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Archive for October, 2006

Holiday apartments vs Hotels

Posted by edux127 on October 26, 2006

If you’re considering a city break, renting an apartment is usually an affordable and good-value option. For a mid-range apartment in most cities, you will pay about the same per night as for a standard double room in a three or four star hotel, even though the added benefits of privacy, self-catering facilities and more space. A holiday apartment is a flat in which you tend to your own needs in your own way. It offers you all the modern conveniences of home and kitchen provides you with the leisure to cook or prepare snacks at any time. You can wake up in the morning at your leisure, make your own coffee or tea and lounge around. You are living in a neighborhood in a foreign country as a part of the local life. You are experiencing the life, culture and economy of the country and people. Barcelona Apartment rental vs Barcelona Hotel – You save money renting an apartment. Not many other tourists think of staying in a holiday apartment while the high demand for hotel rooms has pushed up its rates. – It can be easier to find available accommodation in an apartment during the peak holiday seasons when most of the hotel rooms are booked up. – You will also be able to find apartments in Barcelona locations that are difficult or too expensive to find a hotel e.g. the beach area. – When there are more than 2 people in your group you will save even more as the average apartment will cost less than the price of a double room in a hotel. – Staying in an apartment can work particularly well for families. Instead of all being holed up in one bedroom, as is normally the case in a hotel, adults and children can sleep in separate rooms. Having a sitting-room means that the children have somewhere to play during the day if they get tired of sightseeing. It also means that you have somewhere to relax in the evenings after they have gone to bed. – You have a landlord to contact if you need assistance. What’s the downside? I guess the downside of staying in an apartment is that you have to be your own concierge, ticket agent and cook. How to find your apartment – The internet is full of agencies with detailed information on reserving properties.Guidebooks contain the names and addresses of agencies booking hliday apartments. The government tourist offices also use to have that information. – Study the area you want to visit and decide where you do not want to stay, e.g. if there is a high-crime area or an expensive area. Check maps to see if the area has ready access to the subway, buses, and train stations. If you plan to rent a car be sure there is parking nearby. – Make a list of what you need to make yourself comfortable: internet, washing machine, diswasher, dryer.. Remember: The more appliances you need, the more you will have to pay for the apartment. – Get information on several apartments before making your final decision If you try it, a stay in a holiday apartment will surely prove to be the best vacation you ever have.

If you are considering  renting an apartment in Barcelona, here is the best list of holidays apartments in Barcelona

Holiday apartments in Barcelona

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New Video Clip Section in Barcelona Tips

Posted by edux127 on October 20, 2006

An image worth more the 1000 words” say people in Spain. Therefore, a video must worth like billions of words…

 With this aim starts this section, where I will put all the interesting videos about Barcelona I find. I am sure you will like them.

If you have any video you wnat to show in this Blog, please, put it in www.youtube.com and send me the link.

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The Picasso Museum of Barcelona

Posted by edux127 on October 20, 2006

Picasso MuseumThe Picasso Museum in Barcelona (entrance shown, right) is in the heart of the old city on the Carrer Moncada and since its recent expansion now sprawls over a row of five Gothic palaces once – in late medieval times – home to Barcelona’s aristocrats.

On the trip with us was Sybille Wáchter, a Swiss girl from Zurich, who reckoned that in the 7 weeks she has been with us in Barcelona reckoned she had “done nothing cultural” and that the Picasso Museum was going to be a first – in her last week here. Well, actually, she had been to see the Barça stadium (and was most impressed), as well as the chocolate museum, did that count as cultural?

Pilar Diaz, who took us, led us on the short walk through the backstreets from the school to the Carrer Moncada, where she stopped to give us some brief background notes before we went in. “We’ll meet back here in an hour,” she said, which proved to be about right (though Jennie Gunter, from New Orleans who was also with us – and who liked the museum very much – said she would have wanted longer).

