Barcelona Private Tour Guide

What does it mean “Vale”?

When you arrive to Spain one of the frequent words that you will listen is “vale“.

A lot of people that don’t speak Spanish are surprise to listen constantly this word. It’s a frequently question of my travellers.

It’s nothing else that: “OK”, “All right”, “Sure” or “Fine”

People, who have learnt Spanish in USA, maybe have learnt Spanish with Mexican accent. In this case, it’s easy that they don’t recognize “Vale” because Mexicans use “Si” or “Bueno” as Argentines use “Dale“.

But, there are bad news. The word “vale” has other meanings and uses: “voucher or coupon” as luncheon voucher; “enough” (some pour milk… and we will say “vale!” to say “That’s enough!”); or when you ask “How much is it?” – “¿Cuanto Vale?”; or for the common expression when we travel “it’s worth it!” and we say: “Vale la pena!”

The best part to travel is to discover and use for few days new cultures.

Perquè celebrem Sant Esteve a Catalunya

IMG_8587Totes les Pasqües es celebren 2 dies a Catalunya i per extensió també al País Valencià i les illes Balears (tot i que a València ho van treure als anys 90). I us preguntareu: i què té a veure amb Sant Esteve?

Primer parlem del que vol dir Pasqua i quina és la relació de Pasqua amb Nadal: Pasqua vol dir “vinguda del Senyor”. I a l’any la Església celebra 3 vingudes: Nadal perquè neix, per això hi ha gent a Nadal que desitja “Bona Pasqua!”, com sabeu Sant Esteve és el dia de després de Nadal; la Pasqua de Resurrecció perquè ressuscita (reneix), per això el dilluns de Pasqua es festa (molts aprofiten aquest dia per celebrar la Mona); la 3a Pasqua és per Pentecosta (49 dies després del diumenge de Resurrecció: en aquest cas la vinguda de Déu és en forma d’Esperit Sant ‪, i per això fem un altre dilluns de festa per allà en mig que la gent no recorda ben bé perquè. Per cert les Pasqües també es coneixen com Nadal, Pasqua Florida i Pasqua Granada.

Bé, però perquè les Pasqües es celebren 2 dies?: aquestes festes eren dies de trobada familiar i sovint això implicava llargs desplaçaments. Així que el segon dia era de viatge de tornada a casa. Aquest costum s’estén durant el s. IX a l’Imperi Carolingi, del que Catalunya en formava part en aquell moment, per això en altres llocs d’Europa, que també formaven part de l’Imperi Carolingi, fan festa. La resta d’Espanya mai en va formar part d’aquest imperi.



CC BY-SA 3.0,

Poblenou & Poblenou Urban District

Poblenou was the biggest industrial area of Spain at beginnings of the 20th Century.IMG_5880 In the last years it has been reconverted in a kind of district that offers unusual options: we have the biggest flea market of the city; the HUB museum (a big museum dedicated to design) but maybe what have make this district more special is that alternative artists have found in the district the proper old warehouse or old industry where to train or to develop their talent: for instance an Aerial Dance School.

This weekend it’s an opportunity to visit places that usually are closed to the public: Art galleries, artists’ studios, advertising agencies, audio visual producers, creation centers, showrooms, gastronomic spaces. Besides all-day long there will be events and performances related with art, cuisine and music and all they free.

Tio Che - Poblenou

Now Poblenou is a district where new buildings coexist with old reconverted industries, but at the same time they found the way to keep the essence of the village that it was. You will realize of that when you walk in the Rambla de Poblenou… I was born here and I recommend you to walk a long the Rambla and to stop at Tio Che, these kind of places that make you go back to your childhood.

Open Day! Poblenou Urban District opens the doors this Saturday May 7th from 12h to 20h

Where can I see dance la Sardana?

As maybe you have heard, in Spain there are different folkloric dances. The Flamenco is not the dance of the whole Spain. Although, that you can see great shows of Flamenco in Barcelona, Madrid or in other cities in Spain, the Flamenco is the folkloric dance of the Andalusia, one of the 17 autonomies or regions of Spain. Almost every autonomy have his folkloric dance linked with their history.

