Love is Everywhere in Barcelona

2nd August 2016
Love Everywhere graffiti, Barcelona, Bill Sinclair

One of the many wonderful things about exploring Barcelona is happening across curious images in unexpected places.

Here's a graffiti I came across on Carrer del Perill, a few metres from Nou Can Codina and directly opposite Restaurant Gut.

I really like it. Makes me smile.

Enjoy discovering graffiti in Barcelona.


Betty Grable in Montjuïc, Barcelona

3rd May 2016

Graffiti stencil portrait of Rita Hayworth in Barcelona

One of the many wonderful things about exploring Barcelona is happening across curious portraits of well-known, and not so well-known, people in unexpected places.

Here’s a graffiti portrait of Hollywood star, Betty Grable. Thanks to O.P. [see comments]. I had previously erroneously attributed the portrait to Rita Hayworth.

I came across it on Carrer Lleida, just off Avinguda Paral·el, not so very far from Albert Adrià’s restaurant, Pakta.

Enjoy discovering graffiti in Barcelona

Bar Restaurants

A pizza and a pint of beer in Barcelona for less than $6

28th April 2016
Carn Bier,Espinac,Gorgonzola pizzes, Lucania ii Barcelona, Bill Sinclair

Barcelona's restaurants and bars offer a wide and wild variety of cuisines and creative dishes.

Even the most ardent foodie will confess that grazing on tapas and dining in fine restaurants is both wearing on the wallet and bruising on the palate.

When out and about there will come a time when you want something more ordinary… a tasty, light bite.

Well… you could grab a pizza.

And, one of the best places to grab a pizza in Barcelona is Lucania II in Gràcia.

For less than the average price of a Bikini (grilled ham and cheese sandwich) you can enjoy a delicious, freshly prepared pizza margarita.


20 plus variations — including one of my favourites: minced beef cooked in beer with bacon, plus two or three daily specials. 

​A printed menu, describing the toppings is available in English. Here's the current (though incomplete) list in català:

Lucania II menu of pizzas, Barcelona2016


Flavour? We're not talking over-aired, spongy, doughy, cakey bases here…we're tasting crispy, thin, deceptively light, perfectly seared imperfect squares of mediterranean deliciousness.

​They've got a real handle on combinations that work. Pere and his team have been preparing and serving pizzas for more than 26 years, and they're still dabbling with new recipes. Pere may even invite you to sample a new combination as you sit at the bar.


​Obvious. The cheapest pizza is 2,60€ — the most expensive is 4,10€.

A pint of Estrella beer is only 2,75€


It is what it is. No pretension whatsoever. No fake-o Italian frippery. No nonsense. No tablecloths. No cutlery — unless you ask.

Only well-made pizzas packed with flavour, two types of olive oil — normal and extra-picante (olive oil spiced with chillies) — and a bar filled with appreciative and friendly customers.


I don't know how they do it — but as packed and as bustly as it often gets, it's never too noisome, hassly or uncomfortable.  You'll never have to wait long. They've got the preparation and service down to pat.

​If you wanted you could make more of a meal of your visit by ordering a salad and a bottle of wine to accompany your pizzas, and finish off with a dessert and coffee.

​In Sum…

I'm really glad this place exists, it's a really good, reliable standby. We visit regularly, often calling in on the way to Cines Verdi to watch a movie. Or, other times I'll call by for lunch, or later during the day when out and about doing errands. I have never been disappointed.


Carrer de Terol, 29-33, Gràcia. Not so very far from Plaça de la Revolució de Setembre de 1868 at the bottom of Carrer Verdi.

Opening Hours:

Monday – Friday: 1pm until 11.30pm.
Saturday: 2pm — 11.30pm
Closed Sunday


Spotted by Locals write-up: HERE

Bon profit!

Bar Restaurants

Why should you now do No Can Do in Barcelona?

26th February 2016
Patates braves at Nou Can Codina, BCN

Nou Can Codina is one of my favourite bars for a beer and a bite.

It’s a favourite with the family too. We have a pet name for the place — No Can Do.

“Shall we do No Can Do?” someone might say. “Yes — let’s do No Can Do.”

And so it goes.

