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Casinos in and around Barcelona

If you’re looking for a destination for a fun weekend away with your other (better) half, or with a group of friends for a bachelor or bachelorette (stag or hen to the Brits) party, then Barcelona is a great place to go. No matter that natives and long-time expats like yours truly will sigh and roll their eyes, Barcelona is a great place for a good time, and let’s face it, tourists keep a majority of us employed. Beyond the typical tourist attractions–think Gaudi, Barceloneta Beach and the Columbus statue—Barcelona has an ample supply of locales for  drinking, dancing, eating and soaking up the sun. Food and drink away from the main drag of La Rambla and Plaça Catalunya are generally good quality and cheap when compared to similar options in … Read entire article »

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A Human Chain for Independence This Diada

With things in Spain worse than ever (26% general unemployment), it’s no surprise that many Catalans want out, as evidenced by the human chain across the region to show support for Catalan independence. Of course just how many Catalans want out is a subject of some dispute, with event organizers estimating participants at 1.6 million, international press putting the numbers in the hundreds of thousands, and Spanish press from Madrid going as far to claim that parts of the symbolic human chain were held up by cardboard figures. All of this begs the question of if and how independence will happen, because Catalonia may want out, but Madrid seems unlikely to kiss it goodbye without a … Read entire article »

Vandalism as a form of protest: International Workers’ Day in BCN

Vandalism as a form of protest: International Workers’ Day in BCN

There’s no avoiding the truth. Life in Barcelona is hard, and will likely only get harder before all is said and done. With cuts to public education, healthcare, and about of a fourth of the general population unemployed, it’s no surprise that people are getting out and protesting in the streets. Unfortunately, after years of International Workers’ Day protests, the mounting … Read entire article »

Gambling culture in Barcelona

Gambling forms a major part of mainstream culture in Barcelona, Catalonia and the rest of Spain. Senior citizens play bingo at all night establishments with flashing lights. A blind man sells ONCE lottery to raise money for the blind and disabled. Soccer fans enjoy la quiniela, a weekly gamble on what teams will win which matches. Bars, schools and all sorts of establishments sell holiday lottery tickets for fundraisers. Neighborhood bars have slot machines. People from all walks of life (lawyers, doctors, taxi drivers, and students) play the lottery, many on a daily or weekly basis, often with people from work. The Spanish deck of cards and games are traditionally different, but in recent years, Black Jack, … Read entire article »

Christmas in Barcelona: Santa Llucia Christmas Market, A Unique Yule Log and an Unusual Addition to the Nativity

Christmas in Barcelona: Santa Llucia Christmas Market, A Unique Yule Log and an Unusual Addition to the Nativity

  La Fira Santa Llúcia may not figure among the most famous Christmas Markets in Europe, but it has certain strong points. There may not be hot wine, or much to eat at the Catalan Capital’s holiday market, but it makes up for what it lacks in edibles in Catalan Christmas curiosities. In the Barcelona area and interested in attending? The Barcelona Fira … Read entire article »

Calling all Celiacs: Barcelona’s Celipan

Calling all Celiacs: Barcelona’s Celipan

Let’s face it. Barcelona isn’t exactly the friendliest place for visitors or residents with dietary restrictions. Celiacs are fortunate that Spanish cuisine includes a lot of rice dishes and Catalan cuisine lots of beans, but what if you’re hankering for gluten-free bread, pasta or pastries? Yeah, Mercadona has a few things for sale, as do tiny health food shops around … Read entire article »

Jewelry-making in Barcelona

Looking for something different to do with your free time in Barcelona? Tired of being surrounded by art that you haven’t created yourself? Perhaps you should consider taking a jewelry-making course with local jewelry-maker Jesús Martínez. He’ll teach you how to solder, carve a design out of hard green wax, work with wood, and help you make your designs a reality. Of course, classes are in Spanish, so these courses are also a great opportunity to improve your local language skills while making jewelry for yourself and loved ones And if your designs leave something to be desired, you can always buy one of your teacher’s amazing designs. Check out some pictures below.  Note: This is not a sponsored … Read entire article »

