Crypt Pillars and Ceiling at Sagrada Familia Cathedral



Close your eyes and think about architecture, try to establish a pattern of what is something astonishingly beautiful for you and for people in general and I am sure that when you open them again you will hardly come even closer to what Antoni Gaudi should have had in his mind when he created these beautiful pillars and that odd ceiling for his Sagrada Familia Cathedral. Who would have thought of such daring strange shapes then, by the end of the XIX century and who can think of them right now unless you take a computer and use an advanced software to calculate mathematical possibilities for architectural impossibles.

The Best Spanish Restaurants in Hawaii



Hawaii offers plenty of culture throughout its many islands. But if you want to try something a little different and you are tired of having the local cuisine, rest assured that there are also several Spanish restaurants that you are sure to love. Check out some of the best Spanish restaurants in Hawaii in the list below so that you can plan for a fun night out with your date or your family.

Coquito's

Coquito's is a great Spanish restaurant that is located in Waianae on the island of Oahu. It is ranked one of the top restaurants in Waianae, so you definitely will Continue reading "The Best Spanish Restaurants in Hawaii"

Cloister at Santa Maria de Santes Creus Monastery, Tarragona, Catalonia



This splendid Gothic cloister arcade can be admired at one of the gems of Cistercian art in Catalonia, the Santa Maria de Santes Creus monastery (1160). Cistercian architecture is well known for its austerity, following the precepts of Abbot Bernard of Clairvaux (St. Bernard), who was against any sort of superfluous adornment that distracted monks from their religious path. Although the original cloister was Romanesque in style, most of it was demolished and replaced by this sober but admirable Gothic architecture. Santes Creus is not the only Cistercian monastery built throughout the 12th century in Catalonia there are also the monastery of Poblet (1150) and Vallbona de les Monges (1157). Santa Maria de les Santes Creus holds the royal tombs of Peter the Great and of James II and his wife Blanca of Anjou, as well as the great admiral Roger de Llúria. How to go from Barcelona to Santes Continue reading "Cloister at Santa Maria de Santes Creus Monastery, Tarragona, Catalonia"

New Stained Glass Windows at Sagrada Familia Cathedral



Here is a detail of one of the stain glass windows at Sagrada Familia Cathedral. Many of these stained glass works of art are meant to harmonize with the light according to the season and the hour of day. Inside the cathedral, you notice that on the Nativity side green and blue tones are predominant, colors that announce Jesus birth, in opposition to red, yellow and orange on the Passion side. New stain glass has been designed by artist Joan Vila-Grau following strict original indications by Gaudi.

Renting an Apartment in Barcelona

Post courtesy of Apartment Barcelona

Why choose an apartment?


With more space and homely touches, along with the possibility of saving some pennies and sleeping larger groups together under one roof, more and more visitors are choosing holiday apartment rentals in Barcelona rather than hotel stays. In terms of the apartments available in and around the city, the variety of accommodation is vast and there is indeed something to suit all tastes.




Where to stay?
 
Barcelona boasts an amazing choice of different neighbourhoods, each with its very own personality, allowing you to really make the most of your visit to the city and find exactly what you need. From apartments overlooking the sandy beaches and those found at the heart of lively nightlife to those with a more local feel surrounded quirky cafés or chic stores, you’re sure to find the ideal area for you.




Exploring Spain’s Neighbour – Four Top Lisbon Experiences

Spain and Portugal have a great deal in common with architecturally magnificent romantic cities, picturesque beaches, clear blue oceans and an endless supply of beautiful people. We have spent time providing the reader with everything they would want to know about the hustle and bustle of Barcelona, but what about a short skip across the border and into the wonderful Portuguese capital of Lisbon? Here are four experiences that make Lisbon well worth the visit.

1. Comfy Accommodation

Although there are many luxurious hotels available, if it is the true Portuguese experience that you are after, why not spend your nights in one of the many cosy cottages that are spread across the land. These warm guest houses offer visitors a chance to achieve the Portuguese housetrip experience and the traditions that come along with it.

2. Lisbon Zoo

With over 2000 animals on show at this beautiful zoo, this Continue reading "Exploring Spain’s Neighbour – Four Top Lisbon Experiences"

The Top 5 Architectural Masterpieces of Barcelona


Barcelona is Europe’s capital of architecture. From modernist wonders to gothic palaces, the city has some of the best buildings you’ll find anywhere. Anyone who loves architecture takes a pilgrimage to Barcelona at least once in their lifetime. 

