Barcelona: The City 5: Streets

While there are few green areas in the centre, there are wonderful planted balconies and lovely squares. One thing is that apart from the pretty fountains there are water fountains everywhere that keep the population on two legs as well as four legs hydrated.

A balcony with overgrowing plants

©Giliell, all rights reserved

Fountain in the middle of a sunlit place.

©Giliell, all rights reserved

Pigeons bathing in a fountain.

Another pigeon bath
©Giliell, all rights reserved

 

Barcelona: the City 4: Streets

Wedged in between the mountains and the sea, Barcelona’s streets tend to be narrow and dark, and beautiful.

But it’s also a place where you can see the contrast between rich and poor, with people sleeping rough, begging for change and trying to make ends meet by selling knickknacks. When you come to the harbour you will have the multi-million dollar yachts next to poor immigrants selling cheap sunglases.

I will say one thing in favour of Barcelona and that is that they don’t seem to actively work against the homeless population. There was a spot at Catalunya where our bus arrived and left where a homeless guy had his place, with a small foam mattress and a few belongings. He usually wasn’t there when we arrived, but at least nobody destroyed his things and the police didn’t remove them.

My kids were wondering about the “junk”, not knowing that this was somebody’s home, and when I explained it to them they emptied their pockets and put all their change on the mattress. I was never prouder of them than in that moment.

Narrow street with decorated balconies

Narrow street just off the Rambla. ©Giliell, all rights reserved

Small balcony with many potted plants

©Giliell, all rights reserved

Barcelona: the City 3: El Mercado de la Boqueria

Just off the big Boulevard “La Rambla” is the big market hall Boqueria. The front is dominated by the stalls that mostly offer their goods to tourists, but in the back you can find the Barceloneses doing their shopping. Fresh fish and fruit and most delicious baked goods for prices that let you forget that you’re supposedly in a tourist attraction.

Colourful displays of sweets and marzip figures.

Marzipan and sweets in the market.
©Giliell, all rights reserved

What I interestingly couldn’t find were signs and comemorative plates of the terrorist attack that happened there last year.

Barcelona: the City 1

Barcelona is home to 1.65 million people, the travel destination of 7 million people a year and one of the most densely populated areas in Europe, second only to Paris. I’ll start my series on the city as such with a few panoramic shots to give you an idea. They were either shot from the Parc Güell or the Tibidabo, both which will get their own posts in the future.

Panoramic view of Barcelona

The city in full
© Giliell, all rights reserved.

Panoramic view of Barcelona

Shot from the ferris wheel in the Tibidabo.
© Giliell, all rights reserved.

Panoramic view of Barcelona

You can see the big parallel boulevards running down to the harbour. © Giliell, all rights reserved.

Panoramic view of the zoo.

The Zoo, one of the few green spaces. ©Giliell, all rights reserved

Panoramic view, with the Sagrada Familia in the centre.

Panoramic view, with the torre de Agbar and the Sagrada Familia in the centre.
© Giliell, all rights reserved.

In the middle you can see the Torre Agbar or Torre Glóries. I never gave much of the interpretation that all towers are phallic symbols, but this one takes the cake.

Panoramic view of the Torre Agbar.

A PG 18 rated tower…
©Giliell, all rights reserved

The Sagrada Familia, Gaudí’s unfinished masterpiece. The Catalan architect is all over Barcelona and we will visit one of his works, Parc Güell, later. Be advised to book your tickets in advance if you want to visit the place.

Panoramic view of the Sagrada Familia

The Sagrada Familia
©Giliell, all rights reserved

 

Youtube Video: I Smoke Armour

Metatron is not my favourite YouTuber, for some reason he rubs me the wrong way and on occasion he made me cringe when he opened his mouth about feminism (but to be clear, there was no obvious malice there, just cluelessness). But some of his videos are relatively good and I consider this to be one of them. Partly because my sister in law and her family are all heavy smokers who nevertheless looked at me in the past with derision for “wasting” money on books and time on bonsai trees.

Barcelona

Hello everybody and welcome to my first post here on Affinity.

In case I need an introduction, I’m Giliell, I’m German, a teacher, mum, crafter, and hunter-gatherer with a camera.

As I was uploading a metric ton of pictures from my recent holiday I offered Caine to run them as a series with explanations about the sites and sights and she kindly accepted.

