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A Country Within A Country: Travel To Barcelona

The distinctive regional culture of Barcelona is largely due to geography and a plentitude of national pride and elitism. Barcelona is the capital of Catalonia, one of Spain’s 17 semi-autonomous states. The regional language is Catalan, along with the national language of Castilian Spanish. There has long been pressure from the Catalonian government and nationalists to earn complete autonomy from Spain. Consequently, the exclusive culture can be difficult to adjust to and there is significant animosity towards foreigners around the main tourist street of Las Ramblas. To thoroughly enjoy the sweet life and gentle hospitality of Barcelona, leave this busy area and explore the many diverse districts, endless with possibility.

Café Life and Nightlife for the Night Owl

Barcelona is truly a city that never sleeps, particularly during the warm Mediterranean summers. Avoid standing out like a sore thumb by eating dinner when the locals do: after 10 p.m. It is common to see children, grandparents and the family dog gathering at the outdoor cafes at these hours when the day’s work is finished and time for friends and family has commenced. Since Barcelona hosted the Olympics in 1992, the city has been revamped with visitor friendly attractions such as the massive Olympic Village, a string of swanky restaurants, state-of-the-art nightclubs and boutiques along the beach. Most nightclubs do not get going until after 1 a.m. and club-goers typically wander out onto the beach around 5:30 to watch the sunrise over the Mediterranean.

A Modernista Mecca

The architectural wonders of Barcelona will keep even the most novice eye bewildered and intrigued. Antoni Gaudi decorated Barcelona with his treasures of modernism as a painter on a canvas. The grand boulevard of Passeig de Gracia is lined with elaborately adorned Casa Batllo and Casa Mila, both with the most intricate rooftops known to modern architecture. Arguably the most stunning of Gaudi’s work is the Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Familia. Each of the church’s facades are meticulously designed with different themes and styles combining nature with religion and the soaring towers topped with mosaic grapes are built around a conch-like coiled staircase that visitors may choose to take instead of the elevator. Another tribute to Barcelona’s artistic heritage is the Palau da la Musica Catalana. A view of the glass and mosaic inverted chandelier on the ceiling of the theater is alone worth the visit. Daily tours are offered in addition to the regularly held musical performances. Afterward, get lost in the tiny twisting passages of the surrounding historic Gothic Quarter.

Traveling Barcelona Right Not Your Weekend Visit

It is best to avoid traveling to Spain in August, when most of the locals (and most of Mediterranean Europe) take their vacations. Chances are that the restaurant you wanted to visit will be closed and museums will have extremely curtailed hours. August can also be uncomfortably hot.

Barcelona should be traveled with care and patience. The only disappointment visitors have is the inability to see all of the city’s landmarks and hidden corners in a realistic amount of time.

Organising a Stag Party or Hen Do in Spain

Organising a Stag or Hen do in Spain might seem like a simple task. All you need to do is arrange a date, book hotel rooms in probably Barcelona or Madrid, organise flights for everyone and buy some wigs or some inflatable toys for the lucky person getting married. However, you will soon find that you forgot to do a few things. Imagine the scene: it’s Saturday night, you’re all dressed up (all 20 of you) and you are all hungry. You start looking for a place to sit down and eat. But you soon realise that everywhere is busy. Everyone starts getting angry and that anger is focused at you, because you’re the one who is supposed to be sorting everything out. In order to avoid such problems, here’s a quick guide on what you need to do to make your experience one to remember, rather than one to forget.
Make some arrangements prior to landing: book a restaurant for the main evenings, as restaurants on Friday and Saturday nights in Barcelona and Madrid are often busy with both locals and tourists eating out. Apart from that, even if you can find a place with a couple of spare tables, many will not want anything to do with a rowdy group of girls dressed as Dame Edna. So ring up beforehand, check it’s ok, book a table and leave a deposit if necessary. Many places have someone who can speak English, so there shouldn’t be any problems.
Whichever accommodation you choose, make sure it is central to where you want to be and check the price, location and acceptability of large groups, before booking. Often, holiday apartments offer better price and flexibility, so it’s worth looking into before booking a hotel.
Try to speak at least a little of the local language. A quick “hola”, “gracias” or “Que tal?” will go down amazingly well, and break the ice for the evening ahead.
Arrange a few daytime options for those that don’t want to drink heavily in the evenings. Groups are often mixed and some will simply not wish to stay out drinking and dancing until 7am the next morning. So have some activities prepared for those that wish to get up early. The ones that don’t want to come can easily stay in bed and just meet up for the next round of dinner and/or drinks.
Offer mobile telephones or make sure that everyone has their home mobile telephone with international roaming activated – not all operators offer this by default, so check with your mobile phone operator before leaving.
Pass round a few local numbers (the hotel or apartment company where you are staying, your friends of course, a taxi company and perhaps the police, just in case).
Finally, remember that Spanish people are not used to crowds of outrageous men or women singing songs, removing clothes, shouting, screaming, etc., so try and show some respect for your hosts. The best way to do this is prepare an itinerary before you go. Then, not only will you and your friends have a great time, but your hosts will enjoy the fun too. Follow these simple instructions and this will be an experience that everyone remembers fondly…

