Camp d’en Grassot i Gràcia Nova

Home of Football Giant Killers: Camp d’en Grassot i Gràcia Nova in Barcelona

15th February 2020
Bar Oller, Camp d'en Grassot, Gràcia, Barcelona

This friendly, unpretentious neighbourhood forms a lively transit-zone between Vila de Gràcia, El Guinardó Baix, L’Eixample Dreta and Sagrada Familia.

It’s a bustly area with a huge range of shops, some very good inexpensive restaurants, scores of cafés, bars, two markets, a 4000 seat football stadium and a cultural centre. 

The neighbourhood comprises two barris: Camp d'en Grassot and Gràcia Nova.

HERCULES, Passeig de Sant Joan-Còrsega, Barcelona

HERCULES at junction of Passeig de Sant Joan-C/Còrsega,

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Snacks

A pizza and a pint of beer for less than £4.60 in Barcelona

31st January 2020
Pizza at Lucania II, Gràcia, 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 Vila de Gràcia.

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

Carn Bier,Espinac,Gorgonzola pizzes, Lucania ii Barcelona

Variety

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
Pizza slices, Lucania ii. Gràcia, Barcelona,

Quality

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 30 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.

Pizza slices at Lucania II, Gràcia, Barcelona

Value

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

A pint of Estrella beer is only 2,75€.

Ambience

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.

Diners at Lucania II, Gràcia, Barcelona

Service

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.

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. We've never been disappointed.

Location

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

LINKS:

Spotted by Locals write-up: HERE


Bon profit!

Tapas

Best Patates Braves — Senyor Vermut in Barcelona

22nd January 2020
INTERIOR Senyor Vermut, Bartcelona, Bill Sinclair

SENYOR VERMUT


You'll find this excellent and inexpensive tapas bar in La Nova Esquerra L'Eixample, on a corner of the intersection of Carrer de Provença and Carrer de Viladomat.

Patates Braves as served at Senyor Vermut

Patates Braves as served at Senyor Vermut

Price 

  • Patates braves — 2,95€.
  • 5 mini croquetes (incl. cheese, mushroom, cod) — 3,80€.
  • Regular size croquettes — 1,30€ each.
  • A slice of tortilla — 3,95€.
  • Pescadito Frito (whitebait) — 3,95€.
  • Mandonguilles amb sepia (meatballs with squid) 5,95€.
Chalkboard at Senyor Vermut, Barcelona

 Choice

Excellent selection of hot and cold plates including all the usual offerings, plus a good list of conservas (canned seafood) and platters of cheese and cold cuts and delicious salads. 

Croquetes i fricandó, Senyor VermutBarcelona

Mini-croquetes i fricandó at Senyor Vermut

  Quality

Very good. Their croquettes are excellent and up there with the very best in the city.

mini croqutes at Senyor Vermut, La Nova Eixample Esequerra, Barcelona

  Service

Very good. Even when very busy you will not have long to wait. Make a note of your place number before settling your bill/check.  

Ambience

Informal and relaxed. The design of the space is modern and light and has a welcoming retroish post-industrial vibe. Never too loud for easy conversation and never too crowded to feel squeezed. There are a few outside tables.

Value

Very good. Worth your time and money if looking for quality tapes in an informal, lively, friendly, chatty atmosphere.

In Sum

Welcoming, friendly place with reliably very good tapes at very reasonable prices.

Location 

In La Nova Esquerra de l'Eixample at Carrer Provença, 85 (the corner of C/Provença with C/Viladomat).

Two blocks from Hospital Clínic and two blocks from Entença metro stations — take your pick.

Opening Hours:

Monday: CLOSED

Tuesday - Wednesday: 6pm - 11pm

Thursday - 12noon - 4pm & 6pm -  11pm

Friday & Saturday - 12noon - 11pm

Sunday -  12noon - 4pm.

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Contacts & Links

Senyor Vermut web links sign Barcelona

Spotted by Locals write-up HERE

MOST RECENT VISIT: January 21st, 2020: Tuna salad; patates braves, 5 x mini-croquettes; 4 x croquettes and 3 beers = 26,10€

Bon Profit!