Disclaimer: This is a tourist’s perspective on the city and its surroundings, and while I speak Spanish and kinda understand Catalan, I cannot claim deeper insights.

Having said that, let’s start this journey like I start every trip to Barcelona:

Dividing The UK Twelve Ways & The Most Popular Sauce.

Maps crated by reddit user generalscruff.

Maps crated by reddit user generalscruff.

Click for giant size!

The 12 maps above are a tongue-in-cheek look at the various ways the UK is divided besides Brexit or how to pronounce scone.

And before anyone complains, they are meant to be humorous and should not be taken too seriously.

You can see each map in more detail below: click over for this!

Map created by reddit user generalscruff.

Map created by reddit user generalscruff.

Click for giant size. You can see more of this here.

The Open Country of Woman’s Heart & Other Allegorical Maps.

The Public Domain Review has some wonderful and awesome allegorical maps, which clearly show the trains of thought and cultural sentiments of the 18th and 19th centuries. Click for full size.

A Map of the Open Country of Woman’s Heart, Exhibiting its internal communications, and the facilities and dangers to Travellers therein, By A Lady; Lith. of D.W. Kellog & Co, ca. 1830s — Source.

A Map of the Open Country of Woman’s Heart, Exhibiting its internal communications, and the facilities and dangers to Travellers therein, By A Lady; Lith. of D.W. Kellog & Co, ca. 1830s — [Source.]

Thomas Sayer’s A Map or Chart of the Road of Love, and Harbour of Marriage, 1748 — Source.

Thomas Sayer’s A Map or Chart of the Road of Love, and Harbour of Marriage, 1748 — [Source.]

You can see many more of these allegorical maps at The Public Domain Review.

Ice Cream Saloons: A Place For Unchaperoned Women.

Ice cream parlor of L. C. Fish, Merced, Calif.

Ice cream parlor of L. C. Fish, Merced, Calif. Source.

…Throughout the 19th century, restaurants catered to a predominately male clientele. Much like taverns and gentlemen’s clubs, they were places where men went to socialize, discuss business, and otherwise escape the responsibilities of work and home. It was considered inappropriate for women to dine alone, and those who did were assumed to be prostitutes. Given this association, unescorted women were banned from most high-end restaurants and generally did not patronize taverns, chophouses, and other masculine haunts.

As American cities continued to expand, it became increasingly inconvenient for women to return home for midday meals. The growing demand for ladies’ lunch spots inspired the creation of an entirely new restaurant: the ice-cream saloon. At a time when respectable women were excluded from much of public life, these decadent eateries allowed women to dine alone without putting their bodies or reputations at risk.

[…]

The first ice cream saloons were humble cafes that served little more than ice cream, pastries, and oysters. As women became more comfortable eating out, they expanded into opulent, full-service restaurants with sophisticated menus that rivaled those at most other elite establishments. In 1850, a journalist described one ice cream saloon as offering “an extensive bill of fare … ice cream — oysters, stewed, fried and broiled; —broiled chickens, omelettes, sandwiches; boiled and poached eggs; broiled ham; beef-steak, coffee, chocolate, toast and butter.” According to the historian Paul Freeman, the 1862 menu of an ice cream saloon in New York ran a whopping 57 pages and featured mother of pearl detailing.

[…]

Although ice cream parlors had an air of dainty domesticity, they also developed more sultry reputations. At the time, they were one of the few places where both men and women could go unchaperoned. As a result, they became popular destinations for dates and other illicit rendezvous. “Did a young lady wish to enjoy the society of the lover whom ‘Papa’ had forbidden the house?” the New York Times wrote in 1866. “A meeting at Taylor’s was arranged, where soft words and loving looks served to atone for parental harshness, and aided the digestion of pickled oysters.”

Innocent young couples weren’t the only pairs tucked together in the velvet booths. During a trip to Taylor’s, one writer observed “a middle-aged man and woman in deep and earnest conversation. They are evidently man and wife—though not each others!” Moralists were also outraged by the presence of pimps, prostitutes, and women “who were not over particular with the company they kept.” These scandalous scenes prompted rumors of ice cream “drugged with passion-exciting Vanilla” that seduced virtuous women into taking “the first step…which leads to infamy.”