La Diada: Catalonia’s Special Day

While some cultures focus on celebrating victories, in Catalonia, September 11th, aka, the “Diada” marks the anniversary of a battle lost that ultimately resulted in the abolition of the Catalan’s established government and institutions. Celebrated since the  reinstatement of Catalan Parlament in 1980, as the “National Day of Catalonia,” festivities include speeches from politicians and noteworthy Catalans, poetry readings, lectures, traditional dances, political protests, and live music, all of which pale in comparison to Barcelona’s massive city-wide block-party, La Mercé. Most events will take place in Barcelona’s Ciutadella Park (Metro: L4 Ciutadella/Villa Olimpica, L1 Arc de Triomf) Note: Festivities for La Diada, unlike at La Mercé, tend to be somber and serious, about paying your respects to … Read entire article »

And for the Indiana Jones Junkies –The Barcelona ArqueoTicket

To all of you historic-treasure hunters out there, never despair, no matter your Barcelona budget, you CAN afford to stop off at all of Barelona’s archeological institutions. At 14 euros, the Arqueoticket offers an overall savings of 7.50 euros as compared to separate entry to the five museums. At the Museu d’Arqueologia de Catalunya, ogle pre-historic necklaces and Greek and Roman earrings. Learn about the ancient art of tattooing in the Museu Barbier-Mueller d’Art Preocolombí de Barcelona or embrace your love of all things Eyptian at the Museu Egipci de Barcelona. At the Museu d’Història de la Ciutat de Barcelona, learn about the history of the city and the industries that made it flourish (wine, textiles, etc). … Read entire article »

Sant Joan: Celebrating Summer with Fire in Catalonia

In Catalan, they say “Qui encén foc per Sant Joan, no es crema en tot l’any” —He who has a fire for Sant Joan isn’t burnt in all the year” Which is lovely and poetic, but one has to wonder at its veracity, what with all the bonfires and firecrackers combined with revelry (alcohol) throughout a crowded city like Barcelona plenty of people end up burnt, literally and figuratively speaking. All the Pretty Bonfires The real shame here is that the bonfires aren’t put to better use roasting hot dogs and marshmallows (smores, anyone?), because while we can appreciate the favorable bonfire lighting that takes ten years off any face…or maybe that’s all the orujo talking…fires are for creating … Read entire article »

The Sound of Sonar

  The time has finally come. We said our sad goodbyes to Primavera Sound, and now Sonar is upon us. This year’s outdoor music extravaganza includes big names like Lana del Rey, Fatboy Slim, and the Roots, in addition to more DJs than we care to count. A day of Sonar is yours for 39€, but Friday and Saturday are sold out. An evening of Sonar sounds will cost you almost twice that at 60€, but the good news is that at the time of writing tickets are still available for Friday and Saturday evenings. TIckets: Get your tickets online at www.sonartickets.com  or www.ticketmaster.es, via phone from 9am to 10pm Mondays through Fridays and 10am to 10pm weekends at 902 150 025. Purchase tickets in person … Read entire article »

Two Weekends of Crowds and Amazing Music: Part I: Primavera Sound

As Barcelona heats up, and spring transitions into summer, it’s finally that time again. What time, you ask? Outdoor Music Festival Time. Because heaven knows, there’s nothing better than you and a few hundred of your fellow Wilco or Lana del Rey fans sweating in tandem, while swaying to your favorite tunes, en directo (that’s live, if you’re still lagging behind in your Spanish studies). (San Miguel) Primavera Sound From the May 30th through June 3rd, checkout once indie, now nearly mainstream big names like Wilco, Franz Ferdinand and Rufus Wainwright. While we think Rufus is by far the dreamiest, we must admit a certain inclination to see the aging members of The Cure, especially Mr. Goth Bed-head … Read entire article »

