Civil War

Battlefields in Barcelona 1: Carrer Diputació, July, 1936

2nd August 2018

The streets of Barcelona comprise a battlefield which continues to host skirmishes and more enduring clashes between armed police, the civil guard, the army, and local people.

The streets of the city have seen fierce clashes over issues such as workers' rights, the all-pervasive and malign influence of the Church, education, Republicanism, a Stalinist coup, national independence, workers' self-management, property speculation, squatters' rights, forced evictions and revolution.

Friday, July 17th, 1936:

The city is awash with rumours — have they or haven't they?

Tensions are high.

Has a cabal of  generals and colonels issued orders to the armed forces to rise against the Republic?

Radio and telephone messages from Morocco suggest so. But government censors suppress newspapers and radio stations from broadcasting what little information there is.

Anarchist spies in barracks across the city report that a military uprising is set to begin during the early hours of Sunday, July 19th.

Local authorities refuse workers' demands for weapons. Activists in the transport workers union take the initiative and raid two ships in the harbour. They expropriate and distribute 200 rifles.

Saturday, July 18th:

Interminable meetings between representatives of the CNT (Anarcho-Syndicalist union),  the police,  Assault guards, Guardia Civil and regional government are deadlocked by President Lluís Companys's refusal to arm workers.

Meanwhile, anarchist militants detain a Guardia Civil courier; he is carrying precise military orders — the uprising is to begin at 5am on Sunday, July 19th.

Barricades go up on Paral·lel, Les Rambles and in Sants, Hostafrancs, Poble Nou and Sant Andreu, and in neighbouring Sant Adrìa de Besos.

Sunday, July 19th:

In the early hours of July 19th, 1936, Major José López Amor arrests his seniors and assembles the Badajoz infantry regiment based in the Bruc barracks in Pedralbes and tells them that their orders are to put down an anarchist insurrection.

3.15am: The 400 strong column of infantry, accompanied by a cavalry squad and a rabble of armed Falangists, leave the barracks and proceed along Avinguda Diagonal toward the city centre where they intend to link up with other troops converging on Plaça Catalunya and the Generalitat (Regional Government HQ).

5am: Artillery, cavalry and infantry units across the city are on the move…factory sirens in Poble Nou and Poble Sec sound the alarm…armed priests, together with Falangists from among their congregations, take up positions in church towers… 

The forces of Repression and Revolution are now engaged…

Armed workers and neighbours join with loyal members of the Assault Guards to halt the Army's advance on the centre.

On Carrer Diputació, a mixed group of civilians and Assault Guards, having overcome an artillery unit, train their guns on a cavalry squadron (from the barracks on Carrer de Lepanto) riding down Passeig de Sant Joan, to prevent them from linking up with mountain troops and more artillery units approaching Plaça Tetuan.

The photographer, Agustí Centelles was on hand to create a record of the event.

If you recognise the above image then you are probably more familiar with this cropped version of the same photograph:

Monday, July 20th:

During the same photo shoot — yes, sorry to disappoint, but the photo was staged (on July, 20th) the day following the events depicted  — Centelles took more photos of the same asalto (Assault Guard) pictured above using the dead horse as a firing position.

This image was used to great effect in the opening title sequence for UK Granada TV's brilliant, and unsurpassed, 1983 documentary series, The Spanish Civil War.

Here's an image showing the precise location of the photo in Dreta de l'Eixample on the corner of Carrer de la Diputació and Carrer de Roger de Flor:

Photo credit: I have mislaid the copyright information for this image. If you are the copyright owner, or know who the copyright owner may be, then do please contact me.


Pin showing location of the photo site.

You'll find this site in Dreta de l'Eixample at the intersection of Carrer de la Diputació and Carrer de Roger de Flor.

If you want to visit the site, it's fairly straightforward — from Plaça Catalunya take the 55 Bus to Plaça Tetuan. The bus will set you down on the corner of Passeig de Sant Joan and Gran Via de les Corts Catalanes from where it is a brief, five-minute stroll.

Nearest metro: Tetuan, L2 - Purple.

Enjoy exploring Barcelona's history


Air B’n’B latest

31st May 2018

Today, May 31st, there are 2,577 proven illegal apartments being advertised on Air B'n'B's website. Tomorrow, Friday, June 1st there will be none.

Or so say Air B'n'B and the Ajuntament (City Hall) of Barcelona.

After years of evasion, feeble excuses and reckless neglect Air B'n'B have finally reached a practical arrangement and some sort of accord with City Hall.

