The History of Citudella Park

Right in the heart of the city you can find Barcelona’s largest green space, Citudella Park.  It’s a great place find a shady spot to sit and relax during the heat of summer or soak up the sun during winter. On the weekends the park is a popular meeting place attracting families, drummers, jugglers, slack-liners and picnic goers.   The history of the park is just as fascinating as the people who make use of it.

parc-de-la-ciutadellaAfter the Catalan quest for independence was quashed by Philip V of Spain in 1714, he had the Barcelona citadel built to control any local uprisings. As you can imagine this was a much hated symbol of Spanish authority and despite numerous attempts by the locals it stood until 1869, when it was almost completely demolished.  Only a few of the original buildings still remain the Chapel, The Governor’s School and the Arsenal which is now the Catalan parliament.

The next momentous occasion in the park’s history was the hosting of the Barcelona Universal Exposition in 1888. It was a great opportunity for Barcelona to be rid of the Citadel once and for all. An all out effort was made to completely change the park with the addition of various modernist architectural elements including the monumental fountain, Umbracle and Castell dels Tres Dracs.  Much of the park’s layout is thanks to the exposition.

mammothA final addition to the park was made in 1892, making use of empty buildings and space left over from the exposition, a zoo was added.  Up until recently it’s most famous resident was albino gorilla ‘Snowflake’. Today the Zoo remains popular with both children and adults.

Other attractions in the park include the lake complete with row boats, the modernist fountain part of which was designed by Gaudí and finally the mammoth. Now you know a little more about the history of Citudella Park.

 

 

Pissarro at Caixa Forum

camille-pissarro CaixaForum in conjunction with the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum are bringing to Barcelona the first retrospective of impressionist painter Camille Pissarro. The exhibition opens on the 16th of October 2013 and lasts until the 26th of January 2014.

More than 70 works of Pissarro, a founding father of Impressionism, will be presented at the exhibition with the aim of restoring his reputation and reaffirming his place amongst the great impressionist artists of his time. Whilst serving as an inspiration for many painters of his generation their works soon overtook his.

The exhibition will take the visitor on a chronological journey of the places Pissarro lived and painted. From Louveciennes where he and Monet forged a new style, to Pontoise and Éragny, where he worked with Cézanne and was a mentor to Seurat and Signac respectively.

pissarro1 Land and cityscapes from the bulk of the exhibition with the latter being the focus of Pissarro’s later life when due to an eye ailment he was unable to paint outside and was fored to paint what he saw from the window of his studio or hotel. The Pissarro exhibition at CaixaForum is a fantastic opportunity to admire and understand the works and life of one of Impressionism most underrated yet vitally important painters.

Where: CaixaForum. Av. Francesc Ferrer i Guàrdia, 6-8

When: 16 October, 2013- 26 January, 2014

A Different Barcelona

Caixa forum BarcelonaYou have been planning to go to Spain and your choice is based on the fact that the weather is great, the towns and villages have an interesting history and the food and the wines are delicious. And we just happen to have the best holiday homes in Spain to make your holiday even more perfect. You can choose a simple apartment, a cosy bungalow with your own terrace or a luxurious villa with your own swimming pool and garden. Our holiday homes in Spain are all  top quality. To see a different kind of Barcelona, just check out the tips we give you here below. Go and see a different Barcelona.

 Caixa Forum

Located at the Avenida Francesc Ferrer i Guàrdia, near the Font de Màgica de   Montjuic in the antique Casaramona textile factory, Caixa Forum is the art nouveau building of Barcelona. Its famous Catalan architect Josep Puig i Cadafalch whose style was very different than his contemporary Gaudi, designed many significant buildings in Barcelona like the Casa Martí.

The CaixaForum in Barcelona houses many exhibitions, concerts, conferences and family activities. Go and see this impressive building and its contents.

Flea markets

It’s always very exciting to find something that you don’t need at all but that you must absolutely possess for this incredible good price. Such a bargain you will never find again. You recognize this? Then you must be one of us. The person who just loves to stroll along the stalls or stuff on the ground to see in one flash, that’s mine! Whether it’s a small vase, a unique painting or a book you’ve been looking for, it’s that moment of surprise and total happiness. There are different kinds of flea markets, car-boot sales or monthly markets held in Barcelona so check the dates on the website for upcoming markets.

