Wednesday, October 20, 2010

BCN To Hold World Architecture Festival

If you're not too overwhelmed with the Pope's visit to Barcelona and the Sagrada Familia next month, then you might be interested to hear that Barcelona has been chosen to host this year's World Architectural Festival. With a host of impressive building's itself and proud of it's 9 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, Barcelona would be an obvious choice.

New Camp Nou - Barcelona Sights blogOver 1000 architects from 80 countries will be attending to crown what the average Joe would call the coolest building of the year award, I suppose! A massive judging panel will decide on the best building over many different categories (it's not as simple as I'm making out), meaning essentially many winners. The panel is comprised of most of the top names in architectural offices around the world including Sir Norman Foster, responsible for the communications tower in Barcelona, and also the planned transformation of FC Barcelona's Camp Nou stadium, too.

And what better backdrop than the sprawling Metropolis that is Barcelona? The city is an amazing example of gentrification and transformation of urban planning. So much so, in fact, that The Royal Institute of British Architects awarded its Gold Medal to the entire city of Barcelona instead of an individual in 1999. Sir Richard Rogers is also heading an “Urban Task Force” which is said to provide “Barcelonization” of 10 British cities, including Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, amongst others. To this note, one of the keynote speeches of the festival is Josep Acebillo's "Transformation of Barcelona".

The Festival is to be held from the 5th to 9th November, and tickets are still available. If you're looking for accommodation in Barcelona during the conference, then check out BCN Rentals website.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Guest Post - My Favourite 3 English Pubs in Barcelona

English and Irish pubs are popular all over the world with traditional ales and stout on sale, and it is no different in Barcelona. With a large ex-pat population, the city has a host of 'traditional' English pubs that are popular with locals and tourists alike. Below are three of the best in the city:

Cold Brews in Barcelona  - Barcelona Sights blogThe George and the Dragon - When it opened in 1998, The George and the Dragon was one of the first English pubs in the city. Bringing together the best of England and Catalonia (of which Sir George is also patron saint), the pub sells traditional English cuisine such as fish and chips, as well as lager and ales. It is also a sports bar with two large TVs showing the latest football games and results. Extremely popular with locals due to its location in the heart of the city, this is a great pub for expats.

The Queen Vic - Situated just off Las Ramblas, The Queen Vic is a traditional English pub that has everything you'd expect – popular lagers such as Heineken, Strongbow and Stella and large TVs for the footie! The Queen Vic describes itself as the only pub in the city to have access to every single Premiership game and thus is extremely popular with visiting Brits and the ex-pat population. The bar also caters for stag and hen parties and, should you need it, has free Wi-Fi.

The Black Horse English Pub - Found in the Ribera district of Barcelona, The Black Horse English Pub is distinctive due to its exterior – a traditional 16th century building. As such, the pub exudes a form of authenticity that many British pubs do, making many visiting tourists feel immediately at home. As it is quite close to the Picasso Museum, you can often find the pub packed with tourists enjoying a pint after viewing the local culture.

Guest blog by Paul Symonds - Paul is involved with Barcelona Travel and Car rentals in Spain.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Star Wars at El Corte Inglés - Photo Update!

The best

As I mentioned the other day, Plaça Catalunya's El Corte Ingles Department store has dedicated part of their 8th floor to celebrate the 30th Anniversary of the Original Star Wars Trilogy. I actually went last weekend but ill health has prevented me from updating (first the kids then mine!). Obviously I wasn't sure what it was going to be like, so the pics here are from phone cameras and therefore not of the highest quality, and most of the stuff on exhibition is in perspex cases with spotlights, which doesn't really favour a decent photo, either...but it's just a taste, too!

Inside the Falcon - Barcelona Sights blog

There is some really good stuff on display apart from the collecter-style scale models in fighting poses, etc. - signed posters, an amazing set of the complete original Hasbro action figures (which must be worth a fortune), many toys in their original boxes, and a couple of life-size storm troopers on a speed bike with yoda to keep the kids happy. Some interesting chunks of history as well such as the unbelievable demand for toys that the manufacturers in the 70s and 80s were not prepared for and their ways around this, and how the genre has even crossed over into other fantasy worlds (like Mickey Mouse!) for example.

