Perfect Days

Olga's Perfect Day in Barcelona ...

I believe that most of us, foreigners, will agree that we’ve been drawn by local lifestyle, more than anything else. 300 sunny days a year – that says it all! Even if the bathing se [...]

Day to Day

An Extract from "Slow Travels in Unsung Spai ...

"A compelling and eclectic narrative full of the unexpected", is how Nick Inman from Rough Guides describes Barcelona journalist Brett Hetherington's new book, "Slow Travels in Unsung S [...]

Food & Drink

Barcelona Tapas Tour in Poble Sec with Context Travel ...

We meet Esther, a Barcelona native, outside El Cafetó, a bakery on Ronda de Sant Pau in Sant Antoni. This is purely our meeting point, I wouldn’t necessarily recommend it, and so aft [...]

Out & About

A Kids & Family Walking Tour of the Gothic Quarte ...

There are many walking tours in Barcelona. But I didn't know of any that had a specific tour for children. After all, what did American actor and writer W.C. Fields say, "never work wit [...]
2015 21/03

Señor Archer – Barcelona Tintype Photography

Señor Archer studio in the Raval

Alberto outside his Señor Archer studio in the Raval

I’m always happy to promote unique Barcelona business endeavours on this website. And none comes more unique than Alberto’s tintype photography studio in the Raval, called Señor Archer.

“What photography? Tintype?”

Well yes, as you asked, let me explain what tintype photography actually is. Or rather, so I get it right, let me just copy and paste a snippet from good ol’ Wikipedia.

A tintype, also known as a melainotype or ferrotype, is a photograph made by creating a direct positive on a thin sheet of iron coated with a dark lacquer or enamel and used as the support for the photographic emulsion. Tintypes enjoyed their widest use during the 1860s and 1870s, but lesser use of the medium persisted into the early 20th century and it has been revived as a novelty in the 21st.

A novelty it may be to some. But this is a process that is achieved with love and care. It fits in agreeably with the current slow movement. Read the rest of this article…

2015 15/03

What Constitutes Freedom?

A dear friend of mine asked if I’d like to publish this article. I answered in the affirmative.

Freedom definition

Whether you live in Catalonia or Scotland, the USA or Russia, most people are interested in “freedom”. The question is “What constitutes freedom?”

Freedom for a Russian could mean actions to prevent invasion and perhaps the people are easily misled to think that invasion is likely. An American considers freedom as lack of government interference. The French are an enigma! A significant majority are happy with a country with more government control and involvement than most other European countries.

Democracy does not guarantee freedom. Consider Egypt, not a straightforward place to contemplate freedom but one thing is sure: A democratic election voted in a majority government which then thought that it had won the right to remove freedoms from a large proportion of the population. Nineteenth century Great Britain was not a democracy but its population had a significant degree of personal freedom.

“Freedom from a foreign yolk”. Are the people of Zimbabwe freer to express their opinions or develop their lives with education, health-care and job opportunities available, under Robert Mugabe rather than Ian Smith? Will the people of the Donbas ever rebuild their lives and have freedom, if they achieve union with Russia, compared with their potential future if a less corrupt and better-run Ukraine emerges from the changes taking place? I make these points, not as political judgements but, as evidence of the complexity of the concept of “freedom”. Read the rest of this article…

2015 12/03

The New Miniguide is Here!

Miniguide header

In case you hadn’t noticed Miniguide, in my opinion the best what’s on guide in Barcelona, has a new website. And this time a new app too!

I know a website redesign with such a lot of content can be a nightmare project so I caught up with Michael of Miniguide to ask him how it’s all gone.

The Miniguide Interview

So, the new Miniguide is finally here! Has it been a painful process? Have you achieved what you set out to do?

Finally! It’s taken longer than I expected, even though I took that into account (Hofstadter’s Law). So that’s just the nature of making something.

I wanted us to build a simple, clear way to give people recommendations on things to do – events and places – that we could update every day. And we have accomplished that using our own technology, not something evil like WordPress.

We still have a mountain to climb, but it’s a good feeling. And people seem to like and use what we’ve created, which is all that matters.

