Sunday, 14 November 2010


Welcome to Barcelona, wait Catalonia.

It's probably the 10th time I go to BCN, a city that never bores me. One of my closest friends lives there, so I have a second home in my favourite city - a luxury not many can afford. Summer is great in Barcelona because the weather is fantastic, the beach (right outside the city) is beautiful, the food is cheap and the nightlife is buzzing. The winter is great too because you can escape the horrible grey skies of Northern Europe.

I was there just recently and while Northern Europe was freezing, sun was shining in Barcelona and the skies were as clear as they can be. It was about 20 degrees outside and not one drop of rain during my stay (well maybe just couple, but it doesn't count).

Fashion-wise, Barcelona isn't at Milan's level. People are rather badly dressed and the youth adopted the "free Catalonia", socialist, two different socks / two different shoes, homeless-type of clothing.

And there are the weirdos.

The Gothic quarter is where the heart of Barcelona beats. This big pedestrian neighborhood is filled with people going in and out of the many shops and boutiques which make this area the city's shoppers' paradise. Restaurants and cafés fill these narrow paved streets punctuating your shopping days with pit stops for food, coffee and churros. At night, the face of this area changes to let you in its bars, pubs and clubs making Barcelona's night scene one of the most respected in Europe.

The food is delicious, ranging from seafood to carnivores' delicatessen. It isn't easy to find a good paella as most restaurants serve the pre-cooked defrosted paella as shown on the pictures in their menu - and that they proudly display on their restaurants' windows. But it isn't impossible to find one, you'll just have to ask the locals - in French or English, because if you try Spanish with them, they'll answer in Catalan just to prove a point. A rather ridiculous behaviour I find. I've been to a restaurant called Les Sept Portes (that's in Catalan, not in French) and it has a delicious paella. But the restaurant is a bit uptight and has a queue outside, like a nightclub, and lets groups in every 5 or 10 minutes, even though the restaurant was half empty inside.

Tapas-wise, you'll be in heaven. I highly recommend the Basque taverns that you'll find all over the gothic quarter (Irati or Orio to name a few) - the concept is great: you have a bar full of tapas on a piece of bread stuck together with the help of a toothpick. You fill your plate with these delicious little bites (you'll have to like fish though) and put the toothpicks in your plates because this is how the waiter counts how many pieces you've had - it's 1,80 Euros each. Needless to say that the floor is filled with toothpicks as well as the toilets' bin. As a proud Lebanese, I always throw a couple on the floor, hide another two in my sleeves to go and dump them in the WC and my favourite one - I think I'm the only one to do it - is to hide the toothpick in a piece of bread (I don't eat all the breads, I'm watching my figure) and no one will notice, it's amazing! It's not to save money, but it's kinda mandatory to do that.

Don't miss the tasty Jamon del Pais or Jamon Iberico that you can enjoy on a garlic-y piece of baguette on which you add some fresh tomato paste and olive oil. Still don't feel like it? How about now:

This is vegetarians' hell

Gaudi is BCN's milestone. He is the city's most famous architect responsible for many of Barcelona's recognised work. The Parc Guell, the Sagrada Familia, the Pedrera and so on. He has a weird roundy way of building his pieces, some love it others hate it. That's a real artist.

Gaudi died before he managed to finish the Sagrada Familia and you can clearly notice it once you're there. The old part of the church consists of hand-cut pieces of stones and an incredible attention to detail. Whereas the new part of the church that the spaniards are building is all very industrial and modern - and not the beautiful kind of modern.

Gaudi foolishly died in Barcelona at the end of the 19th century as a tram ran him over. Since he use to dress up pretty much like the new-age "Free Catalonia" kids of Barcelona today, people thought he was a homeless guy and nobody helped him. He then died like an insignificant piece of crap on the streets of the city that now looks up to him (and thanks for all the tourist revenues).

Don't blame me for this picture, it's not easy to take the photo of this great church. Things were even harder because of the Pope's security fences

Ah yes, the Pope was here. This son of a bitch, criminal follows me everywhere I go. When I was in London last September he merely made his way to the UK and now he was in Spain.

Spaniards don't really like him and contrary to people's belief, only 14% of Spanish people go to church and practice catholicism - one of the reasons this Douchebag Pope was there - to restore faith in the church but also in the values of Christianity.

Yes, because with Spain's socialist government, it is very easy to abort a child, to divorce and to have gays getting married - such an offense for a fag Pope like this one who only wears Prada.

Europe's values no longer match with the Vatican's but it seems that they're not willing to abandon the fight. A "Kiss-in" was organised by Barcelona's gay community where guys would discretely stand in the crowd and start making out as soon as the pope passes by in his Batmobile. A peaceful and harmless way of expressing love, but that was too much for the Pope - he probably got a hard-on in his silly little white dress.

A massive security perimeter was set all over the Pope's route so that no one would kill him - I guess he doesn't trust "God" to protect him, that must say a lot about his faith.

One thing made me happy though: the choice of the chair provider for the entire event. It's called Casa Gay

I'm not sure wether it was the Pope's personal request or the Spaniards way to screw the Vatican over, but it was real. All the chairs and other equipment were provided by this company and each and every chair was labelled Casa Gay. Hopefully the Pope's chair too.

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