Mickey Kenobi and Minnie Leia ? Barcelona Sights Blog

The various films are on a loop around the store and of course there's plenty of merchandise, lego, t-shirts and models to buy.

Speed Bike Model - There's also a life-size one - Barcelona Sights

If you're in the centre of town, it's well worth a 10-minute trip if you're with kids (mine loved it), or if you were born in the 70s ;o) like me!

Ever wondered what's under the mask??

Vader Unmasked - Barcelona Sights Blog

Finishing touches for one of the best baddies of all time...

Vader Helmet - Barcelona Sights

Newer Baddie Robots just don't have the same effect, right?!

Star Wars Bust - Barcelona Sights blog

Every kid's dream - Red leader anyone?!

X-Wing Model - Barcelona Sights Blog

I took loads of photos, but you should really head on down yourselves for a look, it's free, central and on until the 6th November.

Coming to Barcelona soon? BCN Rentals has some great deals on accommodation and also a very digestible Barcelona Guide.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Fancy Partying this Weekend?

Well, it's looking like the rain is coming this weekend, guys, like it or not. It's held out so far all week, but looks like there's no stopping it this weekend - I hope I'm wrong of course! So with the "official end" of the great weather and the official end of the great parties we're left to ponder the Autumn and wait for "La Castanyera". Well guys, it's not all doom and gloom! This weekend sees the return of one of the best club nights in Barcelona (it's moved around a bit and changed names once) - Discotheque.

Discotheque Barcelona - Barcelona Sights Blog

The locals and holiday party-goers have been wowed by the Discotheque crowd since 1997, and it was one of the best clubs in the city when it was located in Poble Espanyol up on Montjuic. Sister club La Terrazzza entertains the crowds in summer (when the neighbours don't complain), but Discotheque moved downtown and is currently housed in Calle Tarragona, 141 - the old Space venue. Confused yet? Don't be. Just know that if you're looking for a great night out, get your glad rags on and head down to Discotheque. There's a great VIP section, but for the rest of us mid-crisis, we can just do with the normal bar at the top of your picture, thanks!

Coming to Barcelona soon? Check out apartments in Barcelona for groups to save some money on booking a couple of hotel rooms.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Star Wars Extravaganza at Corte Ingles.

Now, forgive me for a bit of indulgance. I was born in 1977, so clearly have had a Star Wars childhood. Yes, I've gone through marathon box sets at university and even tried to convince myself that Episode I was good when it first came out by seeing it in New York City before it had reached UK (obviously not the sole purpose of my visit, just a happy co-incidence).

My little boy is also into Star Wars. Obviously me sitting him in front of the TV every Christmas from the ages of 0 to 4 (he's 4) telling him "Watch this bit son, it's class" has nothing to do with it, but there you go. I even took him to see a small collection of dressed up storm troopers and darth vader at the Sagrada Familia when he was 2 to celebrate the 30th Anniversary of Star Wars.

Star Wars Parade in 2007 - Barcelona Sights

It was allegedly "for the kids" but was nigh on impossible to get my lad near, and at best I got a few photos out (see above). People as old as me (and older) pushing their way through the young-uns to get a good view!

So imagine my surprise when I discovered that El Corte Ingles has dedicated almost all of the 8th floor to a Star Wars exhibition!! It's open at the moment at running until the 6th November, so I shall certainly be heading down with the kids (great excuse) shortly and will report back!! Hahahaha!!

Barcelona Rentals offer a great solution to your accommodation needs. And for a quick look at the city sights, check out their Barcelona Guide.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Sitges Film Festival 2010

Sitges Film Festival 2010 - Barcelona Sights For those lovers of horror flicks, this time of year brings a wry smile with the 43rd 2010 Sitges Film Festival just around the corner. Yes, the sleepy town of Sitges - a 20 minute train ride from Barcelona - transforms itself once again from Thursday 7th to Sunday the 17th October in an authentic Zombie Fest. Literally! Once again, this Saturday sees the "Zombie Walk" parading through the town streets and even a free make up session from 14:00 onwards - not sure what you'll be doing from then until the start at 20:30, but there you go! My brother in law had some pretty impressive photos on his Facebook page last year, so if you're up for it I can recommend!

