My name is Mat, I’m 39yrs old and I live in Southampton. (I moved down here from South of London 20yrs ago and have stayed ever since).
My first trip to Barcelona was for La Noche Vieja (New Year’s Eve) in 2004. It was around this time that the “no frills” airline boom really started to take off (no pun intended), and quite a number of my then work colleagues booked short breaks to Barcelona via Ryanair’s Bournemouth to Girona service.
Tying in with this my family normally had a couple of nights somewhere in the UK or France for NYE, so given the great things my work colleagues said about Barcelona I suggested to the family we went to Barcelona… and that’s where my 10yr (ok, its 11yrs and counting) obsession with Barcelona started.
View from the Museu d’Història de Catalunya
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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…
The classic Mojito
When you think of Bacardi you think of Cuba. But these days that has more to do with branding and marketing than anything else. Bacardi is no longer sold in Cuba. The main rum brand in Cuba is now Havana Club – in my mind a far superior rum, especially if you want to push the boat out and go for the Añejo 7 Años dark rum.
But though Bacardi has become an international brand acquiring many other well known drinks brands along the way, it was originally from Cuba. It was founded in Santiago de Cuba way back in 1862. And although eventual opposition to the Castro led revolution forced the company to move its operations to the Bahamas, Bacardi still has a rich Cuban heritage.
So, why should a blog about Barcelona be talking about Cuba and Bacardi? Read the rest of this article…