Open Air Cinema

We all know the image of a drive-in cinema that we’ve seen in some American movie where a young couple sit in a convertible watching a film in open air eating popcorn. Well somebody must have seen it, because now with projections on the Montjuic Castle wall there’s an open air cinema in Barcelona in summer. No cars allowed, which is even better. What a joy to sit here with your own picnic basket, watching a movie in a soft night breeze in Barcelona. Don’t forget to take a blanket to sit on, or you can hire a deck chair, which might be a little more comfortable.

 Santa Eulalia

santaeulaliaWhen you’re in one of our holiday homes in Spain around the 12th of February you must go and see in person, what you probably have seen in a magazine or on television, the human tower of men or women on the Ramblas, which is about four or five people high and demands full concentration of every one in it.

The feast of Santa Eulalia is dedicated to a little girl who died because she defended her beliefs. She had been subject to thirteen tortures including putting her in a barrel with knives and rolling it down the street. Her tomb lies in the crypt of the beautiful Barcelona Cathedral.

Cosmo Caixa Science Museum

Summer in Barcelona can be hot; in fact sometimes it can be too hot to do anything outside. This can be a problem especially if you are visiting Barcelona with children as they get restless if they are cooped up for too long. Luckily there is a place in Barcelona where children can wander the Amazon rainforest, voyage through the universe and become physicists for a day. Where?  I hear you ask. Cosmo Caixa Science Museum in Barcelona.

cosmo fishOpen since 2004, this museum in the hills above Barcelona is the perfect place to spend the day with loads of hands on activities for the children to enjoy. The star attraction of Cosmo Caixa is without a doubt, the Submerged Forest. It is an exact replica of 1.000m2 of Amazon rainforest complete with snakes, spiders, birds, ants, capybara and even a small crodcodile. Watch fish native to the Amazon swim in the giant aquarium, don’t put your fingers in the water though, they could be mistaken for tasty worms. The jungle is so authentic it rains every 15 minutes, you won’t get wet though.

On a visit to the Planetarium you and your children can travel through the universe in 3D discovering the stars, planets and constellations through the eyes of an astronaut or if you don’t want to leave planet earth you can sail the seas with a young Charles Darwin aboard the HMS Beagle  discovering new species along the way. Screenings are in Catalan, Spanish, English and French.

cosmo caixaIn the Sala de Materia there are lots of hands on activities where the children can learn about the evolution of man, physics through some simple yet fun experiments. The children are sure to have a great time at this museum and there are many other activities to keep them amused for hours, but we’ll let the children discover them for themselves.

Useful Information

Where: C/ Isaac Newton, 26.

When: Tues- Sun 10am-8pm

Entry: Adults 4€, Children under 16 Free.

What’s on in Barcelona 12-15 July 2013.

Once again it is another action packed weekend in Barcelona with heaps of activities happening around the city. Let’s have a look at some of what’s happening this weekend.

festa major del ravalFesta Major Raval- Barcelona’s most cosmopolitan neighbourhood el Raval celebrates it s annual Festa Major this weekend with an action packed program. There are going to be concerts, paellas, giants, Bollywood demonstrations, open air cinema and a lot more occurring over the weekend. The highlight of the weekend is sure to be the Castellers on the on Sunday 14th at 12pm in Rambla del Raval. The castellers of Cerdanyola, Esplugas, and Barcelona and the minyos de Terrasa will competet o see who can build the biggest human tower.

holi festival of coloursHoli Festival of Colours- Feeling a bit grey, need an injection of colour in your life, if you do head down to the Holi Festival of Colours. Throw some brightly coloured flour at your friends and turn them into giant walking rainbows.  The party starts Saturday at 12pm and features DJs Christian Varela, Steve Nash, Steve Conelli, Marc Marzenit, Bombay Boogie Soundsystem and more. For more information check out the Holi Festival of Colours page.

 MNACMNAC- The Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya opens it doors to the public for one night only. Visitors will be able to see the temporary exhibitions currently at the museum: Tàpies’ Des de l’interior  and Nord Africa d’Ortiz Echagüe. There is also going to be a dance performance by the It Dance Theatre and a musical performance from the students of the Taller de Musics. Doors open on Saturday July 13 at 12pm. For more information click here.

 

Going to the Cinema in Barcelona

english cinema barcelona

If you are in Barcelona and want to see the latest Hollywood blockbuster or low budget Independent film, where do you go? There are quite a few cinemas in Barcelona where you can watch your favourite actors and directors in original version. Here is a guide to some of them.

