Barcelona

Poblenou & Poblenou Urban District

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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

Do you want we visit Poblenou together? Poblenou tour

Phantom Stations of the Underground of Barcelona

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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).

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.

Barcelona with children: “Barcelona through Lissy’s eyes”

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When I’m guiding a family, if they have children, I realize it’s difficult for them to pay attention to me for a long time. That’s why when I’m in front of something especial that I think it can surprise them I try to emphasize it for them, but really, one never knows what they will remember of this.
But Lissy, a five-year-old girl, exceeded all my expectations.
We visited the Gaudi’s masterpieces: Casa Batllò, Casa Milà, Sagrada Familia. We spend together 5 hours and now, at school, she painted this drawing. Her teacher has written her comments.
Take a look: here we can recognize the Saint George legend on the Batllò House; the Sagrada Familia, which is incomplete; all her family: Grandmother, grandfather, mother, she in the stroller and me. That’s gorgeous!!! Isn’t it?
Thank you Lissy.

Monument to Francesc Macià – Catalonia Square

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Walking around by Catalonia Square, at Barcelona downtown, you have stopped in front of this monument. I like it very much! It’s dedicated to the President of the Generalitat de Catalonia (the Catalane Government) called Francesc Macià 1859-1933.

Catalane people loved him; they called him L’AVI, the Grandfather in catalane language. When he died a big procession of citizens assisted to his funeral.

On April 14th 1931 he proclaimed “the Catalane Republic inside the Iberian Federation of Republics”

This is not the unique monument that we have dedicated to him in Barcelona and Catalonia, but I like this one in special, because the sculptor Josep Maria Subirach (the same one who did the sculptures of the dead façade of the Sagrada Familia), designed a stair with the steps upside down. One way to represent the statement of Macia when he said How difficult is every step that a politic has to do in his career.

 

Wealthy Barcelona

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According to the news, one out of four euros tourists spend in Barcelona; they do so in Passeig the Gràcia Avenue.

Passeig the Gràcia was the street chosen by wealthy people to live in since they broke down the city walls in the middle of XIX century. Thereafter, replacing Ramblas Avenue, it’d become the most elegant street in Barcelona. An example of this is Santa Eulàlia Boutique, which was already present at Pla de la Boqueria (Rambla Av.) since 1843, and in 1941 it decided to establish in Passeig the Gràcia Av. Now we find the greatest brands: Chanel, Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Armani, Loewe, and Hermès… even Appel has found its place.

Besides, there are a lot of new luxury hotels in the city. And now, a Russian company wants to turn Port Vell (a marina just in front of Barcelona) into a new luxurious marina which would attack huge yachts and fortunes.

 

The city, with any doubt, is changing. Some people think it’s for good, others believe we are losing our essence.

 

The roman soldier of the Sagrada Familia with 6 toes in each foot

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On the Birth facade of the Sagrada Família there is a sculpture which represents a Roman soldier in the “Massacre of the Innocents”.

Gaudí and Matamala sculptors’ team were choosing casual passers-by to use them as a models for the different sculptures. They took a picture with a set of mirrors of the chosen person. In that way, they got in the same picture every part of that person and so they made the corresponding sculpture.

The chosen person to represent the Roman soldier was one of the Sagrada Família workers. Everyone was astonishes when they took the picture and realised he had six toes in each foot. Matamala proposed to sculpt only five, but Gaudí said “No” and asked to represent him just as he was, in order to show how different was someone capable to kill innocent under two years old children, even if the soldiers followed king Herod’s orders. So here we have the Roman six toes soldier.

If you want to know the Sagrada Familia, I suggest you the the Gaudí Tour.

 

The Lampposts of Passeig de Gràcia – Barcelona

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Pere Falqués designed these lampposts in 1906. They are located along Passeig de Gràcia and in them we can see the different details used by the artist in Art Nouveau, here called Modernist:

  • Modernist made things with various uses: in that case the lamp is not only a street lamp for the cars and another for the pedestrian but it’s also a bench
  • They used the “trencadís” (broken ceramic) because modernist preferred to use it instead of paint, because it doesn’t fall off the wall and shine with the sun
  • They used wrought iron too, giving to it flower shapes (if you take a look at the lamp it has the form of a climbing plant).

Besides Pere Falqués put on it the Barcelona shield, the Aragon King’s crow and the bat, symbol of fortune since the kind Jaume I when he conquered València.