Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Columbus Monument Due to Re-Open in June

One of Barcelona's famous monuments, the statue of Christopher Columbus or Mirador del Colon, is due to re-open in June as  El Periodico reported recently. The column has a lift which can transport tourists up to the top to view a panorama of Las Ramblas and the Port Vell area, but has been closed since May of last year when six tourists got stuck in the lift and had to be rescued from the outside.

The reported cost of the repair work which is set to commence shortly is 200,000 Euros, which seems fairly steep for lift repair work, but the tourist board is prepared to assume the cost, given that the approximate 170,000 people that visit the monument each year generate a cool million Euros used to promote Barcelona in the tourist markets and fairs. The re-opening will coincide with the 125th anniversary of the opening of the monument - that's 1888 to save you doing the maths in your head.

I'll be completely honest, for the first year I lived here I never even knew you could go up there, and despite walking past it many an evening, I would never have thought you could fit a lift in the middle of it, never mind a viewing tower at the top although appearances can be deceptive. Now it's been given a super seal of approval over safety measures, it might just be time to pop along and have a look after all...

Anyone been up there? Any good or not really worth it ? Let me know in the comments!

And if you're coming to Barcelona this June, then check out the apartments for group bookings on offer at BCN Rentals. They have some great prices in central locations, too.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Send a Personalised Message to Someone for Sant Jordi!

This coming week is one of the most colourful celebrations in the Catalan Calendar, Sant Jordi. It's a celebration of the patron saint of Catalunya and a patriotic day where everyone takes to the streets to buy a book and exchange a rose. Las Ramblas is a particularly cool place to visit on that day! There's a great explanation in English about the story behind the tradition here.

Barcelonasights - Sant Jordi 2013

Now, with the modern age of connectivity and all things digital, the council usually also organises something on the website for people to join in, too. We've had virtual roses in previous years and there's an Instagram iniciative too again this year, for people to share their photos with the hashtag #JoxTu (me for you) and photos are published on the web.

So this year is no different, and you can send a personalised message to your friends or family or loved ones via the website here. It's based on the idea that "for you I'd..." with some funny ones like "I'd give up gossiping on facebook", "I'd bring you breakfast on the way back from a party" (classic Barcelona there, up till the dawn - although why this person wouldn't be with you at the party escapes me), "I'd miss Barça - Madrid" and "I'd change the cat's litter box" ! It's all a good bit of fun, and I like the way that the council has decided to share this in English, too, encouraging people to join in with the celebrations and embrace the tradition (unlike they do with La Merçe, for example). So go on, send someone a message!

Fancy visiting the city with friends soon ? Group apartments are a great way to save money - check out the link for some bargains at BCN Rentals.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Ocean Colour Scene play Apolo Barcelona

One of the great things about living in a big city like Barcelona (for someone who comes from a small town in England) is the live music that visits the city. I've blogged before about the various live music venues in Barcelona and I've been lucky enough to see some amazing bands in very intimate venues that would be total sell outs back in the UK.

One of my favourite places is Apolo along Parallel. It's got that old school vibe fitting for watching live music (it's also a great place for dancing) but still feels like an old-style concert hall for example. I watched Elbow there a couple of years ago and they were amazing - the venue suits people like that. Paul Weller is another one who played there last time he was here.
screenshot of Ocean Colour Scene site - barcelonasights

So, if you're at a bit of a loose end this week, you could do no worse than nip down there, as Ocean Colour Scene are playing the Apolo on Tuesday. The britpop band are promoting their new album Painting which is out now, but you can bet they'll be re-visiting a few of their classic tunes like The Riverboat Song and The Day we caught the train from the classic Moseley Shoals album (how many memories does that conjure up?). They're a really good band live and also played the Hard Rock cafe here a couple of years ago, too. Fancy going or already got your ticket? Let me know in the comments!

Looking for a good deal for accommodation in Barcelona ? Check out BCN Rentals for some great deals on last minute apartments!

Free UK TV with Filmon

It's been a while since I last posted about the options of getting free UK TV in Spain, and in fact, my last post is so out-dated that I'm not even going to link to it. So, this is hardly a "new" service I'm blogging about, but it's one just in case there are a few people out there who haven't heard about it/want to try it for other channels.

Screenshot of Filmon TV  - Barcelonasights vlog

So, I'm talking about Filmon. It's started to have a few more ads than it used to, but no more than your average You tube video. It's a great service for the usual free-to-air channels you'd get on a digibox in the UK for example (I can't say the same for the other channels from other countries as I don't know, but I imagine they're the same) so a great way to catch up with things in real time - minus the hour's difference, obviously :o).

There's an app for iPhone and Android, too which is well worth having, although it only works on wifi, not 3G. I keep up to date with the UK football, match of the day, and internationals as well as the Champions League footy on there, for example (there's a slight delay - like 1 second - so it's funny to hear the roars and cheers outside when watching Barcelona BEFORE they actually score!). Check it out if you haven't already.

Fancy a holiday with friends this spring? Check out these apartments for groups in Barcelona for a great deal instead of a hotel room! And for a what's what on the city sights, check out BCN Rentals guide to the city!

Friday, April 12, 2013

Barça draws Munich in semis of Champions League

I'm literally typing this as Ruud Van Nistelrooy has just pulled out the name of Barcelona from the cup in Nyon. Barça have got Bayern in the last 4, away from home in the first leg, avoiding as everyone hoped Real Madrid and paving the way for that possible "El Classico" final in Wembley. Obviously that's assuming they can defeat the champions of Germany Bayern, who are looking pretty unstoppable (and have been my favourites to win since a while back - only I've not been very good with my predictions this season!) - although as we've seen with this week's result against Paris Saint German, anything's possible with "the little big guy". 

Of course the other tie sees Mourinho's men travel to Dortmund to face Borussia after their...ahem...fortunate win mid-week against Malaga.

Ties will be played on the 23rd and 24th April in Germany, and the retun legs in Camp Nou and Santiago Bernabau on the 30th April and 1st May (to be decided as I'm still typing). No doubt Barça will be wrapping Leo in cotton wool until then, as well as Cristiano for Madrid. It's cheeky to say that they're both a one man team, but there's proof in the claim if you look at Wednesday's result in Camp Nou, right?!

25th May will see the final in Wembley and what a prospect that already seems like being. Let's hope it doesn't disappoint. Part of me knew the draw troday would have kept Madrid and Barça apart - there's always talk of fixing and warming the balls and all that bollocks, but it does keep the draw still very interesting, because even if Barça do go out to Bayern then there'll always be that "waht if..." thought about what could've been in Wembley.

Coming to Barcelona this spring? Check out BCN Rentals Apartments for groups for a great saving on hotel rooms.
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