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…
Eliana Guerrero – The Pickpocket Huntress of Barcelona’s Subways
Thankfully I’ve never been pick-pocketed in Barcelona. Though who knows what’s going to happen now I’ve said that. But I know it’s a real problem and one that has tarnished many a friend’s trip to this fine city.
Local police say that there are about 150 pickpockets on the metro system each day with an average of 250 robberies reported each week. At least, that was back in 2012. I really wouldn’t know if it was more or less in 2015.
But, suffice it to say, if there has been a reduction it is in part thanks to the work of Colombian-born Eliana Guerrero, the Pickpocket Huntress of Barcelona’s Subways. Read the rest of this article…
Carretera de les Aigües
My perfect day would be a sunny Saturday in early May, when the weather is fine and you notice for the first time the smell of summer in the air.
I get up early and drive my motorbike to the Carretera de les Aigües for a morning jog. This is a beautiful path in the Parc de Collserola where you have an amazing view over the city and at the same time can enjoy the greenery and fresh air. Jogging while watching the sun rise and with the awakening city at your feet is priceless.
After a refreshing shower it’s time for breakfast. I go for a strong fork-breakfast because we have a long day ahead. Can Vilaro is a family run restaurant in the Sant Antoni area where I love to go. Cisco, the owner, is always in a cheering mood. He advises me on what to have. I always plan to try something new, but most of the time end up ordering the same as always: butifarra amb mongetes and some tomato bread on the side. It’s delicious and sets me up for the rest of the day. Read the rest of this article…
I was recently interviewed by Barcelona Metropolitan (the May issue) about this blog and Barcelona blogging in general.
I was one of a number of Barcelona bloggers so they only used a small, edited piece. As my answers were so brilliant and enlightening I thought I’d publish the whole thing here for you to read.
I hope it piques your interest about blogging. They say writing is good for the soul.
Please could you tell us a little about yourself: e.g. where you are originally from and when you moved to Barcelona? Read the rest of this article…
This forgotten BBC documentary from 1979 was the final part of a 5-part series entitled ‘Realidades de España’ – Spanish Realities. It was uncovered by writer and chemical engineer Josep Grau-Bové who obtained it on VHS video from a friend in Glasgow. He digitised and uploaded it to YouTube in the hope that more people would see it. In the last two years 41,548 people have (at the time of writing).
I find it fascinating that this documentary from 35 years ago, made only 4 years after Franco’s death, should end up on the internet for a new 21st century audience. Even more fascinating that the story it tells has not moved on very much at all in the following 35 years. Read the rest of this article…