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Getting Around

How to use the T-Casual travel ticket in Barcelona

1st January 2020
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IMPORTANT: As of January 1, 2020 the T-10 travel ticket was replaced with the T-Casual ticket.

Although a few terms and conditions of use have changed, the basics of purchasing and using a T-Casual ticket are unchanged.

New Price, Terms & Conditions

The T-Casual costs 11,35€.

The T-Casual is unipersonal — and can only be used by one person

The T-Casual is good for 10 rides using a combination of up to 3 modes of transport.

The T-Familiar

The T-Familiar, costs 10€, is multi-personal and valid for 8 rides within a 30 day period.

So, for couples, families and small groups of friends, the T-Familiar is probably the way to go.

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-Casual integrated transport ticket — it will save you a ton of money and a lot of hassle.

IMPORTANT: You will need to buy a T-Casual for every member of your group — you cannot share a T-Casual.

I use a T-Casual 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 your guide to buying and using the T-Casual.

TMB T-casual ticket purchase machine process series 4

How to use the T-Casual 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-Casual at a tobacconists, newsagent or street news kiosk (some bakeries and other shops also sell T-Casuals) you will have to use a machine in a Metro station or at a Tram stop these machines will be marked with the TMB logo (as in the photos below).

You can also buy a T-Casual at ticket machines at RENFE (Spanish national rail service) rail stations (these machines are coloured grey) and at FGC (Catalan national rail service) rail stations these machines are coloured orange.

You can also buy your T-Casual ticket online. To do so you'll first have to register with JoTMBé, a loyalty scheme which offers points and prizes for purchasing tickets online and via the TMB app. If interested you can read more detail HERE and HERE.

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

How to use a ticket machine

  • Search the touchscreen for the T-Casual 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 flag for English.
  • Tap the T-Casual ticket icon.
  • The screen will change and show you the current price (11,35€) 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:

TMB T-Casual ticket purchase
TMB t-casual ticket machine 2
TMB T-casual ticket purchase process series

Apologies for the quality of the images — will try and replace them at some point in the near future.

BUY WITH CASH

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-Casual tickets, multiple notes/bills. (Please note: As at writing many 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. PLEASE NOTE: The 50€ note shown above and below is NOT crossed through with a red X — so it will accept 50€ bills.

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

BUY WITH CREDIT/DEBIT CARD

  • Find the T-Casual icon on the touchscreen.
  • Tap the T-Casual icon.
  • Select how many tickets you require and which Zone you require using the + symbol.
  • 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, electric scooters and/or lots of luggage.

Turnstiles

  • Place your T-Casual the correct way up (i.e. printed with T-Casual and green icons) with the white arrow in the bottom left corner pointing toward the slot.
  • Retrieve your T-Casual 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.

Plexiglass doors

  • Place yourT-Casual ticket face up (i.e. printed withT-Casual and green icons) and with the white arrow in the bottom left corner pointing toward the yellow plastic horizontal slot.
  • Retrieve your T-Casual 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-Casual on the bus network:

  • Buy yourT-Casual as above. Bus drivers cannot sell you a T-Casual,  they can only sell a senzill (single/one-way) ticket (2,40€).
  • Get on the bus at the front of the bus, NOT the middle nor the back .
  • Say ‘Hola’ to the driver and give a smile.
  • 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-Casual 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-Casual, 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 2,40€ in change and pay the driver for a senzill/single/one-way ticket.
  • Say thank you/gracias to the driver and take deep breath of relief — you have just avoided a potential fine of 100€.

[Remember the T-Casual is a unipersonal ticket. So, if you have no rides left on your T-Casual you will NOT be able to borrow a ride from someone else's ticket — (as you could with the T-10 ticket ) — you will be obliged to buy a single/senzill/one-way ticket for 2,40€.

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

How to use the T-Casual on a tram:

  • Buy your T-Casual from a machine, tobacconist or news kiosk as described above, or from a machine at the stop.
  • Board the tram.
  • You will find a ticket validation machine (very similar to the machines on a bus) 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.

