Archive for February 2nd, 2011

February 2, 2011

The city of Gaudi and a lot more,Barcelona

It inspired a great artist who gave it world renown, but it was as European as any before that and continues. The city is detached somewhat from the rest of Spain, trying to find its unique place,but even if some tell otherwise, it is still Spanish in all; the two are link.

I have visited the city first as a young boy from Madrid doing errands and helping out in another time another era, then came to see it as new and free, and then my sons have visited it even alone seeking that different look always apart but unique. I would like to share some of those moments and some photos left from those times.

Barcelona is well serve in transports, its airport Prats is only 12 kms from the city. It is served by many large carriers and low cost operating from close by Girona like Ryanair. Terminal A is for international flights ,Terminal B is some internationals and National flights, and Terminal C is the bridge to Madrid mostly.  You have buses A1 and A2 that connects the airport to the city very frequently like every 10-15 mins, and the price is nice at about 8,75€ roundtrip.  The local bus L46 connects to praça de Espanya very frequently too for only 1,20€. You ,also have Rodalies or suburbian trains that goes to Praça de Catalunya or Passeig de Gracia every 30 mins for 2,20€. Taxi takes you about 30 mins for 13-15€ to center. Private shuttle transfers can be had for about 21€ too.  The official airport site is this one http://www.barcelona-airport.com/

the official transport site for bus and metro is this one http://www.emt-amb.com/Principales/BusquedaLinea.aspx . You can come by car as I have done, and best parking are by the Boqueria market off Ramblas or at Bulevar Rosa shopping center in Exaimple district. This is a nice site of the metro of Barcelona, http://www.barcelonametro.com/

Moving in the city is best by metro/bus or walk walk is good for you and the best way to see the city. To climb to Montserrat, the best is the cable car,and I recommend you do this trip is great with wonderful views, the webpage is here even in English http://www.cremallerademontserrat.com/website_cremallera/eng/index.asp

The city can be broken down to see best the areas of Ramblas (the main artery of the city with its ambiance), Barri Gotic ‘in the center of the old town or Ciutat Vella), Raval, La Ribera,Barceloneta( old fisherman quarters and now nice beach), Port Vell, Eixample (my best area very chic with great architecture), Parc Guell,Sants ( famous train station) , Les Corts,Port Olimpic ( for the 1992 olympic games and very popular district today)  and the beforementioned Montjuic. Some of the main attractions I would recommend all to see are the following,

Go to Market Boqueria or Mercat St Josep, la Boqueria. you will delight yourselves with great food, ambiance and architecture from 1840.You want to see the locals, the daily life come here. La Rambla 89 metro station Liceu line L3;webpage http://www.boqueria.info/Eng/index.php

Parc de la Ciutadella, is a priviledge place for walking and be seen with family. It is at the site of the old universal expo of 1888.You have the zoo of the city as well as the parliament ::)  See the kiosk of music or the monumental cascade/fountain of Venus. At passeig Picasso, metro Barceloneta line L4.

Plaça Sant Jaume, the also the old public square of the city, the forum, in Roman times, the center of power in the city in those days and a nice walk today. You have the city hall of government here, and the Generalitat de Catalunya here. Metro Jaume, line L4.

The port Olimpic, where the 1992 Olympic games were held is today the center of great ambiance with a pleasure boat marina with cap of 700 boats, try the sculpture towers designed by Gehry. Nice views and walks can be had here , Passeig Maritim del Port Olimpic, metro Ciutadella, line L4; webpage http://www.portolimpic.net/

National museum of Catalan arts or MNAC is the fullest expression of Catalan arts and artistic history of the city and region, a must to understand Catalunya. It is inside the Palais National emblem of the universal expo of 1929 at parc Montjuic, station Espanya, line L1 and L3, webpage http://www.mnac.cat/index.jsp?lan=003

museum Barbier-Mueller, is a rich museum in pre colombian arts from antiquity to now covering the Americas. For the rich history that binds this region to the Americas is a must, one of the most prestigious collections in the world of this arts. Located in front of Picasso museum, Montcada, 4, metro Jaume line L4 ,webpage http://www.barbier-mueller.ch/?lang=en

Museum of Picasso, he began here his studies in the arts, showing his earlier years of his work  all inside four old castles dating from the 13-15C that houses his work in Barcelona, located at Montcada 15-23; metro Jaume line L4 or metro Liceu line L3 or metro arc de triomp line L1. webpage http://www.museupicasso.bcn.cat/en/

Basilica Santa Maria del Mar, catalan gothic style and also know as the Cathedral of the Ribera as it is located in this district. built between 1329-1384 AD. with the help and labor of the inhabitants of the district.. Located at Place Santa Maria, 1; metro station Jaume line L4,  webpage for the city tourist council here http://www.barcelonaturisme.com/English/_3Ngb8YjSpL3IOAs7oO2GTYt1nCojK1e-e8SVYz2umxracrnqRh3lL8rOe7EMwiBQX-6_OcHSoCI

