Barcelona

TEN THINGS ABOUT BARCELONA

IMG_4809.JPG

 

  1. Barcelona is the capital of Catalonia. The people of Barcelona do not want to be considered Spanish, they are Catalan above anything else.
  2. The Catalan have their own language, Catalan.
  3. Some great names from Barcelona include Pablo Picasso, Antonio Gaudi, opera singers Montserrat Caballe, Victoria de Los Angeles and Jose Carreras. French  Open and Wimbledon champion Garbine Muguruza is also from Barca.
  4. There is a fairly vocal movement opposing tourism in Barcelona. The main complaints are around housing affordability.
  5. Barcelona must be the El Dorado for interior designers. There is a decoration store in almost every block.
  6. The tapas are served very elegantly.
  7. The two most popular sights, Sagrada Familia and Park Guell are no longer free.
  8. There are taxis everywhere- except the night when we stayed out too long and the last bus had already gone. We walked home - almost an hour.
  9. The light show at Plaça Espania fountains was awesome.
  10. Like Paris, English is widely widely spoken. In some ways this is a shame.
The super light show. We stayed a bit too long.... (Read item 8 above). 

The super light show. We stayed a bit too long.... (Read item 8 above). 

Superb tapas! We congratulated the restaurant, asked to take a photo, and then went to our hostel to eat a microwave pizza.

Superb tapas! We congratulated the restaurant, asked to take a photo, and then went to our hostel to eat a microwave pizza.

IMG_4837.JPG
The anti-tourism movement is very vocal at times.  Food for thought for sure.

The anti-tourism movement is very vocal at times.  Food for thought for sure.

HOSTELLING AND PLAYING POOL

 

In Barcelona, we stayed at a hostel. It turned out to be a great choice and we really liked it. Two of the staff were from Cuba (interesting - also I went to a salon in Barcelona and my esthetician was from Cuba. I think there may be quite a few Cubans in Barcelona.)

Our hostel common area was nice, it had little tables for people to eat, use the computer etc.  They had books, board games, games for children and adults, and then they had a pool table. Lili had never played pool so of course we had to try it. Lots of aiming and concentration made for good matches, both Dante and I played her a couple of times.

IMG_4844.JPG
IMG_4850.JPG
IMG_4853.JPG
Lili's great aiming and concentration!

Lili's great aiming and concentration!

Here Dante and Lili are playing Battleships! Another of our trip favorites that we normally play on the iPad. 

Here Dante and Lili are playing Battleships! Another of our trip favorites that we normally play on the iPad. 

FREE WALKING TOURS

IMG_4655.JPG

Free walking tours are a phenomenon that has popped up pretty much everywhere where tourism has grown. They are a super cool idea especially for people like us who have no interest in shelling out $50+ for a bus sightseeing tour.

Free walking tours normally are run by local students or youngish people who work for tips.

The companies that put them on often also offer paid tours, private guiding, cooking classes etc. so the free walking tours serve as promotion for the business - lots of incentive to do a good job.

Lili and I did a free walking tour in Prague, and all three of us took one in Barcelona.

Our Barcelona guide was Juan Carlos Colon, who is half American half Catalan. (Please note we do not say Spanish because the Catalan are very particular about their own identity.)

We had a great time on our walk, and spent a fascinating three hours touring the old town. We saw Columbus's contract with King Ferdinand, Joan Miro's birth home and the school where Pablo Picasso studied art. And we saw many wonderful stores and galleries.

Columbus's contract at Barcelona City Archives. 

Columbus's contract at Barcelona City Archives. 

In front of Joan Miro's birth home. 

In front of Joan Miro's birth home. 

At a gallery. 

At a gallery. 

After the walk we had our one and only restaurant meal in Barcelona - at Maoz falafel joint. We had eaten at Maoz already in Paris, so we knew to expect the super quality and backpacker prices. And Lili got some fries and Fanta -rare treats both.

IMG_4693.JPG
IMG_4690.JPG

AMAZING MUSICIAN

After our visit to the ticketed part of Parc Guell, we walked further up in the park to go to the top of the hill where there is a panoramic viewpoint. 

IMG_4809.JPG

And on the way up we heard lovely music floating in the air.... 

A few more steps and we saw the musicians, just two people - one with a kora and one with a guitar.   But the kora player also sang, and it was magical. A truly free voice, natural and wild, doing long glides and then just unexpected and beautiful things - like the park parakeets in flight. I, like many others, was mesmerized. 

A few more steps and we saw the musicians, just two people - one with a kora and one with a guitar.   But the kora player also sang, and it was magical. A truly free voice, natural and wild, doing long glides and then just unexpected and beautiful things - like the park parakeets in flight. I, like many others, was mesmerized. 

After a long while, the piece ended and we were able to congratulate the artists and talk with them. The singer was Catalan, but he had studied music in Mali. How extraordinary.    It was so special that I decided to buy not one but two CDs on the spot.  

After a long while, the piece ended and we were able to congratulate the artists and talk with them. The singer was Catalan, but he had studied music in Mali. How extraordinary.  

It was so special that I decided to buy not one but two CDs on the spot.  

And we got a photo with Lili!    The soloist is called Yerko Lorca and the guitarist Roy Apartin. You can find out more about them on Facebook at Yerko Lorca Music and at www.yerko.info    

And we got a photo with Lili!  

The soloist is called Yerko Lorca and the guitarist Roy Apartin. You can find out more about them on Facebook at Yerko Lorca Music and at www.yerko.info