Transfers and duration of travel:

You can use your T-Casual to switch between three modes of transport on your route for up to 1 hour and 15 minutes in Zone 1 and it counts as a single journey/ride.

For example, you could take a barrio bus (local public mini-bus) to connect with a regular bus to connect with the metro, or take a tram which connects with a local train which connects with a funicular. If you do all that in one hour and fifteen minutes from the start of your journey it only debits your ticket by one journey. However, note that once you leave the metro system you will have to use another ride when re-entering the metro.

IMPORTANT: Keep your ticket flat. If the ticket gets bent or torn then it will likely not work. You can take your damaged ticket to a TMB Customer Services office (in Diagonal, La Sagrera and Universitat metro stations) and they will issue you with another ticket. You could also ask at an office in a metro station  if you’re patient and polite the staff can, although they are not obliged to, issue you with a new ticket credited with the correct number of journeys.

LINKS

Enjoy getting around Barcelona with your T-Casual.

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BLOG

Happy New Year, 2020 from Barcelona

31st December 2019

Wishing you a healthy, productive and prosperous 2020. And, if you can squeeze in some happiness, all the better.

See you next year. Sincerely hope it’s a great one for you.

The illustration is by our good friend, Oscar Astromujoff — a brilliant artist and illustrator —and a wonderful, warm human being.

Oscar’s work is best known locally through his regular illustrations for the newspaper, La Vanguardia and the journal, Mercurio. 

Anyway, here’s wishing you all the very best for 2020.

Fins aviat!

BLOG, Now

October 14 protests against Spanish state.

14th October 2019

Commentary on Monday, October 14 protests in Barcelona 

20:24:

The October 14 protests were convened as a response to the Spanish state’s savage revenge prison sentences handed down to 9 political prisoners.
The Democratic Tsunami have succesfully blockaded Barceloa-Prat airport. So far, 108 flights cancelled.
Tsunami-D have also blockaded Madrid-Barajas airport with 1,200 cars.

72-hour student strike in all Barcelona’s universities.

General Strike called for on Friday, October 18th.
Catalan writer Quim Monzo says the concentration of peoeple at Barcelona airport is growing. He advises people heading to the airport to take plenty of food and drink — it’s going to be a long night, and possibly longer.
Here’s a link to a summary of some of the day’s events as up to 18.33: HERE

20:39:

Here’s a link to El Nacional in English HERE

Police at the Airport have impounded all the fire-extinguishers from the car-parks.

Only 3 arrests confirmed so far.

A journalist for RAC1 was hospitalised following  his head making contact with a police truncheon.

21:00:

The tractors are out on the streets of Masnou.

Protests too in Vic, Girona and Manresa..

Latest video news from the Airport HERE

21.15:

Aerobús service to Airport is only running between Placa Espanya and the Airport.

Large demonstration in Lleida.

Can hear a cassolada in progress.

21:45:

Cassolada now ended.

Pep Guardiola, Manchester City FC manager and all-round good guy has issued a statement on You Tube HERE

Just watched a short video of protests outside the Spanish Embassy in London shot earlier this evening.

22:20:

Protestors are leaving the Airport. Mission accomplished.

There is now evidence to prove that the police at the Arport did use rubber bullets (or balls) — use of rubber bullets and balls is illegal in Catalunya.

 

 

 

Celebrations

FESTES DE GRÀCIA, 2019 IN BARCELONA

16th August 2019
Correfoc, agost 15, Gràcia,2019

Festes de Gràcia, 2019 — and we're off! 

Agost 15, Day One:

8.15am: We set off to Plaça de la Revolució de Septembre 1868 where we met up with Miquel and Silvia. 

En route we caught a passing look of Carrer de Puigmarti, where a team of locals were still hard at it. 

Carrer de Puigmarti, 2019

8:46am: and the Trabucaires fire the traca and prepare to fire their very loud guns to launch the parade…. and, a few seconds later I lost the sense of hearing in my right ear.

And then…we were joined by…the Lord of the Flies himself…Beelzebub.

The cardboard bin next to me caught fire. No biggie.