Casa Batllo, its the universe of Gaudi, the master.It is the most amazing and surprising work of his art. A building renovated from the 19C but what a renovation!!! from 1904-1906; one of the must see in the city. located at Passeig de Gràcia metro station Passeig de Graçia line L3. Admission 17,80€ webpage http://www.casabatllo.cat/

Cathedral de la Santa Creu,  dedicated to Saint Eulalia ,patron saint of the city of Barcelona. Its construction lasted 6 centuries! even as late as the 20C AD,with 25 chapels and the crypt whre the remains of the Saint are at rest. The cloister is magnificent with orange trees! see it at Pla de la Seu, metro station Jaume,line L4. webpage http://www.catedralbcn.org/

Gran teatre del Liceu, or opera house of Barcelona, splendid scenarios of the 19C with exquisite decorations to marvel even if not an opera lover. see it at La Rambla 51-59, metro station Liceu line L3 webpage  http://www.liceubarcelona.cat/en.html

Palais Gûell, the work of Gaudi still alive when finished, the only work. See the 20 chimneys in the roof colored in the modernism art Catalan. See it  when open again as now under renovation at Nou de la Rambla, metro station Liceu,line L3, webpage http://www.palauguell.cat/

Poble Espanyol, a village in the district of Montjuic sort of a mini Spain in Spain, it has 117 streets scenes reproduced, buildings and plazas to discover the whole country. You can see the work of artisans expert jewerlers, glassmakers, sculptors etc inside. See it at ave Marqués de Comillas,13. Metro station Espanya, line L1 and L3. admission is 8,90€ for adults,children 5,50€ under 12. webpage http://www.poble-espanyol.com/pemsa/en.html

Sagrada Familia, the must see monument emblematic of Barcelona, you have to see it ,period. Its a church more a cathedral that its construction begain in 1882 and is not yet finish! According to the original plans of Gaudi it was to be finished by 2030! This is his major project until his death in 1926; The first facade is dedicated to the birth of Christ, the second to death, and the third to faith. It is located at Mallorca 401, metro station Sagrada Familia lines L1 and L5. webpage http://www.sagradafamilia.cat/sf-eng/?lang=0

The Aquarium of Barcelona, if you have kids this is the place to relax them a bit, it has the biggest in Europe and most impressive in terms of modernity. It is composed of 35 tanks, 450 species with a tunnel of 80 meters long ( 264 ft). it is located at Moll d’Espanya del Port Vell, metro station Barceloneta line L4 or Drassanes line L3. webpage  http://www.aquariumbcn.com/AQUARIUM/index.php?wlang=en

Also great for kids and adults too, is the laberinth of Horta, the oldest park in the city dating from 1792 . 9 hectares or 22 acres in size. It is not known to tourist but worth the visit indeed, located at Passeig dels Castanyers or Carrer Germans Desvalls, metro station Mundet line L3. webpage gardens of Barcelona here http://w3.bcn.cat/XMLServeis/XMLHomeLinkPl/0,4022,375670355_376776313_3_709669587_detall,00.html?accioPJ=detall

Mirador de Colom, at 60 meters (198 ft) you see a wonderful view of the city with an index towards the Americas. Built on the ocassion of the Universal Exposition of 1888 and now at the end of La Ramblas.The statue of Christopher Colombus is 7 meters high (23 ft) and its laid on top of a semicircle representing the new world as he call it. It has an interior elevator to get you to the top. Located at 1 plaça del Portal de la Pau,metro station Drassanes, line L3.admission is 2,20€ for all.

Parc Tibidabo, a few minutes from the center of the city,a small tramway trip to it plus cable car you have an attraction park dating from the end of the 19C ad. The whole city converges here, young and old,having a beautiful panoramic view of the city. The roller coasters are 500 meters above sea level!  You get here at Plaça del Tibidabo,3-4, metro station ave Tibidabo line L7 then bus No L196 or tramway and cable car ride. Admission is 25.20€ for adults, webpage here http://www.tibidabo.es/en/homepage

You can find great price accommodation at this webpage Barcelona30 ,http://www.barcelona30.com/ . My experiences there have been with my kids staying with locals families thru school or when I go on business/pleasure trip at the NH brand of hotels such as Belagua, http://www.nh-hoteles.pt/nh/pt/hotels/espanha/barcelona/nh-belagua.html or the Silken Gran Hotel Habana, at http://www.hoteles-silken.com/gran-hotel-havana-barcelona/en/ or the Raphaelhotels Casanova here http://www.rafaelhoteles.com/hotel.php?lng=en&hotel=ca

