Dolphins in Barcelona during quarantine

Dolphins take advantage of lockdown in Barcelona to swim in one of the city’s ports

The quarantine is generating a whole parade of animals that can be seen in places where until a few days ago it was unimaginable.

 

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Barcelona for dummies…

…or random useful facts you might need to know when meeting a Catalan!

Remember and remember! You are not in Spain!

Sant Jordi statue on the Palau de la Generalitat
Sant Jordi statue on the Palau de la Generalitat

You are in Catalunya. When asking a question, “So here in Spain, what time do you usually have lunch?” the answer will follow “Well…I am really not sure about Spain… But here, in CATALUNYA, we take a long break after two o’clock.” It is useful to know that Parlament of Catalunya defines Catalunya as a nation, and the Spanish Constitution recognizes Catalunya’s national reality as a nationality. Therefore, saying “I am Catalan, not Spanish” is politically correct!

You can find the main buildings of the Autonomous Government and the Barcelona Town Council at the Plaça de Sant Jaume in the historic area of Barri Gòtic, where you might catch a glance of beautiful architecture or taste the rebel spirit of another loud local workers’ or students’ demonstration!

Flamenco is not the traditional music here

Catalans prefer rock and roll a little bit more. A scene called ‘rock català’ has become famous in the last 20 years with some of its most popular bands as Lax’n’Busto (translation: an old type of laxative), Els Pets(translation: The Farts), Sangtraït (translation: bloody bruise), or Sopa de cabra ( translation: Goats Soup). With names like that, lively imagination and original music are assured. Listen and view a song by the Goats Soup here!

delicious pa amb tomàquet

Know their tapas

One dish that will accompany practically everything that is put on table is Pa amb tomàquet a different kind of bread with tomato sandwich. They cut tomato in two halves, rub it into white toasted bread, season it with olive oil and salt, and then throw the rest of tomato away! Usually accompanied by pernil or embotit ( ham or sausage), it is my favorite lunchtime endeavour.

If you have a sweet tooth, find out how to prepare the irresistable pudding Crema Catalana yourself – right here!

Catalan must be one of the most ‘X-rated’ languages in the world…

taking in account the amount of ‘X’ letters used! Catalan is a language in its own right, co-official with Castilian Spanish in Catalunya, Valencia and Balearic Islands. And the good news is that the government of Catalunya offers to anyone to study Catalan language for free. Click here to find out!

Don’t need a new years party to pop a bottle of sparkling wine!

A glass of a bubbly Cava is a popular addition to the daily breakfast menu in any local tapas bar, especially on a hot summer day. Quite a cheerful start of the day! And you were curious why people smile a lot.

Franco’s

regime 1939 – 1975 did lots of harm to Catalunya, suppressed any kind of public activities associated with Catalan nationalism and democracy such as publishing books on the matter. Even the use of Catalan language in government-run institutions and in public events was banned. Scary!

World’s most powerful men re-unite in Barcelona

to celebrate and practice the national sport! And no, it is not bull-fighting – it is definitely football. Since the moment I saw a mother teaching her little baby boy the anthem of FC Barcelona, I realized the strength and patriotism this sport carries for Catalans. Here in Barcelona you can sense the power of the football industry like nowhere else. Not only you can buy underwear with FC symbols in every little souvenir cornershop, you can also sign up for a long years waiting list to buy a season ticket in the stadium! For Catalans, it is worth waiting, as it is all about the game here in Barcelona. And when they win, the whole of Catalunya is celebrating a feast like winners of real war! Contact bizFlats to get a ticket to the next game!

1830 Barcelona Time-what time do we meet?

my nephew's watch a perfect Barcelona time explanation
my nephew’s watch

Barcelona time described as the 24 hour clock.

What is the meaning of this question?

and why something that we have so assumed, can be a matter of confusion for others? Here comes the problem, when we use different methods of “naming” the time.

One day has 24 hours, isn’t it? then let’s name them.  Therefore after 12 noon -midday- comes 13 and 14 and 15… and we will end the day -midnight- at 24h (or 00.00 hours – both are used without distinction).

This is called the “24 hour clock” which is the Barcelona time we use and is a convention of time keeping in which the day runs from midnight to midnight and it is divided into 24 hours,  indicated by the hours passed since midnight, from 0 to 23. This system is the most commonly used time notation in the world today.

But usually we don’t say “I saw James at 14.15…” most of us will probably say “I saw James at 2.15 in the afternoon”.  Therefore it makes sense to say that the 12 hour time is mostly used in speech for ease of use, and 24 hour time is preferred in writing.

Diagram of the 12 and 24 hour clocks on a timeline

The 24 hour clock has also been called railway time (in Europe, therefore the Barcelona Time), continental time (in England), and military time (in the US).   It is also the international standard notation of time.  In the 12 hour time system, midnight is usually written as 12 AM, and midday (noon) as 12 PM. 

