viernes, 6 de septiembre de 2013

Miró mural at the airport

After the inauguration of T1 terminal at El Prat airport, the activity of the old terminal has been reduced basically to low cost companies and airlines that are not members of any alliance. Thus, most of the passengers arriving to Barcelona by air see the modern, white, photogenic new terminal, but they will not be able to enjoy a piece of art that has been greeting us for ages when we came home: the Miró mural.

In 1968 one of our world-renowned artists decided to devote and donate four works to the city where he was born: the sculpture "Woman and Bird", at the Parc de l'Escorxador, the mosaic at Pla de l'Os on the Rambla, the Miró Foundation and this ceramic mural, that was installed on the facade of what today is the T2 terminal building.

Miró mural has always been associated to something special: a welcome, a farewell, a trip, a gathering, a homecoming...if the wall could talk, it would certainly explain thousands of stories of all kinds!

lunes, 26 de agosto de 2013

The Ring Roads - Las Rondes

Those who, as I did, started driving in the 90s can not imagine Barcelona without the Rondes, the ringway that goes around the city. These two ring roads were built, like so many other things, for the 1992 Olympic Games. They are over 35 kilometers long and the two big junctions at both ends help distribute the traffic moving through Barcelona and its metropolitan area.

As a regular user of the Ronda del Litoral I know perfectly its limitations. I know they have been criticized for the number of accidents in it and because they don't contribute to promote sustainable transport. I also know that there are many miles without a shoulder, that entrance ramps are often short and dangerous and traffic jams are very common in some sections. By the way, those traffic jams can be really exasperating when there a vehicle breaks down and stops occupying a whole lane.

I do not even want to imagine the city traffic if all this amount of vehicles that circulate now along the Rondes had to drive through the center of Barcelona!

viernes, 12 de julio de 2013

The Bicing

When the Bicing service system opened in 2007 I hurried up to sign up. By that time, my bike had been stolen several times on the streets of the city, so I really thought it was the best idea that the municipality could have in order to promote healthy, clean and non-expensive transportation. The Bicing was close to collapse shortly after it opened, when the many bikes were broken and not all anchors seemed to work properly, but I have always been a regular user.

It has only (or already, depending on your perspective) been six years and I can't deny that the Bicing has become an image of Barcelona. Leaving aside complaints from pedestrians because of the incivility of some cyclists and complaints of Bicing users about the lack of good bike paths, one must admit that the public bike system has become a "thing of Barcelona", as those that I try to highlight in this blog.

viernes, 5 de julio de 2013

Circus tents

Have you ever been to the circus in Barcelona? I have, but just to one of those big and "modern" circuses focused more to attract adult audiences. The truth is that I would have liked to go to a circus as a child, one of those traditional ones, those who assemble and remove their tents in the few open spaces left in the city.

Those circus in which artists arrive in trucks and vans, the ones that exercise a fascination among those of us who do not live on the road, the ones that make us wonder what it is like to live in a special community, a nomadic family.

The truth is that circuses have changed a lot since I was little. Luckily, they still visit us. For the record, I like that they are adapting to changing times. And by the way, there is a circus school working in the Parc del Forum. It is called La Central del Circ, and is meant to be a space for developing circus activities that the City Council prompted, and where training courses are held, in case if anyone is thinking about it!

miércoles, 22 de mayo de 2013

Sant Felip Neri

Sant Felip Neri is one of our best kept secrets, although it is increasingly visited by tourists, that are usually surprised when they find this little oasis in the middle of the Old Town.
Sant Felip Neri is one of those places where you can actually breathe the history of Barcelona. The baroque church, the Renaissance house...and the shrapnel marks on the facade of the church.
Do not be fooled: these are not the testimony of executions of priests during the Civil War, as some have tried to make us believe. These scars were caused by the bombs that Franco's National Aviation, with the help of the Italian fascist army launched over Barcelona 75 years ago now. The bombing, which was done in two shifts with the intention of making it more deadly, was one of the first to be made ​​over the civilian population instead of attacking military targets, and caused hundreds of deaths throughout Barcelona. Only in Sant Felip Neri 42 people were killed, many of whom were children who were trying to shelter from the bombing in the basement of the church.
All buildings in the area were destroyed, leaving only the facade of the church standing, and the area was later rebuilt, creating the little square, adapting two Renaissance facades to create two new entrances, bringing parts of buildings that had been sacrificed when the Via Laietana and the Pla de la Catedral was opened.
It is very important that the Sant Felip Neri remains as the oasis it is now, as it also is that we do not forget our history and pay respect to the victims by explaining the true facts of what happened here.

jueves, 25 de abril de 2013

Added floors in the Eixample

I often say that this blog not only talks about the things I like from Barcelona, but also those other things that may seem ugly, uncomfortable or even disgusting.

And a good example of something really Barcelonian and really ugly are the added floors that have been built on many buildings of the Eixample. I know we have not been particularly careful to Cerdà's plan as it was conceived, and that for a time many people tried to take full advantage of a ground that was considered wasted. So, taking advantage of the improving building techniques and of their cheaper costs, and with the necessary collaboration of political powers, many homeowners and builders decided to gain two, three, four and even five floors, as the building showed on the picture above.

It is virtually impossible to restore the building as it was originally, because the people living on this floors do it in a completely legal way, so we must get used to the added floors. If at least they were made with good taste!

martes, 16 de abril de 2013

Encants Vells market

It had been a while since I had last been around the market of Fira de Bellcaire, also known as the Encants Vells market, and I have to admit I was surprised by its vitality, especially considering it was a weekday morning. The market was full of visitors, buyers, onlookers and vendors. I have to say, though, that the idea I had in my mind was slightly more romantic than  what I found there.
Anyway, the point is that the market of Encants Vells is still as alive as ever, and the idea is to continue this way when the new Encants Nous is open during this year. This new market will have doubled the area of ​​the fair and will facilitate the access to traders and visitors, and the loading and unloading of goods.
Anyway, the Fira de Bellcaire, which is held since the fourteenth century, is one of the oldest markets in Europe, so there are few things that can be considered more "Barcelonian". 
And by the way...who does not have or had any object from Encants Vells? I remember I bught a foam mattress a few years ago, and for the record, I still have it. I do not intend to change it: when I have guests who sleep at home on it they tell me that it is extremely comfortable!