Picasso (1881-1973), though born in Malaga, moved to Barcelona with his family in 1895 and Barcelona was important to his formative years, with his first public exhibition at the Quatre Gats in 1897, which we went to on a previous visit to some of the hidden corners of Barcelona.

The Museum, opened in 1963, contains an important collection of his early work. If you start to think as you wander round, “Ooh, our ‘arry could do better than that!”, just remember that Picasso was only 15 or 16 when he was doing this early stuff. (He doesn’t seemed to have learnt to write his own name until about 1900, to judge from the fact that none of the early paintings were signed – but don’t take that to be historical fact!)

The collection doesn’t immediately strike you as being a very extensive one. Among the early work, there are a couple of curious paintings of the beach at Barceloneta as it was 100 years ago, complete with donkeys and none of the landmarks to be seen there today – no Hotel Arts, no Forum 2004…

The Barcelona Picasso Museum, the experts say, doesn’t contain his most important work – Guernica, for example is in Madrid’s Reina Sofía Art Centre and you’ve got the Paris collections and a new Picasso musuem in Malaga. Much of the really spectacular stuff is in private hands but what the cognoscenti (aka my sister-in-law) also say is that in fact the Barcelona Picasso collection

Probably the most famous work that the Barcelona collection does include are Las Meninas (1957), a suite of 58 works analysing Velázquez’s painting Las Menas, which the museum’s chronological collection suddenly jumps to. If you wonder quite where Picasso got something from in the original, there’s a comparison chart in Room 16 that may help, showing which characters were inspired by which (including the dog, that is).

Gaetane Joseph, a New Yorker, had been more impressed by the palaces that house it than by the collection itself (which she liked “more than the Miró Foundation”, which wasn’t saying much, she said). You see just enough of the original interiors – a ceiling here, a back staircase there, the occasional glimpse of the courtyards they were built around, to make you wish they had been able to conserve a bit more.

Picasso’s not really my cup of tea, I’m afraid, so personally I wasn’t that impressed. It didn’t compare favourably, I couldn’t help thinking, with the wonderful Cartier-Bresson exhibition currently on at the CaixaForum. The area round the Picasso Musuem – as well as some of the other museums and art galleries on the same street, not to mention the Miramelindo in the Borne at the end of the street… Well, that’s more my kind of scene.

So is the museum worth a visit? Silvia Di Pietro, a secondary school teacher from Zurich, thought so – definitely. She had liked the chronological arrangement of the work and it had made her want to see more of Picasso – so “yes”.

“And how did you learn such great Spanish, Silvia,” we asked. “Oh, by travelling,” she said. And is seeing something of a country’s culture important to language acquisition, as some experts say, we also asked. “No,” says Silvia, “but it’s very certainly very interesting”.

 

Further information

The Barcelona Picasso Museum is closed Mondays, packed in the summer, and free on the first Sunday of every month.More information about Barcelona museums from the site Party in Barcelona site.

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The Guardian newspaper asked its readers to write in with tips on what to do in Barcelona. These tips were printed in the newspaper.

Posted by edux127 on October 19, 2006

Barcelona Tips


Boadas Cocktail Bar in Barcelona is easy to miss, but open the door of C/Tallers1 and you’re in a tiny, triangular, wood-panelled room lined with cartoons. Great cocktails – try the daily special, mixed with verve by the diminutive manageress while she keeps up a flow of gossip and debate with her regulars. Mary McMurray

Riera Baixa is full of funky shops specialising in club wear, retro-originals, accessories and shoes. Also record shops, comic shops, tattoo and piercing parlours. A good place to pick up flyers and free listings mags. Every Saturday, from May to September, the Mercat Alteriu (Alternative Market) is held. The nearest Metro stop is Liceu. Opening times: 11am-2pm; 5pm-9pm.

Emma Edwards

La Balagne Restaurant (Calle Casp 17, tel: 0034 93 4120335, La Balagne Restaurant) is just a minute from the Plaza Catalunya and just off the Passeig de Gracia – a very classy looking restaurant, great ambience and attentive staff at affordable prices. You can have a four-course meal, including a serving of smoked Catalan pork, with aperitifs, a white rioja and a brandy for about £30 a head including the cost of drinks.

