My perfect day in Barcelona starts early. It’s a sunny Saturday morning around 7.30 at the end of May. The alarm goes off, even though I would love to stay in bed, I don’t think twice! The Mediterranean Sea and the deserted beaches are calling. I’ll get my clothes on and out the door in no time. Walking my quiet street towards the Ciutadella Park. Here I meet the joggers and dog owners, for a split second we enjoy the silent city together. I turn on to Carrer Wellington, then a left on Av. Icària and then a right on to Carrer Ramon Trias Fargas. Then it’s just straight down and I can smell the sea. As I arrive, I stop for a second, take a deep breath and I start to walk towards the neighbourhood Barceloneta. Half way to the W hotel, I meet the lady that always has her make up perfectly done at this hour, doesn’t matter if it’s Monday or Saturday. Further on I meet the old man jogging a long the beachfront, always with the greatest smile on his face. On the beach in front of the gym Club Natació Atlètic-Barceloneta, the old ladies and gentlemen are preparing for their morning swim. Read the rest of this article…
Brett Hetherington whose previous book, The ReMade Parent, was featured on this blog, has kindly allowed me to reproduce an excerpt from his latest (but yet to be finished) book.
Brett said of the book:
It’s a travelogue/memoir of mainly a summer trip I did to some of the country’s less touristy inland destinations: Zaragoza, Extremadura, Jaen and Ubeda. I have commented on the news stories of the time and what was happening around me in the street life with local people. I also met and talked to expats who are living “unsung” lives here.
It’s a great little story below. I hope you enjoy it.
I’m up early, before the sun, hoping that the coffee grinder doesn’t wake the kids as I prepare a Bialetti full of fragrant Ethiopian Sidamo. The smell of the beans, recently roasted at Cafès Ros, fills the kitchen.
I’ve had my caffeine fix and I park my motorbike near Nova Icària beach. The sun is over the horizon now and it glitters off the sea, throwing a long shadow behind me and making me squint. I put my headphones on and start to run. Along to the Forum, turn around, down to Barceloneta and the W hotel, then back to where I started. The beach is coming to life as the temperature rises, and I people-watch for a while before heading home. Read the rest of this article…
Type ‘catalunya wine’ into Google and the chances are that after the obligatory Wikipedia entry (which is certainly a decent primer) you will find CatalunyaWine.com.
If you want to discover the wonders of the Catalan wine region that the rest of the world is even now only just discovering then this is the place to begin your journey.
Catalunya Wine exists to promote Catalan wines to the English-speaking world. Run by Canadian expat Tim Brown and aided by his Cuban-born (but with Catalan roots) wife Lis, the website chronicles Tim’s journey through this unique wine region as he exposes the great wines of Catalunya to promote them to hotels and restaurants both here and abroad. Read the rest of this article…
Barcelona is a city of perfect days. Among all the cities I’ve visited, I consider it to be among the most liveable and lovable metropolises on Earth. Blessed with warm weather more than six months a year, flanked by the ocean and mountains, great nightlife and culture, dozens of parks, loads of good museums, bike lanes, citywide free wi-fi, and a broad variety of people from all over the world, each day in Barcelona is better than the last.
Which makes it hard to pick a ‘Perfect Day in Barcelona,’ but for the purpose of this article, I will try. In this edition of A Perfect Day in Barcelona I will try to illustrate not only Barcelona’s variety—food, culture, nature and wide open spaces—but its infrastructure as well.
Barcelona’s city planners prioritize pedestrians over cars. You can see this with its sidewalks that are as wide—if not wider—than the roads for vehicles, and there are lanes and parking stands for bikes everywhere. A city not so big, you can get everywhere on foot, bike, rollerblade, skateboard, or scooter, if you are so inclined. But should your feet fail you, there is Barcelona’s public transport system with buses, trams, and metros which are well-run and are relatively cheap.
Barcelona is a city that is centred on life. Tired? Here’s a bench to sit on. Thirsty? There are water fountains everywhere. Bored? Just go to any plaça and you will find buskers and performers so talented you wonder why they aren’t on television or on stage. Libraries and parks are open to the public so that people can exercise their body as well as their minds. Dogs are welcome in many establishments, and those that don’t, provide cute little leash hooks outside their doors so that man’s best friend doesn’t wander away. Read the rest of this article…
“Fantasy comes from ghosts. Fantasy is the people of the North.
We are concrete. The ideal is from the Mediterranean.
Orestes knows where he is going, while Hamlet wanders lost in doubt.”
“La fantasia ve dels fantasmes. La fantasia és de la gent del Nord.
Nosaltres som concrets. La imatge és de la Mediterrània.
Orestes sap on va, mentre que Hamlet divaga perdut entre dubtes.”
– Antonio Gaudí
I’m not an urban planner or an architect or even a philosopher. I can’t claim to know exactly why one city feels like an overwhelming mess and the next is as well-balanced as BARCELONA. But after 10 years here (living in 7 of her neighborhoods) I recognise that there are a few elements which I believe make her as close to perfection as a city could hope to be. Here they are in a 24 hour experience on any given Summer’s day in BARCELONA. Read the rest of this article…
I’m not usually particularly topical on this blog but Timmer from Catalunya Wine has forced my hand with his response to the latest outcry about Barcelona tourism. Please let me (and him) know what you think in the comments.
If you read the latest news written in Bloomberg and picked up by many publications in the United States, the UK, Canada, and Australia, you would think the new mayor of Barcelona, Ada Colau, is against foreigners. She’s ready to build a moat and castle walls to protect the city from the ravaging hordes threatening to overrun this thriving civic centre. However, this is not the case, nor is the picture painted about what is happening in Barcelona really a true representation of what goes on during tourist season every year. Read the rest of this article…