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 another portrait of the singer, Amy Winehouse which appeared on Carrer Mozart during the Festes de Gràcia, 2017.
The graffiti is on a door in Carrer de Mozart, Vila de Gràcia.
Enjoy discovering graffiti in Barcelona.
Day 2, 10:30pm: After yesterday's exertions we planned to spend most of our time on one street, Joan Blanques, split into two decorated sections and with two stages featuring two very different crowd pleasing bands: A Contrablues and Dani Nel·lo's xxxxxxx
11pm: We found two chairs and a table and installed ourselves on Joan Blanques de Baix.
1am: Having decided we all needed a halfway decent mojito the four of us wended a way through the streets to Raïm. I ordered a mojito made with an oscuro (dark rum) 7 year-old Flor de Caña.
Visca Cuba! Visca Nicaragua!
2:30am ish: Having joshed and chatted with the Italian chef from a well-known and popular (or, should that be 'polpolar'?) Gallego restaurant, we left Raïm and headed down Carrer Progrés…
…and a huge statue of Lenin….
…where we encountered a handsome looking bloke wearing an Augusto Sandino t-shirt chatting with his poet girlfriend.
Visca Nicaragua! Visca Catalunya!
Enter your text here...
5am: We finally called it a night and headed for bed.
Festes de Gràcia, 2017 — and we're off!
8am: A group of eight of us assemble for coffee and pastries at La Corrala before setting off to Plaça de la Revolució de la Revolució de Septembre 1868 to catch the start of the parade which announces the start of the festes.
En route we caught a look of Carrer de Puigmarti.
8:38am: and the Trabucaires prepare to fire their guns to launch the parade….
And then…we were joined by…the Lord of the Flies himself…
And, so to Plaça de la Vila — now transforned as The Little Prince square…
While the morning correfoc reached a climax…
Then off to explore the streets…
… picking up a few stragglers along the way. Now we were 10.
But, before Carrer Verdi we lost two fainthearts. We were again 8.
CLASSIC SAILING ON GEMINI
On a good day, with good weather, nothing beats bobbing about on a boat on the Mediterranean, except bobbing about on a boat while chatting, drinking, and laughing with friends.
Gemini is a beautiful classic sailing boat available for 3 hour long private trips expertly skippered by
Dr. David Baird.
Gemini is a sleek and stylish 41 foot long wooden hulled yacht, with a 9 foot beam, designed in 1936 and launched at Lymington in the UK in 1947.
Because of its ocean-going design it feels and handles like a much larger, steadier boat.
To chill out and relax.
To find some relief from the rush, buzz and push of the city.
You’ll get a completely different perspective of the city — perfect for snapping out of the ordinary holiday photos and Instagram moments.
You may well want to chill off during your stay — temperatures out on the water are a good few degrees lower than on the streets. Beats hanging around the frozen foods section in the supermarket or dipping in and out of over air-conditioned cafés.
When you get out on the water you may get lucky and encounter dolphins or porpoises splashing around.
You may want to dive in and enjoy a swim. No problem.
If you feel up to it Dave will gladly encourage you to lend a hand sailing the boat. If you ask politely he'll let you take the tiller and patiently teach you a few navigational tricks.
You and your family and/or friends, and only you and your party, will be aboard. You will not be sharing the deck with anyone you have not invited aboard.
Dave is an all round, amiable guy and very knowledgeable about both the waters around the city and the city itself. You'll enjoy his company as well as being impressed by his sailing skills.
The CNN Travel show, 24 Hours in Barcelona was suitably impressed.
You can book trips through the website HERE.
Here's a link to a map of Gemini's mooring: HERE
Dave does not serve food or drinks — but you are more than welcome to board with your own supplies.
Kids under 16 years old go FREE.
Dave will gladly take you out at sunset for an unforgettable prelude to your evening’s dining and drinking adventures and general gallivanting about the city.
Or, he can take you out mid-morning or midday. It's up to you.
Trips are scheduled at 10am, 2pm and Sunset, every day of the week, all year round.
QUALITY & SAFETY ASSURANCE
Gemini is a UK-registered vessel and is licensed by both the UK Maritime and Coastguard Authority and the Spanish Capitania. She undergoes regular official inspections to ensure her seaworthiness and that she carries all the required safety equipment.
Dave holds the RYA / MCA Yachtmaster Offshore certificate, and is a Master of Yachts for vessels up to 200 tonnes. He also holds and regularly renews certifications covering Survival at Sea, First Aid, Short Range Maritime Radio Operator Certificate, and Professional Practices and Responsibility Certificate.
All inspection and qualification certificates are available for viewing on board.
I’m a Skipper’s mate.
In the spirit of transparency, and just so you know, I should tell you that I’m a very good friend of Gemini’s skipper, Dave. We known each other a fair few years now.
We became friends before he brought Gemini from Scotland to Barcelona and established his business. In fact, Dave asked me to join the crew for that journey — what an adventure that would have been (and very well was by all accounts)! Sadly, I wasn’t able to.
Anyway, I am not affiliated in any way with Dave’s business, and will not receive any commission should you link through to his website from this website and book your adventure. However, being a decent sort of guy he will probably buy me a drink by way of saying thanks for passing you onto him.
Looking to rent a legal apartment in Barcelona?
There are around 17,000 holiday apartments in Barcelona — of which 7,000 are unlicensed and therefore illegal.
Problem is — how to tell a legal vacation apartment from an illegal one?
In this post I'm not going to go into all the whys and wherefores of the resident/visitor housing situation in the city.
This post is solely concerned with giving practical advice on how to check the legal status of a vacation rental property, and is offered in good faith — you should consult a competent solicitor/lawyer should you wish to seek compensation for damages resulting from illegal activity.
