Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Strange BBC Short Documentary ?

Last week I came across a strange BBC News clip that left me thinking a lot. Whilst celebrating the triumph of Barcelona as a tourist destination, marvelling at the architecture and art in both Gaudi and Picasso and revealing startling statistics such as the fact that 80,000 tourists arrive in the Catalan Capital per day, the main mini-documentary wasn't congratulating a city whose mother country is firmly established as one of the PIIGS - oh, no, it's that Barcelona as a tourist destination is becoming crowded. In fact, the tourists are "spoiling" Barcelona.

BBC News Documentary - Barcelona Sights Blog

If you've got 9 minutes to spare, go and watch the video on that link above. you might see where I'm coming from (Auntie doesn't let you embed their videos). Go on, I'll wait.

One in ten residents works in tourism-related job and in 2011 Barcelona hosted more conferences than any other city in Europe (and has been granted the World mobile Congress again until 2018). However, it's the locals who complain about the abundance of ice cream stalls after the council closed down the bird sellers and allowed them to open up the ice cream stalls right on las ramblas.

I tire of reading polls in the paper of the citizen's main concerns over safety in the city (after unemployment, usually) or stories of robberies and pickpockets but whilst the law remains the same, the problem will not go away. Surely the politicians should be addressing this kind of problem before building new marinas for luxury yachts.

The video has so many talking points, from losing identity -despite having the most ethnic and diverse neighbourhood in the whole of Catalonia to the simple opinion of "if you don't like the heat, get out of the kitchen...but it's my kitchen" kind of attitude.

What do you think? I'm not completely opposed to everything the video has to offer, and I think this is a platform for discussion, so would love to hear your comments.

Thinking of joining the crowds this summer? why not rent your own Barcelona apartment instead of opting for a hotel room ?

Gracia Festival Photo Review

OK, OK, I know I'm a bit late to be posting about a been-and-gone festival, but hey, Gracia Festival is one of the best in the city. When I first moved to Barcelona, I lived in Gracia for a few weeks whilst flat-hunting, and it's a great neighbourhood which stil retains the small-town feel. The festival is unlike many of the city's other offerings as lots of streets are permanently closed off to traffic and they are decorated, like caves from entrance to exit with different themes. Prizes are given each year to the best-decorated streets, and whilst it would be impossible to give you a full run-down of the amazing designs and efforts that go into the preparations, I thought it'd be fun to show you a few snaps.

I went down with my family (you'll spot them in a few pics) and purposely chose a day which would be fairly quiet to try and show the decorations, rather than the hundreds of people that gather both day and night. Each street has it's own typical meals - huge paellas, sardines on the bbq, and many meats and other typical catalan dishes.

This year, some of the best streets were the Peter Pan tribute (deserved winner), Magic Street, Coffee theme, kids themes such as Spongebob and Jungle Book, sea theme with pirates and mermaids, and even a tribute to the Beatles' Yellow Submarine. Many streets had kids paddling pools out for the heat, and the Alien/space street had great water features like valcanoes and a fountain.

Ingenious inventions with plastic bottles into laterns...

Recycled Lights - Barcelona Sights Blog

Alegria Stage - Barcelona Sights

Light Balloons on Barcelona Sights

Check out the steam!!

Coffee pot with Steam coming out! Barcelona Sights

He lives in a Pineapple under the sea - Barcelona Sights Blog

Ornate Entrances and exits in the streets - Barcelona Sights

Under the Sea - Barcelona Sights

Many decorations use recyclable materials...

Plastic Fish and weeds - Barcelona Sights

Grilled Sardines on the barbeque...mmmmmmmmmm

Grilled Sardines - Barcelona Sights Blog

Little Mermaids ? Barcelona Sights

The Jungle Book Tribute Street...

The Family Outside Jungle Book - Barcelona Sights blog

Jungle Calle - Barcelona Sights

My kids trying to steal King Louie's banana...

King of the Swingers - Barcelona Sights blog

Worthy Winners - Barcelona Sights

great silhouettes of Peter Pan, Wendy & Michael flying through the streets

Barcelona sights - Peter Pan tribute

...with Tinkerbell in the tree!!

who's that hiding in the tree? Barcelona Sights

London Bus Front in Carrer Tordera...

Gracia Festival - Barcelona Sights Blog

The Yellow Submarine!!

We all live in a yellow submarine - Barcelona sights Blog

Did you go the the festival this year? Let me know your comments!! For a quick look at the other city sights, check out this Barcelona Guide. And for some great options on accommodation, check out BCN Rentals apartments.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Calls of a Fix for Last Night at Sala Montjuic

As regular readers will know, tomorrow night is the last night for Sala Montjuïc which is the fantastic cinema under the stars up at the castle. It's a great way to see some fantastic films (after a quick short film) and as tradition, the last night - tomorrow night - is always left open to a vote.

So this year's options were The Dark Knight, Inception and Insomnia. Two great films and one of Al Pacino's to forget, to be fair. Now, according to the website there has been a prety clear winner with 42% of the votes with Christopher Nolan's Batman sequel the Dark Knight the winner. However, I'm hearing rumors of a bit of rigging going on with the votes as you can see from the following video (give it a few seconds):

If Partridge is having trouble, how the hell are the rest of us supposed to vote properly as well ?! I mean, please?!

Circuit Comes to Town

I'm a big fan of Matinee group. They organise some of the best parties in and around the city of Barcelona, and although maybe some of the best ones have been and gone, they're still a sure bet for a great time.

So, once again it's time for the biggest Gay and Lesbian Festival to hit town (and round about) - Circuit. The pre-party kicks off tonight and there are events which run right up until 14th August which is next Sunday. There are many spaces and locations used all around Barcelona and Sitges, including Razzmatazz, and beach parties at Atlantida as well as the hugely popular Illa Fantasia for the Water Park party and the beach at San Adria.

It looks like this year won't be featuring the bear party from last year and strictly the girls and the boys. The girls have chosen Atic for their main event, but will also be joining many of the joint events. The great thing about Circuit is that they also organise day events from art exhibitions, Aids awareness, cinema and fashion to raise funds for needy causes - this year it's "Protect" which helps prtect children against sexual exploitation. It's all to be applauded in my opinion and very well organised. Are you planning on attending this year? Let me know in the comments!

And if you're looking for a last minute august break to the city, check out BCN Rentals for your accommodation needs. And for a quick look at the city spots, check this Barcelona Guide.
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