Posts filed under ‘Barcelona’

Wandering Barcelona

Well, before I begin I want to show you the ceiling in the post office. We had to get some stamps and I had to take a picture of it………..

Alex took the day off work and we went to MNAC in the morning (Museu Nacional D’Art De Catalunya). We’d not been when we were living here and it was on the list of things to do.

We approached from the 55 bus stop on the way up to Montjuic.

As you can see it was a gorgeous day, the type of day we had grown used to when we lived here. I took most photos of the architecture and Alex has a few of the displays.

The stairs reminded me of Escher drawings so I HAD to take some pics of them.

I loved the way you could see through the building by all shapes of doors and portals. The building itself was built for a World Exposition in the 1920s.

It is truly a grand building housing some beautiful exhibits

After the museum we went to meet Joy for lunch and slowly made our way back to the apartment.

June 12, 2008 at 6:43 pm Leave a comment

Wednesday, May 28th

Not much going on here until today, when I talked Alex into taking off the afternoon and walking up to Gracia, our old neighbourhood. We walked along Psg de Gracia and found they had placed enormous bronzes along the way. It made the walk up there quite pleasant.

Lot’s of work going on up around Diagonal and there were the marked trails for metro users to connect to different trains. I remembered those from when we lived here.

It’s quite the walk up and at some point we decided to stop for a cortado.

We were actually making our way towards the Gelateria in one of the plaças in Gracia and walking along the narrow streets brought a lot of memories back…….

Well, we got to the Plaça but decided to have chocolate instead. This place was frequented often when we lived here and has absolutely amazing chocolate…….

Once finished, we started making our way back down towards Raval. Alex wanted to go throught the plaça with the clock tower. These plaças are gathering places for families and their children and Alex loves taking photos of the kids playing. Needless to say, Alex made more friends there and took lot’s of photos too. Check out her blog for more on the day.

We found a Bycing stand and rode bikes back home. Once home, Sebastien made an amazing dinner for us. It was a good day………

May 29, 2008 at 11:22 am Leave a comment

Barcelona, The Final Two Months

Well, it had to happen. Our stay here is coming to an end. We stayed with Jackie and Sebastian for the last few months and had an absolutely fantastic time. I don’t think I managed to get on their nerves but I have been known to be wrong. Jackie and I would have some pretty heated discussions in the morning and most times she was right but I’d never admit that. I’ll miss the times we had.

Most of the last few weeks was saying goodbye to all the amazing and woderful friends we had made over the past year. There are some that will remain close to my heart forever (and they will never know who they are). I’ve put together some photos of some of the people we partied with or dined with or just hung out with over the last few weeks.

Bradley at Wushu’s

Paul

Francesca, I’ll miss her humor and outlook on life. We had fun communicating. Sha actually thought I spoke Italian but that’s a whole other story.

Sara, my spanish teacher. We became good friends. I really hope her and Andrea come to visit us in Canada. Actually I hope they all come to visit us in Canada.

Matt, a great friend whom I met in Spanish class.

His wife Elena, always smiling. The two of them were a lot of fun.

Marc, another friend from Spanish class.

I had to have a few friends who were closer to my mental age and Elena’s cousin’s baby fit the role. Same sense of humor too.

Jackie, Alex, Joy and Jesus at Joy and Jesus’ casa. They had us over for a farewell lunch

Alex and Andres having a chuckle. Andres taught Alex how to make mate.

Francisca and Sylvie fooling around. Those two were really great people. Sylvie was stressing out about her newly purchased piso in Bari Gotic. It’s an amazing place and I am sure she’ll love it when all the work is done. Francisca returns to Chile in October and we hope to visit her soon.

Mireia, she just finished her Phd thesis and was preparing to defend it. Her and Pau were super and Pau has to send me my honorary Catalan citizenship card. I’ll hold him to that too.

Jackie getting her hair done

Pau, Mireia and Jackie having a discussion. I’ll miss my discussions with Jackie………

Joy and Jesus

I have missed posting photos of many others because I don’t have them or they are really blurry. Photos taken while drinking too much wine ……

Last, but not least is Naomi. It was through her thoughtfulness and consideration that we met most of these people. Naomi always made sure that Alex and I were invited to different places. She is a bundle of energy and always up for a good time.

Many thanks to all of you who made Barcelona a special place and time for us. You are all invited to visit us in Canada anytime. Our home is always open to you so please come.

Now for the next series of adventures ………

May 10, 2007 at 2:37 pm Leave a comment

Last Visit

This was the last visit to Barcelona’s beaches. It was ana mazing day and lot’s of people were out. Many booths were open on the boardwalk and the crowds were thick.

