This video was uploaded to YouTube in March of this year (2013), so is a very recent attempt at increasing awareness of the Catalan plight around the world. Even at half an hour it’s very fast-paced and I had no trouble sticking with it. And though the text is sometimes difficult to read it plays like a film trailer with evocative music that keeps you gripped. I thought it a great potted history of the Catalan state from the year 988 to the present day. If you’re outside of Catalonia and you don’t know what all the fuss is about I suggest you give it a watch.
As the quote from Carl Sagan at the start reads, “you have to know the past to understand the present”. Read the rest of this article…
‘Saint George and the Dragon’ by Raphael (1505-1506)
I have written about La Diada de Sant Jordi before when I wrote about Valentine’s Day in Spain. But I thought I could expand on it a little this time around and mention a few other things that might interest you.
Many countries around the world have Saint George as their patron saint and most celebrate it on April 23rd (the accepted date of Saint George’s death in 303 AD).
Here in Catalonia (and a few other regions and cities in Spain) St. George is the patron saint too. And the Catalans certainly need little reason for a celebration. Read the rest of this article…
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…
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…