Steel Donkey Bike Tours
If you’re in Barcelona and you fancy getting out and about on a bike for a few hours then you could do a lot worse than checking out Steel Donkey Bike Tours.
These guys have been around the block and are consistently recommended on TripAdvisor as a great way to see the city on two wheels.
They kindly asked me to join them one morning, and so, feeling like a modern-day Sancho Panza and on a very comfy set of wheels from Green Bikes, we set off from Plaça George Orwell with our guide whose name escapes me.
This lapse in memory is no reflection on the guide himself. He led the tour extremely well and was always ready to answer my questions. The groups are small, usually no more than 4 or 5, so I certainly felt there was opportunity to pick his brain. Read the rest of this article…
Brunch & Cake
My perfect day in Barcelona was always a Sunday. Sundays are fantastic wherever you live; a day that belongs to you and only you, a day consisting of a morning, an afternoon and an evening, with which you can do whatever you bloody well want to do.
Sundays in Barcelona were extra special. Sunday mornings were iced with slightly hazy memories of dancing til 5am in La Fira or Museum with my housemates. And the kitchen was lavished with the gossip from the night before.
But Sundays in Barcelona are not for hangovers. You can’t let your nauseous tummy and delicate temples take over your day of fun. With all the supermarkets closed the first thing you need to do is take yourself out for breakfast. My number one spot for a dose of carb-induced hangover recovery was always Brunch & Cake on c/ d’Enric Granados. Giant turkey bagels with a side of guacamole and a latte (and an orange juice and two waters – you’re on a recovery mission here). A stroll down c/ d’Enric Granados to play with all the dogs and daydream about someday owning a lovely little flat on this street is a must. Read the rest of this article…
This coming weekend Barcelona’s great buildings open their doors to the public. The Festival D’Arquitectura de Barcelona, or Open House Barcelona, is part of the wonderful Open House Worldwide organisation.
From their website…
‘Open House’ is a simple but powerful concept: showcasing outstanding architecture for all to experience, completely for free. Open House initiatives invite everyone to explore and understand the value of a well-designed built environment.
Read the rest of this article…
The beach at Barceloneta
“I first visited Barcelona just under four years ago. It was an unplanned visit but one that would set me up to fall helplessly in love with the place. I was on a four-month sabbatical from my job in London to focus on my ‘other’ life as an artist. I had started off in a small village in France but it was there I realised it wasn’t the peace and quiet or nature that was inspiring me but the vibrancy and energy of a city. So I headed to Barcelona. I arrived in to BCN at Arc de Triomfand had a while to wait for a friend so I grabbed an ice cream and sat by the exit to the metro watching the city fall in to its afternoon routine. Coming from London, where everything runs at an acutely fast pace, I felt an extension of time in the way the people of BCN went about things.
The streets of Barceloneta
After I met my friend we grabbed a drink in the back streets of Barceloneta, an area which would soon become a real favourite of mine, and decided the only thing to do as a new visitor to the city was to head to the beach and jump in the sea. We quickly stripped down and threw ourselves into the water diving in and out of the waves. At one point I turned back to look at the city around us and felt a further sense of adoration for the place. Something about being in the water surrounded by the throngs of a city, but more than that, a sense of energy from the place that I couldn’t quite place yet. I felt it had welcomed me with open arms instantly. No judgement. Read the rest of this article…
La Diada Nacional de Catalunya (Source)
The National Day of Catalonia or La Diada Nacional de Catalunya is celebrated every September 11th, a historic date in the Catalan calendar. The day 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. 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.
Where’s the Diada de Catalunya happening?
La Senyera – The flag of Catalonia
The 11th September is a Catalan holiday so don’t expect to get much done. Instead go out and enjoy the celebrations (and political demonstrations). Floral tributes are laid at the statue of Rafael Casanova (yes, that’s who Carrer de Casanova is named after). His statue is in the small square at the corner of Ronda de Sant Pere and Carrer d’Alí Bei. Read the rest of this article…