Posts Tagged With: photos


We took two trips to Salamanca, one on Holy Thursday and the other on the Tuesday after Easter. The first trip was to visit the various sites. We were taken by Isa’s father, Don Mariano, because he had studied Law there and could show us the city. Of course, the city that he knew is not the same. The “hot spots” and places to be have changed multiple times over the years. One exception, at least, is Mesón Cervantes where Mariano took us for lunch. The second time only Isa and I went. We wanted to do some shopping as the stores had all been closed the last time. Isa took me to La Sureña, which is a bar favored by students in Madrid because of its cheap tapas and beer.

Salamanca is a “college town” with the oldest University in Spain. Many Spaniards and foreigners come to Salamanca to study, and therefore there is always something do and somewhere to go even though it is a small town. Many famous people have lived there, including Nebrija, who wrote the first Spanish grammar book; Christopher Columbus, while he was planning his trip to America; Fray Luis de Leon, who translated the Bible into Castellano; and Miguel de Cervantes, who studied in the University. Too, many famous Spanish novels have been set in the city, including La Celestina, written by Fernando de Rojas in 1499. The story tells of Calisto and Melibea, whose courtly love affair goes wrong due to the machinations of the matchmaker Celestina. Don Mariano took us to El Patio de Calisto y Melibea. This is the actual garden where the two lovers meet in the novel. It is still a garden for lovers, who come to be together, write love notes on the walls, and fasten locks to the well to symbolize the “foreverness” of their love.

On the back side of the University is a facade that is very elaborately carved. Somewhere on the wall is a frog sitting on a skull. The legend is that if you find the frog, you will graduate.

Que dice: La leyenda que si encontrabas la rana, aprobarias la carrera.

Isa showed me where the frog was. I guess I’m not going to graduate!

On our second pass through Salamanca, I drove Isa’s car there and back. Don Mariano had to work and we wanted to get out of Zamora and the house since we had been inside way too much due to rain. We made some purchases, including earrings typical of Salamanca and a book of practice exams for the B2 level for me (Isa is going to be my tutor), and we each bought some clothing at Bimba & Lola, another successful Spanish brand of clothing (the others being Zara, Custo, Desigual, etc). Isa needs to open a Bimba & Lola store in Los Angeles and share the wealth with the Americans!

I also bought a replica sword of Carlos V, and everyone, including the people at DHL where I had to send it, thought that this was amusing. Most people leave Salamanca with a t-shirt from the University, or some sort of souvenir of a frog, but I preferred the sword. It is a two-handed broadsword and has the crests of the kingdoms Charles ruled (Tirol, Flanders, Bravante, Borcoña, Austria, Aragon/Sicily, Castilla/Leon/Granada) etched  on the blade. Carlos V, King of Spain and Holy Roman Emperor, ruled from 1500-1558. (Here is a similar sword, but much much more expensive.)

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Sant Martí to Poble Nou II

This is a continuation of this post.

I was biking from the district of Sant Martí, where I am staying, to the Rambla of Poble Nou.

Before crossing Av. Diagonal, there is the the Parc del Centre del Poblenou. I’ve driven by it numerous times on my way to visit my friends, but I had never had the chance to enter until now. There are three different sections separated by roads. I first entered the eastern-most park. This one is the smallest of the three, and feels much more enclosed and separated from the rest of the world. The middle is full of trees that have small, hard, black and red berries. It was only after an older man with a dog came up to me to tell me about the trees that I found out they are actually a form of pepper. I appreciated the information, although it is always uncomfortable when a stranger approaches you in such a solitary place as this.

Along with the trees, there were installations of the artistic kind, and chairs which were also designed with art in mind.




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Sant Martí to Poblenou I

This post touches on two of my favorite things about Barcelona. I love that design is incorporated into every aspect of the city, and I am also enchanted by all of the old, abandoned, leftover buildings that can be found around the city. There is a distinctive mix of old and new.

