Monthly Archives: September 2009

The Rain in Spain…

For me (and most expats in the city) things to do on a rainy day in Barcelona generally involve all the things I should do when it’s sunny, but end up neglecting because I’d rather be on the beach. These invariably include laundry and work of any kind. However as I had guests in town recently, and it did rain quite a bit, I was left scratching my head on how to entertain them when sangrias on the sand was no longer an option.

Well La Sagrada Familia is an obvious option, but with potentially long queues outside and getting there and the fact that the views from the top are not as nice on a grey day, I would still rather hit Gaudi’s famously unfinished masterpiece on a fine day than a rainy one. Obviously, parks are out, so let’s see what we’re left with… here are my top five suggestions for things to do on a rainy day in Barcelona: (As I gain more experience living in the city, I may well feel the need to revise the list but this should keep you busy for now!)

1) Barcelona Aquarium – Ok, I have to admit I am a bit of sucker for aquariums (in fact my friend has even opened one in Krakow – check it out!), and this one has plenty of marine goodness going on… you won’t catch me diving with sharks though!

2) Picasso Museum – Love this museum. Partly because I was never the biggest Picasso fan, but this museum really charts his evolution as an artist and helped me appreciate his genius. Plus he was a big fan of Polish vodka, which makes him all right with me. The museum is fairly big and will keep you busy long enough for any passing storm to blow itself out.

3) Shopping – Even I renew my pants supply occasionally, so I may as well do it when it’s raining. Covered shopping malls in BCN include L’illa Diagonal, Diagonal Mar and Maremagnum.

4) Go-Karting – One for the boys! Bit of a favourite with stag parties, the track is indoor so a good ‘whatever the weather’ option. Here’s the website.

5) Arab Baths – One for the girls! Ok, I haven’t actually been but check the website. It looks real nice, and if you take your girlfriend I’m sure she’ll repay the favour in kind… Not that I know your girlfriend really well or anything, she just seems the grateful type.

Right what better way to round this rainy days post off than with a top five rain-related songs… yes, I do like a top five. And I do long songs, so don’t be surprised if I make them a regular feature of this fr3ky old blog of mine. How about some reverse order in the house?

5) Alice in Chains – Rain When I Die Kick off with a grunge classic!

4) Garbage – I’m Only Happy When It Rains The famously scary/sexy Shirley Manson (Surely not her real name? I just Wiki-ed her and it is – plus she is 43 years old!!!) sports a lovely pink number in this vid.

3) Peter Gabriel – Red Rain One of my fave tracks by our Pete.

2) Heather Nova – London Rain I went through an about ten year obsession with Heather Nova. She’s kinda cheesy but the early stuff in particular is damn fine…

1) The Eurythymics – Here Comes The Rain Again They really were good, weren’t they?

Right, I know you were waiting for Guns and Roses/Prince, but I’d like to retain a modicum of originality where I can… if it’s raining where you are feel free to compile your own far superior top five and whack a comment up below. Or even better suggest something great to do in Barcelona when the weather is bad. Adios for now amigos.

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Footballers in Photos…

Yep, I’ve really outdone myself this time, but there’s only so many times I can walk past a chemist called ‘Fabregas’ and not take a photo. And then I noticed Kaka, Puyol, Reyes and even Gerrard lurking in quiet corners of the city… the idea for the world’s most pointless photo gallery was born!

Hands off Laporta! He's a North London boy...

Hands off Laporta! He's a North London boy...

Haha, the (second) best footballer for innuendos ever. Mahorn  slips inside Butt, dribbles and then shoots!

Haha, the (second) best footballer for innuendos ever. Mahorn slips inside Butt, dribbles and then shoots!

Eh, puta, get back to Madrid! (Cue spitting sound)

Eh, puta, get back to Madrid! (Cue spitting sound)

Surely the answer to England's midfield problems?

Surely the answer to England's midfield problems?

Don't pick holes in the spelling, it still counts. Stevie without the Frankenhalf

Don't pick holes in the spelling, it still counts. Stevie without the Frankenhalf

No idea what this means, but considering it was taken in Catalonia's heartland it's unlikely to be overly friendly...

No idea what this means, but considering it was taken in Catalonia's heartland it's unlikely to be overly friendly...

One more of the great man. The more you see his name around town the more you have to fear the inevitable...

One more of the great man. The more you see his name around town the more you have to fear the inevitable...

Right, Puyol and Reyes have been spotted but not when I had my camera. I’ll add some more as I find them…

Polish chicas, on the tourist trail and some clubbing

Just spent an enjoyable week entertaining two rather gorgeous girls from my erstwhile adopted homeland of Poland. It’s easy to be snobby about seeing a city from a tourist point of view but Barcelona really does pull out the stops when it comes to sightseeing and it was a pleasure to revisit all the greats with guests in tow… as well as get in some bikini time (the Polish girls, not me).