Renoir Floridablanca- The program at this original language cinema in Barcelona is varied and features everything from the latest Hollywood feature to quirky Independent cinema and lots in between. There are usually 10 movies screened daily. Where: C/ Floridablanca, 135.

Verdi- With two cinemas and combined 9 screens in total this cinema in Gracia is the perfect place to go to the movies in Barcelona .Showing mainly European and Asian art house and independent cinema. Where: Torrijos, 49.

classic cinema in barcelona Melies- A very small cinema with only two screens but what it lacks in size it makes up for the great selection of movies on offer. A selection of independent, classic and new movies are screened weekly and best of all it is very cheap, Mondays only 4€ and the rest of the week 6€. Where: Villarroel, 102.

Filmoteca de Catalunya- This Catalan government funded cinema can be found in the cosmopolitan Raval district of Barcelona. Classics as well as cycles of a particular director or actor are regularly shown with a cycle lasting two or threee weeks. Where: Plaça Salvador Segui, 1.

Yelmo Cines Icaria-  There are a massive 15 screens at this Cinema complex close to the Port Olimpic are of Barcelona. Showing an impressive selection of international and national latest releases this is the perfect choice for going to the movies in Barcelona. Where:Salvador Espriu, 61.

 

 

The Best Bars in La Barceloneta

After a hectic day at the beach in Barcelona, swimming, lounging around, people watching, soaking up the sun, more swimming, more lounging. You get the idea! The sun slowly begins its descent and before you know it the day at the beach has come to an end. That doesn’t mean it is time to go home, in fact far from it, the thing to do now is head to a local bar and enjoy a refreshing alcoholic beverage. Luckily in La Barceloneta you are spoiled for choice, everything from upmarket cocktail lounges to dodgy dives. Here are just a few of them…

Barceloneta barBar Electricitat- If you have never tried vermouth, not the Martini kind, then you need to head to this bar in La Barceloneta and try some straight from the barrel. Add some boquerones, olives, chips and you have the perfect pre-lunch/dinner appetiser. The waiter/owner is a real personality and adds to the experience. Good for a beer if vermouth isn’t your thing. Where: Sant Carles, 15.

Barceloneta Bar La Cova Fumada- The perfect place for an after beach drink and a plate of tapas. This bar is a Barceloneta institution. Traditional decoration, think heavy marble tables with cast iron legs, a decent crowd of regulars; it is real throwback to the Barceloneta of the 50s and 60s. Their Bombas, a tapa,   are rumoured to be the best in Barcelona. Where: Baluard, 56.

 Barceloneta barAbsenta-  A small welcoming bar with outside seating and what appears to be a giant fairy stuck to the roof, very popular on Saturday afternoons. This bar, as the name suggest serves Absinthe, so if you want to go a bit wormwood crazy after a day at the beach, you now know where to go. They also serve a decent beer. Where: Sant Carles, 36.

barceloneta barEl Vaso de Oro- If you are looking for the perfectly poured beer at exactly the right temperature then this bar in La Barceloneta is the place to go. The fame of pouring Barcelona’s perfect beer means this bar is usually pretty full but don’t let that deter you from going. Arm yourself with patience and you will be justly rewarded with a great beer and some excellent tapas.  Where: Balboa, 6.

Bar BarcelonetaJai-Ca- A great place to stop on the way home from the beach for a cold beer and some tapas. It does get very busy so be prepared to wait a little or elbow your way in and find an unoccupied spot. If you like small crowded restaurants with lots of local atmosphere then look no further. Best of all it is quite cheap. Where: Ginebra, 13.

Wandering La Barceloneta you will see many more bars where you can have a drink and some tapas. If you find a good one let us know and we’ll add it to the list.

 

 

 

 

The most expensive cities in the world

hotel-vincci-barcelona

Nowadays the economic crisis is the main topic of conversation around the world. There are a lot of changes in politics that causes disagreements and these changes are reflected  in society. Today we are going to talk about the cost of living in many cities.

 Barcelona is one of the most expensive cities in the world. The average price to book a room is 88 euros. But this isn’t always the case because there are hotels in Barcelona which provide discounts and offers sothat people can get good priced hotel rooms. 

Moscow is the most expensive city in Europe. If you want to stay one night in this city you have to pay 175 euros per night more or less. Even though they have dropped the prices by 1%, they still remain the most expensive city in Europe.

Other cities  have reduced their prices a great amount, like London, Paris and Copenhagen. 

 Another expensive city in the world is Rio de Janeiro, where the average price to book a room is 175 euros. This is more expensive than New York.

