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 [...]
2012 19/09

Helen’s Perfect Day in Barcelona

“What is a perfect day? Is anything perfect? Well even if there is no such thing as perfection, it’s possible to get near perfection! Having lived in Barcelona for 5 years, I can safely say that there are many things to see and do which makes up a perfect day for me. However my perfect day involves food and drink with lots of relaxing, one of life’s pleasures!

Food and drink are a passion of mine so it’s important to start the day off on the right track with a good breakfast. Barcelona has an abundance of bakeries and breakfast emporiums where one can enjoy a variety of food. However, one of my favourite places to have breakfast is at the Pastisseria Mauri (c/ Provença, 241). This is a traditional pastisseria which has been open since 1929. There are plenty of things to choose from, ranging from sandwiches to pastries.

photo outside Cacao Sampaka

Cacao Sampaka, c/ Consell de Cent, 292

After breakfast, I would go for a walk down Rambla de Catalunya and soak up the ambience, rummaging through the shops and small boutiques of L’Eixample. If one works up a thirst, then the chocolate shop, Cacao Sampaka (c/ Consell de Cent, 292), is the ideal place. With chocolate from all over the world, the smell is overwhelming. There is a little café at the back of the shop which serves up the best hot chocolate I’ve ever tasted. Try the dark hot chocolate. It’s delightful. Read the rest of this article…

2012 17/09

La Mercè Barcelona 2012

photo of the Correfoc

The Correfoc at La Mercè

After a summer of festivals for each barrio it is all brought to a close with La Mercè – Barcelona’s very own festa major. The festival is a celebration of the Roman Catholic feast day of Our Lady of Mercy, (La Mare de Déu de la Mercè in Catalan) on September 24th. This first became an official holiday in 1871 but most of the present day events really began to take shape in 1902.

This year the festival runs from the 21st – 24th September 2012. Although there are many events either side of this.

La Mercè 2012 Programme

Gigantes-y Cabezudos

Gigantes-y Cabezudos

There are many hundreds of events this year. So do check out the festival programmes to make sure you get to see the things that interest you. Unfortunately they seem to have only produced it in Catalan this year.

Expect to see the Sardana, the popular Catalan dance, performed throughout Barcelona. The castellers produce their incredible human towers. And the papier maché giants parade around the city. Sounding strange enough yet?

32a Mostra de Vins i Caves de Catalunya

There is the Catalan wine and cava fair at Arc de Triomf that is well worth a visit. This is a change of location from previous years when it was down at Port Vell. The 32a Mostra de Vins i Caves de Catalunya is on Passeig de Lluís Companys, the bit between Arc de Trimof and the park, all weekend. Buy a glass and some tickets and take your pick from the many wines and cavas on offer from the region.

Read the rest of this article…

2012 14/09

El Quim de la Boqueria

El Quim de la Boqueria

Quim at the bar of El Quim de la Boqueria

El Quim de la Boqueria is a tapas bar in the famous Boqueria market in Barcelona. Most places in the Boqueria are good to eat. But El Quim de la Boqueria and Bar Pinotxo I’d heard were the stand outs.

I was reminded of Quim’s place by Rachel. She did a stint there as a chef and it sounded like hard work. And you see why. All of the eateries in the Boqueria are small cramped affairs for the staff. They comprise a central area where all the staff work and serve the customers sitting at the bar around the outside. You’re separated by the counter which houses all the good things to eat in cabinets. Read the rest of this article…

2012 12/09

Rachel’s Perfect Day in Barcelona

Forn de Sant Jaume

Forn de Sant Jaume – photo © La Florinata

“My perfect day in Barcelona is a walking and eating day.

It starts on a sunny summer day at about 7:30 am with a run down the center of Rambla Catalunya, through La Rambla, down to the pier and over to the W Hotel. This is a great time to be out, as there are not a lot of cars and almost no pedestrians on La Rambla, and it’s a great running route if you’re staying in Rambla Catalunya.

As I head back, I stop a ½ block from my apartment at Forn de Sant Jaume (Rambla de Catalunya, 50) bakery and pick up a post workout snack – the best chocolate croissant I’ve found in Barcelona. It has to be the one with the powered sugar on top, not the chocolate covering the outside. It is perfectly buttery, yet like and flakey. If you get them early enough after they come out of the oven, the chocolate is still oozy. Yummmm.

