 1871 but most of the present day events really began to take shape in 1902.

This year the festival runs from the 21st – 24th September 2012. Although there are many events either side of this.

La Mercè 2012 Programme

Gigantes-y Cabezudos

Gigantes-y Cabezudos

There are many hundreds of events this year. So do check out the festival programmes to make sure you get to see the things that interest you. Unfortunately they seem to have only produced it in Catalan this year.

Expect to see the Sardana, the popular Catalan dance, performed throughout Barcelona. The castellers produce their incredible human towers. And the papier maché giants parade around the city. Sounding strange enough yet?

32a Mostra de Vins i Caves de Catalunya

There is the Catalan wine and cava fair at Arc de Triomf that is well worth a visit. This is a change of location from previous years when it was down at Port Vell. The 32a Mostra de Vins i Caves de Catalunya is on Passeig de Lluís Companys, the bit between Arc de Trimof and the park, all weekend. Buy a glass and some tickets and take your pick from the many wines and cavas on offer from the region.

Read the rest of this article…

2012 19/08

Festa Major de Gràcia 2012

Festa Major de Gràcia 2012

Festa Major de Gràcia 2012

The Festa Major de Gràcia started last Wednesday (Aug 15th) and is on until this Tuesday 21st August. It is one of my favourite events in Barcelona. So beautiful, so incredibly imaginative. 18 streets were decorated this year and they all looked fabulous. The winner for 2012 was Carrer de Verdi, always one of the better ones.

Take a look at the pictures below for a taste of the festival and the street decorations. And if you haven’t been already I encourage you to take a stroll before it closes on Tuesday.

You can check out the festival website at www.festamajordegracia.cat for a list of the streets taking part and a map highlighting them. Read the rest of this article…

2012 04/08

Doodling & Sketching in Barcelona

A fab article from illustrator, Kat Cameron, on the delights of sketching in Barcelona (including some of her even fabber illustrations).

Barcelona landscape illustration

Barcelona Landscape – © Kat Cameron

A mosaic of green, blue, and red emerges in my mind when I visualise Barcelona. A city of flat terracotta roofs, encircled with the olive-green forests of the Collserola rolling down to the aqua Mediterranean. From first touching down in the glass airport to a wander through the textured gothic alleyways or a glance at the modernista architecture, you know you have landed in a city of art. Miro, Gaudí, Dalí and Picasso all spent time here, and as you meet the locals you discover that Barcelona is filled with architects, designers, graphic artists and illustrators, so really it is the perfect city to go for a stroll with your sketch pad and pencils, find a spot and record your surroundings. Read the rest of this article…

2012 04/07

Jardins de Mossèn Costa i Llobera, the Cactus Park in Barcelona

photo of the Cactus Park Barcelona

Jardins de Mossèn Costa i Llobera, Montjuïc

You could spend a whole weekend walking around Montjuïc and not see everything there is to see. Of course there are the museums, the Olympic stadium and swimming pool, Montjuïc castle and the frankly underwhelming Poble Espanyol. But there are also a number of individual parks within Montjuïc itself that are all worth a visit. One that is tucked away on the eastern side facing the sea is the Jardins de Mossèn Costa i Llobera, named after the 19th century Catalan poet, Miguel Costa i Llobera, it is also known as the Cactus Park. This garden of succulents and semi-tropical plants perched on the steep side of Montjuïc below the Hotel Miramar, is a perfect place to escape the city, although you do get a certain degree of noise from the port and Ronda del Litoral below. Read the rest of this article…

2012 26/06

Barcelona Videos from CityBlink

I got an email from a website called CityBlink this morning. They said I could use any of their videos I liked on this website. I was just about to hit the delete key as I do on most unsolicited email but thought I’d take a quick peek at who this bunch were.

CityBlink

CityBlink provide short 1 minute videos of Barcelona that are nicely edited and although they are presumably paid for producing the videos of these locations (at least the hotels and apartments surely) there are a broad range of topics. With videos covering sights, art & culture, hotels, apartments, restaurants, bars & cafés and shopping, these videos are a great way to check out the city.

Personally I’d like to see content from some slightly quirkier places and not so many upmarket establishments. But I guess they’re the ones that pay. Read the rest of this article…

2012 21/06

There’s a large cat. In the Raval.

photo of the Raval cat

El gato del Raval, Fernando Botero

It is simply called El gato del Raval, The Raval cat. A large statue that is a landmark of this often frowned upon barrio. At one end of Rambla del Raval it stands to attention.

It is climbed upon, hidden under and circled by children. It is asked to pose for incessant photos, it’s whiskers never out-of-place. I admire this cat.

It’s body looks like that of a bears. It has a tree trunk of a neck. A tail like an elongated party balloon. And a face… I can never quite work out the face. It’s serene I think. Quizzical. Maybe just a little pissed off. Read the rest of this article…

2012 05/03

The Wild Side of Barcelona Literature

Don Quixote book cover

Don Quixote rode into Barcelona in the 16th century

An article from Hildy Snow about the wild side of Barcelona literature.

Most discussions about Barcelona as a literary city inevitably end up with people mentioning two books: Carlos Ruiz Zafón’s The Shadow of the Wind and Ildefonso Falcones’ Cathedral of the Sea. Not to knock these books – they’re good reads – but there’s so much more to the city’s literary universe than these bestsellers and their Barcelona literary brand of Gothic mystique and historical weightiness. The Catalan capital’s literary life goes back much, much further. Beyond the post-war struggles of Mercè Rodoreda’s La Plaça del Diamant, beyond the Civil War battlefields of George Orwell’s Homage to Catalonia. All the way back to Cervantes, whose Don Quixote and Sancho Panza rode into Barcelona in the 16th century. For eons, Barcelona has served as the literary scene of romance, love, betrayal, adventure, friendship, familial conflict, mystery, crime and war. Read the rest of this article…

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