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…
My perfect day in Barcelona is perfectly simple. It consists solely of wandering around, stopping only to eat and drink.
I’ve lived in Barcelona for 8 months now after moving here in September 2014 and my favourite thing to do at the weekend is to wander around my local neighbourhood (barrio) whilst stopping off at bars, cafes and restaurants along the way.
The majority of my ‘perfect day’ would be spent locally in the areas of Born, Barceloneta and the Gothic quarter. I love exploring everything this great city has to offer, but I’ll stay close by for the purpose of this article, otherwise I could write for days.
Every day must start with a beautiful breakfast and at the weekend I treat myself by eating out. I’d start at a nearby square, Plaça de Sant Cugat, and sit outside one of my favourite places, Alsur Café. The menu is wonderfully varied. You can opt for the traditional café con leche with a pastry or try something a bit more adventurous like something from their diverse tea range.
Alsur Café, Plaça de Sant Cugat, 1
Read the rest of this article…
Last summer I was asked to contribute to a guide called ‘Barcelona – 10 Locals Tell You Where to Go, What to Eat, and How to Fit In’.
Well I did. And Gigi Griffis who produced the guide sent me a copy, and then I promptly forgot about it. I came across it on my iPad recently. So I read it. And it’s actually very good.
Gigi interviewed 10 people who live in Barcelona and asked them where their favourite places are in Barcelona, their hidden gems, and any tips they might have for visitors to the city.
It guide includes:
- Great restaurants and bars away from the tourist trail;
- Day trip suggestions outside Barcelona;
- And tips for how to make friends, avoid rip-offs and pick-pockets, and fit in with the local culture.
The guide has had some great reviews! Read the rest of this article…
Jordi de Temple at work
There’s something very evocative about watching the city at night from up high. Wondering what all the people below are up to. And I’m a big fan of the timelapse technique when used well. So Jordi de Temple’s video, Into the Night, is right up my street.
I’ll let Jordi explain it:
“Into the Night” is an exercise of light and colour of 4 minutes that tries to show Barcelona, its surroundings and some specific areas of Catalonia, from a different, unusual and cinematic point of view.
To achieve that, has been used the time-lapse technique, which allows to capture the time at specified intervals, frame-by-frame, using mostly, in this case, long exposure.
Part of the project has been made in the so-called blue hour, whose diffused light has some features that allow to capture spectacular sunrises or sunsets full of warm colors thanks to the position of the sun relative to the horizon. It is in these moments when the skies still have shades of color and the natural light is mixed with the artificial light of the city, thus being able to capture skies in detail and urban buildings illuminated simultaneously.
I’m always waiting for that moment when the light changes and becomes something special, a brief moment where the urban or natural landscape collides with light and composition to create beautiful images that are hidden to the naked eye.
This has been a photographic adventure of understanding the light and color of the night. An opportunity to observe the urban space and its density and to contemplate how these elements converge. An exercise of patience and perseverance throughout dozens of nights and dawns of cold carrying heavy stuff. And of course many hours of postproduction.
Read the rest of this article…
The view from Montjuïc
It’s been more than 13 years since I landed at the airport of El Prat Barcelona and first started to enjoy Barcelona’s perfect days. Originally from Holland, I was living in Amsterdam at that time, when I decided to do an Erasmus in the Catalan capital. Barcelona was becoming more and more popular, but it had not reached the popularity it knows nowadays.
Over the years my perfect days have changed. In the beginning I enjoyed all the different sightseeing places Barcelona has to offer and I loved to discover the hidden and peculiar places of the city. My first summer here I also spent many hours at the beach, but now I hardly go there at all during the busy holiday season. And of course, I have seen a lot of the fantastic nightlife Barcelona has to offer. Read the rest of this article…
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…
My perfect day in Barcelona would be sunny, of course. Not too hot, but most definitely warm, and with a light breeze freshening the air.
It’s a Saturday, and I wake up early to take the opportunity to wander around the Gothic Quarter when most of the residents are still sleeping off their hangovers. Even walking up La Rambla at that time is pleasant, as before the stalls open and the restaurants are still closed you can really appreciate what it was like to take a stroll among the wealthy families of yesteryear. Early morning is also the best time to take photos of the streets around the cathedral; the faux Gothic arch, Plaça de Sant Felip Neri, and Plaça Reial are all peaceful and quiet.
Plaça de Sant Felip Neri (credit: talesofbarcelona.com)
Read the rest of this article…