The festival always screens some classic movies with this year not disappointing, and there are some local films in Catalan and Spanish as well as many other languages and genres from hammer to gore, from zombie to faux-reality. There's a pretty damn fine line-up and no way I could start catering for all tastes, so if you want the full list of screenings, check out here. This year also co-incides with the 30th anniversary of The Shining, and the clever trailer for this year's festival uses Stanley Kubrick's classic image of the tricycle boy haunting a night nurse with the theme "The cinema you see in Sitges stays with you forever". Clever stuff.

And there's no worries about getting there and back with RENFE putting on special trains coming back into Barcelona at 1:30am, as well as Night buses. So no excuse! Are you thinking of heading down to the town of terror this year? Let me know in the comments! And if you're looking for accommodation this Autumn, check out BCN Rentals for a selection of apartments. Stuck for ways to fill your day? Check out this Barcelona guide for some tips!

Friday, October 1, 2010

New Club in Town - Sunlife BCN

Sunlife Coming Your Way - Barcelona Sights Blog
Is it just me, or have you also noticed a fair few pink posters out and about for the "new era" of clubbing which is "comming" to Barcelona tomorrow night? (no, that's not my typo, check the poster). Yes, Sunlife BCN is coming to town at The One Club. Don't bother clicking either link, as both websites are in the early stages of development and have zero information at the moment (OK, sorry, contact details, VIP, etc.).

Well judging by the location up in Poble Español on Montjüic, it's far enough away to be able to be loud enough to be a good club (just read that again if it sounded gobbldygook), and judging by past clubbing ventures there (ok, not tres torres, the other ones) it should be a great night. I'm pretty sure I know which "local" they're using, as I had a Christmas Party there about ten years ago as a teacher (we then went to Discotheque).

So it's all very hush-hush, and I also say, unlike Matinee group, I have never heard of Bsideworld the organisers (but that doesn't mean to say they don't know what they're doing by any stretch of the imagination). Entrance is free until 1:30am and there are VIP numbers you can call. However, I'd be interested to know the hype or security on this place - we attended the opening night of a club down on Parallel years ago (sorry, can't remember the name) and really had to battle with the door guys to get in - my wife worked for the company who supplied the beer, so we all got in only to be the only people in there almost the whole night...???!! (why bother, right?!)

Sooooooooooo.....anyone heard the buzz about this place, or thinking of heading on down ? Let me know!! Or if this turns up in your internet browser and it's been and gone, then let me know how things went!! And of course if the organisers get a whiff of this, you can always save me a VIP table for myself and a few friends...?! ;o)

Coming to Catalan Capital to party? Well, check out the savings that apartments in Barcelona can offer instead of a hotel room.

Barcelona Air Show - Festa del Cel

It seems like we're just getting over the festivities of another great Merçe show, and then there's another excuse to get out and about and enjoy the fresh air. One such reason is the Festa Major of Las Ramblas, taking place from the 1st to 10th October with even more giant parades and human castles so if you missed them, head on down this weekend. With Las Ramblas trying its best to gain UNESCO World heritage status, they're sure to put on a great show.Full details of the programme here (pdf).

Festa del Cel - Barcelona Sights

Another great reason to head outside is to nip down to the Barcelona beach front and hope for some clear skies. No, I'm not suggesting you go for a dip in the Med, but look to the sky as this weekend celebrates the jaw-dropping "Festa del Cel". Air shows have always wowed me, and despite craning my neck for hours on end as a lad, Who didn't want to be a pilot of the Red Arrows, or Tom Cruise in Top Gun (even if half of us almost puke with a slight bit of turbulence on an EasyJet flight!) ?!

Well, this year's show doesn't look like it will disappoint. With over 31 different performers from around Europe and the world, there's even going to be an appearance by a Lufthansa Airbus 380 (currently the biggest passenger jet) on Saturday at 2pm. Parachute jumpers, and Wacky Races Style planes painting a canvas of smoke streams across the canvas of the Barcelona Sky. Obviously the best places to see certain attractions are close to the Olympic Village beaches, but I remember last year being over at Maremagnum when the Red Bull Air show was on, and seeing many of the planes coming in from El Prat Airport or returning to Sabadell and apart from maybe the angle of whatever some planes were supposedly writing, it was still great to see.

If you're looking for accommodation for this coming autumn, then check out these rental apartments in Barcelona from BCN Rentals as a great way to save some cash between friends.
Follow Me on Twitter