2015 10/06

Barcelona Tourists: Don’t go away, just behave better

I’m not usually particularly topical on this blog but Timmer from Catalunya Wine has forced my hand with his response to the latest outcry about Barcelona tourism. Please let me (and him) know what you think in the comments.

Nova Icària beach

If you read the latest news written in Bloomberg and picked up by many publications in the United States, the UK, Canada, and Australia, you would think the new mayor of Barcelona, Ada Colau, is against foreigners. She’s ready to build a moat and castle walls to protect the city from the ravaging hordes threatening to overrun this thriving civic centre. However, this is not the case, nor is the picture painted about what is happening in Barcelona really a true representation of what goes on during tourist season every year. Read the rest of this article…

2015 03/06

Eliana Guerrero: The Pickpocket Huntress of Barcelona’s Subways

photo of Eliana Guerrero

Eliana Guerrero – The Pickpocket Huntress of Barcelona’s Subways

Thankfully I’ve never been pick-pocketed in Barcelona. Though who knows what’s going to happen now I’ve said that. But I know it’s a real problem and one that has tarnished many a friend’s trip to this fine city.

Local police say that there are about 150 pickpockets on the metro system each day with an average of 250 robberies reported each week. At least, that was back in 2012. I really wouldn’t know if it was more or less in 2015.

But, suffice it to say, if there has been a reduction it is in part thanks to the work of Colombian-born Eliana Guerrero, the Pickpocket Huntress of Barcelona’s Subways. Read the rest of this article…

2015 27/05

Interview for Barcelona Metropolitan

Barcelona Metropolitan logo

I was recently interviewed by Barcelona Metropolitan (the May issue) about this blog and Barcelona blogging in general.

I was one of a number of Barcelona bloggers so they only used a small, edited piece. As my answers were so brilliant and enlightening I thought I’d publish the whole thing here for you to read.

I hope it piques your interest about blogging. They say writing is good for the soul.

The interview

Please could you tell us a little about yourself: e.g. where you are originally from and when you moved to Barcelona? Read the rest of this article…

2015 23/05

Cataluña, A Region Apart (A 1979 BBC Documentary)

This forgotten BBC documentary from 1979 was the final part of a 5-part series entitled ‘Realidades de España’ – Spanish Realities. It was uncovered by writer and chemical engineer Josep Grau-Bové who obtained it on VHS video from a friend in Glasgow. He digitised and uploaded it to YouTube in the hope that more people would see it. In the last two years 41,548 people have (at the time of writing).

I find it fascinating that this documentary from 35 years ago, made only 4 years after Franco’s death, should end up on the internet for a new 21st century audience. Even more fascinating that the story it tells has not moved on very much at all in the following 35 years. Read the rest of this article…

2015 19/05

Barcelona – 10 Locals Tell You Where to Go, What to Eat, and How to Fit In

Barcelona: 10 Locals Tell You Where to Go, What to Eat, and How to Fit InLast summer I was asked to contribute to a guide called ‘Barcelona – 10 Locals Tell You Where to Go, What to Eat, and How to Fit In’.

Well I did. And Gigi Griffis who produced the guide sent me a copy, and then I promptly forgot about it. I came across it on my iPad recently. So I read it. And it’s actually very good.

Gigi interviewed 10 people who live in Barcelona and asked them where their favourite places are in Barcelona, their hidden gems, and any tips they might have for visitors to the city.

It guide includes:

  • Great restaurants and bars away from the tourist trail;
  • Day trip suggestions outside Barcelona;
  • And tips for how to make friends, avoid rip-offs and pick-pockets, and fit in with the local culture.

The guide has had some great reviews! Read the rest of this article…

2015 16/05

Into the Night: A Timelapse Video of Barcelona at Night

photo of Jordi de Temple

Jordi de Temple at work

There’s something very evocative about watching the city at night from up high. Wondering what all the people below are up to. And I’m a big fan of the timelapse technique when used well. So Jordi de Temple’s video, Into the Night, is right up my street.

I’ll let Jordi explain it:

“Into the Night” is an exercise of light and colour of 4 minutes that tries to show Barcelona, its surroundings and some specific areas of Catalonia, from a different, unusual and cinematic point of view.

To achieve that, has been used the time-lapse technique, which allows to capture the time at specified intervals, frame-by-frame, using mostly, in this case, long exposure.

Part of the project has been made in the so-called blue hour, whose diffused light has some features that allow to capture spectacular sunrises or sunsets full of warm colors thanks to the position of the sun relative to the horizon. It is in these moments when the skies still have shades of color and the natural light is mixed with the artificial light of the city, thus being able to capture skies in detail and urban buildings illuminated simultaneously.

I’m always waiting for that moment when the light changes and becomes something special, a brief moment where the urban or natural landscape collides with light and composition to create beautiful images that are hidden to the naked eye.

This has been a photographic adventure of understanding the light and color of the night. An opportunity to observe the urban space and its density and to contemplate how these elements converge. An exercise of patience and perseverance throughout dozens of nights and dawns of cold carrying heavy stuff. And of course many hours of postproduction.

Read the rest of this article…

2015 12/05

Barcelona Neighbourhoods: El Born

Santa Caterina roof tiles close-up

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…

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