Air B'n'B have agreed to allow City Hall staff to access their data regarding the identities of letting owners via a back door to its website. (Why this couldn't have been agreed five years ago is something of a mystery).

The City Hall sees Air B'n'B's conciliatory tone and efforts not as a conclusive solution but as a "step forward" in the ongoing battle against buccaneering letting agencies. But there is no amnesty — Air B'n'B are still on the hook for 600,000€ in fines.

HomeAway (fined 30,000€), Trip Advisor and and other agencies are expected to fall into line and offer a similar deal with the Ajuntament.

Arrogant to the end, Air B'n'B while welcoming the new atmosphere of co-operation, couldn't resist signing off their public statement with a churlish dig in which it looked to the "Ajuntament to do its duty and put laws in place which are more appropriate for the 21st century".

The Ajuntament will maintain its Flat Detector.

If you would like to check the legality of an apartment you are thinking of renting go HERE.

Getting Around

How long from Barcelona Airport to City Centre?

28th May 2018
Airport Terminal 1 transit options

Visitors often ask, ‘How long does it take to get to the city centre from the Airport?’

The short answer is usually, ‘About 30 minutes’.

However, this doesn’t account for time spent in immigration, baggage claim, orientation, and wandering around trying to make sense of it all after a long flight.

What you need to know is how long does it really take to get to the city centre after landing.

Realistically, the total time from touch-down at Terminal 1 to city centre is between 1 hour 45 minutes and 2 hours 15 minutes


On Tuesday, May 22nd, 2018, I flew into Terminal 1 and kept a log of the actual times for each aspect of the journey. So, what follows is not a guesstimate, but actual timings based on real experience of how long it takes to travel from Terminal 1 to the city centre. 

Hope you find it useful when planning your arrival.

Touch down


Taxi-ing to Finger

Time:  4 minutes.

Disembarkation and walking via Immigration to Baggage Claim 

Seatbelt light off at 7.49pm. 

Walk Time: 26 minutes

Arrival al at Baggage Claim: 8.15pm.

Elapsed time: 30 minutes.

Baggage Claim

Retrieved bag at  8.42pm

Wait Time: 27 minutes.

Elapsed time: 57 minutes.

Walking to Shuttle Bus Stop

Walk Time: 3 minutes. Arrived at the stop for the Shuttle Bus at 8.45pm — exactly 1 hour after touchdown.

Elapsed time: 1 hour.

Airport Shuttle Bus to Terminal 2

Wait time: 5 minutes

Journey time: 9 minutes.

Arrived at Terminal 2 at 8.59pm.

Elapsed time: 1 hour 17 minutes.

Terminal 2 Shuttle Bus Stop to RENFE rail terminal

Walk Time: 4 minutes: Escalator, across bridge and down stairs, through ticket barrier to platform.

Elapsed time: 1 hour 21 minutes.

RENFE Rodalies train

Wait time: 5 minutes.

Train departed at 9.08pm and arrived at Estació Sants at 9.30pm.

Journey time: 22 minutes

Elapsed time: 1 hour 48 minutes.

Transfer from RENFE to Metro

Walk Time: 5 minutes: Elevator from rail platform to Metro L5 (Blue) - direction: Vall d’Hebron

Elapsed time: 1 hour 53 minutes.


Line 5 (Blue) Estacio Sants to Verdaguer.

Wait time: 1 minute.

Metro from Sants at 9.36pm arrived at Verdaguer at 9.42pm.

Journey Time: 6 minutes.

Elapsed time: 2 hours.

Walk Time to apartment: 5 minutes.

TOTAL ELAPSED TIME: 2 hours and 5 minutes.

Airport to City Centre Transit Options

There are several ways of getting from the Airport to the city centre:


RENFE Rodalies train.

Metro Line 9 Sur.


Bus 46. 

Nit bus.


In sum I would politely suggest you plan on a minimum travel time from touchdown at Terminal 1 to city centre of 1 hour and 45 minutes by whichever means of transport you decide to use. 

I have travelled in and out of Barcelona airport more than sixty times and know how to move in, around and about the departure and arrival areas at all four passenger areas. You’ll likely want to add on some orientation time.

I was travelling alone — experience suggests that transit times are always a little quicker when travelling solo. If travelling as a couple or family or in a group you’ll likely want add on some discussion/orientation/restroom time.

I was travelling with a small, cabin-sized case — if travelling with two or more bags and a carry-on bag, or with an extra-large suitcase, then you may want to avoid the metro leg of the journey as getting the bags through the older ticket barriers and up and down a considerable number of steps can be very tiresome.