It was kind of weird though, looking south the sun was shining and the air clear but looking north was another view altogether.

A fog was rolling in off the sea and it had this really strange effect. People were wondering what was happening and the sun worshippers began to leave in droves. Soon, the beach looked like this…….

The fog itself was low and buildings above it still had sunlight. Made for a neat photograph and dramatic effects.

All in all, it was a dramatic last view of Barcelona’s beaches. One I’ll not forget.

May 10, 2007 at 2:35 pm Leave a comment

Saying goodbye to amazing friends

Our year in Barcelona was truly amazing. We traveled around, visited many places I have studied, I collected thousands of documents for my thesis, my cooking has greatly improved, my Spanish improved dramatically and I now understand Catalan well. Barcelona is an incredible city, so creative and alive that kept us buzzed with ideas all the time. Yet, the most important thing we got out of our year here was the number of incredible friends we have made. We feel we have made friendships that will last our lifetime… It was really a life-changing experience for us. The people I have met here really broadened my horizons, made me think in new ways, gave me so much that I’ll never be able to repay them.

Today we had a lunch party with about 15 of our closest friends here. They hailed from all parts.

From Catalunya: Pau & Mireia, Eli & her boyfriend; Mexico: Jesús, Citlali; Uruguay: Andres (who taught me to make mate! more on that later…); Germany: Sebastian, Sylvie; India: Jacquie; Canada: Joy; Australia: Zephyr; Chile: Francisca; Andalusia (Spain): Carmen; Brasil: Carmem

I was very proud of all the food we made. For starters Sebastian made a cured Salmon filet, and I prepared some fresh veggies with dip. Lunch consisted of Chicken Marbella (a recipe I got from a professor in Canada),  Basmati rice,  Gratin de Chou-Fleur, Fennel salad with red peppers & green onions, Spinach salad with pinenuts and honey-balsamic dressing.  Desserts were completely Catalan: Flam de Mató, Mel i Mató (both from Granja Viader, the oldest dairy house in Barcelona and home of the best mató in town), Musik (dried nuts), all served with heaps of dessert wines (Muscatel in a porrón, icewine, orange wine…). Pau has made Alan an honorary Catalan citizen for his expertise with the porrón and will be sending him a Catalan ID card soon 😉

In usual fashion, we sat down to eat at around 3 pm and the first ones left at 8:45 pm while the rest trickled our around 11:30 pm.  We had an amazing time with everyone and will hold each and everyone of them in our hearts when we leave…

[note: tomorrow I’ll post pictures here] 

Chicos, espero veros todos en Canada un dia!!! Volveremos a Barcelona pronto!!

April 22, 2007 at 12:21 am 5 comments

A Great Day

Tuesday, April 17, 2007.

What a day. In the morning I worked on some photos that I had set aside and around noon I went over to Alexandra’s archives so we could go for lunch. Alex wanted to go to a place with a terrace that was across from Parc de le Ciutadella. We had a great lunch outside. The park trees have their new growth of green and it was really spring like (at a temperature of 24 + it was more like summer). After we ate, Alex went back to work and I went off to the park to lay around in the grass. I found a great place in the shade of a palm tree so I pulled out my ipod, set up my knapsack as a pillow and lay down on the grass. Lot’s of people all around me doing the same thing, just relaxing.

I don’t know how long I lay there but a group of swedish girls sat down close by to sunbathe. One of them, Erika, started chatting, really friendly and bubbly (almost too bubbly). She was here in Barcelona for a month. It turns out she comes here every year for a month and has been doing so for the past six years. She tells me that she has made friends from all over the world and has kept in touch with most of them. We hung about for most of the afternoon and when she left I went to a new spot by the big fountain. I looked out over the scene in front of me and couldn’t beleive it. This was more like dreamland than reality.

I think the thing that really clinched it all was when this guy cycles in and stops by one of the palm trees. He was carrying all kinds of things, 2 guitars, a drum and a big bag full of other stuff. He parks his bike and begins to unpack. Next thing I know, he’s pacing off the distance between the palm trees. I was really curious so I watched what he was up to. Turns out he was stringing up a strap between the two trees. A bunch of his friends arrive and they all settle in. They just radiated a joie de vie that made me slightly envious. It was really amazing. Anyhow, the strap was for walking on. Some were tightrope walking, others sitting around dinking matté and others making music. I loved it and thought about all the young people over in Canada who should make it a point of coming to Barcelona. It’s a paradise or maybe it’s mine. who knows.

