Barcelona: Metro, Food, Graffiti

I feel a very strong need to write about metro in Barcelona. Going forward, the metro is as bright as in Taipei, so there will be only a part of the post about it. Then, there will be a bit about Spanish food and a bit about graffiti. The graffiti culture isn’t a popular as in Lisbon, for example. But still, there are some worth noticing, in comparison with Minsk.

Like in Taipei, metro starts with a ticket-selling automate.

IMG_2500The ticket is a card, not a token.IMG_2502Some transitions between stations on the different lanes are very long, but there you can meet some artists, who’ll play cheerful Spanish songs.

IMG_2505The metro platform.

IMG_2506Inside of the train.

IMG_2509They use Windows in the subway. Epic fail.

IMG_2668There are two kinds of subway trains in Barcelona. That was the first kind – the less comfortable trains. Now, the second kind. Even the tickets differ, though the prices are not.

IMG_2984Inside of the comfortable train.

IMG_2989If you have a walk on one of the central streets in Barcelona, you’ll have a lot of cafes that propose you to taste their Paella and Tapas. The food quality in the cafes on the central streets is pretty low, but if you move to some adjacent streets, you’ll have a chance to enjoy cool Spanish cuisine.

There are a lot of kinds of Tapas.

IMG_2962 IMG_2963IMG_2712The paella is somehow similar to the pilaff, but at the same time, they differ quite a lot. Paella is more frequently served with seafood. It is made on the individual pan, specially on your order.

IMG_2715One may find it expensive to eat at the classical cuisine restaurants all the time, so did we. Luckily, there are a lot of relatively cheap fastfoods: McDonalds, Subway, Burger King, KFC.. To my surprise, these places aren’t crowded at all. That probably means that Spanish people doesn’t really like junk food – very nice of them. The situation in Belarus is directly opposite: even if there’s an excursion of the pupils from the provincial cities to the capital, there’s almost always a such a destination (happily, this is only one of many destinations) as McDonalds. Though there’re a lot of ways to eat cheaper and healthier – perhaps, one day I will write a post about ordinary life in Minsk. Among all this fastfood variety, my choice is Subway.

IMG_2664Graffiti looks like a common thing in Spain. I mean, real graffiti, not just tags with a marker. Here’re a few of the most notable ones.

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Barcelona: Places of Interest

Barcelona has a lot of very popular places that attract tourists from the whole world. Here are some, that I have met during my walks.

The first one is La Rambla boulevard. It is quite legendary among the tourists, all the time there’s a lot of people, speaking a lot of different languages. Here’s a view to the boulevard that I have had during my breakfast in the hotel’s restaurant.

IMG_2019Let’s get out of the hotel and have a little walk. In five minutes, we get to La Boqueria market.

IMG_2037The market specializes more on the food. There are cool fruit mixes. If you happen to visit La Boqueria, try them, they’re really lovely.

IMG_2062There are also cute sweets.

IMG_2048And seafood.

IMG_2054 IMG_2059Have a little walk to the port of Barcelona.

IMG_2175 IMG_2177 IMG_2183Looks like the Aquarium of Barcelona is near!

IMG_2203 IMG_2215 IMG_2271Time to have a dinner.

IMG_2270Jellyfishes.

IMG_2308 IMG_2310Moving to the cableway.

IMG_2412 IMG_2421A perfect place to get a panorama of the city. I am really passionate about such views.

IMG_2435 IMG_2449Let us start one more lap! Moving to the gothic church. That is the church outside.

IMG_2604Moving inside.

IMG_2622 IMG_2625Light a candle with a coin: not the best idea.

IMG_2620La Sagrada Familia. This is a church that is still under construction. It was projected by Antonio Gaudi. This place is much nicer than it looks at the photoes, so when you’ll stay in Barcelona, do consider visiting it.

IMG_2669 IMG_2702The last (but not the least) place is Guell Park, again, by Antonio Gaudi.

IMG_2863If want to have a really nice panorama, this place is one of the best possible choices.

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Barcelona: a walk in the city

This post is of the same kind as this one. Just a few details of the city. Of course, there will be the post about the sightseeing places.

Typical view in La Rambla boulevard district. This is not the legendary boulevard itself.

IMG_1834Here are the views from the window of the hotel room I have lived in.

IMG_1823 IMG_1824 IMG_1828 And here we see some narrow streets. Basically, narrow streets are very common thing for Europe, but the visit to Barcelona was the first one I have had after a long break (I have been to Italy in the September of 2012). So it was quite unusual for me, same as for anyone who’s not accustomed to it. “Unusual” in a good sense of this word.

