Wednesday, 8 June 2011

stripes and squats: exploring barcelona

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IMPORTANT! If any of my readers live or have lived in Barcelona, and don't mind filling out a short questionnaire for me about cycling and the Bicing program (it's anonymous and you don't have to be a cyclist/Bicing user) you will have my eternal gratitude and probably be making the world a better place! (Modesty is my middle name) Email me at rubyslipperjourneys(at)gmail(dot)com There are questionnaires in both English and Spanish (I'm hoping to do a Catalan version later if you prefer).

Right, now that that's been said, I'm starting a new "Exploring Barcelona" theme here on the blog. I know Barcelona really well, or at least I did a few years ago, and I've been trying to take little outings every day to re-familiarize myself. I thought some of my "hits of the city" might interest you from a trip-planning or simple curiosity point of view.

First up, we have... sqats. Yep. Barcelona, along with Berlin, is quite famous for squatting in Europe, and the other day I noticed a new (to me) one in Rambla de Raval. Abandoned buildings are occupied as a political statement, often to criticize the fact that much of Barcelona has become off limits to all but the wealthy, while buildings stand empty and boarded up. Squats go up, they create a community, they get raided by police and eventually evicted, and more spring up. I particularly liked this squat as it was painted in bright colours and stood out like a beacon of communality and solidarity in a neighbourhood that has its ups and downs.

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Signs read "Uribe (the president of Colombia) is a Paramilitary" (random but true) and "We want more Art in the Streets."

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This was a nice contrast: the top sign was on a normal building next door, and on some other buildings throughout the neighbourhood and reads "We want a decent neighbourhood." and the one on the squat building reads "We are a decent neighbourhood." The lower end of Raval is, frankly, a bit dodgy at times, but I think the people who live there have as much right to the city as the yuppies the local government was trying to import to clean it up. I also highly recommend this particular street, Rambla de Raval, for its restaurants, bars and cafés. Also, the infamous absinthe bar is just around the corner. ; )

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shirt: car boot sale, jeans: Warehouse, espadrilles: Primark, old Soviet camera: Etsy, yellow bag: found it in the flat.

45 comments:

Rebecca said...

This was a really interesting post. I particularly like the 'we are decent neighbourhood.' You stand out in bright colour just like that house.

Virginie's Cinema said...

This outfit reaches new eights of cuteness! You look super adore. And those sqats sure are lively and colourful, I love discovering Barcelona thanks to you (thank you so much for sharing!).

Virginie xx

Raquel said...

This is really interesting Emily, in Portugal, mainly in Lisbon, there are such buildings too, but not "reactionary".
Do you want me to ask my friend who livid there for a here if she wants to fill the form? I think she wouldn't mind, I'll just e.mail her this post and see what she says.

Hmm isn't the MACBA in Raval? I think it was the only place I went to there, if it is haha.

PS: Glad to see you working the espadrilles and the vintage top! So cute.

Marta said...

Hi Emily! I live in Barna. Pls, send me the questionnaire! Ciao! Marta
martaplayita at gmail dot com
http://www.englishinbarna.blogspot.com/

Xavi said...

I always (from I discovered your blog) have liked your point of view about Barcelona. Nice T-shirt.

Penny said...

i saw a whole neighbourhood like this in Ljubljana - old buildings occupied and turned into common-operated bars!really vibrant! i always appreciate such kind of movements especially when they turn out into a nice place to stay and not deserted!
good luck with your research!
ps) btw,this car boot sale seems to be amazing!i ve already seen 2 pieces on you i love!

29 Skirts said...

This post was so interesting. I love learning about other parts of the world from blogs, and Spain is the first place I would visit if I could travel anywhere. And I love your striped shirt. It looks great with the espadrilles!

Rachelous said...

I love these sorts of posts- I've only been to Barcelona fleetingly, or on a school trip but these sorts of places sound so interesting! Lovely outfit too, those espadrilles are great xx

Faff said...

Love this look, the stripes are fab! :)

Emily, Resplendent Tranquility said...

I always enjoy the glimpses you share into far off cities, so I'll be looking forward to each installment of your ''Exploring Barcelona'' series. That, and I like to devour information. Urban culture is so far from my every day norm that I find even squats to be intriguing. I'm impressed that this one you've highlighted is so bold and colorful - it really does stand out as a symbol of communality.

And, wow. I'm looooving your striped top. It looks great over cuffed jeans and with those enviable espadrilles.

Adripé. said...

Mmmmm nice pics! I love Barcelona but I can't help you, I had never lived there (unfortunately)

CessOviedo said...

I love the fantastic wall art! I want to visit all places you visit and blog, you make them sound magic, love to see you in jeans, cute!

Cess O. <3 The Outfit Diaries

Pink Penguin (Elyse) said...

Great read. And I absolutely adore the outfit, it's so simple but chic + gorgeous. xxx

Amber Blue Bird said...

i hope one day I get to visit Barcelona so I can see these cool spots in person. I just need to win the lottery to make this happen :)

Rebeccak said...

It is all so colourful! I had Barcelona in my head as a colourful place, but I always thought that was just my imagination.

AnnaBananaCupcake said...