The Must See Attractions In Barcelona, Spain

If you think you are in need of a vacation, then Barcelona Spain is just the place you need to pay a visit. Barcelona is a place with history, culture, customs and excitement. Although Barcelona is full of culture and history there are fun things to do in the city as well. One thing that comes to buying it surfing along the Costa Brava. The waves are big, the winds are strong and you can surf for miles. Many people come to this area for some great surfing because of the waves. You will find that the beaches are just as beautiful as anywhere else in the world. The white Sandy beaches with the blue waters in the background are inviting.

Sailing along the Costa Brava is just as much fun. You can rent a sailboat or have a guide take you. The coastline is beautiful from the water and Barcelona has a beautiful coastline that can be enjoyed from a sailboat. If sailing is in for you, you might enjoy a boat Regatta race. Many of the sailing clubs hold Regatta races for visitors to see. If you have never seen a Regatta race you must see one why you are in Barcelona. If you have never done any sailing or surfing you can sign up and take classes while you are in Barcelona. This is just going to make your vacation more enjoyable.

The Mediterranean climate, water temperatures and sunny skies is why people travel to Barcelona, Spain. Barcelona is really about one thing and that is fun and excitement. After you have had a day in the sun, you can enjoy some fine cuisine at one of the many restaurants in Barcelona. You will find that the restaurants have America cuisine, Italian cuisine, French cuisine and Spanish cuisine. Whatever your taste is you will find a restaurant in Barcelona that has just what you want.

If you are looking for a little bit of nightlife in Barcelona, you will find that after the Sun goes down everybody gets out and enjoy some dancing, music and a few drinks. Although the fun and excitement starts a little later at night, you have nowhere to be the next day so enjoy some fun with the locals. You will see how they dance, how they enjoy the night and what they do to relax after a long day. After a night out, you might need a nice day relaxing by the pool or on the beach soaking up some sunrays.

One thing is for sure when you take your holiday to Barcelona your going to have exciting days, exciting nights and see so many different things. Traveling and vacations are not just about seeing historical sites they are about having fun, doing the things that you remember. You can plan your trip to Barcelona and plan to do just about anything. Take some time to enjoy the beaches, take some time to see the sights, but always make sure to have fun.

Fight Asthma With These Diet and Eating Tips

According to the latest information, asthma with its coughing and wheezing is up 60% from about 25 years ago.Approximately 23 million Americans now have asthma with the figures continuing to climb. Experts claim that what you eat helps fight asthma and coupled with diet will go a long way toward curing or at least reducing asthma’s inflammation. 

