Perfidious Albion in Barcelona

Barcelona, like the rest of Spain, is going through hard times. Unemployment is on the rise, specially among the young, many of whom are leaving for jobs abroad if they can get any.

Paseo de Gracia and Diagonal with Pedrera building in backgropund

The distinctive roof of Casa Milá in the background

It is also a vibrant city associated with art, architecture and design, not least with Gaudi’s Parque Guell that overlooks the entire city and the sea beyond, and his “Casa Milá” with its singular rooftop – you can see it in the background in the photo taken from the top of Paseo de Gracia.

The capital of a culture that has produced Miró, Dalí, Casals, that nurtured the young Picasso, that gave us Catalan Modernism, that developed its own distinctive cuisine and arguably the best football team ever, is unlikely to take things lying down.

Four red bars on a yellow background represent Catalunya

Catalan flag

Next year is the 300th anniversary of Catalunya’s loss of independence to Spain after the Treaty of Utrech and so I was reminded that this culture and language have had to survive many difficulties, and the growing feeling among many in the city is for separation and independence – the Catalan flag was everywhere we went.

By the way, we Brits can hang our heads in shame; despite an agreement with the Catalans we abandoned them in 1714 to the tender mercies of their foes while we got Gibraltar and Menorca in return.…perfidious Albion.

Anyway, enough history.

belatrova  walked everywhere, visited galleries and design outlets, and used the efficient and smooth metro and buses to go further afield. We really liked the Room Service Design Gallery, run the day we visited by Jordi, and which displays furniture by the Dutch designer Piet Hein Eek – sustainability, efficiency and social responsibility are his guiding principles, and his stuff is visibly hand made, using mainly recycled material.

hand made furniture

Piet Hein Eek chair at Room Service Design

The gallery also takes seriously the promotion of young designers and has a section for graduates to show their work. Drop in when and if you’re there; the MACBA  (Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona) is a block away and the neighbourhood is part of the city in which anybody could easily spend a day walking, drinking, snacking and rubber necking. Which is what we did.

table displayed at Room Service Design Gallery

ceramic table by Piet Hein Eek

Museum of Contemporary Art in Barcelona

the MACBA building

By the way, watch out for skate boarders zipping past as they are encouraged to use the open area in front of the building.

Here are two close-up shots of tapas that we thought might inspire some new colour combinations in our ceramics. Or perhaps not.

close-up of egg salad

yellow white red and black

close-up of sea food salad

black white green red

Monumental window, part of an early 20th century building on the Diagonal, where we went to see how our tables looked away from home and asked two of our customers to allow us into their homes to take a snap or two.

Large stone window and balcony

Monumental window with balcony on the Diagonal Avenue

belatrov table in Barcelona flat
Victoria and Josep Maria’s table

Victoria and Josep Maria keep theirs in a space filled with greenery and the effect is lush and fresh. Veronica and Alberto have theirs nicely set off by the dark floorboards and deep green of the furniture.

Both tables are getting a lot of TLC from their owners.

belatrova table

Veronica and Alberto’s table

belatrova’s top 6 favourite things to do in Barcelona:

Go up onto the roof of Casa Milá (also called “La Pedrera”)

Visit the geese in Barcelona Cathedral’s cloisters

Have a coffee at Meson del Café off St Jaume’s Square

Take the No 14 bus from Calvet/Fransesc Maciá down to Siete Puertas

Eat stuffed squid at the Bar Neutral (Ganduxer 26, Barcelona)

Visit the Fundació Miró – a quick trip inspired belatrova to make a tripod ceramic bowl.

tripod ceramic bowl

hint of Miró?

1 reply
  1. Enric Tejedor
    Enric Tejedor says:

    Great article writen by belatrova; your sensible point of view has – in very few lines- outstandingly highlighted one of the most crucial facts in the history of Catalunya. The 6 things to do in Barcelona are not only a must-do but inexpensive and very easy to do.

    Congratulations !


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