The Latin tags Ante Meridiem (before the middle of the day) and Post Meridiem (after the middle of the day), abbreviated to AM and PM, are required to indicate the difference between, say, 1:30 in the morning (01:30 hours) and 1:30 in the afternoon (13:30 hours). You forget about AM and PM if you use the 24 hour time system.

There is always a tip to make things easier

A quick tip to convert easily the 24 hour time nomenclature into the 12 hour use from 12 (noon) onwards -needless to say only for the PM hours-  is to subtract 2 from the hour, and the last (hour) digit will tell you what the time is.  That way:

The 24 hour tower clock in Venice uses also the Barcelona time format
The 24 hour tower clock in Venice that lists hours 1 to 12 twice

13.00 hours – 2 = 11.00 hours (the last digit is 1 therefore it is 1 PM)

17.30 hours – 2 = 15.30 hours (the last digit is 5 therefore it is 5.30 PM)

22.55 hours – 2 = 20.55 hours (the last digit is 0 therefore it is 10.55 PM)

23.00 hours – 2 = 21.00 hours (the last digit is 1 therefore it is 11.00 PM)

and of course 24.00 hours (or 00.00) is midnight because 24 – 2 = 22 and this means a 12.  NOTE that minutes remain the same…

…and this is how that beautiful drawing at the beginning of this post, in which my nephew with a simple circumference, some strokes and numbers, teaches me something as simple as it is interesting, and provides a unique opportunity to write about time and its uses, and gives me the opportunity to investigate in history of how mankind’s relationship with time has been, from its origins in the Egyptian astronomical system, to our present times and how we have managed to measure it, to organize our lives.

And of course, you can always use the drawing of my nephew’s watch, which is a perfect and simple Barcelona time explanation 😉

Enjoy your Barcelona time!

1830 Barcelona Time-what time do we meet? is a post written by Mercedes Delgado

YOU’D LOVE TO BE IN BARCELONA ON DECEMBER THE 2ND!!

shop, shop, shop… shop til you drop!

At last Barcelona takes the train of the FASHION NIGHT OUT.

New York was the pioneer of the idea three years ago, in a bid to support the fashion industry.

Its original pretense was so simple – extending store hours along with additional incentives, all as remedies to shore up the weakening retail sector in New York City.  However a season later, the idea first facilitated by Vogue’s Editor-in-Chief, the legendary Anna Wintour, is now a global event, with 16 countries participating.

This is now a young classic,

and therefore Barcelona City Council is launching an initiative similar to that done by Vogue in major cities worldwide where it achieved major success, becoming a classic in a very short time period. One of its latest editions was in Madrid.

It is not only shopping, it is fun, shows, famous dj’s, parties and cocktails in all shops, bars, restaurants and hotels participating in the event. Gifts and all sorts of surprises and promotions in bars and participating stores. Barcelona, unable to ally with Vogue Spain because the magazine can only choose one city per country, has teamed up with Harper’s Bazaar which will host a big tent at one of the side roads of Passeig de Gràcia.

The key is buying flowers,

Passeig de Gràcia is the stage where the show is performed and the city will look gorgeous because that precise night the Christmas lighting will be switched on for the first night this year. Get your Shopping Passport and enjoy the shopping night. The passport is the accreditation that allows you the access for shopping at any of the stores that participates in the project -from 8 pm to 12 am-… and even to participate in 5 draws, with 5 fabulous prizes!

You can register during The Shopping Night at one of the two accreditation booths that you will find along the Passeig de Gràcia to get your Shopping Passport. (Rosselló street with Passeig de Gràcia and Gran Via with Passeig de Gràcia. From 10 am)…  Then all stores will open up to the big party.  Each time you buy for a value of 20 EUROS, a flower will be stamped on your Passport. The more flowers you have stamped on it, the more opportunities you have to win at the numerous draws that will take place during the night.

Happy Shopping!

Homage to Banesto

Did you ever have a wealthy neighbour with a big mansion who fell on hard times, and now the mansion lies empty, dilapidated and almost forgotten?
Such was the case of our illustrious neighbors on Plaça Catalunya, the Banco Español de Crédito, better known as Banesto. Occupying what is arguably the grandest building on the plaza, it was the bank’s Barcelona head office for many decades. Its more recent history is quite checquered, once vacated by the bank, plans first were to turn it into a hotel, then into luxury apartments. Finally, reality and the property market crash left an empty eyesore on the plaza.

Flash back to 1937, and read George Orwell’s first hand account in Homage to Catalonia.

Up at our end of the Ramblas, round the Plaza de Cataluña, the position was so complicated that it would have been quite unintelligible if every building had not flown a party flag. The principal landmark here was the Hotel Colón, the headquarters of the P.S.U.C., dominating the Plaza de Cataluña. In a window near the last O but one in the huge ‘Hotel Colón’ that sprawled across its face they had a machine-gun that could sweep the square with deadly effect.