Some of the research-based tips that were suggested:

First of all eat a Mediterranean type diet. Overall this is a good diet not only for fighting asthma but to lose weight and get healthier. The main ingredients of this diet are lots of of fruits and vegetables, whole grains and legumes, fish instead of meat, cooking with olive oil as well as staying away from white flour products and sugar. A new study finds that by eating a Mediterranean Diet the risk of asthma was cut by 78% after adjusting for gender, age, education, etc. Kids, who eat a Mediterranean diet, especially lots of oranges, apples, tomatoes and grapes, have less wheezing, allergic rhinitis and asthma. Children of mothers who followed a high-quality Mediterranean diet were 80 percent less likely to have persistent wheezing, the most common symptom of childhood asthma, the study found. They were also 45 percent less likely to develop allergies. The research, which was published in the journal Thorax, was carried out by teams from the Royal Brompton Hospital, in London; the University of Crete; Venezelio General Hospital in Crete and the Centre for Research in Environmental Epidemiology, in Barcelona. The Faculty of Nutrition and Food Sciences, University of Porto, Porto, Portugal, and Department of Immunoallergology, Hospital of S. João, Porto, Portugal.s. reported similar findings.

If you are overweight or obese you should lose weight because your odds of developing asthma jump 50%, according to a recent review of 330,000 subjects by researchers at Denver’s National Jewish Health Center. They estimate that being overweight or obese accounts for at least 250,000 new cases of adult asthma every year. Although it’s a fact that children that are overweight increased the chances for asthma no figures were given.

Eat the good fats and avoid the bad ones. Omega-3 oil, found in certain kinds of fish (sardines, salmon, tuna) is a potent anti-inflammatory. A study by Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School and reported in Nature Immunology found that adults who ate fish with high levels of omega-3 fatty acids reduced asthmatic symptoms. These fatty acids are found in cold-water fish such as salmon, mackerel and anchovies. Adults who never ate fish as children, were more apt to develop asthma and at an earlier age. An Indiana University study shows that high doses of fish oil of at least 5 g daily helped prevent exercise-induced asthma symptoms. Stay clear of omega-6polyunsaturated fats (in corn, soybean, regular safflower and sunflower oils, and in meat and many processed foods) as much as possible, as they induce inflammation and promote asthma according to studies by the University of Maryland Medical Center.

 

Low sodium intake won’t help. Up until recently it was thought that a low sodium diet would help control asthma. Recently in a British study, published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, researchers compared the effects of a low-sodium vs. normal-sodium diet on asthma control in nearly 200 adults with asthma for six weeks. The study showed that subjects who restricted sodium intake for six weeks had just as many asthma symptoms as those on normal diets. It still might be a good idea to restrict your sodium intake though.

Pregnant women need to watch what they eat. Dutch research, reported in the American Journal of Respiratory and

Critical Care Medicine shows that pregnant women who eat nuts or nut products like peanut butter every day up their children’s odds of developing asthma by nearly 50%.

Travel destinations: Aquopolis Water Park, Barcelona

We went to visit this water theme park near Barcelona about a year ago with my 3 teenage sons and baby daughter and other friends.

The first thing I should say is it is not actually in Barcelona, but about an hour’s drive away in La Pineda (Vila-seca), south of Tarragona, on the N340.

There are lots of outdoor pools, slides, etc which older children/teenagers in particular can really have fun with. There are many grassy area where you can sunbathe etc, but of course what people do is arrive and spread all their towels out on a spot and camp there for the day, so if you didn’t arrive in plenty of time you would struggle to find a good spot. There is plenty of space but a lot of it is either in the sun all day (not good) or a long way from the pools, so you can’t see your children, also not good. so get there fairly early and get a good spot!

There are some helter-skelter type slides with bumps in them the older boys especially enjoyed, but at busy times you had to queue for them. There is also one really fast one called Kamikazi, and the queues were serious for that one, but apparently you did 50km per hour down that one! That’s the speed of a moped on full throttle! You’d need to hang on to your swimming costume on that one! The whole park is massive, and you can’t see across it, so in terms of younger children you do have to be careful because they can wander off… There was a good range of types of water – some with fountains and some with smaller slides and splash pools; there was not a huge area if just wanted to swim lengths though – everything was shaped but you could swim round and round a bit with a current that wove around the whole park.