Barcelona’s Newest Elephant

  Barcelona’s over 100-year old, and amazingly compact (many would   argue too compact) zoo has a new elephant. Read about the oldest of Barcelona’s trio of elephants, Susi, at Time Magazine, here. After her long-time companion, Alicia died, experts and laymen alike became concerned with her welfare when she began rocking back and forth and eating her own waste. A second female elephant, Yoyo was eventually purchased to keep Susi company, but to no avail, as the two females appear to be incompatible, i.e., like so many females of the human persuasion, couldn’t get along. Now that the two females are finally starting to get along, Barcelona’s Zoo has added a third female elephant to the … Read entire article »

A Night at the Museum: Free of Charge

Tonight, May 18th,  from the stroke of 7pm until 1am, 52 Barcelona Museums will open to the public free of charge. Yeah, they’ll be a little crowded (especially Barcelona favorites like Gaudi’s La Pedrera, and the Picasso Museum), but the popular ones are crowded most of the time anyway (so you might as well go when you don’t have to pay). Our personal favorites include Barcelona’s Chocolate Museum, and the Catalan Museum of Modernism (oh, the art).  Not into art? No problem. There’s the Olympic and Sport Museum, for athletes and sports aficionados, and Barcelona Motorcycle Museum for bikers and cycle collectors.This yearly event is a rare treat for residents (free stuff in Barcelona!), and a lucky … Read entire article »

Soap: Circus, Cabaret, Comedy….and Bathubs

Through the 26th of May, Soap: The Show is on at Barcelona’s Teatre Poliorama on La Rambla (you know, that street with the living statues, the flower stands and the pick-pockets….La Boqueria Market is down that way, too). A mixture of acrobatics, drama, dance and the burlesque, set to modern music, SOAP is well worth the entry price. Tickets start at 25 euros, and it’s a small theater, so even the bad seats aren’t so bad. The stunning and often sexy acrobatics set to modern music (think Tool, Mika, Ben Harper and more) will not disappoint. Amazingly athletic dance and circus numbers are interpersed with comic relief by a very annoying clown, and songs by a talented opera … Read entire article »

Barcelona’s Poetry Festival

“Poetry is contagious, like a virus, and spreads like pollen…” or so Barcelona Poesia, the city’s official poetry festival, would like us to believe. When in fact, poetry is the domain of few and far between. That said, fans of poetry are usually really passionately interested in anything to do with the art, and this year’s festival promises performances that might even amuse a more general public. At 9pm tonight, Tuesday May 8th, 2012, Barcelona’s annual poetry festival kicks-off with the Nit de Poesia Al Palau (Poetry Night at the Palace) at the beautiful Palau de la Música Catalana, one of Barcelona’s quintessential modernist structures. Poetry by nine different poets in nine different languages will be read. There will … Read entire article »

La Feria de Abril: A little Andalucia for the Barcelona-Mix

If you’ve been looking for a time to get started on your lifelong dream of learning to “bailar sevillanas”, this is your weekend. From April 27th through the 6th of May, locals and tourists alike can hop public transport (Trambesós, bus 23 and metro L4 more information at TMB) to the Fòrum and pretend they’re in Seville at Barcelona’s version of La Fería de Abril. Snap pictures of women in rainbow-hued ruffled dresses, watch amateurs and professionals dance sevillanas, take in a Flamenco concert, and stuff yourself with tapas and other eats from Southern Spain (pescadito frito, anyone?). Don’t forget to loosen up with a few shots of Andalucia’s famous sherry, Fino. Just remember, Fino is … Read entire article »

Today in Unsurprising News: Guardiola to leave F.C. Barcelona

  Since part of living in Spain, and specifically in Barcelona is constant noise in the media and life in general about soccer (football to Brits), today’s big piece of local news is that Guardiola is leaving F.C. Barcelona. This little bit of breaking news is unsurprising at best, as while last year the Blaugrana boys had an amazing season, winning pretty much everything they could win, this year has been something of a wash. Which as far as human psychology goes, is to be expected. You have an amazing year, work hard to become a champion. The following year, maybe you don’t try so hard….after all, you’re already a champion. And theoretically, as the coach, it was … Read entire article »

