- By Richard
- Filed in: Day to Day
A friend was visiting Barcelona a while back. We met for breakfast and put the world to rights as we always do. He suggested he might like to write something for my blog. I had no idea what to expect. This is what he wrote.
Is the “English Gentleman” dead?
The English Gentleman: The Rise and Fall of an Ideal by Philip Mason
Ask a Barcelona barman or a Tottenham policeman and the answer is probably, “Yes.”
However it is interesting for me to notice that the concept is never translated. Whether in a Russian or Japanese conversation the words are always English. Was it a peculiar concept? Did people want to find it in Englishmen they met? In my travels, particularly to more isolated communities – like the peoples of Eastern Europe before the Wall came down – I think that they did.
Perhaps, with the advent of cheap travel, the hooligans now travel with the gentlemen or perhaps the gentlemen no longer exist!
In the 18th and early 19th century the English elite were fairly dissolute and were thought by many to be showing a bad example. Dr Thomas Arnold, the headmaster of Rugby school from 1828 to 1842, is credited with devising and encouraging the concept of the gentleman. It is a suit of many styles, fashioned to individual taste, but always of the same cloth. The gentleman was an enigma but you recognised him when you met him. Essentially he did things because he knew that they were right, not because they brought him personal advantage. Read the rest of this article…
UPDATE – 17th July 2013: We Pop is back for one weekend only. July 20th & 21st 2013. For further details check out their website.
UPDATE – 19th April 2013: Although this particular event was during March 2013, We Pop assure us they will be back.
If these photos don’t get you salivating then this place isn’t for you. I can only suggest you read something else, about the cactus park on Montjuïc maybe.
Hickory smoked ribs
This is about meat. But not just any meat. This is locally sourced (from nearby Vic), locally smoked (in hickory wood ovens) meat of the highest quality. Succulent, full of flavour, this is the kind of meat you should be eating. This is the kind of meat on offer at We Pop!
We Pop is a new pop-up restaurant in Barcelona. You’ve heard of these places right? Clandestine affairs, temporary restaurants that are only open for a short period of time. Ventures that offer something new and exciting, that create a buzz for the short time they’re around. Well, We Pop is one of those. Read the rest of this article…
- By Leona
- Filed in: Perfect Days
The Bloody Mary at Picnic
“My brother and I sometimes play a travel game where you get points for the number of countries you have visited – I’m at 40 whereas he is at 60+ so it’s going to be a while till I catch up, however I do believe that extra points should be awarded if you manage to live in a foreign country; especially one with a different language! Therefore, as a sun-loving Australian and after spending 6 years in grey London, how could I pass up the opportunity to move to and immerse myself in the fabulous city of Barcelona (and try to add to my travel points!).
My perfect day in Barcelona is during summer and begins with brunch at Picnic (c/ Comerç, 1). This is the place where the friendly staff serve hearty Bloody Mary’s in gigantic rustic jars! Disclaimer: Picnic actually opens at 12:30 but as this is my fantasy day it opens early for me! Read the rest of this article…
Mercat de Sant Josep de la Boqueria
He doesn’t sound Spanish, he doesn’t even look Spanish, but second-generation Catalan, Joel Serra Bevin certainly knows Spanish food. Papa Serra was his grandfather and after living in New Zealand, Australia, London and New York, Joel has come back to his roots and started his Barcelona Culinary Adventures.
Barcelona cooking classes
His Spanish cooking classes and food market tours in Barcelona are a fantastic introduction to this fascinating cuisine in the city that Anthony Bourdain of No Reservations fame described as “the most exciting place to eat in the Western world”.
The Boqueria Market Tour
Joel was kind enough to invite me along, so I met him, and the rest of the group, at 9am one morning at the entrance to the Boqueria market. Joel furnished us with glasses of cava and explained a bit about the history of the market and how it had developed over the years. I’d never been to the market at such an early hour and it was such a joy to see it a lot less crowded than I’m used to. Read the rest of this article…
Spain’s Secret Conflict
The documentary, Spain’s Secret Conflict, was made back in 2009 yet recently was the first time I’d seen it. It’s one of the most concise explanations of the conflict between Catalonia and Spain that I’ve seen. Even if it’s not so secret a conflict any longer.
Gary Gibson’s 40 minute documentary starts during the Independence Poll in Arenys de Munt in September 2009. The first poll of it’s kind in Catalonia, this symbolic poll went ahead despite being banned by Madrid and picketed by the far right-wing Falange.
As Gibson says at the end of the documentary…
“Through these polls the Catalans are sending a clear message to Spain: for 300 years we have had to listen to you and do what you tell us. Now this is what we have to say.”
I wouldn’t say this is a completely one-sided documentary (though it is clearly pro-Catalan). There are personalities interviewed from both sides including: Read the rest of this article…
- By Anna Wallner
- Filed in: Food & Drink
An article from the cava lady, Anna Wallner, on the delights of drinking cava in Barcelona.
Cava tasting in Barcelona
The first time I visited Barcelona, I had already fallen in love with cava during my sommelier studies. It was in the beginning of April and it was still very cold in Sweden, but when we stepped out of BCN Airport the sun was on my face and the warmth was in the air (at least if you compare it to Sweden). Since that first visit I have come back as often as I can, usually 2-4 times a year. But even so I miss Barcelona when I’m at home in Sweden and especially now during winter when the snow builds high outside my door and the darkness is so thick it feels like you can cut it with a knife. But a glass of really nice cava on a Friday when I come home from work, really lights up even the darkest November day.
Barcelona makes me happy because the city embodies everything I love about life, fantastic food, great weather, the sea, wonderful architecture and history, great and friendly people and of course Cava. When visiting the city I feel free, and my husband and I can use our days for exactly what we want. Read the rest of this article…
- By Laurie Nouchka
- Filed in: Perfect Days
The beach at Barceloneta
“I first visited Barcelona just under four years ago. It was an unplanned visit but one that would set me up to fall helplessly in love with the place. I was on a four-month sabbatical from my job in London to focus on my ‘other’ life as an artist. I had started off in a small village in France but it was there I realised it wasn’t the peace and quiet or nature that was inspiring me but the vibrancy and energy of a city. So I headed to Barcelona. I arrived in to BCN at Arc de Triomfand had a while to wait for a friend so I grabbed an ice cream and sat by the exit to the metro watching the city fall in to its afternoon routine. Coming from London, where everything runs at an acutely fast pace, I felt an extension of time in the way the people of BCN went about things.
The streets of Barceloneta
After I met my friend we grabbed a drink in the back streets of Barceloneta, an area which would soon become a real favourite of mine, and decided the only thing to do as a new visitor to the city was to head to the beach and jump in the sea. We quickly stripped down and threw ourselves into the water diving in and out of the waves. At one point I turned back to look at the city around us and felt a further sense of adoration for the place. Something about being in the water surrounded by the throngs of a city, but more than that, a sense of energy from the place that I couldn’t quite place yet. I felt it had welcomed me with open arms instantly. No judgement. Read the rest of this article…