A Travellerspoint blog

Spring in Barcelona

The birds and the bees...and the seeds

sunny 24 °C

Spring in Barcelona is always a wonderful experience. The birds start chirping at odd hours of the morning, the zoo animals are suddenly all pregnant and the humans tend to walk with a new forward flowing energy. It is a time of green, sun and showers.

One of my favorite things about Barcelona in the spring is the fact that it is not hot yet and you can walk around with a light sweater. Most of the tourists have not arrived yet and you get the sensation of waking up from a nice long sleep of dreary grey mornings and cumbersome jackets. The blood in your veins start running a bit faster with more heat and energy and there is a fever to go out and do things.

Even the grandma's and grandpa's start taking their posts on the benches to watch the people walk by.

The other face of the Barcelona spring, something to take into account if your glass is half empty, are these little flying seeds that permeate the air around you causing an epidemic of "aaaahchoooo! aaaachooo! achooo's!" If you are an exceptionally allergic person, there is no cover or safe spot for the allergies so you should really consider your precautions before coming as no one like an itchy nose and watery eye while they are trying to enjoy the Sagrada Familia.

Posted by You Stylish 01:59 Archived in Spain Tagged barcelona spring allergies sneezing Comments (0)

What Barcelona has that no other place has...not even Madrid

CALÇOTS!!!!!

sunny 22 °C

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Winter time always sucks no matter where you are from. Either you have rain, or snow, whatever the weather we must find small things to make the day brighter and more fun.

After a long winter, the Spanish people in Catalunya like to enjoy the changing of the weather the best way possible: with a party! The famed Calçotada in Cataluna (and only in Catalunya) is one of the most traditional and delicious parties around. Family and friends gather either in the terrace of someone that has one in their apartment or if you are really lucky, in the middle of nowhere in the wine fields outside of Barcelona. They make a barbecue and put the Calçots, meat and whatever else on the flames to cook.

The calçots are specially made onions (there is a technique to make them that was patented in a small town called Valls) that are long and almost look like leeks. Another great thing in a calçotada is the Spanish "porron" which is a beautiful glass bottle with a thin spout for drinking wine. The Spanish are able to share this bottle with everyone as the bottle never touches their lips but is strewn in a line from the bottle to the mouth. Watching someone who is a veteran with this bottle is quite a treat!

So while the calçots and meat are being cooked, every one talks, plays with the soccer ball, drinks wine or vermouth and enjoys the sunshine. When the calçots are done, many put on an adult bib to not get themselves too dirty although calçots are a type of food that you are bound to get something dirty.

To eat the calçot, you grab the onion from it's green leaves on top and pull off the first layer of (usually burned) onion to find the beautiful white onion below. This, you then dip in the special Romesco sauce (a sauce made out of almonds, tomatoes, vinegar, red peppers and other good stuff). Then you put the long onion up over your mouth and voila....instant amazingness.

I've been to one proper calçotada (it was my first one living in Spain) and it was also the most amazing one because all of the people there were Catalans and were experts in the calçotada. Since then, I've had calçotadas with my family more often than not but the best has to be with friends where you have an excuse to drink wine and take a nap in the middle of the day.

If there is any reason to come to Barcelona during the January, February, March months, it is for the food.

Posted by You Stylish 02:47 Archived in Spain Tagged barcelona festivals spring calçotada calçots Comments (0)

March Madness

Waiting waiting waiting

sunny 23 °C

Waiting for the Springtime to come is never an easy thing. The sun is ALWAYS shining in Barcelona. It's something almost maddening although the temperature refuses to go into my favorite t-shirt and jean weather. I have been thinking a lot about waiting these days and realizing that this winter has been a long and arduously long wait for the weather and the feeling that is the norm for Barcelona and Spain. I realize that there must be some sort of psychological hibernation that takes place during the winter seasons or are they just bad habits from being used to living in a cave during the winter months from my childhood. I am waiting for things to happen, waiting for things to change, waiting for a surprise or something STIMULATING. Could it be that we need to be the "agents of Change" as we have heard so many times? Should I be making choices and making an effort for things to fall into place? To make them exciting? Is it time for a trip? I think so.