To eat other than Boqueria ‘s Pinotxo, to your right as you enter the market or mercat de la Boqueria. Ramblas 69 metro Liceu. cant missed it. Another is the 7 Portes, an institution there and always reliable for me webpage here http://www.7portes.com/angles/index.htm I come here for mr Cortina crayfishs and monkfish batter and fry yummy. For a glass of wine and looking at that marvelous basilica de Santa Maria del Mar try La Vinya del Senyor just across from it, metro Jaume line L4. Can Culleretes, the oldest in the city and second oldest in Spain, still going strong, an institution no doubt and always great for me and family,;carrer Quintana 5, webpage http://www.culleretes.com/ . Senyor Parellada, another classic and never disappointed, webpage http://www.senyorparellada.com/. Colibri in my area of Exaimple, a ritual always excellent try the Cod with ginger;;;webpage http://www.restaurantcolibri.com/

Another thing if you have a day, go to Figueres and see the museum of Salvador Dali, its worth it,trip is easy from the city but we use the car.webpage with info here http://www.salvador-dali.org/museus/figueres/en_index.html

Shopping was at Maremagnum with lots to do too, webpage http://www.maremagnum.es/ and my favorite shop and park place Bulevar Rosa, webpage http://www.bulevardrosa.com/#

Hope you have a good time there as we do. Cheers

 

February 2, 2011

Some news about France XIII

Ok so continue with the idea of a community board and advice as best as possible about events in France especially the Paris region, the beat goes on.

Temps are back to mild ,grey ,cool, but not cold temps rising to 12°C and the weekend seems to look very good for a ride out into the country.

The latest from google is to have visual presentation of the best museums in the world including Versailles, my Versailles of course. But also, the Reina Sofia and Thyssen in my beloved Madrid. The webpage is this one http://www.googleartproject.com/

The Louvre opens until April 25th the expo Franz Xaver Messerschmidt; statues of great names in history from German sculptor Messerschmidt, First time in France  ,http://www.louvre.fr/llv/professionnels/journalistes.jsp?bmLocale=fr_FR  Also, in the Pinacothéque an exhibition of collection of Princes Esterhazy; 50 paintings of the great Hungarians princes. webpage http://www.pinacotheque.com/

Diplomatic splendors of the SEcond Empire at the museum of the Legion d’Honneur next to Orsay, until May 29. Belonging and jewels of emperor Napoleon III and his son Louis-Napoleon,the imperial prince. webpage http://www.musee-legiondhonneur.fr/00_koama/visu_lh/index.asp?sid=320&lid=1

My sons talks to me now about Tea??? It was with surprise as we are mostly coffee drinkers, but I have seen more and more of the young going towards Tea. His girlfriend does it too, and the others are coming along. So just for that I give you some tea places in Paris that are in vogue according to them.  These are Au comptoir du thé, 32, rue Daguerre 75014 , where the long jing is king webpage http://www.aucomptoirduthe.fr/  For the green tea Japonais go to Chajin ,24 rue Pasquier, 75007.webpage http://www.chajin-online.com/ . La Route de Thé, direct from Afghanistan, with its Nomad tea, at 14 rue Lacépéde, 75005, webpage http://www.larouteduthe.com/. One that is ,also, in Versailles, is Dammann  Mouffetard in Paris at 101 bis rue Mouffetard, webpage http://www.dammann.fr/ . Paris has many tea rooms and salon de Thé but these are amongst the IN places now. Enjoy your tea time.

You can now have the Centre Pompidou on IPhone, dont tell me how, just find out ::) I am an amateur with these things, thanks God for my sons who helped when needed. The info is here http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/centre-pompidou/id389191295?mt=8

As we are talking about tea, Jo Malone a British perfumer maker, is launching a line with tea senses, this is his webpage http://www.jomalone.fr/

And why not ,the Chateau de Versailles just open recently an online boutique for all your shopping pleasure of the palace. Go in the bottom and click FAQ to know all the details of the shopping, its international and in English too, proceeds to help the Chateau de Versailles. webpage http://www.boutique-chateauversailles.fr/

A wonderful place the Maison Victor Hugo is showcasing portraits of writers from 1850 on, over 200 works and 90 writers are represented. Display until 20 February, webpage http://www.paris.fr/portail/loisirs/Portal.lut?page_id=5852&document_type_id=5&document_id=12399&portlet_id=12988

Ryanair is back in Marseille!!! After been told of its illegal hiring tactics, the airlines decide to come back with an Irish crew from April on. So low cost are back in Marseille.http://www.ryanair.com/fr

And while we get some respite from the weather in the United States they await a huge snow storm over most of the country and temps of -20°C !!! 10000 flights have been cancelled. The storm is from about Chicago to Texas according to the AFP news agency. See your flight here  http://flightaware.com/news/article/WeatherAirline-Cancellations–Blizzard-Disrupts-Air-Travel/153

France vs Brazil in football/soccer February 9th STade de France,TF1 TV

Big crashes coming this morning by 6h to Roissy CDG, slippery roads caused about 50 vehicles to have an accident.  About 28 injures were taken to local hospital. The roads are very slippery there yes indeed. No need for snow, just heavy rains overnite can make them dangerous. This is on the A1 coming from the north of France, by 9h45 the road was open again to traffic.

Have a wonderful week wherever you are. Cheers

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