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Bars, flamenco and independence: Barcelona Nov 2012

by Ted Welch Fri Dec 14th, 2012 at 06:30:28 PM EST


I went to Barcelona for the first time about twenty years ago, with a group of students and lecturers. I'd done some research and the first night did a tour on my own: Champagneria, Four Cats, etc. The next night I took my colleagues on my guided tour of Barcelona night-life - a barman letting us out of the last bar at about 3 am. I enjoyed the trip so much I went back on my own soon after. That time I saw one of the best flamenco shows I'd ever seen, up on Montjunc, stayed on for another show and came back down the hill as the sun came up. I got drunk enough (I'm British) to accept a dancer's invitation to join her on stage and tried to dance sevillanos (and didn't do too bad according to a female friend).

It had been a long gap since then, and Barcelona had developed, particularly around the port, where there was a huge new development, but there was still the traditional charm:


I'd found that there was a flamenco show (OK, not very Catalan, but, so far, it's Spain) in the same street as our hotel, but a young guy at reception recommended Cordobes, it was good advice. Even M was impressed by the food before the show and the three male dancers were impressive - and I've seen quite a lot of flamenco:

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We were only allowed to take photos or videos in the final few minutes when they performed together:

Later I found that the young guy in the centre, El Farru, the Errol Flynn of flamenco, is already well-known and part of a flamenco dynasty. For any of you who enjoy flamenco as much as I do (it has a bit in common with climbing - the intensity, the concentration, the variation of pace), here he is performing alone:

Again, for aficionados, here is his big brother, El Farruquito, what a character:

Las Ramblas - the main drag:



The obligatory Gaudi



There's a lot of popular support for Catalan independence:

barcelona-independence-0174 copy

Update here:

Mas called a snap election last month hoping to ride a wave of enthusiasm for independence and persuade Catalans he was the man to lead them towards separation from Spain. CiU won, but with its worst result since 1980 as voters punished it for the austerity measures it has imposed on welfare, education and health services in a region that already enjoys considerable autonomy. Hardcore separatists voted for ERC and those opposing independence, many of whom would not normally vote at regional elections, backed Rajoy's PP or other anti-separatists - producing a fragmented parliament.

Mas's alliance with ERC, which doubled its number of deputies to become the second biggest party, means pressure for independence will now increase.






Peace in Parc de la Citadelle.

I tried several shots of the Castle of the Three Dragons, but none seemed to match the name, I walked on and then turned back and, with the light going and this tree, this image seemed to fit:





After a stay in a hotel, M returned to work in Nice and I stayed on in a rented apartment (which seem to be better value) for five days. M was alarmed by the look of the street in the "edgy" Raval area as the taxi dropped me off :


barcelona-raval-text-murals-night-01961 copy

But the apartment (Panoramic Atico, through airb&b.com) was very nice, top floor, quiet and well-equipped.



I liked the decor in this bar, and a great glass of rioja for 2 euros which I was able to take to a table right by the jazz concert:


The lovely Picasso Museum with early examples of his amazingly precocious talent:


Picasso's famous Demoiselles d'Avignon in fact refers to a street in Barcelona

barcelona-c-d-avinyo-girls-text-01938 copy

Carrer D'Avinyo is now full of restaurants for tourists and the "demoiselles" have moved to just round the corner from where I was staying in the Raval area.

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A discovery on this trip (wander those narrow alleys) was La Alcoba Azul, Carrer de Sant Domenec del Call 14, lovely decor, low lights, the very helpful Wally at the bar with advice on wine and other places. There are some seats outside in a little courtyard:




Don't bother with the famous but too crowded, standing room only Champagneria:


Go to the nearby La Galera in Carrer del Regomir, with space, high ceiling, nice decor and plenty of seats:


Traditional expat hangout:


There there is the peace of Placa Reial, just off the busy Ramblas, and just across from the Raval area:


Till next time:


Thank you very much. This diary has it all: photos, videos, information, commentary, recommendations. We, too, stayed in an apartment in Barcelona that was affordable, well furnished (though the fancy television was totally unnecessary) and had a terrific balcony upon which we could dine and drink and watch the street life below.

Our first (but SURELY not to be only) trip to Barcelona was two years ago, and we'll definitely be incorporating what we've learned from this diary into the next trip.