Having also done some fairly extensive club crawling I’m still not entirely satisfied by the Barcelona nightlife, and waiting to find my niche. We did Jamboree, Catwalk and Razzmatazz, but the first two are typical tourist fare and the latter is a just a huge crush (a night spent queuing in effect!) and def too much for a clubber of my advanced years. Did turn up a new place called Marula which may be worthy of a second look. Met a French DJ called Fred Spider and although I can’t recall very much of our 2 hour conversation I seem to remember we shared the same music taste and nightlife outlook… he plays there at weekends so I’ll get back to y’all if I get around to going.

L’Antic Teatre

For me a new city only really starts to feel like home after you find the handful of select venues that give you that tingly warm feeling inside. That bar with tatty sofas, Budva on tap and the cute waitress who serves up your cerveza with a smile, or that club when the bouncers recognise you and never turn you down because of your footwear where the DJs actually play your type of music and you always end up meeting some cool strangers and finishing the night on a roof terrace with a mojito. Well, I must say the jury is still out on the Barcelona clubs… but I have at least found my new favourite hangout, and it’s called L’Antic Teatre. Perhaps what I like most about this place is that it reminds me of all my favourite hangouts in Krakow – like Klub Re’s beer garden, Mleczarnia and Chill Out. Much like these aforementioneds, L’Antic is essentially a scrappy little courtyard, but with the addition of a tree or two – and leafy shade from the midday sun – some tables and chairs and the odd bench, you suddenly have a funky beer garden par excellence bursting to the brim with Bohemian layabouts and alternative culture cats enjoying a clara with some pseudo-intellectual conversation. Ok, so there are a few school kids bringing the levels of sophistication down a notch or too, but they seem to understand when its past their bedtime and return home to be tucked in by their madre between the sheets, leaving the old timers plenty of places to park their portly posteriors. I’m not going to tell you where it is because if you haven’t figured out to use a search engine and a map yet I’d really rather you didn’t turn up… and in fact I’d probably not have reviewed the place at all if I thought anyone was actually reading this blog. All in all this though is probably the safest place to file such a valuable city secret. Oh to top it all, despite the fact it’s as raw as an Eskimo’s sushi, the place is actually a member’s only bar! Ha, but becoming a member basically involves filling out a form. Still it’s nice to feel exclusive in such a shitty environs…

L'Antic Teatr

L'Antic Teatr

Judging by the name, there’s also some actual culture going… I’ll leave you to decipher the website www.lanticteatre.com

Girls, Girls, Girls…

This blog is barely a couple of posts old and I’m already receiving – and taking – requests for topics. This one goes out to Big Al Barriga!

As Big Al (and I) have noticed, Barcelona is absolutely crammed full of smokin’ hot totty, cheeky chicas, sexy senoritas, bootiful babes, gorgeous gals, luscious ladies, badass bitches and dribble-inducing divas… what more can I say? Nothing really, which is why I’ve gone for a musical tribute instead. Here are my top five tunes about God’s greatest creations:

1) Peaches – Dub Pistols cover of Strangler’s classic feat. Rodney P

2) The Girls – Calvin Harris. If I was a boxer I would want this to be my grand entry tune…

3) Peaches – same name different track. Good BBQ song this one, by A. Skillz and Krafty Cuts

4) Girls – hmmm, not much variation on the names here, but I assure you they all sound different. Much silliness from the Beastie Boys.

5) Senorita – I can feel my impression coming on. No top 5 would be complete without a little JT in the mix.

Right, I’m sure I’ve missed some really obvious tracks here, so let me know and maybe we can make this a top 10! Girls, out of respect for sexual equality I give you boys, boys, boys…

My Flat

Choosing a flat is always tricky. Especially in a foreign country where you don’t speak the language, and your budget extends only slightly above a cardboard box under a bridge somewhere on the outskirts of the city limits. I probably should have visited more than one, but I thought I knew everything I needed to know about my new apartment. It was cheap, it was central, my housemates were friendly Spanish folk who spoke good English, and best of all it was on ‘Casanova’ street… What could go wrong? Ok, so it turned out the place used to be a brothel… and, on closer inspection, the kitchen was a lot dirtier than I thought, but we’ve nearly got rid of the cockroaches now. At least the bigger ones. The ones that could bring down a rat with their mandibles. Does the cistern really need a cover, I ask you? And is half a toilet lid, with a jagged edge, that much worse than a whole one? I’ve kinda got used to plunging the shower, whilst I’m actually in the shower, at regular 2 minute intervals. Plus I like having a small bedroom facing the internal courtyard really. It keeps all the irritating clutter out of my life, such as girlfriends and natural light. So really, what with the location right in the heart of Barcelona’s gay district, just by a 24 hour sauna, I can’t think of any cause of complaint. A nice relaxing pad… Hang on a mo… I think I can smell gas

Theme for Sebastian

…especially for Qeek.