I usually fly via Terminal 2 but over the past few years I have used Terminal 1 Arrivals & Departures at least 12 times.

I do not like Terminal 1 — the walking distances between plane and arrivals, alleviated only in part by moving walkways, are considerable.

I had a T-10 travel ticket so I did not have to spend time purchasing a ticket from a machine. You may want to factor in another 5 minutes to buy a T-10. (You can purchase a T-10 at the tobacco kiosk in Terminal 1 Arrivals or at the RENFE rail terminal).

Although I landed at Terminal 1 I elected to use the train from Terminal 2, via the Airport Shuttle, to connect with the Metro — the total cost of the journey using a T-10 is only 1,02€.

It was a relatively quiet arrival time; it may have been a different experience if arriving between 8am and 12noon.

I am a EU citizen. I could have scanned my passport, however, as there were no lines I chose to present my passport to a border official. 

Friends visiting from the States have not reported any hold ups at immigration — but, if arriving from outwith the EU it may be a good plan to allow 10/15 minutes for clearance.

The RENFE train was held up for 2 minutes at a junction between the Airport and Bellvitge.

Total scheduled travel time using train, or combined train and metro from station to station is only 28 minutes — whereas the total journey time is nearer 2 hours.

Trains depart from the airport at 8 minutes and 38 minutes past the hour (apart from the first train in the morning which departs at 5.42am) and the last train of the day is at 11.38pm. So, you may have a possible wait time at the station of up to 28 minutes. If you do have to wait for the next train you could always buy a drink and/or snack at the café-bar — it is considerably cheaper than similar establishments in Arrivals and Departures.

If I had taken a taxi from Terminal 1 I would probably have arrived home at around 9.25pm so could have saved approximately 25 minutes of the total journey time, but it would have cost approximately 30€. I saved 28,98€ — so each minute of the journey could have cost around 1,16€.

I could have taken Metro Line 9 Sur (Gold) and changed at Collblanc to Line 5 (Blue). This journey costs 4,10€ one-way and would have taken about 45 minutes. So, I could, in theory, have been home for around 9.35pm — about 12 minutes earlier than using the train and metro combination. (If your hotel/apartment accommodation is in Pedralbes or Les Corts you may very well want to consider taking Metro Line 9 Sur (Gold)).

I used the RENFE train to Estació Sants — where you can change to Line 3 (Green) and Line 5 (Blue) metro.

TIP: If you're staying in, near or around Poble Sec or El Raval you could take the RENFE train as far as Sants and transfer to Metro Green line (L3) — Poble Sec or Paral·lel to your accommodation. 

TIP: If you're staying in, near or around la Sagrada Familia then you could take Line 5 (Blue) metro from Sants

TIP: If you are going to be staying in, near or around Plaça Catalunya and Eixample Dreta you could take the RENFE train to Passeig de Gràcia and walk a few blocks or take a taxi. 

TIP: If you are staying in, near or around Born you could take the train to Passeig de Gràcia, get off and then wait on the same platform for a train to Estació de França — wait time is between 5 and 30 minutes and journey time: 10 minutes.

Here's a link to the RENFE Rodalies schedule in English: RODALIES.

And here's a link to the current Metro map: METRO.

Good luck with your arrival and transit from the airport to the city.

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18th May 2018

Hello you lucky people. Tomorrow, Saturday, May 19th is the Night of the Museums, or, perhaps, more prosaically, Museum Night.

Yes, from 7pm until 1am most of Barcelona's museums, and a few other historic sites, will be open FREE of charge, and several will be hosting special events such as concerts.

It's one of the best nights of the year — in my humble, sincere opinion.

And, I will not be able to join you — I'm in the UK because of the Wedding of the Year.

No, not that one featuring a member of the British royal family — but my daughter's. She's getting married in the Dales in Yorkshire in July. And, I'm here to meet with the groom's parents and discuss arrangements.

Have a great Night of the Museums.


Architecture Week 2018 in Barcelona

15th May 2018
Architecture Week 2018 Barcelona

Yes…if you didn't know already we're reaching the middle of Barcelona Architecture Week. 

Week? This year it actually runs for 10 days — from May 10th to May 20th.

It's an ambitious programme, with several and various activities, talks, debates and exhibitions — and a music concert or two.

One of the reasons I first visited Barcelona back in 1981, and one of the reasons I love living here, is the architecture. Barcelona is the only city in the world to have been awarded the Royal Institute of British Architects gold medal; the prize usually goes to individual architects or architectural practices. And, every single day it's easy to see why.