Anyhow, for the past few weeks I have been playing around with a game on internet called Second Life. It’s like a chat room but you have animated characters that represent you and there is a virtual world to explore. It’s quite the place with buildings and roads and averything else a person can think of. I usually go to this specific spot and just watch the interaction of the animated characters. All kinds of outfits and animations that I could never describe in words. My point is that watching people in the park was so similar to watching the fantasies in Second Life that I immediatly fell in love with Barcelona all over again. It’s not the place for everyone but for me, it is amazing. Some compare it to Paris in the beginning of the last century.

I’ll miss this place.

April 19, 2007 at 11:12 am Leave a comment

Photo recap of our year in Barcelona

Here’s a little photo tour of our year in Barcelona. I still have to add a few pictures – there’s nothing from Tarragona for example, where the photo on this blog’s banner was taken, or of the many friends who came to visit. I’ll add those later on. Click on the picture and a slideshow will open.

Year in Barcelona slideshow

Hmmm, none of the comments I’ve added to the pictures show on the slideshow. If you want more context you can check the picture here.

April 14, 2007 at 4:06 pm 3 comments

First morning

I stepped outside at 8:45 in the morning. Outside, the streets are alive with people. The first thing I notice are the children – the streets were filled with little ones going to school. As I closed the door behind me and stepped onto the street, two little Pakistani girls walk by accompanied by their mother; the girls were singing Barça´s anthem as loud as they could. I smile as their childish “Barça! Barça!” recede into the distance. Welcome to the Raval.

February 27, 2007 at 1:32 pm 3 comments

The Raval

On the post below, my friend Regina asked whether the Raval is in Barcelona or if it’s another town. So here’s a little history of this neighbourhood west of the Ramblas.

Map of Old Town

The red line on the map shows the outlines of the old Roman & medieval town of Barcelona. To the left is the Raval and to the right is the trendy area known as the Born. In 1800 most of the Raval was made of small farms located just outside the town walls and a few buildings that go back to the Middle Ages like the hospital on C/ del Carme – which now houses an art school, the Biblioteca de Catalunya, the Institute of Catalan Studies, and a medical school – and the Royal Shipyards on the southern part of the neighbourhood, near the water. Map

With the nineteenth-century industrial revolution, many textile plants were opened in the area and the immigrants poured in from around the world. The Raval quickly became known as Barrio Chino in reference to the problematic parts of San Francisco’s Chinatown. The neighbourhood was very seedy, dirty and densely populated, making it a prime spot for many epidemics during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Drugs and prostitution characterized what was then known as the darkest side of Barcelona.

Like most parts of Barcelona, the 1992 Summer Olympics had a great impact on the area. The police cracked down and dismantled the drug rings and cleaned the neighbourhood of its prostitutes (a few sites still survive) and the area has been gentrified greatly in the past decade. It’s still rough around the edges and remains the area of Barcelona with the largest proportion of immigrants, particularly from Pakistan, North Africa & the Philipines. 80% of children at the local school are immigrants.
//www.masterperiodismo.fbg.ub.es

Maybe that’s why it reminds me so much of Toronto’s Kensington Market, which is also a neighbourhood created by many waves of immigrants and despite recent attempts to gentrify it, it continues to have a character and style all of its own. That’s sort of what attracts me to the Raval. There’s an energy in the air that is unique to the place. If one looks past the seedy streets with its graffiti and suspicious stairwells, one sees that this is perhaps the one neighbourhood in Barcelona where children still play unsupervised on the streets. “Este és otro mundo” (this is another world), says Nuria Aparecido, of the Fundación Tot Raval, a neighbourhood organization. I can’t wait to be part of it, even if it’s just for two months…

————-

De la historia del Raval a la historia del mundo – the outline of a very interesting project assigned to a grade 6 class of a school in the Raval. The objective is to learn a little bit more about the history of the world by discovering the history of the Raval

Fundació Tot Raval

Short history of the area (in Spanish)

February 24, 2007 at 6:40 pm 6 comments

Moving to the Raval

We are moving to the Raval this weekend. Our rental contract is up on March 1st and since it’s not worth renewing it for another two months, which would have cost us another month of rent just to sign the paperwork, we’ll be moving in with our friends Jackie & Sebastian. I should be interesting to live in the old city for a while… Besides, I really like the diversity and energy of the Raval. It reminds me a bit of Kensington market in Toronto.

We’ve mailed a couple boxes to Canada this week but I think we’ll have to mail a few more before we leave on May 2nd. It’s amazing how much stuff one can accumulate in 11 months!!

February 23, 2007 at 5:12 pm 1 comment

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