Trevor Skingle

A modernista (art nouveau) gastronomic tour of Barcelona should include the following:

* Fonda Espanya in Hotel Espanya (Domenech i Montaner, 1902-1903), Carrer Sant Pau, 9-11, Metro Liceu (tel: +93 3181758). Designed by the same architect that built the sumptuous Palau de la Musica Catalana and Hospital de la Santa Creu i St Pau (near Gaudi’s Sagrada Famillia). The restaurant has three rooms, the first decorated in floral mosaics, while the second has a highly sculpted fireplace (Eusebi Arnau). However, the main attraction is the rear room decorated by the artist Ramon Casas. The walls are covered in scriffito pictures of sealife, including mermaids. The lunchtime menu del dia is €10-€12. From the à la carte evening menu, I can recommend the prawns in cream and whiskey (€10.60). Expect to pay €20-€30 per head in the evening for three courses inclusive of wine and water.

* Casa Martí, Els Quatre Gats (Puig i Cadafach, 1895-1896). Montsió, 3 bis Passatge del Patriarca, 1 (Metro Pl Catalunya). It was the meeting place for the Bohemian circles of Barcelona at the turn of the century, such as Pablo Picasso, Ramon Casas, Santiago Rusiñol and Utrillo. The bar/restaurant is a recent reconstruction as the original establishment lasted only six years at the end of the 19th century. Inside are copies of its original paintings, including the portrait of the then owner Pere Romenu on a tandem (now in Barcelona’s Modern Art Museum) by Ramon Casa, and a copy of a sculpture by J Limona. The restaurant has a bar area at the front with a good choice of Spanish, Belgian, Scandinavian and Canadian beers (€2.50-€4 per bottle). You can also buy moderately-priced tapas here, or go to the restaurant behind for the full menu. Mainly caters for tourists.

* Casa Almirall, C/Joaquín Costa 33 (no phone). Metro Universitat, bus all routes to Plaça Universitat. Open 7pm-2.30am Mon-Thur; 7pm-3am Fri, Sat. Opened in 1860, the Almirall is the oldest continuously functioning bar in the city. It still has its elegant, early modernista woodwork that is charmingly unkempt. Iron beams supporting the original wooden crossbeams are the result of city-enforced renovations, but the big soft sofas have been allowed to remain.

* Casa Mila/La Pedrera (Gaudi, 1906-1912) Passeig de Gracia 92 Metro: Diagonal. Information: + 93 4845995 (reservations: + 93 4845530). Great for drinks on the roof terrace on Friday and Saturday nights.

* Casa Calvet (Gaudi, 1898-1899) Carrer de Gasp, 48 Metro: Urquinaona. A meal from the set menu averages about €50. For reservations, call +93 4124012. Tours with Ruta Gaudi ticket on Wednesdays only.

* Restaurant La Dama, Casa Sayrach, (Manuel Sayrach, 1918) Metro Diagonal (+ 93 2020686). Outside, it appears to be an art deco-influenced Casa Mila – plainer and slightly more angular than the Gaudi original. In the entrance hall, Gaudi meets HR Giger, or alternatively how the inside of Captain Nemo’s Nautilus would look. The restaurant is much more restrained, having been originally someone’s lounge. The restaurant has a Michelin star, but the reviews I have read do not indicate that it is worth the €50-70 per head.
Neil R Thomas

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Barcelona Tips is already in Technorati

Posted by edux127 on October 18, 2006

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Finding a job in Barcelona

Posted by edux127 on October 18, 2006

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When you arrive to Barcelona and try to find a job you will have to know some little things about the law, about your rights and about your obligations.

Here in this article I would like to explain the different steps you need to follow once you decide to come to work to Barcelona.

