Safety & Security

12 Sinister Symbols & Ciphers in Barcelona

26th June 2017
Burglars and house breakers symbols, Barcelona, 2015

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…

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El Raval

Culture Crammed Multi-ethnic Corner: El Raval in Barcelona

14th June 2017
Palau Guell, El Raval, Barcelona
Map of El Raval, Barcelona

El Raval

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.

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Dreta de l'Eixample

The Heart of Modernista Architecture: La Dreta de l’Eixample in Barcelona

8th May 2017
Casa de Les Puntxes, Eixample Dreta, Barcelona
Map of La Dreta de l'Eixample

La Dreta de l'Eixample

Dreta de l'Eixample is where you’ll encounter more than 150 of the city's Modernista buildings. The area is sometimes referred to as the Quadrat d'Or — the Golden Square — because of the abundance and quality of the architecture here.

This is where Utopian engineer, Ildefons Cerdà's plan for an expanded city began to take physical form. The first buildings were constructed here during the 1850s at the junction of Consell de Cent and Roger de Llúria.

Passeig de Gràcia is host to Gaudí's La Pedrera and La Manzana de la Discordia the Block of Discord — where you'll encounter buildings by the three giants of Modernista architecture — Gaudí, Domènech i Montaner and Puig i Cadafalch.

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Pedralbes

Royal, Rich and Influential: Pedralbes in Barcelona

1st May 2017
Map of Pedralbes, Les Corts, Barcelona

Since 1327, and the founding of the Royal Monastery of Santa Maria at the behest of Elisenda de Montcada, wife of James II, Pedralbes has been inextricably associated with royalty, wealth and influence.

In 1926 King Alfonso XIII established a royal palace here. When the dictator, Franco visited the city he stayed here. The current King’s sister has a house here. FCBarcelona footballer, Gerard Piqué and his popstar wife, Shakira live here.

​Nearly every house has a swimming pool in its backyard.

A local wag dubbed it the Beverly Hills of Catalunya.

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Sant Gervasi–Galvany

Smart, Assured and Chic: Sant Gervasi-Galvany in Barcelona

17th April 2017
Sant Gervasi–Galvany

Smart and Assured with Chic Uptown Shopping and Clubbing


Sant Gervasi-Galvany is situated between Avinguda Diagonal and Ronda del General Mitre and Carrer de Balmes/Via Augusta.

Development began here in 1866, spurred by the promise of a new railway station, La Bonanova, opened in 1867, and a new covered market. The market was begun in 1868 but not inaugurated until 1927.

The oldest part of the neighbourhood is the area between Carrer Sagués and Carrer Amigó but the main centre is around the covered market.

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Vila de Gràcia

Lively, radical, arty warren of fun and solidarity: Vila de Gràcia in Barcelona

8th April 2017
Map of Vila de Gràcia, Barcelona

Map of Vila de Gràcia.

Vila de Gràcia, the heart of the district of Gràcia, is a warren of very strollable streets and inviting squares fringed with café-bars, craft, design and fashion stores, restaurants offering every kind of cuisine, cool bodegas, independent cinemas, music venues, theatres, art galleries, craft workshops, two excellent indoor markets, plus much, much more. 

The neighbourhood is famed for its Festa Major in August, when hundreds of thousands of visitors cram the narrow streets to inspect the residents’ wonderfully inventive decorations.

Vila de Gràcia is also well-known for its political activism, with frequent protests, meetings and direct action which occasionally provoke a heavy-handed response from the Mossos d’Esquadra’s Mobile Group (anti-disturbance police).

You could easily spend a whole month strolling and grazing around, stopping off at squares, window shopping and dancing ’til you drop, and never get its measure.

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Graffiti

Bryan Cranston in Gràcia in Barcelona

12th January 2017
 Bryan-Cranston-graffiti-Gràcia-Barcelona-by-Bill-Sinclair.jpg

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 portrait of the actor, Bryan Cranston as Walter White — AKA Heisenberg — from the TV series, Breaking Bad, on Carrer de Rabassa in Gràcia.

Context

The graffiti is on a private garage door.​

Walter White AKA Bryan Cranston, Gràcia, Barcelona by Bill sinclair

Enjoy discovering graffiti in Barcelona

BLOG

Happy New Year 2017 from Barcelona

31st December 2016

 

Wishing you a healthy, productive and prosperous 2017. 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 human being.

Oscar’s work is best known locally through his regular illustrations for the newspaper, La Vanguardia. In fact, there was one of Oscar’s illustrations in today’s (31/12/2016) edition. His artwork extends beyond simple illustration.

Thanks to Lali, his lovely partner, we were at Oscar’s apartment on Sant Esteve (Boxing Day) last week for a tea party. All good fun.

Anyway, here’s wishing you all the very best for 2017.

Fins aviat!

Restaurants

Make tracks to Tram-Tram in Barcelona

22nd December 2016
Amuse bouches at Tram-Tram, Barcelona

Tram-Tram, a family owned, family run restaurant, is an excellent spot for small get-togethers, or, perhaps, a romantic rendezvous, and a good introduction to contemporary Catalan cuisine. It's a small, perfectly formed and tastefully decorated restaurant, with private dining-rooms and a pleasant leafy patio.

Isidre Soler, the chef, (who spent time training with Ferran Adrià at El Bulli before it became internationally known) takes evident, painstaking pride in the preparation and presentation of his exquisite dishes.

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