Nou Can Codina at turn of 20th century scan business card


Not so very long ago Can Codina, one of the oldest surviving bars in Gràcia, was a humble, everyday sort of place, serving up run-of-the-mill cheap snacks and meals. It was ok for an occasional coffee or plato combinado when out doing errands. It was a dreary but honest neighbourhood bar which closed its doors roundabout 9pm every night except Sundays, when it wasn’t open at all.


After a scrub-up, a splash of paint, new lighting scheme, amazing menu, and an injection of energy and imagination the place is buzzing most evenings until 11 — and gone midnight on Saturdays.

Gentrified? No, not at all…the food and drink offered here is sensibly priced and well within the range of us ordinary folk.

Because it is now a popular joint plan to spend 10 or 15 minutes at the bar waiting for a table on a Friday or Saturday night.


Close up Patates braves at Nou Can Codina, BCN

The Food

Simple everyday treats are transformed into tasty, memorable delights. The patates braves (3,90€) here a very good indeed — among the very best braves in the city. And so too are the croquettas and morcilla (black pudding/blood sausage).

Whoever they have working the kitchen they need to tie down with a payrise and a golden handcuffs agreement — otherwise he or she is going to walk, and stamp their goodness on a rival establishment.

The croquetas here are fantastic — full of flavour — probably among the best in the city, and very reasonably priced at 1€. The standard options are: cocido (meat, potato and chickpea mash), merluza y gambes (hake and prawn/shrimp) and bolets (mushroom). However, check out the specials board as they often offer two or three special croquetas such as sípia (cuttlefish) and a wonderfully tasty apple with goat cheese (poma i formatge de cabra) for 1,40€.

Croquettes at Can Codina, Barcelona

The morcilla here is also well worth trying. Moist and packed with flavour — served with a smear of parsley and garlic oil and lightly toasted bread (2,60€).

Morcilla at Can Codina, Barcelona

Continue Reading…

Getting Around

How to use the T-10 travel ticket in Barcelona

17th February 2016
TMB Ticket Machine, Barcelona, by BillSinclair

One of the many wonderful aspects of life in Barcelona is the public transport network.

If visiting from the United States or the UK you’ll be pleasantly surprised by how clean, comfortable, convenient and reliable the local transport network is.

The quantity and quality of passenger information, in Spanish, Catalan and English (and some French) is very good. 

The best way to get around the city is to use public transport.

One of the first things to do after arriving in the city is to buy a T-10 integrated transport ticket. 

In a previous post I explained why you should consider buying a T-10 ticket when visiting Barcelona. I also told you where you can buy a T-10.

However, partly as a resuIt of a friend’s mishaps during a recent visit to Barcelona, I’ve since realised that I overlooked to tell HOW to use the T-10.

I use a T-10 at least twice, sometimes  five or six times every day during the working week. It really is quite simple, however, I can understand how visitors from an area without an integrated transport system could feel a little daunted by the process.

So, here’s a guide to using the mighty T-10.

How to use the T-10 on the Metro (subway), local trains (RENFE Rodalies/Cercanias and FGC) and Funiculars:

First, buy your ticket.

There are not many staffed ticket offices where you can buy a ticket, and if you haven’t already purchased your T-10 at a tobacconists, newsagent or news kiosk (street newsstand) (some bakers and other shops also sell T-10s) you will have to use a machine in a Metro station or at a Tram stop. (NOT ALL FGC and RENFE ticket machines sell T-10s

There are also a few ticket machines near bus stops on Diagonal, however these machines only accept credit/debit cards, and are so few and far between that they are not worth your time looking for.

  • Search the touchscreen for the T-10 ticket icon.
  • In the bottom right corner of the screen you’ll see four flag icons indicating which languages are available: Catalan, Spanish, English and French. Tap the union jack for English.
  • Tap the T-10 ticket icon.
  • The screen will change and show you the current price (9,95€) and give you the option of buying multiple tickets by tapping the + symbol on the left of the screen.
  • You are also able to change the Zone by using the + and symbols on the right of the screen.
  • Make sure you have the correct quantity and Zone and tap Confirm in the bottom left of the screen, or Cancel in the bottom right of the screen if you have made a mistake.
  • The screen will change and show you the total cost of the  the ticket(s) and how much you have to pay in red.

These three images illustrate the above:

English T-10

TMB no 50€




Insert coins in the vertical slot above the screen, or insert a note (bill) up to the value of 20€ in the horizontal slot to the right of the screen, or if buying more than two T-10s, multiple notes/bills. (Please note: As at writing the machines do not accept 50€ notes/bills).