 First of all you will need to find ads to arrange interviews. There are several ways to find companies looking for staff, but obviously I will recommend you to use the internet. The best websites where to find a job in Barcelona are:

www.infojobs.net

www.loquo.com

barcelona.campusanuncios.com/Ofertaempleo-Barcelona-0-0.html

http://empleo.paginas-amarillas.es/home.cfm?ghs=1

http://www.laboris.net/

http://www.trabajos.com/

 http://www.miltrabajos.com/

There is a lot of job offers in Barcelona and you won’t have any problem to do interviews. The main problem are the salaries. Compared to other countries, a job in Spain is really bad paid. Therefore, the main problem will be to find a well paid job.

 Some laws you need to know when getting hired:

  • You must have to sign a contract. This is a mediterranean country, and many companies, even big ones, will try to hire you without signing any contract. This is dangerous for you! To have a correct signed contract will allow you to go the hospital if you are sick, will allow you to get the “paro” (some money when you are not working), and what it is more important, you will have your rights as a worker.(see next point)
  • When you sign the contract, you must ask for the “Convenio Colectivo” for your specific job. This is a previous agreements between the contractors and the employers where are written all the rights for that specific job. For example, if you work as a waiter, you will find all the general rights you will have a waiter in BArcelona, as how much do you get for working on Sundays, how many free days do you have per week, etc. Be careful when you ask for the “Convenio Colectivo” to your boss because it is something he will not like very much. Therefore, find it on Internet or ask to other collegues…
  • About your obligations, you must know something important about the taxes. In your contract, the contractor must pay your work insurance (Seguridad Social). This is not included in your salary, and it must be payed by the company.
  • In the other hand, you must pay the taxes for your salary. Normally the company will deduct a portion of your salary to pay the taxes, and you dont have to care about it. What
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Life Flamenco in Barcelona and Flamenco Schools

Posted by edux127 on October 17, 2006

Many people ask me about the best places to see life flamenco in Barcelona. Although many of them are too much touristic, I write here in this text the most popular ones in Barcelona.

Anyway, if you are looking for good flamenco in Spain you should go to the South.

Daily Flamenco Shows in Barcelona

Flamenco Schools in Barcelona

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A night at the FC Barcelona Stadium

Posted by edux127 on October 16, 2006

I went to Barcelona to visit my little brother that I hadn’t seen in two months, but apart from that the thing I was mostly looking forward to was the fact that I finally would be able to see a game at stadio Nou Camp. I had seen FC Barcelona plenty of times before, in Sweden, in Italy and in Spain, but never on homeground. The stadium is, I believe, the world’s biggest, taking around 98 000 spectators (exactly 98 934 actually) and is quite something special! I went there to see the Champions League-game between Barcelona and Panathinaikos (Greece). I bought the tickets by Internet, thru an agency called www.barcelona-football-club-tickets.com Great stadium, great amount of spectators (around 60 000) and a fantastic game. FC Barcelona won 5-0, but still the atmosphere was crap. Definately the worst I’ve ever heard/seen at a game this big. The only one singing a bit was the Greek away supporters, but when FC Barcelona early on did 2-0 also they stopped singing. Apart from that there were only a few chants of “Barca Barca Barca” from the FC Barcelona faithtful. Embarassing… But the evening was magic anyway, and it’s definately something everyone who have even the slightest interest in football should visit! Around the stadium you can find a lot of different souvenirs for sale, but they are both fake and expensive. Three-four double the price from what is for sale in Italy before the games.. Something we didn’t have the time to do, but I still can recommend, is a visit to the stadium on a day when there isn’t a game. Then you can visit the FC Barcelona museum, with all their silverware and also old souvenirs and memories from the past. It’s also possible to take a tour, and going into the stadium through the player tunnel. You can’t stand on the grass though, and neither take part in the FC Barcelona-training… 😉

To buy the tickets, allways select an authorized agent. The best FC Barcelona tickets site is www.barcelona-football-club-tickets.com

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List of sites where to find short, medium and longterm accommodation in Barcelona

Posted by edux127 on October 13, 2006

I know the problem to find accommodation when you arrive to Barcelona and you are looking for some place to live.