I took a bike ride from the apartment to the Rambla of Poblenou, to a great new coffee shop, called Papas and the Mamas, which opened in November. I was introduced to the cafe/restaurant through my friend, who had planned to host her daughter’s birthday party there. The cafe is light, airy, and new, serves organic food, and has free wifi (which is the most important part, of course!). During the day, it is a quiet place to relax, but in the evenings it becomes a lively place full of parents and their children, as the location was designed with children in mind.

Poblenou (Pueblo Nuevo in Spanish, or “New Town” in English [real clever!])  is a district of Barcelona that has only started to be redeveloped in the past 20 years, starting when the Vila Olimpica was redone for the ’92 Olympics. (You can look at plans here.) It is an up and coming part of the city, filled with young people, artists, and the like. It is located near the beach, and the streets are wide allowing easy bike access. There are still factories and other brick industrial buildings, but if you move a block or two in one direction or another, you will encounter new residential developments. Here is the most fascinating mix of old and new in Barcelona.

The beginning of my bike ride was through a section of old apartment complexes and empty lots.


This is the frontage of some old houses, which have now been destroyed. The windows and doors have been bricked up, and are now used as a wall to enclose the empty land behind it.

A few blocks later, there is a burnt-out building. I had been told that it had caught fire and that some homeless people who had been living there died. However, upon further research, we could not find the relevant news, although we did read about other fatal fires in the area. It is not unusual to find people squatting in empty buildings in this part of the city. But it is here that the balance is even, and neither the new residents nor the squatters are most prevalent element. Poble Nou is still in a state of flux.


A block away from this building, is the start of a fantastic park next to Avinguda Diagonal, the main road that runs across the city diagonally (oddly enough). From here, you can see the shell of a new building near the Rambla.


In the photo above, the bushes that you see are walls of various parks. I’ll cover that in the next post.

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Photography and Prostitutes (but not photography of prostitutes)

Along the Carretera de Collblanc, in an area of L’Hospitalet not too far from Camp Nou, lies both an electrical substation and abandoned land with buildings. There is nowhere to park along the Carretera, but running almost parallel to it is Avinguda d’Manuel Azaña. This road has construction and empty land and is therefore used for the ever-elusive parking. I became acquainted with it not because I was searching for parking, but because I was searching for new and faster ways to get home. In the daytime this road is harmless. At night, it is a place where prostitutes solicit their wares. (It doesn’t seem the place for your higher-end prostitute. Too dark.)

My main goal was to take a photo of this building, from Carretera de Collblanc, but my parking spot on Av d’Manuel Azaña allowed me to get a view of the other side.


There’s a hole in the fence on this side that allows you to take a well-worn path down to some make-shift parking off of Collblanc.


Having taken the shortcut, I was then able to snap a photo of the original side that had sparked my interest.


And take a shot of the impressive gate.


Down the road is this building:


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Avinguda d’Albert Bastardas

Yesterday’s adventure took me to some of my old haunts. I went looking to take pictures of things I had seen in my commute but had never taken the time to come back to when I could actually stop for the photos.


Last year, on my drive home from practice, I often took a road running behind the Real Polo Club de Barcelona. It was appealing for both it’s lack of stoplights and for its interesting scenery:


Aigües de Barcelona is the company in charge of water distribution in Barcelona and other nearby municipalities. In the background you can see the Hotel Rey Juan Carlos, where the visiting footballers stay.

Aigües de Barcelona is the company in charge of water distribution in Barcelona and other nearby municipalities. In the background you can see the Hotel Rey Juan Carlos, where the visiting footballers stay.

This road continues and runs below the Carretera de Collblanc, where you can pass through a tunnel made of stone but now mostly covered in modern metal and concrete.


Old bridge/new bridge

On the way down to the bridge, after the Aigües, is a volleyball court, here used to play a football-volleyball hybrid.



And from below, you can see some of the new construction along the Carretera de Collblanc:




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