If you go to Madrid you will discover that their folkloric dance is El Chotis, in Aragon they dance la Jota Aragonesa, La Muneira is danced in Galicia and so on.

Well in Catalonia we dance La Sardana, although I have to confess that I don’t know to dance it (it’s one of my unresolved matters) but a lot of people dance it, as my mum.

To dance La Sardana it’s necessary an orchestra of 12 instruments and 11 musicians. It’s danced in circle and it can be so big as you want, even you will see a circle inside of another one. The distribution of people usually is to alternate a man and a woman. And people just join the circle separating the hands of two dancers. People, who know, count the steps and in some moment of the dance you will see that they raise their hands or they move them down. If you want to join the dance, it’s easy and you will be welcome.

The origins resemble us the Greece dances and the dances of Sardinia. The origens are no so clear, maybe it arrived in the XIV century or before.

Please check my comments below to know where you can see or dance la Sardana and the Castellers in Barcelona. (See the mail if you want to contact them:

Sardanes 1

Sardanes 4Sardanes 5




Saint Medir Festivity – March 3rd

March 3rd, is Saint Medir, the patron saint of the neighbourhood of Gracia in Barcelona. A big festivity!
But when it started? Why they celebrate it and what they do.Sant-Medir

The legend of Saint Medir is linked with another saint: Saint Sever. From 303 to 313 the big Christians persecutions in the whole Roman Empire took place. The persecutions were ordinated by the Emperor Diocletian. But with the new emperor Constantine, not only the persecutions were stopped but also the Christian religion was allowed in the Roman Empire. As only few years were passed, citizens still remembered where these martyrs were died, buried and his story. From these moments we have a big number of Saints in Europe.

So, what happen with Saint Sever and Saint Medir in this period?
Saint Sever was the bishop of Barcelona while the Christian religion wasn’t allowed and when romans soldiers persecuted him, he escaped toward Saint Cugat. In his way he met Saint Medir. He was a farmer and in this moment he was just planting broad beans. At the afternoon the broad beans have unusually grown up two meters. When the romans soldiers arrived ask him if he had seen Saint Sever. He didn’t wanted to lie, and said “when I saw him I was planting these broad beans”. Romans soldiers thought he was playing with them and they kill him. Later they found Saint Sever and kill him as well.Saint Medir and Saint Sever - Barcelona Tourist Guide

And why every March 3rd they go in procession to the hermitage of Saint Medir?
In 1828, a master backer who lived in Gran de Gracia, 111 was very ill and promise to Saint Medir that if he was recovered of his illness, next year he would walk to his hermitage accompanied of someone. He recovered and he accomplished his promise. First year with two friends, next year with more people. And when he saw how the moment was expected and how many people jpin them, he, as a baker, carried candies and while the procession, he presented them to children.
The tradition was just started, because they repeated it every year and now every March 3rd people from Gracia do this procession to Saint Medir hermitage and thousand of candies are thrown to children. The association of Saint Medir is the biggest one of Gracia.

Saint Medir - Barcelona tourist guideSaint Medir hermitage - Barcelona Tourist Guide





Live Nativity at Catalonia

At Christmas one of the well know Spanish traditions is to represent at home the crib of Bethlehem: the manger. These representations can be huge and very elaborated. There are different places where you can admirer these works.

But besides, recently it has become very popular to represent the “Live Nativity”, where you can walk trough the streets of several villages in Catalonia to watch how actors represent different scenes of the Nativity.
Although that it’s said that Saint Francesc d’Assisi represented the first Live Nativity in the XIII century, in Catalonia it’s represented from 1959. The first time in Castell d’Aro. Nowadays there are several places.

It’s the perfect activity to enjoy in family and children. But before to organize your visit, check the dates and timetable.

Here you have two examples: at Poble Espanyol (in Barcelona), at Corbera (different reasons have made to consider these one as the best one in Catalonia: you can walk inside the performance; there are more than 200 actors; and every year it’s different).