As well as hosting beautiful antique buildings and giving encouraging approval to daring new builds the city is also very adept at re-imagining and re-purposing buildings. There are hundreds of examples — textile mills which now serve as schools and cultural centres; former Modernista sweet shops now cocktail bars; Modernista bakers and pharmacies which now house IT companies; an Arab bath and beauty spa which was once an abattoir and meat warehouse…and so it goes. 

Appropriately this year's event is headquartered in the recently decommissioned Modelo prison in Nova Esquerra d l'Eixample.

And, while the event is centred on the former city centre prison it is reaching out to every one of the city's 10 districts — with an impressive roster of tours, talks and exhibits.

All good stuff.

However, I've not yet found a reliable link, or downloadable PDF,  with programme details in English so as to help guide you.

Here are a few links about this year's programme for you, make of them what you will:

Mies van der Rohe Foundation

Barcelona Architecture Walks

Barcelona City Council

As much as I'd like, unfortunately I won't be able to join you — I'm off to the UK on Thursday so I've had to squeeze five days appointments into the space of three — meaning I will have no meaningful time, let alone energy, for exploring local space. The space-time-energy dilemma or conundrum. Gets us all.



Guinardó: Castellers and Correfoc, Sunday, May 13th

12th May 2018

The Festa Major de Guinardó continues on Sunday, May 13th.

Guinardó is the barri which is home to the magnificent Modernista hospital complex designed by Domenech I Montaner now called Recinte Modernista Sant Pau — website HERE.

The Festa has invited the Castellers de Sagrada Familia to demonstrate their human tower building skills on Sunday at 12 Noon.

And at 8.30pm there's a correfoc.

If you're in Barcelona and you've not experienced a correfoc before then you may want to go along and check it out. 

Here's a link to the programme, which is updated every day, in català: Festa de Major de Guinardó, 2018

Highlights on Sunday:


The castellers of Sagrada Familla will be giving a demonstration. This is not a competition.

When: !2 Noon

Where: Plaça de Salvador Riera

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A Correfoc featuring Els Malignes del Guinardó is scheduled to commence at 8.30pm


The correfioc is scheduled to begin at Plaça Catalana and finish at Plaça de Salvador Riera via:

Carrer de Amilcar, Avinguda de la Mare de Déu de Montserrat, Carrer de  Sales I Ferré, Carrer de  Varsóvia, Passatge Garrofers,  Carrer de  Antic del Guinardó.

See you there. Enjoy your Sunday in Barcelona.


Festa Major de Navas 2018

11th May 2018
Festa major de navas2018

The Festa Major de Navas will be closing on Sunday, May 13th.

If you're in Barcelona then you may want to go along and check it out.

Navas is the barri in the district of Sant Andreu which straddles the Meridiana, squeezed between Guinardó, Camp de l'Arpa and La Sagrera.

Here's a link to a PDF of the programme in català: Festa de Major de Navas, 2018

Highlight on Saturday:


A Correfoc featuring Els Diables del Clot at 8.30pm


The correfioc is scheduled to begin at Plaça de la Mainada and finish at Plaça Ferran Reyes

Plaça de la Mainada — C/Joan de Garay — C/Navas de Tolosa — C/Murcia — C/Biscai — C/Bofarull — Plaça Islàndia — C/Esprornceda — Plaça Ferran Reyes.

Route of Correfoc in Navas, Saturday, May 12th.

Route of Correfoc in Navas, Saturday, May 12th.

Highlights on Sunday:

Grand Sardana Popular

When: 10am

Where: Plaça Ferran Reyes

Havaneres — Traditional folk song based on experiences of Spanish Cuba and featuring a ron cremat — a flaming rum concoction.

When: 8pm

Where: Escenari Josep Estivill on Carrer de  de Josep Estivill

Location of Escenari Josep Estivill

Castell de Focs/Fireworks Display

When: 9.30pm

Where: Plaça Ferran Reyes

Metro: Navas



Super Saturday in Barcelona: Castellers & Gegants & Sardana

4th May 2018
Diadas de Gegants & Castellers maig 5 2018

A Super Saturday

If you're in Barcelona this Saturday (May 5th) and you'd like to experience three cornerstones of Catalan culture then you could be lucky. May 5th is looking like a Super Saturday.

This coming Saturday both the Gegants of Gràcia and the Castellers of Gràcia will be out in the streets doing their thing, and there's a sardana planned on the same day. 