Beelzebub, Gràcia, 2019
Drac, Gràcia, 2019

And on to Plaça del Sol…and a decorated balcony…

Plaça del Sol, Gràcia, 2019

Then off to explore the streets…

Poppy field, Gràcia, 2019

… before the hordes arrive…

Library Monk on Mozart, Gràcia, 2019
Palette and brushes, Mozart, Gràcia, 2019

…before resting a while for breakfast in Plaça de la Vila

Plaça de la Vila, Gràcia, 2019

And then we wended a roundabout route home, via Carrer de Llibertat…

Dolphins on Llibertat, Gràcia, 2019
Eye-catching exotic crab on Carrer de Llibertat

Eye-catching exotic crab on Carrer de Llibertat

10.30pm: We wandered out again, via Passeig de Sant Joan, Plaça Joanic and over to Carrer Verdi…I have never seen an entry line so long… so we headed up to the exit…

Carrer Verdi, Gràcia, 2019

Carrer Verdi, Gràcia, 2019

Then we headed over to Plaça de Rovira i Trias via a packed, and lively Carrer de Providencia… 

Carrer de Providencia, Festes de Gràcia, 2019

Carrer de Providencia

Providencia Mine and miner2, Gràcia, 2019

We hung out a short while in Plaça Rovira i Trias, surrounded by eerie birds, before heading over to Plaça del Nord…and the most pleasant surprise of the evening.

Every year during the festes there's always a stand out band, a band which pumps out party pleasing music and gets the crowd singing along. 

The rumba band, Alma de Boquerón
(Soul of Anchovy), a tight and polished 7-piece ensemble, knocked out a string of irresistible tunes before segueing into a rip-roaring version of Dick Dale's classic, Miserlou, and, then, without dropping a beat, segueing unexpectedly into a thunderous version of Pink Floyd's Another Brick in the Wall. A rumba band playing Pink Floyd? You bet. Brilliant. And then they teased us all with the opening bars of Led Zeppelin's, Stairway to Heaven, before reverting to lively, witty, tongue in cheek contemporary rumba.

Ama de Boqueron, Plaça del Nord, Gràcia, 2019

Alma de Boquerón, Plaça del Nord, Gràcia, 2019

HERE's a LINK to their official website, where you'll find a sample compilation of tunes:HERE.

Enjoy! They are playing four more gigs during the festes. 

TONIGHT (agost 16)  Carrer Verdi at 11pm.

Sunday, agost 18, Passeig de Sant Joan at Midnight.

Monday, agost 20, Carrer Tordera at 11pm.

Tuesday, agost 21, Carrer Joan Blanques de Baix de Tot at 11pm.

If you get chance do try and catch them in action.

After the gig we trekked back down and along Carrer Verdi, where it was still rammed, before heading to Raïm for a mojito, and then down along Carrer Progrés, Carrer Perill and home for around 3am. Another great day in the barri.

got, 2019, gràcia

Bones Festes!


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Architecture

The other Gaudí gate in Barcelona

13th May 2019
Architectural details Façana Miralles, Sarrià, Barcelona, cris rosique

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

Here, just off Passeig de Manuel Girona in Sarrià, you’ll encounter an impressive remnant of an unfinished Gaudí project — Portal Miralles. Constructed in 1901, when Gaudí was preoccupied with Park Gúell, it served as a gateway to a private house. 

My colleague, Cris Rosique (who took the photo above), recently posted an interesting and informative article about the site on Spotted by Locals. 

If you want more background on this intriguing edifice I suggest you check out Cris’s article HERE.

To check out Gaudí's Dragon Gate go HERE

Enjoy exploring Barcelona’s architecture.

Civil War

Battlefields in Barcelona 4: The Bunkers, Turó de la Rovira

9th April 2019

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

Barcelona is a contested space.

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

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360º View of the City

So, here we are at The Bunkers, a site which offers one of the very best views of the city.

Don't forget your camera. 

There was a time, not so very long ago, that you could come up here and be alone with your thoughts, or enjoy a picnic with friends or family as you soaked up the views. Not any more. Today there’s hardly an hour of the day or night when there isn’t at least two dozen or more intrepid visitors sharing this intriguing place — at various times a military installation, an uncharted, unofficial village, a party hangout, and music video location.