50% off a Romantic Sant Jordi Dinner

Roses and books just not enough for your ” media naranja?” No problemo. Take your partner (your mom, or your best bud) out to dinner. At SantJordiTambeSopava.com (Saint George Had Dinner Too) you can make reservations at over thirty restaurants and recieve 50% off your meal. If like so many of us, Mondays just aren’t your day, and you don’t have time or energy for a romantic candelit soiree with your significant other or anyone else tonight, never fear, the deal lasts through Sunday the 29th. … Read entire article »

St. George: A Barcelona Holiday in Pictures

St. George: A Barcelona Holiday in Pictures

The best part of St. Jordi, aka, St. George’s day in Catalonia, is seeing the city full to the brim with books and flowers. The crowds are overwhelming, and their behavior most politely described as underwhelming at times, but the beautiful photo ops should’t be missed, even by the most cynical and anti-social among us.  So without further ado, here … Read entire article »

Not Just For Hippies: Earth Day in Barcelona

This weekend (April 21-22), you can participate in celebrations of La Mare Terra (Mother Earth in Catalan) in Barcelona‘s Ciutadella Park. At the “Fira per la Terra” (the festival/fair for Earth) you can hang out for a meal (paella, pasta, whatever) or browse artisan meats and cheese, arts and crafts or just stand around and gawk at all of the people milling about. Some other options are renting a little row boat, convening with the animals at the Zoo, or climbing the wooly mammoth statue for a photo op.  It’s really up to you. This is a great opportunity to snag artisan wares, but is definite “pass” if you’re interested spending your Earth Day “close to nature”. … Read entire article »

A Kindle for St. George

    In other St. Jordi-related news, Amazon has been campaigning the Kindle in Catalonia with special ads for Sant Jordi. Because you know, even an e-book is a book, right? Is it just us, or does that seem less romantic than a real book, even if at 99 euros, it’s far more expensive than your average hardback book. Besides, how will your lover get it signed by the author? That said, the kindle is a handy-dandy tool for travelers that like to read, and much lighter-weight than the two or three books you’ll need to read your way through an eight-hour Transatlantic flight… … Read entire article »

April 23rd, Catalonia is for Lovers: St. George’s Day, Books and Roses

April 23rd, Catalonia is for Lovers: St. George’s Day, Books and Roses

    Who needs my funny valentine?  St. George is almost here, rushing up on his white charger to save us from the dragon and shower everyone in books (sounds painful, doesn’t it?) and rose petals (relatively painless, after the books). April 23rd is St. George’s Day, known as Sant Jordi, in Catalan, and for the event, the city streets fill to the … Read entire article »

Barcelona Restaurant Week April 13-22, 2012: Bargain Prices for Amazing Eats

  This year 34 restaurants will be participating In the 3rd edition of Barcelona Restaurant Week, an initiative that offers reasonable fixed price menus, and donates 1 euro of every meal to two charities, the Spanish Heart Foundation and the ONCE Guide Dog Foundation. The menus will be available at lunch and dinner and will cost 25 euros per person (beverages and IVA not included) at top Barcelona restaurants including Alba Paris, Cent Onze, and Jardinets de Gràcia. The purpose of the event is two-fold: to fund-raise for the above mentioned charities, and to give people who otherwise might not to be able to afford it, the chance to dine in these expensive establishments, normally priced between 40 … Read entire article »

Happy Tax Day

To all you Americans out there (expats or otherwise), have a great day celebrating the fact that you were able to file and  pay your taxes, all by your loathsome, ahem, lonesome. If you haven’t paid yet, first of all, oops! and second, may we suggest you get online and get it done before tomorrow’s extended deadline of April 17th. Perhaps using a program like TurboTax or Taxact? In our case, not qualifying for the free version, we recommend TaxAct which is almost exactly half the price of Turbo tax to file federal and state taxes together. Residents reading this can celebrate twice, because they’re liable for taxes in both the U.S. AND Spain. And wonder … Read entire article »

Images and Opinions about Spain’s General Strike in Catalonia

  So some dorks seemed to think that by destroying anything and everything they could get their hands on they were making a political statement Thursday, March 29th during Spain’s huelga general (vaga general in Catalan) in Barcelona. Scaring off tourists and investors is great for the economy and unemployment! Oh well, extra props to Barcelona for being the main center of violent and destructive activity across the entire country and calling attention to our beautiful city as a safe place to visit (and possibly lose an eye), right before Europe’s sacred high-holiday season. Go Catalonia!  As is true in any country (foreign or otherwise) steering clear of protestors and keeping a low-profile during demonstrations and … Read entire article »