I spent some quite good quality time by myself just lying in the sun reading, knowing my kids were all having fun and not bored or bothering me!

There are many places to eat and drink providing welcome shade and cold beer! Some traditional Spanish food can be had in pone bar and and nasty burgers and chips in another, so my recommendation if you are staying nearby and self-catering is to bring a cold box full of a packed lunch, but that’s ont always practical on holiday, so it is good to know you can buy food there. It is a bit over-priced for the quality, but not a total rip off.

Beer and coke etc in large quantities are a good thing, and there are electric vending machines with ice cold bottles of water everywhere, which is great as there were queues at the bars at times. Certainly in Spanish

Psicología Transpersonal y Respiración Holotrópica

Abraham Maslow fue uno de los principales precursores de la Psicología Humanista. Maslow apuntó la posibilidad de alcanzar un estado del ser más allá de la autorrealización. Este estado supone la trascendencia de los límites de la propia identidad y experiencia, alcanzando niveles superiores de conciencia que tienen efectos muy positivos y que están por encima de las necesidades e intereses materiales.

El enfoque transpersonal da prioridad al estudio del todo más que al de las partes. Se trata de un proceso holográfico, donde lo seleccionado e investigado puede proporcionar principios generalizables a una porción importante de la población.

La Psicología Transpersonal nace en los años 60.

En 1969 se creó en EEUU la Asociación de Psicología Transpersonal, que centra su interés en los siguientes aspectos: Psicología y Psicoterapia, Crecimiento y Transformación Personal; Investigación sobre estados de conciencia; Adicciones y Rehabilitación; Muerte y experiencias cercanas a la muerte; Estudios sobre procesos, valores y Estados Transpersonales, Experiencias Cumbre, El Ser, la Trascendencia, Teoría y prácticas de la meditación, Cooperación Transpersonal.

Se entiende que Transpersonal implica una Indagación sobre la naturaleza esencial del Ser .

La Psicología Transpersonal no se dedica a solucionar un problema específico: anima al paciente a desarrollar recursos internos propios que le permitan resolver problemas.

Se basa en la idea de la trascendencia del Ego o Yo. El Ego tiende a identificarse con las emociones, los roles, las relaciones, mientras que la desidentificación favorece la trascendencia. El campo transpersonal no depende de dogmas o credos ni requiere ninguna convicción religiosa sino que adopta una actitud filosófica y científica abierta.

Entre los precursores de esta disciplina podemos considerar a:

William James: Se interesó por el estudio de la voluntad libre. Concluyó que nuestras propias decisiones son creativas y que, en ocasiones, es necesario renunciar a nuestra voluntad.

Reconoció la existencia de un self espiritual más profundo, subjetivo y dinámico que el self material o social.

Carl G.Jung: Sus aportes a este campo han sido muy importantes.

Se destacan sus estudios sobre los mitos, los sueños, los diversos sistemas simbólicos (alquimia, tarot, astrología, I Ching ), la idea del inconciente colectivo (que él identificó con lo transpersonal).

Actualmente se entiende lo Transpersonal como un campo diferente del inconciente colectivo.

Tal vez su contribución más importante es la idea de los Arquetipos, entendidos como “imágenes que reflejan modalidades universales de experiencia y de comportamiento humano”. Las llamó también imágenes primordiales . Sus características son universales y siguen pautas autónomas y profundas.

Estos arquetipos emergen del inconciente colectivo, donde se han ido acumulando como consecuencia de las experiencias vitales de nuestros antepasados a lo largo de nuestra herencia filogenética. Quedan impresas en nuestro psiquismo y se manifiestan como pautas de conducta inherentes a todo ser humano. Pueden describirse simbólicamente como acciones de personajes mitológicos y situaciones que evocan sentimientos, imágenes y temas universales.

Roberto Assagioli fue el primero en utilizar el término Transpersonal (1965) en el sentido actual. Diferenció el Inconciente Superior ( con contenidos del Supraconciente o Self Transpersonal y con arquetipos transpersonales) del Inconciente Colectivo (con arquetipos pre-personales).

