Sunday, 29 April 2012
Parc de la Ciutadella
Barcelona is one of protagonists in my life, but less so on my blog, which is unacceptable. To tell the truth, during all the years I've lived here I've gone around with a camera trying to capture what makes the city so magical for me. I'm not in the least satisfied with the project so far--ultimately our attachment to cities is emotional rather than visual and I expect I'd have no more luck if I tried with Vancouver or anywhere else. Nonetheless, here are some recent photos showing reasons why I love Barcelona... I expect a "... by Night" post will be coming along at some point!
Sometimes you wake up in the morning to music and the sight of horses, goats, and greyhounds parading down the street.
laundry flapping in the morning breeze
the park, reverberating with practicing drumming circles, lindy-hop get-togethers, pic-nickers, highly competitive table-tennis players, and who-knows-who else, on a sunny weekend afternoon.
More parades of giants
going for lunch on Sundays and taking along a whisky or grand-marnier flavoured cake from a local pastiseria.
burgeoning social protest: Plaça Espanya is blocked by protesters on the morning of the recent general strike.
Creative uses of public space: children use Rambla de Raval's famous Botero cat sculpture to get a better view of the stage during a public concert.
...and sunset on the beach.
Wednesday, 25 April 2012
Loveliest of trees, the cherry now
Is hung with bloom along the bough,
And stands about the woodland ride
Wearing white for Eastertide.
by A.E. Housman
Photos by Albert
dress: J.Crew (gift), shoes: Camper, star pins: Alexandra Grecco... and each and every item outshone by nature!
Monday, 23 April 2012
Feliç dia de Sant Jordi for those of you in Catalonia, and for those who aren't, it's a festive day we should all consider importing!
Sant Jordi (Saint George) is the patron saint of Catalonia, and it's a day of love and literature here (the literature connection comes from it being the birthday of Cervantes, Shakespeare, and incidentally my dad), with people gifting each other roses and books. As I type, there are rose sellers every few meters throughout Barcelona, and book sellers massed on some main promenades in the centre. People typically play hooky from work for an hour or so to wander the stalls and enjoy the carefree, happy atmosphere. On a financial note, Sant Jordi alone is responsible for an enormous percentage of books sold in Catalonia all year (as much as 10% this one day).
Albert and I had a little substitute celebration in Bonn yesterday. : ) Just as fantastic as the rose and the books was the fact that he managed to get Gummy Bear wrapping paper!
I got Albert an illustrated guide to his own neighbourhood in Barcelona, and he got me a book on self-portrait photography (ha!) and an Asterix comic in Catalan to improve my vocabulary. :)
For a glimpse of a more traditional Sant Jordi, on the streets of Barcelona, check out last years post!
Photos by Albert
Zara blouse, Snoozer Loser skirt, Alexandra Grecco floral crown
Tuesday, 17 April 2012
This was Easter Sunday... and we went to architectural masterpiece/tourist trap La Pedrera after lunch. Albert and I bought "Art Cards" back in the fall for €25, which get you into seven museums around Barcelona. La Pedrera was one of them, and for a while we thought it was just the exhibition space, which is free anyway. But it was actually the whole building, which is usually €16 or something, so it was a great deal!
We mainly just hung out on the roof in the sunset and enjoyed the panoramic views. Those of you who have been to Barcelona have probably been up here yourselves, so I won't waffle on about it. It's funny how when I get visitors here, I pathologically try and create a not-too-touristy experience, but here on my blog I always seem to be showcasing well-known places. I suppose places like the Gaudí buildings and Els Quatre Gats really are the most photogenic, though not the most representative of the life I love here.
Ha! I do look particularly full of it in these pictures... I was aiming for a "50s movie star on vacation" look though
Albert and I ;)
Photos by Albert
dress: I Love Mona(gift from Albert), top: Topshop (gift from my mom circa 2006), sunglasses: TKMaxx, shoes: Fly London
Sunday, 15 April 2012
I always take so many pictures when travelling (or even when not travelling), and often there are leftovers that don't fit into a coherent post... so here's an incoherent post, showing a few more moments from Easter weekend (because I'm still in denial that it's over, I guess).