Vaga General/ Huelga General / General Strike in Barcelona

  Thursday the 29th of March, 2012, a general strike is planned in Barcelona. What does it mean for you? Maybe nothing, maybe some inconvenience and unpleasantries. During the last general strike in Barcelona there were some issues with public transportation, vandalism, and overturned trash containers. While the city didn’t feel particularly unsafe to us the last couple of times, the best policy is to be careful and extra aware, and avoid any demonstrations. … Read entire article »

Antiquaris: the 36th Annual Fair for Barceloneses who like “Old Stuff”

                                Starting Saturday March 24th, (through Sunday April 1st) make your way to Barcelona Fira in Montjuic for the Antiquaris Antique and Modern Art Fair. This yearly event highlights antiques, and a wide variety of art and artifacts (from archeological items to contemporary art). If you’re into old stuff (art, furniture, jewelry, whatever) this is the stuff that dreams are made of. This is a great place to check out beautiful things that the writers of Barcelona for Idiots can’t possibly afford, just remember, if you break it, you buy it.  Since you love art so much, why not check out MNAC (the National Museum of Catalan Art) or Fundació Joan Miró while you’re there. Come nightfall, there’s nothing … Read entire article »

Daylight Savings in Barcelona: Because Arbitrary Time Changes are Fun!

While in some other parts of the world ( the U.S., Canada) Daylight Savings has been observed since the second weekend in March, in Europe, the seasonal schedule change doesn’t happen until the last weekend in March. As in the U.S. and Canada, spring forward (one hour), so be prepared to lose an hour of your Saturday night sleep (might be a night to consider turning in a little bit earlier than usual, so as not to entirely lose the following Sunday). Whatever your perspectives are on this (in our opinion), no longer relevant custom, you’ll want to set your clocks ahead Saturday before you venture out into the Barcelona wilderness in search of cocktails. Trust us. … Read entire article »

Three Cheers for Green Beer: St. Patrick’s Day in Barcelona

You may not be aware of this, but the neither the Catalans nor the Spanish are particularly Irish. The Catalans may feel a certain kinship with the Irish for cultural/political issues (think Ireland v. Britain, Catalunya v. Spain), but that doesn’t translate to any noteworthy Barcelona St. Paddy’s celebration (no parades, or gigants in green). No matter. Barcelona is full of Irish Pubs, and if you insist on wearing silly green wigs and hats, pinching people who aren’t wearing green or throwing back a chilly pint of Guinness or Harp on March 17th, they’re the place to be. For Irish eats and drinks from 10am on, try Flaherty’s just of Les Rambles (Metro Drassanes). For … Read entire article »

Calçots! A Pre-Spring Ritual in Catalunya

One of the top signs that winter is on the way out in Barcelona and surrounding areas is the start of so many calçotada gatherings. Some people go to restaurants, still others opt for a more home-grown outdoor barbecue approach, but all are united by these tender green onions, the first of the season, grilled over an open fire and then dragged through salvitxada sauce before dropping them into your open mouth, whole. To make sure you don’t look like the odd-guiri (clueless foreigner)  out at your next calçotada, we decided to make our readers a  short video detailing how the locals eat calçots. Warning: This can be compared to chowing down on ribs or fried … Read entire article »

Fat Thursday and Carnival

Happy Fat Thursday! (Dijous gras in Catalan). So begins the short but festive Carnival season here in Barcelona with pa amb tomaquet (bread with tomato) and botifarra d’ou (cured botifarra sausage made richer by the addition of eggs), which will continue until the morning of Ash Wednesday next week. While Barcelona’s festivities aren’t nearly as famous as those in Brazil, or Spain’s Canary Islands. Welcome the Rei Carnestoltes (the traditional “Crack-pot” king of Catalonia’s Carnival festivities) tonight in Barcelona’s Born neighborhood, watch rues, or parades of costumed kids and adults in neighborhoods throughout Barcelona on Saturday (beware the crowds, eeh gads!) and attend the king’s funeral on Wednesday morning. For more grown-up dress-up fun, take the short trip … Read entire article »

Brrr….Barcelona, joper it’s cold, fa fret, tenemos frio!