Recent infrastructure improvements have greatly improved access to the site — now managed by the City's Museums Service. Interestingly, it is a site which is visited equally by both residents and visitors. 

Now, on a sunny day, it's not unusual to find as many as 300 people inspecting the vestiges of a settlement that was known as Los Cañones (Els Canons in català).

Italian bomber

Some History

So, why is what you see, the remnants of an anti-aircraft battery, here?

In July 1936 a cabal of army generals led by General José Sanjurjo, and co-ordinated by General Emilio Mola, rose up against the democratically elected government of the Republic of Spain.

The seditious Spanish generals were supported by Hitler and Mussolini, both of whom supplied the rebel army with arms, transport and aircraft.

Nazi aircraft transported more than 2,500 rebel troops from Morocco to southern Spain — then the largest military airlift in history.
What began as a military rebellion very soon became a revolution and a civil war.

The people of Barcelona, aided by loyal units of Assault Guards, Civil Guard, Air Force and Army which had refused to join the rebellion, crushed the rebels. SEE Barcelona's Day of Infamy HERE.
 
However, despite local people's victory in Barcelona, within a few months Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy had thousands of troops and hundreds of tanks, aircraft, artillery units, ships and submarines based in Spain.

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Deadly Experiments

The German and Italian forces used their involvement as an opportunity to experiment with new weapons and tactics.
For example, the Italian navy experimented with submarines and mini-submarines. (Between July 1936 and June 1938, 13
British merchant ships were sunk by Italian, German and rebel Spanish forces. Another 51 were bombed from the air, and five attacked by Italian submarines — and a craven UK National Government, led by Neville Chamberlain, did nothing.)

The Italians and Germans were especially keen to experiment with aircraft. The Italians formed an airforce called the Aviazione Legionaria. From its bases in occupied Mallorca  Aviazione Legionaria bombers launched attacks on dozens of Catalan and Spanish cities and towns.
Their raids were consciously designed to terrorise and demoralise the civilian population — not disrupt economic activity and military production.
Stealth was a key factor of the Italians' tactics. The only warning of attacks came from listening posts — crude devices, like giant ear-trumpets (see photo above).
Knowing this the Italian bomber crews would approach the city at high altitude, turn off their engines before reaching the coast, and glide in on their targets, only re-starting their engines after releasing their payload. Most locals' warning of a raid only came after hearing the first explosion.

While the Barcelona government was slow to react local people organised the building of 1,400 air-raid shelters across the city (two of which are now open to the public: SEE LINKS below). The work was paid for by local subscription, not local taxes.

Finally, in 1937, the government ordered the building of 4 anti-aircraft batteries to defend the city. The anti-aircraft battery here, on Turó de la Rovira, became operational in March, 1938 — too late to avert the worst impacts of the Italian bombing campaign.

The government's air defence efforts were too light, too little and too late. During the course of the war only one enemy plane was shot down by anti-aircraft fire over Barcelona.

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Bomb damage in Poble Sec Barcelona

Tragedy

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Barcelona suffered a total of 194 aerial and naval bombardments during the course of the war.
The Italian
Aviazione Legionaria launched 72 air-raids against Barcelona.

The most notorious Italian raid took place on January 30th, 1938: 

At 9.05am six Savoia S-79 bombers attacked the city centre. At least one bomb fell on the small square, Plaça Sant Felip Neri in Barri Gòtic. The square was filled with schoolchildren, many of whom were orphaned refugees from Spain. Two hours later bombers returned to bomb the square again while rescuers were pulling wounded and dead children from the rubble; 42 people, 30 of them children, were killed.
Having found that the city had no aerial defences and no anti-aircraft batteries the Italians stepped up the number of attacks, culminating with a fierce onslaught in March, 1938.

Over the course of 41 hours between March 16th and March 18th, the Italians attacked the city centre 19 times, completely destroying 76 buildings, and killing more than 1,000 people.