Let's be clear, the City's housing inspectors are not going to evict or forcibly remove you from your apartment in the early hours of the morning if they find that the apartment you have rented is not licensed. However… with a little diligence you can avoid any unpleasantness and upsetting your holiday plans.
In 2016 the City Council fined Airbnb a total of 600,000€ for continuing to list unlicensed properties.
Obviously Airbnb are not the only offender, but the most high-profile.
As with every pricey transaction it pays to read the description carefully AND the details of the person letting the property. You may believe the person letting the apartment is an honest individual, but click around a bit, tedious I know, but if you see the same name and contact details appear for another property, or several properties, then chances are you could be looking at dealing with a property speculator or unofficial agency.
While searching for an Airbnb flat for my sister a couple of years ago I found one individual who had 7 properies listed.
The listing may give a licence number. But how do you know this is for real, and not invented? (This is one of the excuses Airbnb gives — it says it cannot check the accuracy of the information given. Pretty lame.)
OK. You've done the basic checks — you're reasonably confident all is in order. You confirm a deal.
As with every pricey transaction it can pay to read the paperwork.
A big clue in the paperwork that the property you are renting may not be licensed:
- Does the amount you are being asked to pay include Tourist Tax? If so, how much?
- As of April 2017 the Tourist Tax, charged per person aged 17 and older, is 2,25€ plus IVA (VAT) = 2,475€ per night, but limited to a MAXIMUM amount equivalent to 7 nights' stay, i.e. 17,325€ per person.
- IF there is no itemised amount shown for Tourist Tax then it is likely the apartment is unlicensed.
- IF the itemised amount shown for Tourist Tax does not compute correctly then… you need to contest it.
Introducing the Flat Detector
In a previous post (12 Sinister Symbols & Ciphers in Barcelona) I strongly suggested that you check the legal status of any and all apartments you may be interested in renting before you agree any deal with an owner or agency.
Easy said — a little tricky in practice.
How do you check the legal status of a holiday let in Barcelona?
Before you sign off on any deal with a private owner or lettings agency you can run the address of the accommodation through the Ajuntament's (City Hall) 'Flat Detector'.
However, most Airbnb listings, for example, do not give the address of the accommodation — you'll have to ask the owner or agency for the precise address.
They may tell you that for security reasons that cannot give you the precise address until you have confirmed your booking. If so, ask them for the licence number of the property.
If they refuse to co-operate — then, it's likely they have something to hide.
If you look at Airbnb listings you'll see that many owners (though not yet the majority) give the licence number in their listings.
If you do have the correct and precise address of the apartment you're thinking of renting then:
GO HERE: or copy and paste this link into your browser: http://meet.barcelona.cat/habitatgesturistics/en/
This will bring up this page:
Enter the address details and hit Search.
Should be straightforward. However, in the first box — Type of road — when you scroll through the dropdown list there are 16 options:
Which is where it becomes a little more complicated than it need be.
Firstly, as a would-be first-time visitor it's unlikely that you'll know what these abbreviations signify. As a regular visitor you'll probably struggle.
I've lived here 15 years and had to check the difference between TRVS and TRAV, and look up CSTA.
If you have the property address in writing then you should be ok — just copy the address into the boxes.
Be especailly careful when entering floor and apartment numbers. For example, say the address of the apartment you want to check is: Carrer de Sobeit, 56, 3-4 meaning, building number 56, 3rd floor, door number 4. If you transpose these last numbers to 4-3 then you will not receive the correct information. It may be the case that flat numbered 3-4 IS legal but that flat number 4-3 is not a vacation let and is not listed.
If you succeed on entering the address correctly then a pop-up box will tell you that it isn't listed or that it is. Trouble is the pop-up is in català. But I think you'll get the drift.
What do you do if the accommodation isn't listed as being licensed?
If you run a check and find the accommodation is NOT listed then you can report it by clicking on the 'Let us know about it' button — and this is where it gets more complicated than it needs be.
When you enter the street name a dropdown box lists 67 options in castellà (Spanish), not català:
Confusing? Yes, a little. But worth a try if you have the time and patience.
Enjoy your stay in Barcelona.
UPDATE June, 2017: Thought to re-publish this post not to alarm but by way of making you aware that given there are now many, many more vacation lets (both legal and illegal) in the city than when I first wrote the post — and, given that local sympathies are changing — some visitors’ apartments are now considered easy targets. Always check your vacation let is properly registered with the Ajuntament (City Hall). Otherwise, if things do go pear-shaped you’ll have a much harder time claiming for any loss and/or injury.
A sure sign warmer weather is on the way is the appearance of warnings posted in the entrances of apartment buildings advising residents to check for symbols scratched on, or near, their front doors.
With the warmer weather more of us spend more of our time outside the house. S’only natural. But our absence is often seen as an invitation to opportunist plunderers.
Having enjoyed a day, or weekend, hiking, biking, climbing, rafting, or simply mazing and grazing around, the last thing you need is to return home, find all your most precious things gone and something nasty in the fridge.
But these things happen — don’t let them happen to you.
You don’t need a brain like Alan Turing’s…
Situated between Les Rambles and Paral·lel, Ronda de Sant Pau/Ronda de Sant Antoni, El Raval is a lively, colourful, ethnically diverse neighbourhood which embraces the old and the new — hosting a thousand year old monastery, a contemporary art museum, the national film theatre, one of the largest opera houses in Europe, as well as the Boqueria, one of the world’s most famous food markets.
The Raval is the area which, more than any other, defines Barcelona as a multi-cultural, multi-generational city — 46% of registered residents were born outside of Spain.
Until the mid 14th century the area was a market garden outwith the city’s walls, supplying the city’s residents with fresh produce.