El Quim de la Boqueria

Rachel & Quim at El Quim de la Boqueria

After a shower, I head back down La Rambla to El Quim de la Boqueria for breakfast at around 9:30-10 am. Quim makes the best potato tortilla (Spanish omelette) in town, but I’m torn as my favorite is actually the huevos con setas (eggs with wild mushrooms).  He uses olive oil for everything, so it’s 2 fried eggs in olive oil, topped with a mix of mushrooms sautéed in olive oil, all topped with a balsamic reduction. A glass of fresh squeezed o.j. and perhaps a plate of either razor clams or gambas con cava to round out breakfast and I’m set for at least 2 more hours. ;) Read the rest of this article…

2012 07/09

The National Day of Catalonia (La Diada Nacional de Catalunya)

National Day of Catalonia

La Diada Nacional de Catalunya (Source)

The National Day of Catalonia or La Diada Nacional de Catalunya on 11th September each year was first celebrated in 1886. The 11th September is a historic date in the Catalan calendar. The day, simple known as La Diada, commemorates the 14 month Siege of Barcelona, and when on the 11th September 1714, Catalan troops were forced to surrender to the Castilian forces of France and Philip V of Spain towards the end of the War of the Spanish Succession. It was unfortunately all pretty much downhill from there for the next 250 years. All institutions of Catalonia were destroyed and they became part of the Spanish kingdom.

Many Catalans have been battling this repression ever since. Most recently from the Spanish dictator, Francisco Franco. The National Day of Catalonia was reinstated after 94 years in 1980, five years after Franco’s death in 1975. Catalonia today is at least an autonomous community. Though this is still far from acceptable for many. Read the rest of this article…

2012 03/09

Midnight in Barcelona

Midnight in Barcelona

Midnight in Barcelona

Katrine shares her love of Barcelona at midnight.

When I first moved to Barcelona, I was living in a flat in the center of the city. After a year, I moved to Gràcia.

I am not the biggest fan of the night bus, always preferring to walk home, to let my mind wander and gaze at the city in the cool night air. I became fascinated with the nighttime colors and shadows, tumbling over cobblestone, through doorways and windows.

Many things catch the eye when meandering through a city, depending on the angle and the time of day, the light and the shadows do many dances, draping over various shapes and leaning towards opposite directions in increasing and decreasing lengths.

Midnight in Barcelona

Midnight in Barcelona

What is it about line and shadow when it hits that late time at night?

I am caught gazing at beautiful balconies, wires that play between windows, shadows tumbling over cobblestone streets, in and out of doorways with a perfect glow of warmth. The light turns to a warm hue and shadows draw your attention to cracked walls leaning long across the street.There is a quiet and a beauty that I absolutely treasure meandering through the streets at midnight in Barcelona.

Katrine is a freelance graphic designer, currently living and working in Brooklyn, NY. She is the founder of and writer for Urban Artcade, a site containing interviews with international and local artists. Currently, she is curating an exhibit called Las Calles Hablan which focuses on the politics and story of street art in Barcelona. The exhibit will be showing at Mutuo Centro de Arte on 25th October 2012.

Urban Artcade: www.urbanartcade.com
Mapping Barcelona Public Art: www.mbpa.es
Kickstarter – Las Calles Hablanhttp://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1857535961/barcelona-street-art-exhibit-las-calles-hablan

2012 31/08

Wild and Wonderful in BCN

Wild and Wonderful in BCN

Wonderful people doing wild things, (or wild people doing wonderful things) in Barcelona

I’ve been keeping an eye on this video documentary project for a few weeks now. The first episode launches online at midnight tonight, so Saturday September 1st 2012.

From the website…

Wild and Wonderful is a series of short films celebrating the eccentricity of an eclectic mix of residents in Barcelona and all the wonderful things they do. The series will produce a monthly 5 minute short film about artistic and eccentric activities from an eclectic bunch of people all around Barcelona.

Sounds interesting right? Read the rest of this article…

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