Here I would like to provide some sites where to find good rooms and apartments. They are sites not very well know between foreign people, because some of them are in spanish or catalan.

Long term accommodation

There are two very good sites to find long term accommodation. In both sites they will offer you apartments to rent in Barcelona. Long term rentals in Barcelona arregulated by the LAU (Ley de Arrendamientos Urbanos, Urban Renting Law), and normally the contract will be for minimum 1 year and with the possibility to extend the contract 4 more years. Every owner of any apartment will you ask for some guaranties. The usual ones are:

  • To have a job in Barcelona. The cost of the apartment must be maximum the 30% of the incomes.
  • A fee of 1 month to pay the agency.
  • 1 month as a deposit (2 if the aparment is furnished)
  • The payment of the current month.
  • Extra 4 month of deposit if you dont have a good job, or you are an student.

 The best sites working in Barcelona are:

www.coleadministradors.com

www.idealista.com

www.fotocasa.es

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Medium Term Accommodation

Due to all the documentation and money that cost to rent an apartment, when you are in Barcelona to stay for less than a year, most of the people just rent a room in a shared apartment.

There are many rooms in shared apartment. But sometimes to find a perfect room is quite difficult. The main problem is the quality of the rooms. There are many rooms where you dont have even a window, or they are in a horrible apartment, and usually finding a nice room takes some days and requires visiting hundrets of rooms. However, if you are lucky, you will find a nice room in the city centre.

The cost of a room in the city centre may be around 350Euros. You can find something cheaper if you move from the centre to Upper City, or to the University. Ciutat Vella is more expensive.

The best sites where you will find rooms ads are:

www.loquo.com/spanish/cat/302

www.iagora.com/ihousing/Spain/index.html

http://barcelona.campusanuncios.com/Ofertahabitacion-Barcelona-2-5.html

http://www.pisocompartido.com/b/compartir-piso-barcelona.asp

http://www.mundoanuncio.com/zona/barcelona_3/categoria/habitacion_en_alquiler_3.html

http://www.habitamos.com/list/124/8/

www.bcn.es/ciaj/

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!!!!!!!!!!!Please, help me! If you know other sites to complete a helpful list to find accommodation in Barcelona, please write it in a comment and I will update it inmediatly!!!!!!!!!!!

Short Term Rental

If you come to Barcelona just to visit or for tourism, you would like to find a room in a hotel. Hotels in Barcelona are expensive. Now in Barcelona is very popular to rent a room in Bed and Breakfast. They are small hotel-business where you can find a nice room in the centre for the cost of a bed in a dormitory. I have tried some and you enjoy a private double room for just 30 Euros per person.

Here I paste some interesting links to hotels and Bed and Breakfast in Barcelona:

www.chicstays.com/uk

www.barcelona-guesthouse.com

www.sagradafamilia-bedandbreakfast.com

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!!!!!!!!!!!Please, help me! If you know other sites to complete a helpful list to find accommodation in Barcelona, please write it in a comment and I will update it inmediatly!!!!!!!!!!!

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Marina Beach Bed and Breakfast

Posted by edux127 on October 13, 2006

My friends stayed there for a week in November 2005 a couple with 2 small children. In their case, they had the run of the entire apartment — bathroom, kitchen and living area might be shared by up to 2 other guests. The building is modern, the apartment much more than generous for travelers. The price was hard to beat, although the camel-trading of my friend negotiated them into honoring their published rates, which were for 2004. They had one thing happen that did cause me some concern. My friend´s bag was stolen with the key to the apartment(a common problem in Barcelona, so be sure to carry a money belt or purse around your neck). The key had the address of the Marina Beach Bed and Breakfast Barcelona  so they insisted the lock be changed. The owners took care of this inmediatly while they were out, and they got the key in less than one hour. Excellent service!

 I would recommend this Bed and Breakfast in Barcelona to everybody.

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