After a similar experience in Paris, (see my Paris page for details), where I came across 32 couples from China taking their wedding pictures at Place de la Concorde, I came across one more Chinese couple at Montjuic mountain, in their wedding dress, taking wedding pictures. It was a bit funny for me, seems like a new fashion in China.
The Sardana is Catalonia's national dance and is more complicated than it probably appears. It succes depends on the dancers forming a circle and accurately counting the complicated short- and long-step skips and jumps, which accounts for their serious faces. Music is provided by a cobla ( an 11-person band consisting of a leader playing a three-holde flute (flabiol) and a little drum (tambori), five woodwind players and five brass players. The Sardana is performed during most 'festes' and at special day-long gatherings called 'aplecs'. In Barcelona it is danced every Sunday evening at 18:30u in the Placa de Sant Jaume.
We had quite a nice experience with this dance being in Tarragona. We were sitting in the sun having a nice cool beer in the Old Town. All of a sudden we saw a lot of people gathering together and suddenly heared music and the clapping of hands. I had a look and saw that some local people just spontaniously started to dance The Sardana. Just great!
Appropriate Barcelona Wear
You're likely going to want to have a bag with you at all times, in the summer to carry a towel, fan, map (always a good idea!), chapstick, camera, the usual, and in the winter to have an umbrella, extra scarf, and of course, the map again. Make sure you have a bag that closes securely, and that you can hold close to your body. If you exercise a normal amount of caution and don't let your wallet hang out of your bag, you should be fine, but chances are it'll be obvious you're a tourist and it's always best to play it safe. If you're wearing a long shoulder bag, keep it in front of you. Your best bet is a shoulder bag that zips shut and can be held tight under your arm. Flip flop sandals are OK! They're comfortable, everyone wears them, and remember it gets HOT! I recommend getting a nicer looking pair, maybe some leather ones and not rubber, though white havaianas were all the rage during summer 2006. Heels are a nightmare on the cobblestones, though I would recommend a nice pair of boots for ladies during the colder months. And they get COLD! It was regularly wet and in the 40s during November and December and in March it hovered in the 50s. Don't underestimate the cold or the rain. If you don't have an umbrella, don't pay more than 3 euros for one, look for the convenience stores. It's also wise to have a raincoat or jacket with a hood. I never had one and regretted it with every freak rainstorm.
In the summer, a versatile necessity for women is a lightweight dress. Most of the nightspots are not very formal and it will transition wonderfully onto the beach. Farmacias will provide you with all the medicine you need in the case of an emergency, but save yourself some time and pack a small supply of personal items. Bring your camera at all times! You will regret not taking pictures, but be sure to keep it secure in a ZIPPED bag, and don't bring too much equipment or you and your back will regret it later. If you're going to the beach, keep a sarong or thin towel tucked in your bag, but be careful, the sand will leave a reddish-soily stain on it, so if it's a sarong you like to wear as a cover-up, keep it off the sand. Be sure to bring a towel because one thing I learned is that they are surprisingly expensive, ESPECIALLY at el corte ingles. If it's summer you won't need to do much drying off when the sun's out, so just get something that will keep you off the sand and travel easily. Always have a map! It's a no brainer, but will save you hours and trips back and forth from the streets to your accomodation. You can get a free, comprehensive one from El Corte Ingles. And stop by boqueria and pick up some fruit or pastries. there are plenty of pleasant places to stop and have a snack and it will save you tons of money. Water is also a necessity. You will regret stopping desperately at a restaraunt for a drink when you could have saved several euros and gotten a bottle for 20 cents at the grocery.
A Tour around the Nou Camp
The Nou Camp (or Camp Nou in Spanish) is the largest football Stadium in Europe. This is where Barcelona Football Club (commonly known as barca to the locals) play their home games.
The ground was built in 1957, and has the alternative name as "The house that Kubala built". This takes a little working out as Kubula who was a goal scoring phenomenom in the 1950s musy have been way to busy to build any stadiun single handedly. In fact Kubala (of Hungarian birth) was so popular with is acrobatic style of play and sheer strength, that the previous stadium could not cope with the number of supporters who wanted to watch him. A new bigger stadium was needed, and this is it.
The tour takes you into the changing rooms, the players chapel, the pitch and the Barca museum of Football. If you like football, it is a very entertaining trip. Indeed I was told if you don't like football, it is still good fun!
the typical espadrille
According to our travel guide even Cathrine Zeta-Jones buys here the espadrilles ... now me too :-)
Cathrine wasn't in but several old elegant Spanish ladies buying new ones for the summer to come.
After finding the correct size it starts to get difficut. Which color should I choose? Yellow, no turquoise or maybe orange ... just black would also be beautiful but isn't it to boring? What about light green or olive, maybe purple? Difficult, difficult ....
Finally I bought a pair in orange and on in light blue. espadrille, espadrilles and more espadrilles