To increase tourist numbers the most emblematic cities in the world havereduced their prices with offers and discounts. Tokyo for example have reduced their prices by 20% when booking a room.

Primavera Sound 2013

Independent music lovers are going to find all roads lead to Barcelona for the annual Primavera Sound Music Festival or simply Primavera. Once again the organisers have put together an outstanding line up featuring some of the hottest independent bands of the moment plus new emerging groups. Primavera Sound 2013 promises to be an amazing experience for all those who can make it to the festival in Barcelona on the 22-26 of May.

Primavera Sound 2013Headlining the festival are Australian Nick Cave and his band The Bad Seeds who will present their new studio album “Push the Sky Away” to the Primavera Sound audience. It is a return to the savage sounds of dark rock, deathly ballads and explosive songs which made Cave famous. It promises to be one of the highlights of this year’s festival. Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds will be performing Saturday 25th of May on The Heineken Stage at 11:35pm.

Friday Night is British band Blur, who became famous in the 90s with their Primavera Sound 2013 Bluralbums “Parklife” and “The Great Escape”, who will be headlining the show. Today the members of Blur are kept busy with their own projects, most notably Damon Albarn, who is behind virtual group Gorillaz. Blur concerts are very rare these days so make sure you see them perform at Primavera Sound on the 24th of May at 1:30am on the Heineken Stage.

Primavera Sound 2013 Wu Tang Clan Legendary rappers Wu-Tang Clan have reunited to celebrate the 20th anniversary of their album “Enter the Wu-Tang” which made them one of the most important and influential rap groups in the world. Primavera Sound 2013 provides a unique opportunity to see this legendary group on stage. Wu-Tang Clan performs on Saturday May 25th on the Primavera Stage at 10:20pm.

Other bands at Primavera Sound 2013 include Tame Impala, The Bots, Crystal Castles, Django Django, Simian Mobile Disco and Rodriguez. For full line up details and performance times check out the Primavera Sound website.

 

Antoni Gaudí’s Palau Güell

Palau-Guell_Wrought iron doorsNot far from the hustle and bustle of Barcelona’s main tourist thoroughfare las Ramblas, is modernist architect and one of Barcelona favourite sons Antoni Gaudí’s Palau Güell. Located down a narrow street in el Raval, one of Barcelona’s livelier neighbourhoods, the first thing that captures the visitor’s eye is an enormous set of wrought iron gates guarding the entrance to what was once the Güell family mansion.

Güell, Gaudí’s patron, an industrialist and politician contracted Gaudí to design a mansion that would serve both as the family home and as a place of reference in the cultural and social circles of Barcelona’s elite. Gaudí designed Palau Güell using the innovative concept of space and light plus the use of traditional materials, stone, wood, wrought iron, ceramics and glass.

Palau Guell planta noble The highlight of any tour to Palau Guell is the visit to what is known as the Planta Noble, where musical performance, poetry, official receptions and the like would have been held in the central room. Visitors would first have had to pass different luxuriously decorated rooms which would have demonstrated the wealth and social standing of the family. The first of which would be the L’avant-sala, a richly decorated room with a wooden inlaid ceiling and magnificent stained glass windows, the visitor would then have to pass through the sala de passos perduts before reaching the central hall. The sala de passos perduts  features large windows allowing natural light to flood into the building and a series of arches and columns.

The crowning glory of the Palau Güell is without a doubt the central hall, beautifully lit by the natural light which filters  down through the hundreds of tiny holes in the enormous domed roof overhead.The central hall forms the structural vertebrae from which the rest of the Palau was built around. During recitals the

Palau Guell chimneysaudience would be on the ground floor of the central hall with the organ, the superior floors would be occupied by the orchestra, the choir and finally the organ tubes. The effect was that of being surrounded by sound. Also on the Plant Noble are the family dining room, smoking room, billiards room and a terrace.

The rest  of the visit to the Palau is just as impressive as the Planta Noble featuring many characteristics which lovers of Gaudí’s work will easily recognise, finishing the visit is a trip to the rooftop, a magic space featuring twenty chimneys all individually decorated with mosaics and forming trees and colourful swirled designs. A visit to Palau Güell is a must for anyone visiting Barcelona.

 

Practical Information

Where: Carrer Nou de la Rambla, 3-5.

When: 1 Nov- 31 Mar. 10am-5.30pm, 1 Abr- 31 Oct. 10am-8pm

Admission: General 12€, Concession 8€, Groups 8€