Live Nativity

Underground of Barcelona: Phantom Stations

The first tunnel of the underground of Barcelona, call “Gran Metro” (Big Underground) was built at Via Laietana AV. An Avenue opened in the middle of the old Barcelona between 1908 and 1913. Try to imagine, in this moment disappeared houses, palaces and convents with more than 500 years of history. They took advantage of such construction, to build the first tunnel of the underground, although the first line to be in service of the “Gran Metro” was between Lesseps Station and Plaça Catalunya (the new center of the city).

This year we commemorate the 90th birthday. The underground of Barcelona is the second oldest of Europe, only six month after the underground of London in 1924. It tells us how the economy and industry of Barcelona at beginnings of the XX century was developed. Not all the cities could afford this cost. It would be later that with the economic politician of autarky used by Franco, it submerged the economy of Catalunya and Spain.

In this construction of the first tunnel at Via Laietana, they built a station call “Banc” where now we have the Banc “Caixa Catalunya” and before the Banc of Spain. The idea reminds us the “Money Train”, but the station never was connected with the bank. Therefore, there, we have a unused station and stairs that lead to nowhere. Not so far, in the same line IV, we can appreciate another phantom station: “Correos” (post office), that was in service until 1972.

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El tram de metro que passa sota Via Laietana va ser el primer túnel del “Gran Metro” de Barcelona. Es va construir aprofitant l’obertura de Via Laietana (1908-1913). Però aquest tram no seria el primer en entrar en funcionament.

Realment el primer tram en funcionar del “Gran Metro” de Barcelona va ser el tram Lesseps-Plaça Catalunya el 1924. A l’estació de Lesseps podem veure el cartell del 75 aniversari i aquest any celebrem el 90è. És el 2n metro més antic d’Europa, només sis mesos més tard que el de Londres. Això ens explica el nivell de desenvolupament econòmic de la ciutat a principis del segle XX, no totes les ciutats s’ho podien permetre. Seria més tard que amb la autarquia practicada per Franco, Catalunya i Espanya caurien en un retràs industrial important respecta Europa.

Al construir el túnel de Via Laietana i sempre amb la previsió, es va decidir construir la parada “Banc” on ara tenim la seu de Catalunya Caixa, que abans era el Banc d’Espanya. La intenció era fer com “El tren del Diner“, però la estació mai es va connectar amb el Banc d’Espanya i allà va quedar la parada i unes escales que mai conduirien a cap lloc – si es que tenim material per fer una pel·lícula.

Finalment aquest tram de metro va entrar en funcionament el 1926, de moment fins a Correus amb la estació terminal “Correos” que va estar funcionant fins el 1972 quant per la seva proximitat amb la estació Barceloneta, quant es va continuar la línia IV (la groga), va esdevenir innecessària.

Setmana de les terrasses dels Hotels de Barcelona

Un any més teniu una setmana per descobrir les terrasses dels hotels de Barcelona. Per quart any, més de 60 hotels de Barcelona obren a tot el públic perquè els pugueu descobrir.

No només es tracta d’anar a fer una copa, sinó que també fan activitats: balls, monòlegs humorístics, màgia, tallers per aprendre a fer un bon Mojito…

Aquí tens la relació de les activitats: Programació Terrasses de Barcelona 2014

Segueix les fotografies a Instagram amb #terrasseshotels14

Què ho gaudiu!

Carnaval a Barcelona i Catalunya

Dijous Gras o dijous Llardós comença el Carnaval amb l’Arribo, quant el Rei Carnestoltes arriba per proclamar el seu regne de disbauxa iTruita de botifarra d'Ou excessos. Aquest dia la tradició a Catalunya  diu que hi ha que menjar botifarra d’ou i Coca de Llardons El Carnaval conclourà el dimecres de Cendra, quan, pels excessos d’aquests dies, mora el rei Carnestoltes. Després d’enterrar-lo i llegir el seu testament, es mengen sardines. És quasi una setmana en la que el Rei és  Carnestoltes i els excessos alimentaris, la disbauxa i les disfresses tenen lloc. Just després començament la Quaresma, quant tothom ha de fer bondat fins el Diumenge de Rams.

La festa de Carnaval prové de les tradicions paganes, quant es passejava un vaixell a dalt d’un carro per la ciutat “carrus navalis”, però Carnestoltes, el nom del Rei, ve del llatí “carnis cualis” i significa “carns prohibides” fent referència a la prohibició de menjar carn durant els quaranta dies de la Quaresma.

