Places in Barcelona

Articles in ‘Places in Barcelona’

Shit architecture

July 30th, 2010
The W Barcelona hotel designed by Ricardo Bofill
This shit building with the awful name of W Barcelona has ruined the skyline of Barceloneta offering 900 euro a night beds for the rich. A boil on the face of the neighbourhood.

A more balenced view of this monstosity at the Guardian.

The American owners claim their hotel, officially the W Barcelona, is “a modernist masterpiece of avant-garde architecture” whose facade reflects “the captivating colours of the Catalonia sky”. However, elsewhere there has been less praise. The El País columnist Agustí Fancelli denounced the “scandalous privatisation” of one of the key points in the city, comparing the hotel to “an inglorious beer belly”.

A zeppelin over Barcelona

June 7th, 2010

1933 - Zeppelin sobrevolant Colom - Barcelona

A zeppelin over Barcelona in 1933. More Barcelona zeppelins here

Bar La Tranquilidad in Parallel

June 6th, 2010

La Tranquilad, together with the still-existing Café Español, was the most famous of the cafés of Parallel. As a haven  for gangsters, police spies and above all anarchists anything but tranquility reigned here.

During the infamous period of pistolerismo in the early 1920s, Barcelona was awash with guns smuggled from France after the end of the First World War. Weapons were sold openly in the Tranquilidad, which also organised raffles, with the winner taking home a Star pistol, the weapon of choice of the anarcho-syndicalist. More here

Anecdotes about La Tranquilidad abound. In the early 1930s, Durruti and his friends were habitués of La Tranquilidad. One story relates when a young beggar with a defeated air came into the bar asking for money. When he approached Durrut’s table the bar went silent. Durruti stared at the man for a minute, and then pulled his revolver and slammed in on the table, saying “There, take my gun. Go to the bank“. From El corto verano de la anarquía: Vida y muerte de Durruti. (The short summer of Anarchy – what a brilliant title)

The bar was later the scene of fierce fighting on July 18th 1936 when rebel soldiers barricaded themselves in here, before being defeated by the anarchist militia.

La Tranquilidad  stood at number 69 Aviguda Parallel next to the Teatro Victoria. I believe it was demolished in the 1940s.

Guinardó park

May 19th, 2010

Guinardó Park is one of my favourite of Bareclona’s off-the-beaten-track parks. More here from Barcelona Metropolitan who describe it as “an overlooked rustic gem in the middle (sic) of Barcelona”

Pedestrian Barcelona

May 19th, 2010

bad roads: La Rambla from the Placa de Catalunya

The Guardian has nominated Les Rambles as one of five streets in the world that should be pedestrianised for the greater good, though I’m sure cutting off the only thoroughfare through this part of the centre would be at all sensible.

With only two narrow lanes of traffic astride a tree-lined pedestrian walkway, Barcelona’s Las Ramblas is often cited as a success in urban planning. The reality, however, is somewhat different. Hemmed in by the layout, when the shoppers, gadabouts and meanderers are out in force, the pressure pushes them back out: straight into the roads. At such moments, no number of trees or funky shops can conceal the overwhelming impression that the boulevard which cuts through the heart of the city centre is nothing more than a 1.2km-long traffic island.

The Barcelona photoblogger

May 19th, 2010
Estació de França, A Train Station in  Barcelona, Spain[enlarge]

Barcelona Photoblog by Carlos Lorenzo is a consistently interesting photo site on which we accompany Carlos on his travels around his city.

Here is on The Estació de França

Estació de França is a magical place for architecture enthusiasts. As seen from La Ribera quarter on the other side of Marques De L’Argentera avenue the place looks rather dull and does not give you any clue of the beauty inside. The moment you walk under its gates the light coming through the stained glass both in the domes and walls gently falls on the polished marble floors creating this mysterious soothing church-like atmosphere quite pleasant if you are about to travel. In fact, I felt like skating across the hall in the way a child would do. The elaborate modernist and art deco motifs and especially those metal spheres hanging from a sort of ring tied to the domes are a pleasure to the eye. Although the railway station has been there since 19th century the building was rebuilt in 1929 for the International Exhibition by renown Spanish architect Pedro Muguruza who held important positions in Francisco Franco’s dictatorial government but that’s another story.

As he puts it “Barcelona pictures there are many, commented Barcelona photos there are few, so I intend to provide not just images but information about the daily life of the city and some aspects of artistic expression such as Barcelona sculpture, Barcelona architecture, Barcelona street art, Art Nouveau or Modernisme.”

Barcelona Photoblog

Panoramic view of Carrer de l’Hospital

March 23rd, 2010

Carrer de l’Hospital in the early morning by Anti-blog. More remarkable panoramics here.

Best cybercafé in Gràcia

March 18th, 2010

For my money the best cybercafé in Gracià and one of the nicest in Barcelona is CiberVirreina. It is next to to Plaza Virreina on Carrer Asturias. Fast internet access from quality computers.  Webcams and headsets available.  All computers have a usb point.  Wifi is also available for your own laptop. I spend some time here. Nine on the morn, till one at night.


c/ Asturies 78,
Pl Virreina – Gracia

Tel: 93 368 5770

Nearest Metro:
Fontana L3, Joanic L4

Forgotten Barcelona

March 16th, 2010
The excellent documentary Barraques pays tribute to the people who lived in the numerous shanty villages across the city for decades. One of the largest settlements spread across the hills of Carmel. Ignored by the authorities, the residents had trek every day down the hill to fetch water. Some shacks still remain, but most have either been bulldozed or upgraded into houses. High up on the Turó de La Rovira, people built homes around the gun emplacements from the Civil War. Today all that remains are a few tiles, though a number of renovated shacks still exist on the hill.
Watch this  short extract from the documentary as two sisters return to the childhood home, now a place of glass, graffiti and rubble.
See also

The Rambles one hundred years ago

March 9th, 2010

The Barcelona Photographic Archive has just released a hundred or so photos taken between 1907 and 1908. They were taken by Frederic Ballell, one of the pioneers of Catalan photojournalism, who delighted in documenting the daily life of the city. Above a goat herder passes by Palau Moja, below a puppy seller. From La Rambla, hace un siglo

See also History of Les Rambles

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