I’ve met a lot of pigeons at Plaça de Catalunya, like at some square in Venice. The Square of Catalonia was the first sightseeing place I have met, because it was located about 300m from my hotel. On the photo there is a hand of sleepy me, trying to feed them. Thanks to RedBull, I have had a longer walk in my first day.

IMG_1861All the taxis look the same. The color is yellow-black.

IMG_1982The police.

IMG_1996The advertisements in Spain. Be careful, the girl is not a part of the ad.

IMG_2120More ads!

IMG_2190The thing I have really liked in Barcelona is public bicycles. There are a lot of bicycle-parkings in the city by Vodafone, so that you can get a bike in some place of the city, then have a ride to your destination, and then leave it at the another stop. That is really a great idea! Say, you’re late somewhere, or just don’t have a bicycle – there’s a simple solution. Moreover, it’s really healthy and pleasant to have a ride on the bike.

IMG_2163Nevertheless, when I have tried to use one of such bicycles, I have faced some difficulties and it appeared that I couldn’t use them. There should have been be a subscription for a year or so. But that was not a great obstacle for me to ride a bike on the Barcelona embankment, because the staff in the shop nearby was really friendly and even without knowledge of English, they’ve let me know that those bikes can’t be taken that easily and showed me the way to the nearest rent-a-bicycle service.IMG_2775Somewhere there are two kinds of traffic lights: one for the pedestriants, and one more for the cyclists. But actually, a lot of the pedestriants doesn’t observe traffic rules.

IMG_2766The road markings.

IMG_2486Special offers in the food shop. Just like in Belarus. By the way, there is always a simple way to learn the word “discount” in the language of the country you’re currently in. Go to the crowded shopping street, look at the inscriptions on shop windows. The most frequent word among what is written on them, will mean “discounts” in the language of this country.

IMG_2480The playground.

IMG_2657Football is quite popular here, so such fields can be met in the center of the city.

IMG_2643If you didn’t observe the rules, while riding the bike, you’ll probably need a pharmacy. The classic plus-sign of the pharmacy is in a bit more complex form.

IMG_1985There was a registered case of ebola in Spain, here’s even ebola-related social ad. Two months later, I have met the similar one in Rome.

IMG_2576At last, there is a small lifehack. The official souvenir shops sell them for a quite large price. Nevertheless, you can find some street bargainers, who’ll sell them to you in a price of 1 euro (I’ve bought some magnets at them) that is 3.5 times lower that the official price. Not sure whether the souvenir shops make the price high on purpose or the things that street bargainers sell are stolen, but the fact remains.

One of the bargainers’ colleagues stands on the lookout and when the police approaches, shouts loudly. The bargainers pack very fast and get lost in the crowd.

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Barcelona: Catalonia or Spain?

I was planning to make my first Barcelona blog post about the details of the city, but the first detail I have met and the thing that followed me all the time was incredible aspiration of the anything to show that Catalonia is much more that just a region of Spain.

I have visited Barcelona in November of 2014, at the October Revolution weekend. October Revolution day is the 7-th of November (something is wrong here, definitely -_-). Personally I dislike all that communist and Soviet stuff, but I am glad that at least they give me an extra day off once a year.

The trip was quite spontaneous, and I have bought the tickets later that I should have bought them, so I flew by Lufthansa with ordinary (non-lowcost) fare. Anyway that was worth of it, ’cause sudden Barcelona trip was one of the best weekends in my life.

My acquaintance with the city started with a way from the airport. What was the first thing I have noted? Of course, it were a lot of Catalonian flags on the balconies of the ordinary people. Like this one. Be attentive, there are three at this photo!

IMG_1835Would you like one more?

IMG_2136You might ask a reasonable question: why do people put flags on their balconies. This is because the majority of the population consider themselves the citizens of Catalonia, not Spain. The flags are not the only sign of that, here is the photo of a wall, the photo was made during my walk in Guell park.

IMG_2922No more words are needed for this graffiti.

Mostly everywhere, you can find the pointers on three languages: Catalan, Spanish, and English.

Looks like speaking Catalan in very prestigious in Catalonia. Drawing parallels, here in Belarus there is a problem arising that the majority of people does not speak Belarusian and even just don’t want to do that. The reason is quite simple: for the majority in Belarus, the Belarusian language associates with countryside people, to whom they don’t really want to be similar. In Catalonia, speaking Catalan is prestigious, and it looks more like the language associates more with nobles.

One more arguement for Catalan is that a lot of people doesn’t want to consider themselves as a part of Spain, so this is also a way to express that they’re Catalonians, not Spanish.

A few days later, in the evening, I have seen a crowd of the people.

IMG_2558That was the day of the referendum for Catalonian independence from Spain. Though, official Spain goverment called this something like “a poll”.