Ha, so you thought you could come live in the Mediterranean and be free of all that nasty winter weather you despise at home, or wherever you lived before coming to BCN, did you? Jokes on you, and everyone else. Okay, so maybe it’s not Northern Lights weather, but these last two weeks in Barna, staff-members have been driven to wearing silly ear-flap hats, scarves, hoods, gloves and woolen socks and coats. So maybe scarves are par for the course (the Barcelona for Idiots staff being a fashionable lot), but the ear-flap hats, gloves, and woolen items are usually not necessary. One of our writers, hailing from the American midwest, insisted on wearing a light-weight … Read entire article »

Where to Celebrate Thanksgiving in Barcelona

Something funny(ish) to break the ice: Joey’s Thanksgiving Pants Well, first of all, in case you haven’t noticed, Thanksgiving isn’t a holiday in Barcelona, Catalonia, or Spain. That said, if you’re an American or Canadian, you’ll probably long for a cozy gathering around a table overflowing with scrumptious fall foods before too long. Because even if you’re ridiculously, completely in love with your existence in Barcelona, sometimes you long for a taste of home (after all, you’re only human). It goes without saying that if you want an overpriced (30 euro-ish) mediocre  and crowded Thanksgiving meal you can head to the Hard Rock Cafe, or Fosters. Of course you’ll wait in line so long you may forget about … Read entire article »

The Much Promised Photos of La Mercè

So Barcelona’s biggest party has been over for more than a week…so sue us. But hey, there’s always next year. Here are some pictures to give you something to look forward to next September when Barcelona spends millions of euros of fireworks.  Which considering the economic times we live in isn’t so smart. Especially not when they’re literally burning millions at the same time as they cut the salary of our already abysmally paid medical professionals. Don’t get us wrong, we love fireworks and free events, but we love having qualified doctors more…. … Read entire article »

Planeo and Groupon: Even Idiots like to Save…

Residents and visitors alike should check out Barcelona deals via Groupon.es, and Planeo.com. In case you’re not familiar with these programs, here’s how they work: You register and give them your email. They send you daily dails in the Barcelona area (f.y.i. Groupon has deals in other cities worldwide, and Planeo has deals throughout Spain, Chile and Portugal). Most deals are between 50% and 70% off the list price. For example, today’s Groupon deal is 119€ instead of 272€ for 2 nights at a luxurious casa rural (country house) hotel in Andorra. Planeo offers up a laser facial at 75% percent off, for a mere 9€. Deals range from cheaper meals at restaurants to laser hair-removal … Read entire article »

Barcelona’s Biggest Party….La Mercè

This year Barcelona’s city government is partnering with Saint Petersburg to present locals and visitors alike with 4 days of festivities in celebration of its patron saint, la Mercè, a virgin said to have saved the city in times of need (plague, etc). Interestingly enough, La Mercé replaced a prior patron saint (another virgin), la Eulàia, a young, Joan-of-Arc-ish character that stood up for her religion and her city and was martyred. So it goes…in with the new (saints)…..out with the young? At any rate, the festival has very little religious flavor these days, and is instead a 4 day festival of free events in Barcelona. Think live music, theatre, dance, free admission to museums (MNAC, … Read entire article »

Our Top 5 Barcelona Picnic Destinations

Skip expensive lunches near tourist traps. Stop by a local Barcelona market (La Boqueria, el Mercat de San Antoni) or supermarket (see this post on how to feed yourself without a waiter in Barcelona) and pack a picnic lunch, or if you’re feeling particularly lazy, buy sandwiches or a salad from a local bakery (forn de pa in Catalan). Once you’ve got your meal on the go assembled, grab public transport to one of the Barcelona picnic destinations listed below: 1) Parc Guell figures among Gaudi’s many Barcelona masterpieces. Snap shots of the fam with Gaudi’s dragon, and frolic in the fairy-tale-esque grounds of what was to be the famous architect’s premier housing project. 2) El Parc de … Read entire article »