The most frequent cause of first-time users’ frustration is incorrectly inserting notes/bills.


When inserting notes/bills be careful to place the note the correct way up as shown in the graphic above the slot.


The machine will issue change and deposit your ticket in the tray below the screen. You’re good to go.


  • Find the T-10 icon on the touchscreen.
  • Tap the T-10 icon.
  • Select how many tickets you require and which Zone you require using the + symbols.
  • Place  your card in the horizontal slot to the right of the touchscreen.
  • The machine will read your card and accept or deny  it.
  • Then, on the card reader screen you will see the instruction to enter your PIN number using the keypad and the OK button, marked with a green tag in the bottom right of the keypad.
  • Then, all being well, you will see a message on the card reader screen,”Mastercard (or whatever your card name is) XXXX with the amount that has been paid.
  • Then, you will see the instruction ‘Extregui’ telling you to extract your card. Remove your card.
  • The machine will deposit your ticket in the tray below the touchscreen.

IMPORTANT: Remember to remove your card. The machine does not emit any audible warning, as do ATMs, if you leave the card in the slot. If you do inadvertently leave your card in the machine then after 30 seconds or so the machine will swallow your card. If this happens the only way to retrieve your card is to go to the TMB customer services office in Diagonal metro station the following day. Station staff do not have any way of opening the machines — they can only be opened by cash collection staff.

Ok, so you’ve got your ticket…now, how to use it.

There are 3 types of ticket barriers:

  • Turnstiles: These are the most common.
  • Plexiglass doors: These are usually found in recently built or refurbished stations.
  • Extra-wide plexiglass access points: For people in wheelchairs or electric buggies and people with child buggies or bicycles and/or lots of luggage.


  • Place your T-10 the correct way up (i.e. printed with T-10 and green icons) with the white arrow in the bottom left corner pointing toward the slot.
  • Retrieve your T-10 from the slot at the back of the machine.
  • Pass through the turnstile to your RIGHT as indicated by the black arrow in the photo below.

TMB, Barcelona metro turnstilePlexiglass doors

  • Place your T-10 face up (i.e. printed with T-10 and green icons) and with the white arrow in the bottom left corner pointing toward the yellow plastic horizontal slot.
  • Retrieve your T-10 from the pop-up slot.
  • Pass through the plexiglass doors to your LEFT as indicated by the two illuminated green arrows in the photo below.



You’re on your way…now go find your platform/track.

How to use the T-10 on the bus network:

  • Buy your T-10 as above. Bus drivers cannot sell you a T-10 — they can only sell a senzill (single/one-way) ticket (2.15€).
  • Get on the bus at the front of the bus, NOT the middle nor the back.
  • Say ‘Hola’ to the driver and smile or nod.
  • As you file along the gangway you’ll immediately see two ticket machines — one on your left and one on your right.
  • Insert your T-10 with the white arrow pointing downwards into the red slot at the top of the machine.
  • The machine will make a sound and tell you how many rides you have left and your ticket will pop up.
  • Remove your ticket, put it somewhere safe and find a seat, or shuffle along the bus.
  • IF your ticket is used-up or defective the machine will make a loud intermittent beep. This is when you panic, frisk yourself for another T-10, realise you don’t have one, and before you can decide to backtrack and get off the bus the doors are already closed and the bus is on its way to the next stop. Oh no! 
  • IF this is the case — choose an appropriate moment, dip into your pocket and find 2,15€ in change and pay the driver for a single/one-way ticket.
  • Say thank you/gràcies to the driver and take deep breath of relief — they have just saved you from a potential fine of 100€.

[Remember — a T-10 is a multi-person ticket. So, if you have no rides left on your T-10, and travelling with a friend, you could always ask to use their ticket.]

 Here’s a photo of a ticket machine on a bus: 



How to use the T-10 on a tram:

  • Buy your T-10 from a machine as described above, or from a machine at the stop.
  • Board the tram.
  • Find a machine (very similar to the machines on a bus) which are attached to poles near every door
  • Insert your ticket in the slot with the white arrow pointing downwards.
  • The machine will make a sound (described as a ‘bip’ in the helpful information).
  • That’s it…you’re on your way.



Spotted by Locals Barcelona: Go By Bus.

TMB: The T-10

TMB: Customer Services.