You don’t need to be an expert to appreciate and be enthralled by what Barcelona has to offer architecturally though. Maybe you’re just visiting the city and are looking to take in some cultural goodness.

 I’d recommend taking a holiday to Barcelona just to explore its architecture, as there’s nowhere else on Earth like it. Find a cheap place to stay, like one of the Housetrip apartments, and then walk the city and see its buildings. There are many more but here are my top 5 buildings you should see next time you’re in Barcelona.  


Santa Maria del Mar (1384)

The Santa Maria del Mar is perhaps the finest example of Catalan Gothic architecture in Barcelona. It’s a beautiful, medieval church built in the 14th century. It is quite rare for buildings from this period to be so visually striking in their specific character. 

The interior is an incredible sight to behold. The outside might give the impression that the church is relatively small and cramped. But once you step inside you’re hit by the enormity and spaciousness of the place.

 


Casa Vicens (1880s)

Among the first buildings ever built by the great architect Antoni Gaudi, Casa Vicens was originally made for a rich family. It’s now a UNESCO World Heritage site. 

The building is very unusual, the shape is asymmetrical and looks very different depending on where you stand to look at it. It’s made of stone and brick, and is decorated with coloured ceramic tiles. It’s weirdness has a strange charm.
Continue reading "The Top 5 Architectural Masterpieces of Barcelona"

Demon Living Statue in Las Ramblas

Demon Living Statue

Watch out when you walk down Las Ramblas in Barcelona, you could fall in the claws of a demon and lose your pure soul forever, although for many of us sinners, it would be too late. I don't know who is more amusing here, the statue or the victims. This demon is a classic figure within the bunch of well known human statues spread over the famous walk. Here is another example of living statues featured in Barcelona Photoblog in the past.

Spicy Orange Cow at Tapas Bar in Barcelona

Spicy Orange Cow at Tapas Bar, Barcelona

Some bars and shops in Barcelona feature these well known cows that originally were meant as public art as part of the cowparade and that as everything popular in this life ended up getting into the advertising business to reinvent themselves and get some extra cash to invest in public art. Who knows? 

I leave you with this poor cow that has to sell spicy sauces in a tapas bar at Rambla Catalunya in Barcelona. There were better examples published here in Barcelona Photoblog in the past: Ms. Moolevard on the Boulevard and Emdea by Pavel Lagner

5 Secret Hideaway Places in Barcelona, Spain

As one of the most visited cities in Spain, Barcelona is a cultural wonderland for both tourists and residents. Though Barcelona is known for its famous attractions, such as the Barcelona Aquarium and the Picasso Museum, this lively city also has its hidden gems. Discover what Barcelona's secret places are in this mini travel guide, and include them in your travel plans to Barcelona.

If you love browsing through breathtaking photos, the Kowasa Gallery is a must-see location. As part of the Kowasa bookshop, the Kowasa Gallery showcases stunning photos in various styles. With books and photographs in one place, the Kowasa Gallery is a fantastic place for readers and photography enthusiasts.

El Rei de la Magia, which translates to King of Magic, isn't your ordinary museum. In most museums, you'll find timeless art masterpieces, important historical documents or famous sculptures. But in the El Rei de la Magia museum, you'll discover magic. From classic tricks to a magic shop, El Rei de la Magia is a magical world for families to enjoy.

Are you planning a summer trip to Barcelona? Make sure to visit the open-air cinema in Barcelona: Sala Montjuic. Located between the walls of the Montjuic Castle, Sala Montjuic is a great place to enjoy a picnic with your family and friends. Also, with the Montjuic Castle right next to the open-air cinema, you can go on a guided tour of this historical monument; this location is a two-in-one attraction.