Wow. This was a beautiful and informative post. Are these squater houses safe to live in? It seems that there are no windows, what about doors or locks? I absolutely LOVE all the bright artwork on the front. I wish more cities embraced street art. I can't wait to learn and see more.
XOXO

The Daily Fashionista said...

What neat photos!! I would love to jump on a plane and head right on over to Barcelona. It's so vibrant! And may I say I totally love those shoes!

Abi said...

Wish I could help out with the survey, but alas, Barcelona remains on my bucket list of places to visit. Nice to see a different side to Barcelona that what's majorly out there.

Lovely outfit and great header!

Jenni Wells said...

I would love to tell that I've lived there but alas I have never ever left the states. It will change...soon...next year at least. But look at you! Rocking red white and blue. Very patriotic.

CAITLIN said...

i like the concept of squats, and i'm sure it would be quite fun/fascinating to hang out in one for a while. my brother once tried to argue that it was his right to break into the summer houses of rich people who weren't using them and squat for the night, but that's because he doesn't believe in private property, period. politics...

you look adorable in this outfit. it has a very seventies-in-the-summertime vibe, which i love. and that little camera is so cute!

also, please write that post. the cheeriness of blogland is actually acting as a repellant for me lately. or you can just come over and we can drink a little too much red wine and bitch the old-fashioned way ;)

Closet Fashionista said...

Love your outfit!
And I love that building, its so cool!! But I think its sad that the only reason I know what squaters are is because of Shrek...haha "...and the squaters......."
http://www.closet-fashionista.com/

The Corner Girl said...

Your outfit is vuuury adorable! I feel like there could be more accessories, but then again I'm obsessed with accessories.

Shybiker said...

Great colors in the shirt. And nice pix of an exotic place.

Oh, My Darling said...

What a stellar outfit for a day of exploring!

Claire M. said...

I love your outfit! I wish I can go to Barcelona ;) I love that place

Neon Noose said...

This outfit is so laid back and simple, I love it. I wish that one day I get to visit Barcelona and maybe watch a Soccer game :)

dr.antony said...

Simple,clean outfit.
Good read.Not your usual style!

Marisa Noelle said...

Very Interesting post. I've never seen squats before...have you ever been inside one? Barcelona looks absolutely charming.

Your outfit is the cutest. I just love the colors in your top.

Lorelai● said...

Viva Barca! es maravillosa! creo que tenemos la misma camara!
besos guapetona!

Krystal said...

the squats thing is really interesting!!

Hannah said...

Love the shoes, it's a shame how many buildings are left to ruin when people are homeless it just doesn't make sense. x

Nicky。♥ said...

Great photo :D

Ashley said...

You look completely adorable in that outfit.

I had never heard about squats before...MUYYYY INTERESANTE!! I always like to hear stories about how the people are taking the city back. Freedom of Speech is beautiful :)

kelsey louise said...

Once again, thanks for some great advice. I read your homesickness post and that seems to be a pretty sufficient plan. I'll keep you posted after my move. And grandparents! Haha. Can't live with em, can't live without em. :)

Ashley said...

Very interesting (and glad to see the rain cleared up)! I think I'm going to enjoy your Exploring Barcelona theme. I'd like to do a similar theme on my blog if only I lived in a town people actually cared about. ;)

The painting of the building is so unique, I love it. I also love me a good political statement...I might have to read more about this topic!

Margaret said...

I love the first picture: camera, shirt, pants, shoes, all of it is perfection!

Europe is the best place for cycling. I wish NYC could be more cycle-friendly...my life would be so much better.

A said...

Very good pictures. Second from top is the best. But pictures of Barcelona are great too.

hellodenj.com said...

I LOVE Barcelona! I visited the city a few years ago It was one of my favourite places in Europe. The people are so nice and the city is stunning!
have so much fun!

xo danni

Rachael said...

Your outfit is just darling!

jess said...

Adorable outfit!

Anthea said...

After reading this post I realised how little I know about Barcelona. I am really glad that I get to read about things like squats on your blog. I might never find out about them otherwise!

Love the stripes and you look so cute with the camera!

Anthea,
Embracing Style

specialsparklecarnival said...

I really like your outfit! The shoes are too cute and I think I've fallen in love with that T-shirt. I like colorful, but comfortable T-shirts like that!

Also, you just made me want to go to Barcelona even more! I love this city although I've never been there.. I thought maybe I could go this year, but no chance, my family doesn't want to go there with me and I don't have enough money at the moment to go there with a friend.
I even thought about studying in Barcelona. You know it's easy for me to live there because of the EU and I'm studying Spanish in school...

Ah sorry, I wrote too much again. I'd like to read more about Barcelona...
Love, Marie

Blue said...

I'd love to go to Barcelona, a bunch of my friends went last year and they still talk about it. And your camera is so cute and unique, I love it!

dusanabotswana said...

OK, I think I am addicted to your blog! I love how you share so much culture here, it really is fascinating to see and learn new things, thank you for sharing all this! I lived in Spain for a bit over a year, on two different occasions, but have only been to Barcelona once and didn’t know about these squatting communities. I think it’s great they are making this statement, it’s sad how many cities are becoming inaccessible if you’re not uber rich.

Jones said...

What neat photos!! I would love to jump on a plane and head right on over to Barcelona. It's so vibrant! And may I say I totally love those shoes!