Before calling a halt to these terror attacks because of international condemnation, the Italian Air Force dropped 1,352 bombs on the city causing 2,096 deaths, the destruction of 930 homes, leaving 4,568 people seriously wounded, and several hundred people homeless.

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Lessons learned…but ignored…

The number of deaths from air-raids on Barcelona during the Civil War would have been far greater had local people not taken the initiative to build effective air-raid shelters. This was noted by a prominent British politician, Winston Churchill.

Even before  the end of the Spanish Civil War Churchill arranged for one of the engineers involved in building the city's 1,400 air-raid shelters to visit London. Churchill, knowing that war with Nazi Germany was inevitable, wanted to appoint the Catalan engineer as an adviser to help plan and build a network of public air-raid shelters in London. Churchill, not yet Prime Minister, was frustrated by both the Home Office and the Defence ministry — who accused Churchill of alarmism, and claimed that building public air-raid shelters would damage morale through a mix of despondency and panic — while all the while knowing such efforts would detract from, or overstretch efforts to build an elaborate system of shelters for politicians and civil servants. The UK We, the UK Us, had to make do with Morrison shelters and Anderson shelters — cheap, flimsy, D.I.Y. sandbag and corrugated-iron lash-ups.

Looking over El Carmel toward Horta in the distance

Los Cañones

During the 1940s and 50s, the site was settled by families of migrants from Andalucia. Around 110 families occupied the site — around 600 people — until 1990 when, in preparation for the Olympic Games of 1992, the families were moved off the site and re-housed. This small shanty town even had its own rumba band, El Barrio Negro.

Aerial view of Los Cañones, Barcelona in the 1980s

Aerial view of Los Cañones, Barcelona in the 1980s

Museum

Interior of The Bunkers, Turo de la Rovira

Museum exhibit at The Bunkers

The City's Museum Service (MUHBA) has done a pretty good job of interpreting the site for visitors — with interpretation boards dotted about the site and a permanent exhibition which explains the site's wartime role and its post-war life as a shanty town. 

However, the exhibition is only open on WEDNESDAY between 10am and 2pm and SATURDAY & SUNDAY between 10am and 3pm. Entrance to the exhibit is FREE.

Here's a link to the site's official website in English.

GETTING HERE

From Plaça Catalunya:
Bus 22 will take you on an interesting, but roundabout tour via Vila de Gràcia and El Coll and drop you at the entrance to Parc Guinardó from where it's a 10 minute stroll through the trees.

From Plaça Catalunya:
Bus 24 will drop you at the bus-stop near Carrer Muhlberg.

When you get off the bus turn left and walk up to Carrer Muhlberg on your right, walk along this rising street until you come to a set of steps leading up to the Bunkers on your left.

OR, to make an interesting circuit, keep walking along Carrer Muhlberg — you'll cross an interesting bridge — then turn left up through the trees to a road (C/Marià Labèrnia) shouldered by houses and walk to the end of the street and up some steps to the entrance of the site.

OR, when you get off the bus just below Carrer Muhlberg turn left, walk uphill, past Carrer Muhlberg and Bar-Restaurant Delicias on your right and take the next turning right onto Carrer de la Gran Vista and keep on the right-hand side of the road until you come to a bus-stop and take Barri Bus 119 (every 30 minutes during the day) to C/Marià Labèrnia from where it's a short stroll to the entrance.

From Passeig de Sant Joan (Dreta l'Eixample):
Bus V19 to Carrer Muhlberg and then follow directions/options above as for Bus 24.

Air-raid shelters open to visitors

REFUGI 307: Guided tours in English SUNDAYS at 10.30am, 3,50€. Advance booking recommended. Website: HERE

PLAÇA del DIAMANT in Gràcia: Guided visits to the site are organised by the Gràcia History Workshop. Scheduled tours, on SUNDAY at 11am, are available in català and castellano, 3€. The hour-long tour in castellano is only available on the second Sunday of the month.

Guided visits in English can be organised outside this time by prior arrangement. Contact the Gràcia History Workshop here: tallerhistoriagracia@gmail.com. Website: HERE

Finally…

A link to a fascinating documentary by Jordi Busquets: HERE

Enjoy exploring Barcelona's past.

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.

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