Abraham Maslow: Fundó el Journal of Transpersonal Psichology en 1968.

Su aporte se relaciona con las Experiencias Cumbre que son la clave para adentrarse en lo transpersonal. Son “una experiencia en la que el tiempo se desvanece y todas las necesidades se hallan colmadas”. Su concepto de autorrealización y plenitud se acerca a un estado de unidad de características místicas.

En 1977 Ken Wilber planteó en forma muy esclarecedora sus “mapas” de los distintos niveles de conciencia y su evolución, desde una perspectiva transpersonal. También las psicoterapias que resultan adecuadas en cada nivel. En su libro El Proyecto Atman (Ed. Kairós, 1980) profundiza en el marco conceptual y teórico de la Psicología Transpersonal. Es uno de los pensadores más brillantes en este campo.

Stanislav Grof: Es uno de los autores más importantes en Psicoterapia Transpersonal. Comenzó como Psiquiatra y Psicoanalista en 1956, investigando sobre LSD.

Una de sus contribuciones más importantes es el de las Matrices Perinatales. Con ellas nos ofrece una visión inestimable de los distintos estadíos del proceso del nacimiento y las huellas que este proceso imprime en el psiquismo humano, así como en psicopatología. (S.Grof, Psicología Transpersonal: nacimiento, muerte y trascendencia en psicoterapia, Ed. Kairós, Barcelona, 1985)

En general las técnicas transpersonales se relacionan con la facilitación de Estados No Ordinarios de Conciencia. Estas experiencias han permitido observar que el psiquismo no sólo contiene un campo de nivel biográfico sino que incluye dos campos transbiográficos: el dominio de lo perinatal relacionado con la experiencia del nacimiento y el campo transpersonal que tiene que ver con fenómenos de identificación experiencial con otras personas, animales, visiones arquetípicas, mitológicas o ancestrales

Los recuerdos de las experiencias emocionales y físicas están almacenadas en la psiqué, no como fragmentos aislados sino como constelaciones complejas que Grof denominó COEX (Condensed Experience Systems ).

Grof entiende los COEX como principios organizativos generales de la psiqué humana. Juegan un rol importante en nuestra vida psicológica y pueden influenciar la manera en que nos percibimos o percibimos a otros y cómo nos sentimos en relación con ellos.

Hay una dinámica entre los hechos exteriores y los sistemas COEX. Los hechos exteriores pueden activarse según nuestros sistemas COEX y a su vez los COEX pueden hacer que percibamos y nos comportemos de una manera tal que recreamos la esencia de los mismos en nuestra vida diaria.

Grof desarrolló la Respiración Holotrópica, técnica que utiliza respiración intensificada, música, trabajo corporal, dibujo e integración compartida con quienes componen el taller.

Aquí, el terapeuta ofrece un método útil para el trabajo interior, un Estado No Ordinario de Conciencia. Crea un entorno seguro, de soporte afectivo y confianza para el desarrollo del proceso que se traduce en un efecto poderoso sobre el equilibrio de las emociones y la sanación. Es de alta potencialidad para el desarrollo personal. Pueden trabajarse emociones y liberar vergüenza, culpa o ira. Esto es así, porque se traen automáticamente a la conciencia los contenidos inconcientes que tienen una fuerte carga emocional y que son psicodinámicamente más relevantes en ese momento determinado y que estarán disponibles para ser integrados y experimentados en su totalidad.

También es una técnica útil para ser usada ante diversas afecciones psicosomáticas o en personas con otras afecciones orgánicas.

