Saturday, May 21, 2011

Lovely Rita

Altar of Santa Rita - Barcelona Sights Blog The Barcelonans certainly love their saints, or at least the traditions. By now you should know about Santa Eulalia and how the locals like to celebrate her life and memory. Another less well known saint is revered this month, too, in a little corner of Raval.

22nd May is the feast day of Santa Rita, who is the patron Saint of lost causes. Her altar in Sant Agusti church is consistantly the most visited and decorated. However on the morning of the 22nd, it is traditional for locals to go to her altar and have their roses blessed on this day. Queues of people form all around the plaça outside to much confusion of the tourists passing by. It's a nice tradition and shows the faith of the few who still believe in the power of prayer.

Saint Rita's Prayer - Barcelona Sights Blog

The church is very central, just off Calle Hospital and is the starting point for many of the processions during the year, such as the Easter parades, so if you're close by, pop along and have a look.

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Sunday, May 15, 2011

Primavera Sound 2011

You know when it's about time for Summer and Festivals galore when Primavera Sound creeps up on you and all of a sudden it's the end of May and the start of party-time. Into it's 11th year (making me feel very old, as I can remember the first), Primavera has cemented itself into a must-attend event, happily co-inciding with the end of finals exams for many, beginning of a new era, and excuse for a bloody good party under the sun and in front of the Med.

This year the San Miguel sponsored event makes the white elephant that is the Forum transform once more as hundreds of acts perform in various places around the city as well as the 8 main stages. Some might say the line-ups are never quite billboard fillers, but I'd disagree and think they've got the mix just right. Vintage classics such as Belle and Sebastian play this year as well as a reunion of Jarvis Cocker and his Pulp pals after an eleven year absence. PJ Harvey, Mogwai and Phosphorescent are more names you might recognise but sometimes it's those tyou don't that make Primavera sound what it is. Explore those dance tents and names you don't recognise - as with most Festivals, it's trying to squeeze it all in which is the main problem!!

Primavera Sound is taking place over 3 days, from the 26th to 28th May, with many parties and pre-shows filling the Barcelona clubs before that, so keep your eyes peeled, check the web for full listings of the concerts and gigs around the city, in Poble Espanyol and at Forum Parc, or follow them on twitter to keep up with the news...

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Tuesday, May 10, 2011

A Darker Look at Barcelona Museums

Barcelona has got some pretty cool museums. Who can't be impressed by a museum dedicated to Chocolate?! Picasso, Maritime, History, Textiles, Anthropology, Modern Art, Magic, Erotic - you name it, and you can be almost sure you'll find it in Barcelona. Finding the time is another kettle of fish altogether. Many of the city's museums are free on Sundays, or the first Sunday of the month - although this month, the first Sunday was "worker's day" so not all were open. However, fear not! "The Night of Museums" comes to the rescue.

Barcelona Museum Night - Barcelona Sights

The Macba has held previous summer sessions at night during the summer, but as far as I know this is the most complete list of Museums that will be open next Saturday 14th May from 7pm till 1am free of charge. Imagine the Fundacio Joan Miro at night?! Pretty cool, right?! There's absolutely no excuse to nip into one of those you've always wondered about but never managed to get to - or those which you've never quite been sure it'll be worth the entrance fee for you personally. See the link on the official site above for a full list, and let me know if you're looking forward to anything in particular in the comments!!

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Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Arrests & Disturbance After Final Pass

It seems that Football reared its ugly head off the pitch as well as on the pitch with the culmination of the Barcelona victory and ticket into the final of the Champions League at Wembley. In what is seemingly becoming normal procedure, a small minority began throwing flares at the press who were camped in the Hotel Lloret on las ramblas to film the celebrations. Bottles and cans were thrown and the riot police duly charged and dispersed the crowds to avoid any serious damage being done as in previous years.

Football Arrests in Barcelona - Barcelona Sights

Latest reports a show almost 30 people injured (including police) and more than 20 arrests. I know that it's often not even the real football fans that cause these kind of problems, rather the anti-system anarchists and those people just joining in the crowds to use an excuse to vandalize, although there were a fair few news reports with the Boix Nois heavily featured, so you just never know. Good job they won!!

Either way, congratulations to Barcelona, and let's hope for a much better final in Wembley on 28th, and that Canaletes and Las Ramblas braces itself once more for the riot police skirmish!

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Random Warning Posters Spotted

One of the biggest problems in citizen surveys that are published in the press over the years has been security on the streets of Barcelona. Percentages suggest that we're no better off now than the previous years despite clean up operations tackling different areas and degrees of security. I've blogged before on here about many of Barcelona's scams and unfortunately none of these seem to be disappearing.

Warning Poster Old town - Barcelona sights Blog So I know the changing face of graffiti and street art in Barcelona evolves quickly - like scrawls to real art and then the stencils-style, but I've been seeing an increasing amount of fly-postering recently, and thought I'd share this one. This was spotted on a typical Barcelona old town street not one which I would consider to be a particularly high crime area, but guess there'll be more out and about too. Good on whoever is doing this (I could see no means of tracing or identifying the authors) - it's direct, but not shock tactics. Click the picture for a bigger image, but the caption at the bottom says "Look back, there's a pickpocket behind you". Anyone else seen anything similar ? I know these usually crop up in more than one. Let me know in the comments (or take a pic on your phone or whatever).

The Sun is back shining after last night's storm, and May is a great month to visit the Catalan Capital. If you're thinking of coming, why not try a Barcelona apartment as a change from a hotel? And for a quick look at the city sights, see this guide to Barcelona.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Last "Classico" tonight - Job Done?

Tonight sees the second leg semi-final of the Champions League between FC Barcelona and Real Madrid. After last week's poor advert for what is generally a great sporting event, Barça came out on top after a pretty soft explusion for Real and that man Messi wowed us all with two pieces of individual skill.

Champions League Trophy - Barcelona Sights Blog

As usual, "El Traductor" Jose Mourinho had plenty to complain about when teams were finally allowed out of the dressing rooms after being held back by UEFA representatives at the Bernabau last week to calm things down. Jose's such a bad loser, and blamed almost everyone including UNICEF (Barca shirt sponsor) and every referee that has given a decision against a team he has managed. With the 2-0 advantage, it's looking pretty much like job done, but you never can tell in football, can you? Real certainly have strength in depth and I certainly wouldn't be taking things lightly knowing Kaka is likely to start, despite the suspensions that Madrid are having to deal with.

Barça are taking no chances, and (obviously) have been very calm "job not done yet" kind of comments all week and after last week's win. And they will be wanting to make the atmosphere count as that 13th man, too, tonight in Camp Nou. Each seat will have people posters to make the Catalan and Barça flag, and there will be 1500 brave Madrid fans who will be taking their seats - presumably alongside Jose Mourinho who was sent to the stands last game and misses this one, too - in the stands to cheer on their team.

I'll be hoping for a proper game, a lot less scrappy than last week, and I really think it could go one of two ways. Mourinho won't want to be carved open on the counter so won't go all out attacking, but then again they need to score at least 2 goals to have options in the game which is no mean feat away from home. I think he might just try and stifle the game and play too defensively and rely on the odd set piece to try and get the gaols. However, I hope I'm wrong, and he throws caution to the wind!! We'll have to see.

By the way, if you're looking for somewhere special to watch the match, you can choose from one of the city's finest terraces to watch the match if you like. Don't think it'll be raining looking at the skies today!

Coming to Barcelona this month to watch the football and climax of the season? Check out these Barcelona apartments for a great deal on accommodation. And if you need to know the need to know, check out this guide to Barcelona.
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