TMB: Metro and Tram map

TMB: Bus map

TMB: H & V network Bus map.


Enjoy getting around Barcelona


Barcelona Public Holidays Calendar

2nd February 2016

Public Holidays Barcelona 2016

If you’re planning a holiday, short break or business trip to Barcelona this year it could be useful to check your proposed dates against the above list of official public holidays.

You may want to avoid these dates, or, conversely, you may want to coincide your visit with a local holiday.


(E) = Official public holidays across Spain.

(A) = Official public holidays in Catalunya.

(L) = Official public holidays local to Barcelona.


We’ll get 14 public holidays in 2016. We’ve gained 1 NEW public holiday in Barcelona — Friday, February 12th — Santa Eulàlia.

This new holiday was nominated by the current mayor of Barcelona, Ada Colau. Santa Eulàlia is the other patron saint of Barcelona and is celebrated every year with a festival which takes place in Sant Roc, the area of Barri Gotic between the Cathedral and Les Rambles. The focus of the Santa Eulàlia festival is on children as Santa Eulàlia was only 13 years old when martyred by Romans.

Sant Roc also has its own festa major in August (13th—16th) which takes place in and around Plaça Nova in front of the Cathedral.


Though we’ve gained one new holiday we’ve lost TWO public holidays this year — May 1st (Workers’ Day) and September 11th (La Diada or National Day), both of which fall on a Sunday this year. Unlike other countries, such as the UK, if a public holiday falls on a weekend it’s too bad — we lose the day — we do not get the following Monday as a holiday.


Other dates that you might want to consider when planning your visit which are NOT listed above include:

  • MARCH 3rd, Thursday — Sant Medir.
  • APRIL 23rd, Saturday — Sant Jordi (St. George’s Day).


Enjoy your visit to Barcelona



DALÍ & Picasso in Barcelona

26th January 2016
Graffiti portrait of Picasso & Dalí in Ciutat Vella

Graffiti portrait of Picasso & Dalí in Ciutat Vella


One of the many wonderful things about exploring Barcelona is happening across curious portraits of well-known, and not so well-known, people in unexpected places.

Here’s a graffiti portrait of Picasso and Dalí, almost like Siamese twins joined at head and shoulder, in Ciutat Vella.

Enjoy discovering graffiti in Barcelona


Fidel Castro in Barcelona

19th January 2016
Graffiti stencil portrait of Fidel Castro on Carrer Verdi, Gràcia.

Graffiti stencil portrait of Fidel Castro on Carrer Verdi, Gràcia.

One of the many wonderful things about exploring Barcelona is happening across curious portraits of well-known, and not so well-known, people in unexpected places.

Here’s a graffiti portrait of Fidel Castro in Gràcia.

Enjoy discovering graffiti in Barcelona


Submarine in Barcelona

15th September 2015
Ictineo by Subirachs, Barcelona

One of the many wonderful things about exploring Barcelona is happening across curious sculptures in unexpected places.

Here’s a sculpture of a submarine by Josep Maria Subirachs at the junction of Avinguda Diagonal/Carrer Provença and Carrer de Girona.

The sculpture commemorates Narcís Monturiol’s invention of the first submarine, Ictineo II, powered by an engine.

Here’s a detail of the underside:

Ictineo, Subirachs3

The Inventor

Narcís Monturiol i Estarriol (b. 1819 — d. 1895) was a curious character, in all senses of the term. He was a Utopian communist and a friend of Ildefons Cerdà, the engineer who designed the Eixample.


The Artist

Josep Subirachs, who died last year, is the same artist responsible for the Passion Facade on the Sagrada Familia, and the large sculpture of inverted steps (Monument to President Macià) installed in Plaça Catalunya.

The nearby bar-restaurant, Morryssom, has a few prints by Subirachs in the downstairs bar.

Here’s a detail from the base of the sculpture:

Ictineo, Subirachs



Here’s a Wikipedia page in English about Ictineo II, the submarine featured above: HERE.

Here’s a Wikipedia page in English about Narcís Monturiol: HERE.

Here’s a Wikipedia page in English about Josep Maria Subirachs: HERE.

Here’s my Spotted by Locals write-up about Morryssom: HERE.

And, here’s a link to an interesting feature about submarines in Barcelona: HERE.

Enjoy discovering sculpture in Barcelona.