Dr. Eduardo Szwarcer

A List Of The Top Travel Destinations In Europe Part 1

Whether you plan to explore the ins and outs of Europe or wish to choose one of the most visited travel destinations in the area, there are plenty of deserving selections to consider. Depending on your personal preferences, you never know when you will happen upon the artistic pulse of the continent or one of the best natural landscapes in the region. In Europe, many worthy locations provide a vacation never to forget with some of the top destinations found below: When visiting the historic city of London, you will encounter a wealth of attractions and activities that will have your head spinning for days. One moment you could be admiring the sunset while standing on the Waterloo Bridge, while the next minute is spent heading towards the popular attraction of St. Pauls Cathedral. Additional features associated with London include medieval architecture, the Tower of London, Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, as well as Buckingham Palace. Rome is filled with an array of interesting stops along an entertaining and exciting stay in the city. When it comes to artistic achievement, Rome might lead the way throughout Europe. With the likes of Michelangelo and other great talents, landmarks such as the Sistine Chapel are forever mentioned as one of the most impressive attractions in the world. The city also opens up to reveal plenty of masterpieces that extend to the realms of music, theatre, history, architecture, and culture. As you pass through the streets of Amsterdam, you will encounter an awakening of the senses as tantalizing restaurant scents fill the air, interesting locals pass you by, and history and culture are spotted at every turn. Outdoor markets, beautiful flower spreads, and impressive city canals are just some of the features associated with this grand destination. Serving as the capital of Germany, this city is blooming with blossoming businesses, talented artists, and satisfying main points of interest. Some of the main boroughs to consider visiting include the greenery in southwest Berlin, the historic center of Mitte, and lovely Prenzlauer Berg located in the northeast.Vienna: Often referred to as one of the greatest capitals in all of Europe, Vienna provides a wealth of tradition that has surpassed expectations in the art, political, and economic scene. Venice: Oozing with romance, many newlyweds find their way to this exciting destination that offers connecting bridges over mesmerizing canals, romantic-filled nooks and crannies, and intriguing Venetian architecture.

Barcelona: Offering an assortment of spectacular samples in Spanish art, fashion, lodging, and dining, Barcelona is a great place to plan a vacation.

Barcelona Guide: 10 of the Best Bars in Barcelona

 

Rita Blue: Placa Sant Augusti, 3
In a small square just off Las Ramblas, and next to an old church, Rita Blue is a favourite of locals and those lucky tourists who have been there. It’s location in the square allows for spacious seating outdoors, perfect for relaxing in the shade after a day’s shopping, but step inside and you’ll discover a chilled-out gem that combines modernism with a hint of Bohemia. Funky and retro, there is a plush upstairs bar, a darker basement where the dance floor fairly heaves as the night goes on, and a crowd bent on enjoyment. If you like decent mexican food, you won’t go too far wrong, but most first time visitors cut their teeth on the famous blue margaritas for which the bar is named.

Schilling: C. Ferran, 23
Boasting an ideal location on busy Ferran just off Las Ramblas, this bar is just the spot to get your breath back if you’ve been traipsing the streets all day. Appearing more like an informal library than a bar, the décor is muted and relaxed with high ceilings and the seating comfortable. Earlier in the day it is more of a bustling cafe, and serves breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea, but as night falls it becomes a very lively cocktail bar, with a mixed crowd with a strong gay representation. Unlike many bars in Barcelona, service is usually fast, friendly and efficient. With it’s wide windows facing out onto one of the city’s busiest streets, this spot is one of the best to spend an hour people watching.

El Xampanyet: C. Montcada, 22
Tucked away in a narrow, cobbled street not far from the Picasso Museum, this has to be one of the pearls of the city. A bodega with blue tiled walls, marble tables, a zinc bar and a preponderance of artifacts, it combines the old and the new, and attracts an eclectic mix of old-timers and trendsetters. If you’re planning a night of clubbing then this is the perfect spot to begin, get a bottle of Cava and sip it over tapas before hitting the hot spots.

Casa Almirall: Joaquín Costa, 33
One of the oldest bars in the city, Almirall is dimly lit and popular with young locals preparing for a night of dancing. There is somewhat a Bohemian feel to the place, with it’s huge Art Nouveau mirror behind the bar, and nu-jazz and funky beats played at volumes which allow for easy conversation. Although the neighbourhood can seem a bit edgy, the street is a haunt for elderly prostitutes, the bar itself is welcoming and inexpensive, drawing a young and often international crowd.