After we left Collioure, we drove up to a similarly picturesque mountain town called Céret. There was a lovely view of the surrounding mountains in the setting sun from "The Devil's Bridge." And those pretty purple flowers...
That night we stayed in Roses, only an hour from Barcelona on the Costa Brava. We didn't really get up to anything, except stuffing ourselves silly on a three course menu. The "first" course was paella, and they brought us an entire frying pan of it to share. I have no idea how I managed to stuff down beef stroganoff and then mel i mato (a dessert consisting of soft, mild cheese covered in honey) afterwards.
In the morning we pretty much had to head to Barcelona to return the car, but not before I'd gone, bare-legged but wearing my winter coat, down to the beach to breathe some more sea air and sink my toes into the sand. I. cannot. wait. for summer!
And Sunday night basically involved eating an enormous plate of cheese... outfit post at an iconic Barcelona location, from my pre-cheese state coming next time!
Thursday, 12 April 2012
Isn't Collioure (or Cotlliure) one of the prettiest seaside towns you've ever seen? With its Medieval buildings, the intense, paradise blue of the sea and sky embracing the town from above and below, the sunshine and the blustery wind... Summer is 100% my favourite season of the year, and although it wasn't exactly summery (note the appearing and disappearing cardigan) it was so lovely to be by the seaside in the sunshine.
The town was crowded, but after an infuriating time parking (luckily our rental car was a Smart, so we took the space no one else could fit into, woohoo) we managed to avoid most of the tourists by keeping out of the restaurants; instead we ate quiche and ice-cream on the beach, and wandered up to a cliffside lookout, where we perched on some deserted steps overlooking the panorama.
I'm wearing a dress from the 70s that was made by Albert's mom! And if anyone's wondering, the orangey smoke in the third picture is from a simulated rescue mission they were conducting in the bay (you can see the helicopter in another shot...)
photos by Albert and I
dress: vintage, cardigan: absolutely ancient, belt and purse: vintage via my mom, shoes: Steve Madden via ebay, sunglasses: TKMaxx
*I got this entire outfit for free minus the shoes and sunglasses!
Wednesday, 11 April 2012
On Good Friday morning, Albert and I peeled ourselves out of bed after an ill-advised late night, rented a car, and set off for Perpignan/Perpinyà in the South of France/Catlonia North, depending on who you are. It was about a three hour drive from Barcelona, followed by lots of driving in circles looking for parking, but we made it. Most of these pictures are from the Palace of the Kings of Mallorca (clear Catalan connection!) and others are from the town centre.
Notes on the Perpignan experience:
1. My French sucks.
2. The people of Perpignan appear to be verrrry proud of their Catalan identity, as witnessed by the Catalan flags stuffed into every corner of the city. Way more than I've ever seen in Barcelona. Or perhaps they're just really proud of their rugby team, who also use the flag! On the other hand, the French seem to have done a good job of killing the language, the only Catalan I actually heard was from fellow tourists and in song.
3. French pastries are made with butter, not lard!! Observe and learn, Barcelona bakeries!
4. French customer service is "special." Because our hotel was in the middle of nowhere, Albert and I ended up having dinner in a very tacky and very overpriced restaurant next door. We decided to order the cheapest things. So, I ordered us each a slice of €18 fish and the cheapest bottle of wine, at which point the waiter looked down his nose and asked me, "Is that all?" Umm, yes thank you.
Perpignan was good fun, but the next post will show you an unbelievably cute seaside town.... : )
Ok, so I'm wearing a leopard print dress... and I've pretty much loathed leopard print since... forever. I blame Sandra, Kallie, and ebay, in no particular order! My bun was looking a bit flying-saucer after the drive, but such is the nature of being on the road, right?
The majority of photos are by Albert
Also, has anyone else arrived at that point where both toes are literally sticking through their tights but you refuse to buy more because it's APRIL? ;)
dress: vintage via ebay, sweater: thrifted, bag: vintage via Mom, shoes: Camper, sunglasses: TKMaxx