Category Archives: Barcelona

El meu Barcelona (My Barcelona)

For over two years, I lived in Barcelona’s old city (Ciutat Vella). Here are some favorite photos — with a few memories — I took during my years in the Ciutat Comtal (the City of Counts):

Number One Blog

… Number 1 …

Location:  Carrer de la Mercè

The first photo I took in Barcelona. Of all the sights and sounds in the vibrant city, it was street art — graphiti, stencils, chalk and paint — that found my camera first.

Faceless Angel Blog

… faceless Angel …

Location: La Basílica de la Mercè , Carrer Ample

Called “an oasis in the city”,  La Basílica de la Mercè (The Basilica of Our Lady of Mercy) is a Baroque-style basilica, built between 1765 and 1775.  The “faceless Angel” watched over a favorite restaurant of mine (now defunct).

Study in Pink Blog

… my neighbor’s pink recliner …

Location: Carrer de Meer

In my neighborhood, the tradition was (and still is) enjoying any small bit of sidewalk as a community terrace, especially on hot and humid summer nights…it was sociable and peaceful, though in the last few years the locals have been battling with young, rowdy tourists for space.

Different Green Blog

… early Saturday evening …

Location: Plaça dels Traginers (Barri Gòtic)

Tucked away in corners of the ancient winding Barri Gótic (Gothic neighborhood) streets there were still a few plazas where Saturday nights are spontaneous “happenings”, centered around tiny bars. Music, poetry, art. Inspired times.

Picasso Blog

… Pablo …

Location:  Carrer d’en Rauric

I always navigated the small streets and alleyways of Barcelona because of both their character and  the distance away from the hordes of tourists. “Pablo” was always a welcome sight!

Barceloneta Balcony Blog

… my neighbor’s garden …

 Location: Carrer del Baluard

In my neighborhood, a small balcony (much like that little bit of sidewalk for a reclining chair) was/is a small expansion outward that could be either utilitarian or creative — or both.

Happy Face Blog

… happy face door knocker …

Location: Carrer del Correu Vell

 A touch of Barri Gótic (Gothic neighborhood) humor, another layer added to the history of an aging  door.

Barceloneta blog

Barceloneta patterns…

Location: Carrer Sant Elm

One of my favorite places in all of the city was/is  La Barceloneta, a neighborhood in the Ciutat Vella (Old City) district of Barcelona. It was constructed during the 18th century, with the residents working in and around the port. There is even a little museum,  La Casa de la Barceloneta, where the history of the neighborhood comes to life.  La Barceloneta is known for its long, sandy beach (which made an appearance in Don Quixote, Book 2).

Casa Bruno Quadros Blog

Casa-Bruno Cuadros

Location: La Rambla, 82

 When living in Barcelona, I associated La Rambla with hordes of tourists, over-priced cafés and pick pockets — and some amazing jewels of the Catalan Art Nouveau movement, Modernisme. The Casa Bruno Cuadros, also known as the Casa dels Paraigües (House of Umbrellas) is an example. The most opulent decorative element is the ornate Chinese dragon on the corner of the façade. It was used to advertise the shop, together with the umbrella below it.


All photos © La Gringa Ibérica

Spain: Security Shutter Art

I am really keen on security shutter art here. Because of the 3-4 hour afternoon Spanish siesta, the art on security shutters — often humorous and always creative — brightens the streets when businesses are closed. Here are few favorites my camera has captured in Barcelona and Valencia.

Note: please click on images to enlarge.

Shutter Art Blog 3

Barcelona • Hair Salon

Shutter Art Blog 2 BCN

Barcelona • Chill-Out Lounge

El Burrito Blog

Valencia  El Burrito Take-Away Food

Ride Blog BCN

Barcelona  Trixi Bike Cabs

For Your Listening Pleasure Blog

Valencia • La Flama Music Club + Bar


Barcelona Bookstore

Plug-In Blog BCN

Barcelona  Electrician

Eat, Eat! Blog

Valencia  ¡Come, Come! (Eat, Eat!) Take-Away Food

BCNartBlog Brains

Barcelona • Storefront

BCNartBlog Political

Barcelona •  Political (empty storefront)

A Noble Attempt

Barcelona • I have no idea what this is, but I call it a noble effort…

Barcelona: Casa Vicens


Casa Vicens (1888), located on a quiet street in the Gràcia district, has been called una joya de Gaudí oculta en Barcelona (a hidden jewel of Gaudí in Barcelona). While living in Barcelona I visited Casa Vicens many times, appreciating the striking exterior design – and noticed the lack of large crowds of tourists/Gaudí enthusiasts that are the norm at other Gaudí sites throughout the city. Designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2005 for the quality of the work and its place in the history of modern Catalan architecture, the recent news that Casa Vicens will open to the public in the second half of this year (2016) is cause for celebration!

Casa Vicens was the first complete building designed by Antoni Gaudí within Barcelona’s official borders. He had worked on smaller projects, but Casa Vicens was the start of good fortune for him. It was commisioned in 1878, the same year Gaudí, at the age of 26, graduated as an architect.  For a Gaudí admirer, Casa Vicens is the place to begin any study of his amazing career.

The building is covered with spectacular tiles (no coincidence that Manuel Vicens Montaner, who commissioned the building from Antoni Gaudí, was a tile manufacturer), following the vogue at the time in Spain for Oriental and Eastern motifs (Neo-Mudéjar) while also reflecting Gaudí’s developing style.

Gaudí based his design for the tiles on the French marigold (Tagetes Patula) which grew in the grounds of the estate, marking the beginning of his use of nature as an inspiration and a model:

Casa Vicens detail

Gaudí designed the railings by making clay models of the resplendent leaves of the fan palm:

Gaudi Gate

I look forward to visiting Casa Vicens when it opens its doors later this year, and hope that this beautiful corner of Gràcia does not loose its tranquility as visitors arrive seeking new insight into the world of Antoni Gaudí.


Casa Vicens location: Carrer de les Carolines, 24, Gràcia, Barcelona

Metro: L3 Fontana

Official website:  Casa Vicens



All photos © La Gringa Ibérica