Read the rest of this article…

2015 28/02

Sammy’s Perfect Day in Poblenou

Rainy Poblenou

Poblenou

After having studied abroad in both Bilbao and Barcelona, Spain during university, I fell in love with the Iberian Peninsula. Hence, I graduated from the University of Nebraska in May 2013 and have been living here in Barcelona since June 2013. There are a lot of aspects of Spanish / Catalan / European culture that I adore – outdoor terraces, being out and about in the streets, and fresh seafood – just to name a few examples. I have developed a love-hate relationship with the Spanish siesta (daily nap), leisurely lunches, and public transportation. The point of this article, though, is to tell you about one of my favorite areas of Barcelona proper, the neighborhood of Poblenou (or Pueblo Nuevo).

photo of Rambla del Poblenou

Rambla del Poblenou

So quick Poblenou recap – for a long time the area was actually a marshland with many small lagoons. After the various technological revolutions, Poblenou was the largest industrial area of the country and later consequently became a consolidated residential area. More recently, however, Poblenou experienced a complete transformation thanks to the 1992 Olympics, a transformation that aimed to convert the old industrial parts to keep with high-quality working and living conditions of the area at large. I love Poblenou because it’s not packed with tourists, it’s right next to the beach, and the main street (the Rambla) is the place to be no matter the time of day nor the season. Read the rest of this article…

2015 08/02

Dawn’s Perfect Sunday in Barcelona

Brunch & Cake

Brunch & Cake

My perfect day in Barcelona was always a Sunday. Sundays are fantastic wherever you live; a day that belongs to you and only you, a day consisting of a morning, an afternoon and an evening, with which you can do whatever you bloody well want to do.

Sundays in Barcelona were extra special. Sunday mornings were iced with slightly hazy memories of dancing til 5am in La Fira or Museum with my housemates. And the kitchen was lavished with the gossip from the night before.

But Sundays in Barcelona are not for hangovers. You can’t let your nauseous tummy and delicate temples take over your day of fun. With all the supermarkets closed the first thing you need to do is take yourself out for breakfast. My number one spot for a dose of carb-induced hangover recovery was always Brunch & Cake on c/ d’Enric Granados. Giant turkey bagels with a side of guacamole and a latte (and an orange juice and two waters – you’re on a recovery mission here). A stroll down c/ d’Enric Granados to play with all the dogs and daydream about someday owning a lovely little flat on this street is a must. Read the rest of this article…

2015 03/02

La Finestra Associació Cultural

Inside La Finestra

La Finestra (source: Danny Fernandez)

In a city with a history as culturally rich as Barcelona the importance of small grass-roots cultural associations should never be underestimated, now more than ever in the face of what can on occasion appear to be the conversion of the city into nothing more than a giant theme park its sole raison d’etre being the attraction of ever-increasing numbers of tourists. A vibrant art scene is one of the principal reasons that made Barcelona such an interesting and vibrant city and this art scene has strong roots going back to the 19th century. It’s vital that this remains undiminished and requires from those of us who live in or love the city committed support. With this in mind we can celebrate one small corner of the city, a place buried deep inside the old quarter, literally a stone’s throw from the old Roman walls where this cultural tradition is being kept alive: La Finestra.

Read the rest of this article…

2015 31/01

Las Estaciones Fantasma en Barcelona

This fascinating article, Las Estaciones Fantasma (The Ghost Stations), tells the story of the abandoned metro stations in Barcelona. Courtesy of Ling Magazine.

photo of the closed Correos station

Las Estaciones Fantasma: Correos

Stations in the Shadows

Fifty metres underground is Barcelona’s shadow side, hidden infrastructure that thousands of people pass each day without noticing. Phantom metro stations, once planned for the city and now forgotten only live on as names: Gaudí station, Banco, Correos… and another nine that reflect the civil engineering history of Barcelona, but with a touch of mystery.

The story begins in 1924, when the Transports Metropolitans de Barcelona (TMB) rail network was built in the city. At the time, only a single route, known as the Gran Metro, was put into use. This stretch went from Lesseps to Plaza de Cataluña and now forms part of Line 3. Over time, as the city grew, other branches were added. One runs down to San Fernando on La Rambla, past Ferran and Correos streets, on which there were once two stations that are now abandoned. Along the 123 kilometres of underground track in Barcelona there are a total of 12 stations that lie unused because of new track, changes in the network, or perhaps because they have never been completed. They have now disappeared from the transport maps. Read the rest of this article…

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