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 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…

2011 22/11

Enllaç Barcelona Transportation iPhone App

Enllaç iPhone App

App showing your origin and destination

I had a comment this morning on one of the first posts I ever wrote on this blog. The post was about the Barcelona Metro iPhone app. And the comment was regarding a new rival iPhone app. I certainly don’t mind a bit of self-promotion in blog comments as long as it’s relevant. If I think readers of that post would find value in it then great. And in this instance I certainly didn’t need to worry.

The app in question that was so shamelessly promoted on this very blog was the Enllaç Barcelona Transportation iPhone App. From the website…

Enllaç is an application that helps you find the best route using Barcelona public transportation. All the principal modes of public transportation offered in Barcelona are covered: TMB, Bicing, Taxi, By Foot

By foot?! Yes. And it even tells you how many calories you will burn. Read the rest of this article…

2011 22/09

La Mercè 2011

La Mercè 2011 programme cover

La Mercè 2011 programme cover

La Mercè starts today! Barcelona’s very own annual festival that celebrates the Roman Catholic feast day of Our Lady of Mercy, La Mare de Déu de la Mercè in Catalan. The feast day is on Saturday but in true Catalan style the festivities kick off a couple of days beforehand.

From the Mercè 2011 programme…

Modernity, tradition, gunpowder, street theatre, circus, dance, music… Just mix them all together, stir, and you have the festive cocktail that is being served up in Barcelona these days. For the city is celebrating the feast of its patron saint, La Mercè, a compendium of Mediterranean festivities, authentic Catalan traditions and the talent of artists from all over the world. No one interested in plumbing the very soul of Barcelona and Catalonia can afford to miss this festival, whose special guest this year is the Russian city of Saint Petersburg.

Read the rest of this article…

2011 15/08

Festa Major de Gràcia 2011

The balconies of the Festa Major de Gràcia

The 195th running of the Festa Major de Gràcia starts today (Mon 15th Aug 2011) and runs all week until Sun 21st August.

This Gràcia festival was my first experience of any of the barrio festivals when I arrived in Barcelona just over a year ago. I went to the Poble Sec festival just recently and I have to say, even with their Correfoc, it isn’t a patch on the Gràcia experience. In terms of size, entertainment and all round effort, nothing beats Gràcia. Read the rest of this article…

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