'tis strange I should be old and neither wise nor valiant. From "The Maid's Tragedy" by Beaumont & Fletcher

by Wife of Bath (kareninaustin at g mail dot com) on Sat Dec 15th, 2012 at 05:24:09 AM EST

Thank YOU - and are there any places you particularly liked there ?

Maybe it's because I'm a Londoner - that I moved to Nice.

by Ted Welch (tedwelch-at-mac-dot-com) on Sat Dec 15th, 2012 at 01:36:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
For a first visit (and my mom was with us, and not in her best physical condition) we took the bus ride to acquaint ourselves with the whole city, stopping at parks and such to people-watch. We did the Gaudi park quite thoroughly and took lots of photos. We enjoyed our neighborhood, too, but I'll be danged if can remember the name of where it was... in an area called "Gracia"? Is that possible?

Mostly made notes of what I want to do when we go back, and your diary has been better for that than my own experience was.

'tis strange I should be old and neither wise nor valiant. From "The Maid's Tragedy" by Beaumont & Fletcher

by Wife of Bath (kareninaustin at g mail dot com) on Sat Dec 15th, 2012 at 02:50:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Dec 15th, 2012 at 03:07:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Nice area, we stayed there for the first few days, and walked down this street to Plaça Catalunya  and Las Ramblas:

Passeig de Gràcia (Catalan pronunciation: [pəˈsɛdʒ də ˈɣɾasiə]) is one of the major avenues in Barcelona (Catalonia) and one of its most important shopping and business areas, containing several of the city's most celebrated pieces of architecture. It is located in the central part of Eixample, stretching from Plaça Catalunya to Carrer Gran de Gràcia. Passeig de Gràcia is regarded as the most expensive street in Barcelona and in Spain.

Maybe it's because I'm a Londoner - that I moved to Nice.
by Ted Welch (tedwelch-at-mac-dot-com) on Sun Dec 16th, 2012 at 06:58:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
your photography was already very good, this diary is a new level, especially loved the castle shot, marvellous. the flamenco shots sizzle.

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty
by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sat Dec 15th, 2012 at 05:56:57 AM EST

Thanks melo, that helps justify my purchase of a Sony A77, which I'm very happy with, though some of these were taken with the Canon G10. I must get round to learning video editing, one of the reasons I got the Sony.

Maybe it's because I'm a Londoner - that I moved to Nice.

by Ted Welch (tedwelch-at-mac-dot-com) on Sat Dec 15th, 2012 at 01:39:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
ah yes, vid editing, me too...
chosen which software yet?

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty
by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sat Dec 15th, 2012 at 02:02:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]

I got the package update v 11 of    Pshop elements and Premiere elments

Maybe it's because I'm a Londoner - that I moved to Nice.
by Ted Welch (tedwelch-at-mac-dot-com) on Sat Dec 15th, 2012 at 02:56:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Enjoyed the diary very much!
by ElaineinNM on Sat Dec 15th, 2012 at 07:32:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
We last passed through Barcelona in August. Madame went to university there, so her detailed knowledge is twenty years out of date.

Having spent all day driving south, we went straight to the beach, had a swim and a shower, then cycled into town.

Carrer Colom. Is that you, Ted?

We got off Las Ramblas about 7pm, seeking a suitable tapas bar in a side street. We were delighted with the one we found. Open early for the tourists, but already booked up solid by locals for later in the evening.

El taller de las tapas, Plaça de Sant Josep Oriol.
Food and drink were both spectacular.

It turns out it's a chain (there are three of them), which is a bit disappointing, and that the owner is the brother-in-law of a colleague of Madame.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Sun Dec 16th, 2012 at 10:05:26 AM EST

You were only yards away from Alcoba Azul - Carrer de Sant Domenec del Call 14

try that next time :-)

Thanks for the "fab".

Maybe it's because I'm a Londoner - that I moved to Nice.

by Ted Welch (tedwelch-at-mac-dot-com) on Sun Dec 16th, 2012 at 07:13:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, it was a rather boring evening here on the prairie, at -10F, until I ran across this delightful exhibition of life.

NVA, a viable option when the political process fails.
by NorthDakotaDemocrat (NorthDakotaDemocrat at gmail dot com) on Fri Dec 21st, 2012 at 12:35:12 AM EST

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