August in Barcelona…Festes Majors for Everyone

In case you weren’t aware, Barcelona is in the late stages of early August evacuation wherein, local yokels with any spare cash whatsoever flee to as far-far away as possible. Far from empty, the city fills to overflowing with tourists from across the globe, who mix with the few disgruntled residents forced to stay behind and work, holding down the fort for BCN’s tourist trade. Here at Barcelona for Idiots, we’re among that group, as we feel like skipping posts altogether in a busy tourism month like August would be a waste. Besides all of the typically touristy stuff out-of-towners love to do in Barcelona (think Guadi, tapas and cava), August is the main month for Barcelona’s … Read entire article »

Greek in Barcelona

No, we’re not talking about food, or people, we’re talking about Barcelona’s Grec (Greek) Festival, ongoing until the very end of July (the 31st, if you must have a numbered date). And interestingly enough, the Grec Festival has nothing to do with Greek culture. The thirty-something festival (young by European standards) is a celebration of all things theatric, with live theatre, dance, music, circus and other stage arts and is named for the place where the opening sessions take place, s Teatre Grec. Check out the calendar of events here. Who knows, there might be something that catches your fancy. Coming up this weekend, July 15-17, speakers of can enjoy a translated production of ‘s … Read entire article »

Our Favorite Barcelona Language Tool….

TENS CATALÀ?? I LA LLET? Nosaltres la preferim amb cafè Fascinated by Barcelona’s multi-lingual society, but only able to scrape by with your English and some limited Spanish? Clueless about what words and street signs in Catalan mean or just interested in peppering your speech with some authentic Barcelona vocabulary? We recommend the free translation services at SoftCatalà.org. Using SoftCatalà’s online translator, you can translate text to and from Catalán and a multitude of languages including Spanish, English, French and Portugese *disclaimer, everything but Catalán-Spanish, Spanish-Catalán is in the testing stages*, but hey it’s free, and it’s a general idea or gist translation, which is way better than nothing, no clue, nada (in Catalan, res). If you’d … Read entire article »

DEPT. – Navegant pel món (Navigating the World)

YouTube – DEPT. – Navegant pel món. “”, is the first single from “”, the sixth cd by the Catalan band Dept. Fortunately for this group of of musicians from Manresa (about an hour away from Barcelona proper via train) the beautiful lyrics and catchy melody make their somewhat mediocre music video worth sitting through. We especially enjoy lyrics like the following: Vull conèixer tots els grans secrets que amaguen llocs i tanta gent, percebre les olors d’ambient i sentir el vent empènyer una mica més les ganes de seguir creixent, voltant, obrint la ment. Loose Translation (things are always lost in translation): I want to know all the great secrets that so many places and people hide perceive the scents of the environment and feel … Read entire article »

E.coli Update: Spain is not to blame (but is understandably angry)

So it turns out that Germany was engaging in some very irresponsible (not to mention expensive) finger-pointing and the deadly E.coli breakfout in the Hamburg area was not caused by Spanish cucumbers (to think we avoided them for almost a week, and with them our beloved Greek salad) and was in fact caused by soybean sprouts, one of most contaminated and riskiest foods (along with lemon slices, who knew) to eat in a restaurant. So it happens that Spain is demanding financial reimbursement for the damage done by Germany, and the European Union, while it recognizes Germany’s behavior as reproachable, is not currently forcing the issue. In the meantime, green-grocers (a green-grocery is a fruit and … Read entire article »

Reflecting On a “Curiós” Life…Catalan Group Gertrudis

  This quirky Catalan group from La Garriga (in Barcelona Province, a short train ride from the city proper) specializes in Rumba Catalana mixed with elements of world music like reggae and cumbia. After a brief moment of doubt about the gender of the lead singer at the beginning of the video for “Curiós”, he began to grow on us. In the end, despite his awful haircut, he’s strangely attractive in a geeky way and while it sounds silly (even to us, and we’re thinking it), when he lifts one eyebrow and looks directly into the camera, it’s surprisingly sensual.  After brief introductory shots of Gertrudis hanging out in what appears to be Plaza Catalunya, , the video … Read entire article »