El Carnaval es celebra a molts llocs. Són ben conegut els de Rio de Janeiro (Brasil), el de les illes Canàries o el de Venècia, cada un amb el seu estil. El que no tothom coneix és que al segle XVII, un dels Carnestoltes més famosos d’Europa era el de Barcelona.

Hi ha escrits que parlen de la festa a Catalunya el 1333,

però el personatge del Rei del Carnestoltes va néixer al segle XVII. Era construït pels pagesos amb uns pantalons vells i una camisa vella farcits de palla. Al cap se li posava un barret vell i un nas llarg. Se’l penjava del paller fins al dimecres de cendra, amb la finalitat de que quan tot s’acabés, el personatge aniria directe a les flames. Pobre Carnestoltes!!.

Actualment la Gran Rua de Barcelona passa pel Paral·lel. A Catalunya hi ha moltes rues conegudes, com la de Platja d’Aro, Sitges, Vilanova i la Geltrú, Solsona, Torellò, Tarragona, Reus…

Personalment una de les festes que més m’ha agradat ha estat la Ball de la Dona, que jo vaig conèixer a Platja d’Aro: la nit del dijous gras els homes van sense disfressa i ben arreglats, les dones porten unes disfresses ben elegants, però que els tapa la cara. Aquesta nit elles prenen la iniciativa. Treuen a ballar als homes i durant el ball no parlen per no ser reconegudes, només afirmen o neguen amb el cap, a més a més hi ha dones que s’intercanvien els anells o les sabates, amb el que els homes van bojos per descobrir qui els treu a ballar, molts cops acabes la peça de ball sense saber amb qui l’has compartit.

En fi, que gaudiu el Carnestoltes….!¡Que la vida es un Carnaval! (Celia Cruz)

Com és el vostre Carnestoltes?



Per Carnevale, a Catalunya (Catalogna) mangiamo “botifarra” di uovo (come una salsiccia) e torta di ciccioli. Puoi il mercoledì, quando il Re dal Carnevale muore per tanta festa e gli eccessi alimentari, se legge il suo testaménto e si mangiano sardine. Dopo di che inizia le Quaresima, dove la religione cristiana dice di fare astinenza fino Domenica di Pasqua.

La festa di Carnevale ha la sua origine nelle feste pagane. Si passeggiava per la città una nave sopra un carro “carrus navalis”. Invece, il nome dal re Carnestoltes viene dal latino e vuole dire “carne proibite”, e nel secolo XVII era ripresentato per un personaggio fatto di pantaloni e camicie vecchie che alla fine del Carnevale andava al fuoco.

Tutti conosciamo i carnevali famosi nel Mondo: Rio di Janeiro (Brasile); Venezia, Isole Canarie. Ma non tutti sano che nel secolo XVII, uno dei carnevali più famosi nell’Europa era il di Barcellona.

Nella Spagna il Carnevale fu proibito pel dittatore Franco, ma oggi si celebra in tutta la Spagna. A Barcellona la Gran Comparsa della città passa il sabato per il Parallelo. Ci sono tanti paesini a Catalunya dove sono importanti le feste di carnevale, ma a me, quello che mi è rimasto di più è il “Ballo della Dona” di Platja d’Aro (un paese di Girona), dove la notte dal giovedì, i uomini vanno eleganti ma senza costume, e le donne vanno con celia_cruzun costume elegante ma che li copre la faccia (come quelli da Venezia). Quella sera la dona prende l’iniziativa e toglie a ballare un uomo dietro un altro in ogni canzone. Per non essere riconosciuta, non parla, solamente dice si o no colla testa alle domande dal uomo e a dirittura tra le amiche si cambiano oggetti personali. Gli uomini diventano matti per sapere chi gli ha scelto per ballare, e tante volte finisce la canzone senza saperlo.

Godetevi il Carnevale che come diceva la cubana Celia Cruz…. ¡La vida es un carnaval! (vi lascio la canzone)

Per certo, come sono le vostre feste di Carnevale nelle vostre località?

Carnaval 2014