Benidorm: Joaquín Costa 39
Just a few doors down is one of Barcelona’s odder little spots, a bar where you need to be buzzed in at the door, before stepping down into a haven of kitsch and smoke. Small and lively, Benidorm attracts a mixture of trendier locals and, for whatever reason, Scandinavians, and features plenty of 80s disco gear including a revolving mirror-ball, plus one of the smallest toilets in the city. The music is unpredictable, depending on the DJ, and they often have famous guests playing their favourite music, like members of Pan Sonic or even Peaches.

Cafe del Sol: Plaça del Sol
In the heart of the Gracia neighbourhood, in the famous Placa del Sol, is one of the most poular hangouts in that area. A perfect spot to chill out and watch the world go by, especially if you choose to sit outdoors, the crowd is a fine mixture of locals, ex-pats and tourists who have made it off the beaten track. There are quite a few other bars in this square, so if the music isn’t to your liking you have only a few metres to go to find something different.

La Fianna: Banys Vells, 15
This is a bar with a difference, a strange mixture of old and hippy, goth and trendy, and is usually packed to it’s not so high wooden rafters with all kinds of punters, listening to the odd musical mix that is the norm here. Originally created to have a North African/Arabian feel, the interior is one of red velvet curtains falling to cobbled floors, with enormous chandeliers of candles and Moroccan light fixtures. The food available is representative of the many countries from whence the staff have arrived, from Scandanavia to South Africa, and prices are very reasonable, so if fancy fare that is a little different to the usual Spanish or Catalan, then this is a perfect spot for you.

Bar Marsella: C. Sant Pau, 65
One of the oldest bars in the city, Bar Marsella opened for business in 1820, this wee gem has enjoyed the custom of some of the greatest artists to have lived in the city, including Picasso, Dali, Gaudi, Miro and the American novelist Hemingway. For many years it was the only place to get an absinthe, and today is known as THE absinthe bar, where it is served with all the formality of days gone by. The clientele is an odd mix, trendy youth drinking alongside Euro-trekkers whilst the last of the Anarchists sit at the bar sipping their lethal concoctions with other old-timers and survivors of the French Mai 68. Pure history, and an essential stop for seasoned bar-hoppers.

Belchica: C. Villarroel, 60
You are more likely to hear French spoken here than Spanish or Catalan, as Belchica is the city’s only Belgian bar and is thus home to many French-speaking Belgians, who come to enjoy a wide range of fine beers from home. There is a choice of over 40 Belgian beers, including the popular Leffe, Hoegaarden and Stella on draught. There are regular DJ sessions, a large screen TV for all manner of televised sports, but mainly football, and a space for photographic or art exhibitions which change frequently. Very popular with European and North American tourists.

Bar Pipa: Plaça Reial, 3
Almost hidden away in the corner of Placa Reial, next to Bar Glaciar, this unusual spot is actually a club dedicated to pipe smokers, although I’ve never actually noticed many within. Convenient for the jazz and funk lovers leaving the nearby Jamboree venue, part of Pipa’s appeal is it’s wonderful opening hours – from 6pm til 6am. There is a decent pool table, they serve a good range of cocktails, and the music is always good without being overpowering. For anyone who doesn’t fancy a night in a packed club, but doesn’t want to make it home before dawn, Pipa is the ideal spot to sit and relax and await the dawn.

Places worth seeing in Barcelona – Part 1

Barcelona is charming, noisy, mixed, full of Europeans, South Americans, Africans, Asians, American students, English teachers, and oh, let us not forget, the resident Catalans. Activities in Barcelona include dancing, swimming in the Mediterranean sea, drinking in small eclectic bars and on the sides of fountains, trailing the streets with your eyes cast permanently upwards at the beautiful gothic or modernist buildings, and of course, eating the Catalan national dish, pa amb tomaquet, or bread with olive oil and tomato rubbed into it.

With so much to see, do and experience, and often in the heat and humidity of the summer tourist season, Barcelona can be hectic as much as anything, and therefore I will focus on two places I find to be synonymous with peace in the city. This being Barcelona, it is still frequently a noisy, and always vibrant peace, but peace nonetheless.