Carmen–A Spanish Classic by Way of France

So Flamenco isn’t a Barcelona thing, we know, and you should know, but if you live here, or just don’t have time to get to Andalusia during your Barcelona vacation, there are some options available. Currently playing at Barcelona’s Teatre Victoria, this classic story of the gypsy Carmen, and the mess she made of her life and that of those around her,  arrived in Spain by way of France. It was first published as a novel by Prosper Mérimée and later made into an opera by Georges Bizet. While the opera was a flop during Bizet’s lifetime, it later became a critical and commercial success. And it’s not surprising, really. Who can resist a the story of … Read entire article »

Spanish Cucumbers (in Germany) and E. coli…

Spanish Cucumbers (in Germany) and E. coli…

We hate to jump on the alarmist band-wagon but while we respect the Spanish government’s defense of Spanish farming practices and agricultural products, we’ll skip cucumbers for a few days until this whole E.coli scare in Europe calms down (just in case, 14 deaths shouldn’t just be ignored). In case you’re not up to the moment on breaking news this week, … Read entire article »

And still more….Fútbol

If you’re in Barcelona tonight, May 28th, 2011, you may have heard the colossal ruckus beginning around 8.45pm and continuing now, even after the game (match if you’re British) is over. Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock during your time here in Barcelona, you know that said ruckus has something to do with Barcelona’s professional soccer team, F.C. Barcelona’s battle to the death with English team Manchester United. Screaming and yelling “gol” and so on is par for the course whenever Barça plays in town, but for big games like tonight’s Champion final, in some neighborhoods streets are cut off and large television screens are set up in the streets for residents to watch. … Read entire article »

Primavera Sound – Spring Music in Barcelona

  Featured above: Sufjan Stevens, the great musical mind that brought us “The Upper Peninsula” with an improptu rendition of his heartbreaking song “For the Widows in Paradise” seated outdoors somewhere (we vote America, definitely not Barcelona or any part of the Mediterranean we would recognize) with his banjo to accompany him.  It’s finally that time of year again–temperatures (and hemlines) are rising, and terraces are full and overflowing into what little walkway is left for pedestrians. Barcelona residents and visitors are ready for Barcelona’s biggest Spring music festival, Primavera Sound. With a series of concerts in Barcelona city, Poble Espanyol and El Parc del Forum from May 13 through May 29th, the festival has independent and alternative … Read entire article »

Primavera Sound–Spring Music in BCN

It’s finally that time of year again–temperatures (and hemlines) are rising, and terraces are full and overflowing into what little walkway is left for pedestrians, and Barcelona residents and visitors are ready for Barcelona’s biggest Spring music festival, Primavera Sound. With a series of concerts running in Barcelona city, Poble Espanyol and El Parc del Forum from May 13 through May 29th, the festival has independent and alternative artists for a wide variety of musical tastes. We’re sorry you missed last night’s Echo and the Bunnymen (it’s our fault for not posting sooner) but we highly recommend catching the tramvia to Parc del Fòrum tonight (Thursday the 26th of May) and catching fun artists like … Read entire article »

Maybe BCN’s Best Gelato: La Cremeria Toscana

Now that Barcelona’s weather gauge is set to hot and sunny, it’s a good time to introduce you newbies and visitors out there to our favorite ice-cream joint in Barcelona. When in Barcelona it’s in your best interest to skip the pricey pre-packaged frozen treats that the street vendors hawk in favor of creamy Italian-style gelatos made on site in local ice-cream shops. And forget about large international chains like Häagen Dazs, Ben and Jerry, Dino, and Farggi. By far our favorite in Barcelona is La Cremería Toscana in Barcelona’s Eixample neighborhood (Metro Hospital Clinic). The price tag is a little high (no higher than any of the pricey chains), but the wide variety of … Read entire article »