martes, 20 de diciembre de 2011

Argentine parrots

I'm sure they do not appear in travel guides, and I am positive that tourists haven't noticed them, but they are also part of the landscape of Barcelona: Argentine parrots are those little birds of the family of parakeets and cockatoos, that emit a peculiar noise.

They arrived in Barcelona more than 30 years ago, from South America and it looks that they have adapted well. It seems that at some time they were fashionable as pets, due to their green plumage with gray belly, and they were much cheaper than the typical parrotsBut they turned out to be were unfriendly, they pecked their owners, they shrieked and....were keen on escaping! In other words, they wanted to live in freedom. So some of them escaped from their cages and now we have about 3,000 scattered in Barcelona, ​​living with us.

Some look at them as a plague, but considering that there are about 250,000 pigeons in the city, I think they don'l give any hassle.

And besides, it is funny to think that the birds that have arrived from Argentina to Barcelona  are parrots, which is an animal that has traditionally been used to describe someone who talks too much.

An irony, as well as Argentines (Argentine humans, that is) have a reputation for talking a lot. Of course it's a cliché ....isn't it?

lunes, 19 de diciembre de 2011

À la ville de...

Those of us who are old enough remember the 1992 Olympic Games and what they meant to Barcelona.

Those who are still a bit older can also remember that day 25 years ago, when Juan Antonio Samaranch opened an envelope and said in French "à la ville de ... ... (short dramatic pause dramatically) .... Barcelona! "

It is probably one of those moments that all who live in the city can remember, a day when Barcelona began a new path. Everyone has his own story that day, and I have mine:
as a 10 year-old, I was not aware of the meaning of all that, but I remember that the news ran fast at the school. Everyone was shouting, shooting soccer balls up in the air and running endlessly.

In the middle of all that inexplicable joy, there was a moment when I became aware of the importance of the day. And what made me realize that was something that happened for the first time in my life: our teacher gave us free time and we were allowed to read comics in class!

It was precisely then, reading a Tintin comic in class, when I realized the historical moment that we were living.

jueves, 15 de diciembre de 2011

A concert at La Mercè!

I like Mercè. I mean I like the Mercè festivals. The Festival of Barcelona, of course.

Held since 1871, when the City Council decided to make a series of festivities to celebrate the Day of their patron saint, on September 24.

And although there are massive events scheduled, as one would imagine in a city like Barcelona, I ​​like that you still can feel the village beneath the city. Using the word village in a good sense, of course. We continue celebrating the correfoc, the human castle towers, different parades and dancing the sardana.

In the evening, I try to be aware of the concerts throughout the city, mostly free. Because, even if I don't know the artist, who can say no to a good concert in a place like Plaça del Rei?

All this, of course, if Santa Eulàlia behaves herself and decides not to cry because Mercè has taken the honor of being our patron saint. Come on, Laia, that was a long time ago! It is time you get over it!

miércoles, 28 de septiembre de 2011

La Carretera de les Aigües

.... or rather, the view from La Carretera de les Aigües (literally, the road of the Water)!

In Barcelona we have a green treasure. Actually it's not only ours, but we share it with other municipalities around, and its name is Collserola. And yes, those who say that the park suffers many attacks are quite right, but it is still a privilege to have a space like this, which can be reached by public transportation. As they say, it is one of the largest metropolitan parks in the world.

The Carretera de les Aigües is the secret that the people from Barcelona keep in this green park. A walk along its route helps restore your spirit. At least it happens to me. And when I sit in one of the benches along its route, I admire the esplanade of Barcelona and I think .... Wow! No matter if the day is sunny and the visibility is good or the atmosphere is dirty, foggy, and always happens to me... Wow!

viernes, 16 de septiembre de 2011


The city is also defined by its sounds, and Barcelona is full of them. We keep in our emotional memory those men delivering the orange gas cylinders, making loud noises with metal objects, telling us that they are here: those of you who need butane just tell us now! we take it to your house! Butaaaaaaaaano!
A very hard work, strolling through the city streets with their trucks, and weekly delivering the tanks, picking afterwards the ones that are already empty. By the way, often climbing narrow staircases to upper floors, loading cylinder weighing about 35 kilograms when full!
The city gas and electricity, much easier to use and distribute, have been gaining ground, which is totally understandable. But we must not forget that the butane has given heat, light and energy to a city, a whole country which have not always had so easy the fact of turning on a light or a heat source. An everyday object that has come to define a color, and has contributed to the welfare of many of Barcelonians.

domingo, 11 de septiembre de 2011

The laundry in Barceloneta

The streets of Barceloneta have always had a special personality. A fisher district created in the eighteenth century on land reclaimed from the sea four centuries earlier. It became an important industrial area, when the City Council banned the installation of industries with steam inside the walled citySimultaneously, many of its houses were divided into smaller dwellings, thus creating the famous "quarters of house".
The Barceloneta has always been a sailor district, popular, full of workers, and in recent years it has been subject to a growing tourist pressureThe washing hanging out in its balconies just reminds us all what the neighborhood has always been: the narrow houses,
 the Mediterranean character of its people, the popular spirit and the desire to build a public space together. As long as I see the clothes hanging in the streets, I'll feel happyBarceloneta is still here.

viernes, 2 de septiembre de 2011

Open for vacation

In August, Barcelona suffers a curious duality. I wouldn't say that the city is empty, and just take a walk through the center to check it, full of tourists. But what we call "els barris, the neighborhoods" are left strangely empty, sleepy, silent. The sign"Closed for Vacation" is repeated on the doors of shops, telling us that the shopkeeper has fled, like almost everyone, and that until September there is no rush.
I feel that this was much more evident a few years ago, when the city's beaches were not a reasonable alternative and holidays for workers were more concentrated during the two central months of summer. Today, first day of September, to take I open this space in which I will try to make a collection of things that the locals recognize as their own, beyond the typical tourist sights. What we do, what we love, what we are.