George Orwell Homage to Catalonia, chapter X

These images of the same spot in Barcelona look eerily similar, even though they were taken 73 years apart.

Hotel Colón on Plaça Catalunya became the PSUC headquarters during the Spanish Civil War
Banesto Building in Barcelona
Banesto building occupied by squatters 2010

Only a few days ago, a group of protesters broke into the Banesto building on Barcelona’s Plaça Catalunya and set up a squatters’ camp to be the headquarters for acts of protest which would culminate in clashes with riot police coinciding with the 29 September 2010 general strike.
The Banesto building has sat empty for many years; now was our chance to see it on the inside, so risking life and limb, Albert grabbed a camera and I followed him in while he shot some footage of the interior.

It was a buildng site, left abandoned by successive would-be developers, whose task was complicated by having to remove the huge armored chambers in the bank’s several basement floors (see a cross-section of the building at 2:37 in the video).

Are we human or are we dancers?

El Beso - Iker Casillas & Sara Carbonero - Johannesburg 2010

¡Somos los campeones del mundo!  escribo esto con lágrimas en los ojos…  ¡que maravillosa y voluptuosa frase!…  nos lo hemos merecido.

Un mes ha sido, en el que se ha ido formando la bola poco a poco, en el que las pantallas más o menos megagigantes, han ido atrayendo gentes a pulsos, como polillas a la luz (y desde luego con mucha más convicción que con la que iba Caaaaroolaaainnnn…)   Aquí ha dado igual que te guste el fútbol o que lo aborrezcas, ha sido imposible permanecer en la isla del desconocimiento, porque esto ha ido más allá.  Es la fuerza de los sentimientos que nacen del corazón y del estómago, del hígado y del páncreas, de todas las vísceras juntas que gritan y te mueven el cuerpo sin que lo puedas controlar.

No sé que tiene el fútbol éste, que nos hace olvidar.  He visto gentes preparándose para los partidos con auténticos festines.  Mesas con marisco, el mejor jamón, lomo, chorizo, tortilla de patata… y todo ello regado con los mejores caldos (y no me refiero a los de pollo, naturalmente)… todo muy español.  He visto ventanas y fachadas y caras y gafas y sombreros teñidos de rojo y amarillo, de nuestros colores.  He visto el cielo rojo esta noche.  He oido gritos y consignas y petardos y fuegos artificiales y bocinazos para que el mundo se entere…

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mwc a world of anecdotes

Como sabéis, Barcelona es sede todos los febreros del más importante congreso mundial de telefonía móvil el MWC y nos llegan gentes de todo el mundo, de los lugares más insospechados…

MWC en la Fira de Barcelona

Llegan a una ciudad de la vieja Europa, mediterránea y llena de historia.  Recuerdo la perplejidad de un cliente que alquiló su apartamento en el Barrio Gótico.  El apartamento era una monada, totalmente reformado y decorado con muy buen gusto.  Nuestro amigo venía de oriente próximo, con sus desiertos, sus rascacielos último modelo, sus islas con forma de palmera… y claro, métete en lo que es el Barrio Gótico de Barcelona.  Pues un laberinto de calles estrechas, adoquinadas, mucha fachada de piedra y sol sólo en los pisos más altos.

Su reacción fue “explosiva” y había que convencerle en 30 segundos de que no se puede despreciar lo que no se conoce, pero ¿cómo explicarle a un saudí el concepto de gótico?.   No se me ocurrió otra cosa que repetirle muchas veces, con los ojos muy abiertos y moviendo mucho las manos a modo de ¡¡¡¿estoy poseída?!!!, las palabras “historia” “cultura” “herencia” y una vez más “gótico, gótico, gótico”.  Y funcionó.

Accedió a subir al apartamento y Read more

How to get Google Website Optimizer and Joomla to work together

Finally, I mustered up the courage and took the time to write my first post. Do read, enjoy, comment, curse to your heart’s desire. If I like the experience, maybe I’ll write even more … you have been warned!

Ever wanted your website to be more profitable?

Nowadays, websites for hobbyists, are well, just for fun; everything else is serious business, so undoubtedly turning a profit is first and foremost. How can you know if you’re not leaving money on the table? One sure way is to tweak your website to get more revenue from each visitor. Making simple changes can lead to large increase in conversion rates and profits.

Google’s Website Optimizer (GWO) probably needs no introduction by now, but let’s say that it’s a tool which allows you to test changes to your website scientifically in a controlled environment, before fully committing them, thus saving you from the painful mistakes of just following a gut feeling. I know from firsthand experience that can hurt, bad.

I won’t go into the gory details of how GWO works or how to set up experiments since google’s documentation covers that pretty well. However, I will say that if you can use just one tool to make better profits from your website, GWO is definitely the one. Heck, even optimization guru Bryan Eisenberg says he’d take it to a desert island! Read more