The first is in Plaa dels Angels in the central neighbourhood of Raval. Raval is, if you like, the poorer cousin of the tourist-mobbed Gothic Quarter. The architecture is not quite so old or grand, but the feeling of walking down the street is infinitely more authentic: many of the passers-by actually live in the neighbourhood, though they may originally come from such diverse places as Argentina and Pakistan. Plaa dels Angels is the shining bright white center of the Raval, and open space filled with practicing skateboarders against the backdrop of a stunning white museum of modern art. The MACBA, as it is called, was built to infuse some new hope and life into the then poor and desperate neighbourhood, and it fulfils this role admirably. It gleams like a friendly beacon in the sun, and is a study in authentic contrast, stationed across from a small stone convent that sometimes houses some of the extra exhibitions. Over to one side of the MACBA, just before the square suddenly narrows again into another charming cobbled alley, there are a few cafes with outdoor tables, which are perhaps the city’s most perfect places to sit, on a sunny afternoon, and enjoy a small beer or a coffee, under a beautiful outdoor work of art by the famous Basque artist Eduardo Chillida.

On the other side of the Gothic Quarter and the up-and-coming Born district is a beautiful red brick Arc de Triomf, similar in style to its famous Parisian cousin, but weightier and more detailed. At the bottom of the long avenue leading away from the Arc is Parc Ciutadella, one of the most delightful and quirky places in Barcelona. There is a statue of Venus and a raging horse and carriage in the midst of an enormous, explosive fountain, which, in true Barcelona style, is usually either being repaired or switched off to save water, but is nonetheless impressive. Nearby is a delightfully random statue of a woolly mammoth, and a small lake where rowboats can be rented by the hour. But the true delight of the park is simply to sit on the grass and drink a glass of sparkling wine, or have a picnic, feel the sun play on your skin, and listen to the distant but ever-present beat of practicing drums, and look across the sea of relaxed locals and leisurely turning batons.

Come to Barcelona, see the sights, but experience too the elusive peace of the Catalan capital, and leave with a different perspective on this warm and wonderful corner of the Mediterranean.

10 Things that are Hot in Barcelona, Spain

Barcelona in Spain many of us love to visit and there are many reasons why this city is so popular and such a haven for sun, culture and shopping seekers and sometimes a combination of all three. Barcelona has some jewels in its mist and thus below we look at 10 great things about Barcelona.

1. Sagrada Familia – is an amazing attraction which was created by Gaudi many years ago and which after one hundred years is still only half finished. This is a gem of a place to visit.

2. Sitges – although not exactly in Barcelona, Sitges is a wonderful sea-side town just a few miles South of central Barcelona and is a popular summer time location. Sitges is said to be one of the most expensive places to live in Spain.

3. Barri Gotic – The Barri Gotic area is quite close to the central area and beach area and it is great cultural, with many small streets and cool shops and cafes.

4. La Rambla – is a very popular tourist area where there are dozens of tourist friendly although slightly expensive, cafes and bars. The street is also lined with shops either side, along with hotels and in the centre of the street there are numerous street entertainers who perform for the willing crowd.

5. MontJuic – is an area on high land and overlooking the city and marina area and is also the location of the Olympic swimming pool and athletics stadium. The views are great so pop up to Montjuic.

6. The main beach in Barcelona have several sections and covers more than a mile in length and is partnered with a boardwalk and is lined with numerous restaurants. On a summers night walking along the boardwalk and grabbing a bite to eat can be a pleasant experience.

7. Eixample is also a great area with many excellent cafes, bars and restauarants and a good place to hang out of an evening.

8. Hot air ballooning over Barcelona – is a fantastic thing to do in the spring or summer time in this city. The normal balloon trips take give you excellent views.

9. Wine and dining – in Barcelona is not hard to do, with the number of eateries and places to drink and relax.

10. A day trip to the historical town of Girona an hour North of Barcelona. There are some excellent things you can do both in and just outside Barcelona.