If you're looking for a way to enjoy a relaxing setting and stay active at the same time, the Parc del Laberint d'Horta -- also known as Horta's Labyrinth Park -- is a unique park to visit. Continue reading "5 Secret Hideaway Places in Barcelona, Spain"

Ethnic Barcelona

Ethnic Barcelona

Under the Catalan flag new citizens living in the old quarters unknowingly compose spontaneous scenes that were unthinkable 20 years ago. These new Catalans come from all over the world and they seem to have been always in Barcelona. Maybe it is because their essence never left, because the Moors were here, the Jews were here, the Romans, maybe with their Nubian slaves were here, the Phoenicians, the Visigoths, you name it, even pirates came here often. So the melting pot was always here. It's just that Barcelona had taken a small break. Perhaps Franco, helped a little bit. The point is that this process will not stop because big cities have always been a lure for immigrants, for nomads like the castle walls attracted people in Medieval times and burgs appeared. The time has come to call everyone a Catalan every single person living in this burg, no matter the language, the creed and the origin.

Trumpeter at Carrer de la Merce

Trumpeter at Carrer de la Merce in Barcelona

Street musicians or buskers can be found around Barcelona by the hundreds. There are some, especially in the subway that don't seem to be very qualified but all in all, you can find great intrumentalists roaming the streets. The old part of town or casc antic is no exception. The other day I spotted this wonderful young trumpeter playing his instrument at Carrer de la Merce, next to the church by the same name. The nearby archway favored the acoustics and I am sure it was not a coincidence that he was lying there.

Canopy and Crucifix, High Altar, Sagrada Familia

Canopy and Christ on the cross, Sagrada Familia [enlarge]

Above the High Altar at Sagrada Familia's temple, there is an Expressionist “Crucifixion of Christ”, a bronze version of a work by sculptor Carles Mani i Roig (1866-1911). The sculpture hangs from a beautiful canopy over a block of porphiry from Iran acting as a very austere table.

V for Victory and Vote: La Diada, 300 years of honor

Estelada banner with La Merced in the background, Barcelona [enlarge]

Today September 11th Barcelona celebrates the 300th anniversary of La Diada, the day in which the city was invaded and occupied by the army of the Two Crowns, in the year that marked the end of the War of the Spanish Succession. It was a very sad day for Catalonia but at the same time an important event that has influenced its people since then. Catalans have fought for 300 years with bravery to vindicate themselves after such ignominious events, to be reborn from the ashes and defend honor. There has been a gigantic demonstration downtown where more than one million Catalans have joined to create an incredible V that stands not only for victory but also for vote, vote for the independence from Spain. The hashtag V de la Diada has become world trend topic in just 15 minutes. We must say here that although not all Catalans want the independence, a great many do, as was proven today. And in honor of the truth, from those who are not in favor of segregation, many are against the Spanish government's policy against Catalonia as well. All in all, independence or not, Catalans are sick and tired of the historical manipulation coming from the government in Madrid. On this special day, I want to share this picture of La Merced, patroness of Barcelona with a beautiful "L'Estelada Blava" (The Blue Starred Flag), the flag of Catalan independence in the foreground.

Catalan Housewife

Catalan housewife [enlarge]

I found this poster the other day at El Raval neighborhood if I remember correctly with this modern Catalan housewife in crocs and fancy earrings gazing at some point far away through the window with determination and pride. I don't know if the message was that the future looks brighter for housewives in Catalonia or that they wanted to sell more washing machines to many of them, but I get the impression that it is always the same old story that women belong in the kitchen. Maybe they just wanted to make this wall look like an open door to any odd kitchen. I leave it up to you to judge by yourselves.

Breaking Bad T-Shirts in Gracia Quarter, Barcelona

Breaking Bad Series T-Shirt Barcelona [enlarge]

Few series have been as revolutionary as Breaking Bad, few plots have given us such huge adrenaline shots. Mr. Heisenberg or Walter White, here in this t-shirt I found displayed at a small shop in Verdi street, Gracia quarter, Barcelona, emulates some sort of Raskolnikov that debates himself between between crime and punishment, driving his family to the verge of chaos while trying to save them from financial problems. Slinging meth in Alburquerque, New Mexico, this model father diagnosed with cancer, this renown chemist, sets himself into a vertiginous journey towards the destruction of the most basic principles of humanity going from complete ingenuity to a full implication in crime that reminds me of James Cagney in the famous movie, White Heat, when he yells "Made it ma, top of the world!". I never was fond of TV series, but Breaking Bad really has left a very good impression inside me. I would gladly pay the 20 euros they charge for this breaking T-Shirt! It's a shame they decided to finish the saga with the fifth season. I want more of Los Pollos Hermanos, Walt, Pinkman and Hank. I want more of a series where the good guy is more like you and me, a mixture of good and evil, a real person.