However…and it's a big however…the Gegants and the Castellers will be strutting their stuff at the exact same time in the same district, although a mile apart.

If you want to experience both then you'll need to be a little agile as the busses connecting the two locations will be re-routed. 

Let's hope for good weather.


In the district of Gràcia.

The Gegants will be in Vila de Gràcia and the Sardana and the Castellers will be in Plaça Sanllehy in La Salut


The Gegants will be celebrating 25 years since the 'new' gegants were added to the family of gegants.

The Castellers de Gràcia will be competing against two other colles (teams) to crown a day of activities organised by local community groups. The poster below outlines the programme.


The Sardana is programmed to commence around 4.30pm in Plaça Sanllehy.



At 5pm the Gegants will assemble at the junction of Gran de Gràcia and Carrer de Nil Fabra — very near Lesseps Metro stop.

At 6pm the Parade will commence.

At 7pm the Parade will finish in Plaça de la Vila —where the gegants live for most of the year.


The route of the Parade is straightforward — the Gegants will process from near Lesseps metro station down Gran de Gràcia to the junction with Carrer de Goya then head along Goya until they reach Plaça de la Vila.


The Castellers are scheduled to commence at 6pm in Plaça Sanllehy.

To be or not to be…here or there?

I can't tell you what you should do — would never dream of doing so — but I can help you do what you want to do.

You'll need to decide whether you want to experience the Sardana and the Castellers and head for Plaça Sanllhey and stay put, or head up to Gran de Gràcia (maybe Metro Fontana Line 3 - Green) and tag along for the parade of Gegants and other local folk culture groups, e.g. bastoners  (folk dancers) and hang around in Plaça de la Vila, OR try a bit of both.

If you decide you want to try to experience a bit of both then go watch the parade for 20 minutes then head toward Plaça de la Vila and follow the suggested directions below.

However, what ever you decide to do you'll have a great time I'm sure. 

How to get from Plaça de la Vila to Plaça Sanllehy

You could try  Barri Bus 114 on Traverserra de Gràcia. (Normally I would use the Number 24 which stops at Plaça Sanllehy — but the Gegants route includes Gran de Gràcia which will be closed for the Parade and the 24 bus will be re-routed).

When in Plaça de la Vila situate yourself with your back to the Ajuntament (Town Hall) and walk to the left-hand corner of the square and Carrer de Matilde.

Walk up Matilde to where it joins Travessera de Gràcia (about 2 minutes) and turn right  — you should be now be able to see the bus stop for the Number 114.

Wait for the bus. Have your T-10 ready. 

When you see the bus approach, and If there is no-one else at the stop, wave a hand to indicate you want to board.

Hop on. Validate your T-10. Tell the driver that you want Carrer de Praga. It’s 7 stops — about 10 minutes. 

Bus 114 starts its route at Plaça Ga·la Placidia and crosses Gran de Gràcia. The bus route will be affected by the Parade/cercavila. Because of the parade I am assuming that the route will be re-scheduled to start at stop number 2475. However, I may be mistaken.

Now, if you find Bus 114 is not running from this stop then continue walking along Travessera de Gràcia — about until you come to the junction with the top of Passeig de Sant Joan, take a left and walk a 100 metres or so up Carrer de I'Escorial and you will see the Metro station on your right.

Route from Plaça de la Vila to Plaça Joanic

Route from Plaça de la Vila to Plaça Joanic.

Take the Metro (Line 4 - Yellow) just one stop in the direction Trinitat Nova to Alfons X. See map below for walking route from the Metro station to Plaça Sanllhey — about 10 minutes.

Map of route between Alfons X and Plaça Sanllehy

Route between Alfons X and Plaça Sanllehy

OR when at Plaça Joanic walk up the right hand side of Carrer dePi I Maragall until you come to a bus stop and take the Bus number 55 just two stops to Carrer de Praga.

Get off at the stop on Carrer de Praga — the first stop after crossing the busy Ronda del Guinardó — then walk back to the Ronda and turn right

Route betweeween Carrer de Praga bus stop and Plaça Sanllhey

Route betweeween Carrer de Praga bus stop and Plaça Sanllhey.

Walk along the Ronda until you reach the junction with Carrer de Camèlies and Carrer de Sardenya

Cross Camèlies to put yourself on Carrer de Sardenya. 

Walk along Sardenya for about 2 minutes and you're there— Plaça Sanllehy.

What ever you choose to do — best of luck — and have a great day.

Enjoy a Super Saturday in Gràcia.