Saturday 20 July 2013

An alternative tour of Barcelona

I went to Barcelona a few weeks ago, to both visit my brother and to have a little break in the sun. As I've said before, travelling is in my blood. My eldest brother has travelled and lived abroad a lot, since his job in the military requires it. My other brother chose to escape abroad, and then found his niche in guided tours. He first set off from London by bike to Paris. After a year guiding there, he headed to Barcelona, then onto Madrid (cycling each time: until his bike was stolen). Since then he's set up a tour company in Copenhagen, travelled around South America and then found himself back in sunny Barcelona. As easyjet have recently started flying from Southend (no where near London, but very close to my house) I decided to take advantage of the cheap fares and short flight and visit him there. I'd seen him briefly in April (at our eldest brother's engagement party) but before then it'd been about two and a half years since we'd spent any time together.

I was lucky on this trip, as I was able to take advantage of some of the tours the company he works for put on for free. I went along on his walking tour, got tipsy on the Paella course and explored the coast sea kayaking. The weather was great and the break very relaxing.

On one of the days, I went along on a practise run of a new 'alternative Barcelona' tour. We headed off around the city hearing about some gruesome events in the city's history, the little explored underworld and political expression in the street art. It was a fab tour, and I know it won't be long until it's offered properly from the company. Here are a few photos I took along this tour, and some of the stories that I can remember from this alternative tour of Barcelona!

This church was the scene of some police brutality a year or so ago when illegal asylum seekers sought refuge inside it's walls only to be forcefully removed by the police. Apparently the idea that a church is a sacred place of sanctuary where those inside would be immune to arrest is only valid in England.

These street signs have sprung up all around the city (and in other European cities) Quite a small piece of art, and easily missed but once pointed out you keep seeing them dotted around the city. 

I'm not sure who the artist(s) of these cartoon animals is, but I'd taken an alternative London tour a few months before this trip and taken a photo of some of their very distinctive work just off of Brick Lane in East London.

These guys insisted I take their picture while I was taking the above photo with the bomb. Unfortunately I forgot to change the settings and they came out much redder than they should have!

This plaque is in recognition of Slavador Segui; El Noi del sucre (the sugar boy).
On March 10, 1923, while completing preparations to promote the idea of emancipation as a form of social empowerment among workers, he was assassinated by gunshot on this spot, in Barcelona's Raval District, at the hands of gunmen working for the Catalan employers' organisation under protection of Catalonia's Civil Governor, Martínez Anido.

Until recently the above property was a squat full of those participating in the Occupy protests (which incidentally began in Barcelona a while before they hit America and the world's conscious)

This artist's work, although fair subtle, was very amusing and creative. Throughout the city, stop signs had been adapted, like the one above, to make new and interesting pictures. See more at his facebook page.

Another squat, unfortunately not open while we were there, but a place of artistic creativity and community.

I think this says something like: 'You can occupy too'

C215, another artist's work I'd previously seen and photographed in Brick lane.

The flea (one of FC Barca's players?)

A community garden, in the centre of the city. (and political slogans)

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