It is strange. This year seems to be going by slowly and quickly at the same time. You realize that there are so many things that you still want to do. You realize that you are getting older, that that young girl has long been tucked away and that your category has changed to mom, to lover, to worker, to friend. The world looks different though it is the same and you also have become different, more alert, more awake and mostly more aware of time and priorities.

MY CHALLENGE for this March, is to make a list of things that you have never done before meaning places that you have never gone to that would take your out of the hum drum of the everyday and work this month to complete one of those things on your list.

For example: Travel to Japan (something that I have been dying to do forever)
Step one: Look at prices for flights in Japan
Step two: Plan if you can take a vacation from work
Step three: Start learning things about Japan, read books, eat some of their food, inform yourself. Even if in the end you cannot get to Japan in the end because you do not have holiday time, you still make steps toward your goal.

It all starts in the here and now. I think, after such a long time in the winter with the tempting sun outside, its about that time to start planning a trip somewhere exotic. Its time to shake off the CABIN FEVER!!!

Posted by You Stylish 04:09 Archived in Spain Tagged travel where march to? Comments (0)

Mobile World Congress

The craziness and the ...work?

sunny 22 °C

The World Mobile Congress here in Barcelona has been HUGE. What with so much polemic action by various crisis frenzied companies it almost looked like the congress was going to be a disaster for everyone. There were rumors that the Public transport people would be big sports and do a huge strike on the days of the congress causing havoc and chaos with all the international visitors that desperately need to get to the congress grounds.

Luckily, none of these disasters came to fruition and on the whole, it seems like it has been business as normal. This year I would not be surprised to hear that there has been a record of people coming to the congress.

I went to the opera last night to see La Boheme in the Liceu (another event that was destined to be cancelled due to a strike) and afterwards we went to the Ciudad Condal to have dinner. The place was PACKED with congress people, most highly inebriated already and trying to flirt with anything that would walk by. I even was pegged as being one of the azafatas of the event although I am sure that these congress goers had their beer goggles already on.

What is it with going abroad for business that makes people think that they can just go WILD? Is it the frivolous Barcelona air or the free flow of chapagne, wine and beer that follows any congress meeting? Is it the terrible solitude of being on in a vast sea of millions trying to push for your product in one of the romantic cities of the world? In any case, Barcelona is receiving plus points in these moments. Thank you World Mobile and thank goodness the Barcelona officials haven't been stupid enough to pool where they eat by ruining the congress with needless and exasperating strikes.

Posted by You Stylish 07:37 Archived in Spain Tagged parties night barcelona world mobile congress february Comments (0)

Days in February in Barcelona

Sunshine and cold

sunny 22 °C

February in Chicago is the one month that is usually the most depressing. Don't they say that the majority of suicides happen at this time? There is something psychological in the lack of sunshine, the constant days of grey and white and the trudge of the process of waking up to a cold house, having to dig your car out of a deep snow ditch, being freezing, going to work and then coming home and wanting to just hide under your covers or in a bottle of Jack Daniels.

The good news is, when you live in a place like Barcelona, that is just not an option. Today, my fingers are freezing as I write this (we have the heating off), but outside of my window there is sunshine and although I cannot enjoy it by being on the beach with a Corona because I am working, I can still enjoy the fact that there is sunshine outside just within reach.

Barcelona is a strange city. We do not celebrate Valentines day, thank god. There is nothing more depressing than being cold and ALSO not having a sweetheart to share this special and very commercial day with. February in Barcelona is like any other month. It is a transition period between the winter weather and springtime. You can just feel it in the air that change is happening. They say that sometime this weekend we will be starting spring finally after the terrible arctic cloud that engulfed the city recently. If you are planning on coming to Barcelona at some time, be sure to make is after the World Mobile Congress and come during March, like March 5th and onwards. Then we will surely be able to leave the jackets at home.

Posted by You Stylish 03:50 Archived in Spain Tagged barcelona chicago world day to things do cold mobile congress valentines february Comments (0)

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