These charges did little to dissuade respectable women from patronizing ice cream saloons. In fact, their reputation as “a trysting ground for all sorts of lovers” may have made the saloons all the more enticing. According to the Times, Taylor’s “always maintained its popularity, in spite of (or perhaps because of) rumors that it afforded most elegant opportunities for meetings not entirely correct.”

Oh my, passion-exciting Vanilla! I have vanilla ice cream in my freezer, and I had no idea of the evil I was hosting. I’ll enjoy it all the more for that. You can read much more about the history of Ice Cream Saloons at Atlas Obscura.

Sure, Macramé Your Hair, Why Not?

I got distracted. Again. Seems my brain has been having a bit of a vacation too, I’ve been quite the space case lately. Anyroad, came upon these um, attachments? Extensions? Falls? (Does anyone else remember falls?) I’d love to have some of these done with my hair, if it ever achieves thickness again. These are from 1840. Click for full size!

The Moscow Canal

 

©voyager, all rights reserved

Our ship traversed most of the Moscow Canal at night so I don’t have many photographs, but I think the story of how the canal came to be is tragic and deserves to be told.

The Moscow Canal was built between 1934 and 1937 under the direction of Stalin. It was a massive engineering project, larger in scope than either the Panama or Suez Canals. The project included 7 concrete dams, eight earthen dams, 8 hydroelectric power stations, 5 pump stations, 11 locks, 15 bridges and the Northern Passenger and Cargo Terminal.  This massive system was built rapidly, being entirely completed in under 5 years. It was a huge accomplishment for the fledgling Stalinist regime and was celebrated. What wasn’t celebrated or even spoken of was the forced labour of  the millions of gulag prisoners responsible for its construction. Their work was brutish and constant, relentlessly continuing throughout the harsh Russian winters. Food and supplies were scarce. Many prisoners lost their lives. Our group was told that if the project needed more workers, Stalin would simply direct the KGB to make more arrests.

The canal connects the Moskva River with the Volga River and gives Moscow access to the Baltic Sea, the White Sea, the Black sea, the Caspian Sea and the Sea of Azov. Because of this, the interior city of Moscow is known as the port of 5 seas. Today, the canal is an integral part of life in Russia. It connects the current capital city of Moscow with the former capital city of St. Petersburg and it’s vitally important to doing business in the country. It’s also beautiful, passing through areas of forest and farmland and dotted with picturesque bridges and cottages. Our ship slipped through canal at night, but there was still a bit of twilight as we entered the first lock. This was the first time our ship had moved out of harbour and there was an air of excitement on board. Passengers crowded the railings and spoke excitedly about the adventures that lay ahead. I felt that excitement too, but it was bittersweet because I couldn’t stop thinking about the story of the canal and all those millions of lives ruined or lost in its building.

 

Link to previous Post – Leaving Moscow

The Bakemono Zukushi “Monster” Scroll.

Rokurokubi (ろくろくび), a long-necked woman is pictured next to an Inugami (犬神) dog spirit.

Rokurokubi (ろくろくび), a long-necked woman is pictured next to an Inugami (犬神) dog spirit.

These wonderful images featured here are from a Japanese painted scroll known as the Bakemono zukushi. The artist and date is unknown, though its thought to hail from the Edo-period, sometime from the 18th or 19th century. Across it’s length are depicted a ghoulish array of “yokai” from Japanese folklore. […]

The class of yokai characterised by an ability to shapeshift, and that featured in this scroll, is the bakemono (or obake), a word literally meaning “changing thing” or “thing that changes”. The founding father of minzokugaku (Japanese folklore studies), Yanagita Kuno (1875–1962), drew a distinction between yurei (ghosts) and bakemono: the former haunt people and are associated with the depth of night, whereas the latter haunt places and are seen by the dim light of dusk or dawn.

Amongst the bakemono monsters depicted in the scroll is the rokurokubi (ろくろくび), a long-necked woman whose name literally means “pulley neck”. Whether shown with a completely detachable head (more common in Chinese versions), or with head upon the end of a long threadlike neck as shown here, the head of the rokurokubi has the ability to fly about independently of the body. In his 1904 collection Kwaidan, Lafcadio Hearn provides the first extended discussion of this yokai in English, telling of a samurai-turned-travelling-priest who finds himself staying the night in a household of rokurokubi intent on eating their guest.

Daichiuchi (大地打) is a mallet-wielding monster with a bird-like face.

Daichiuchi (大地打) is a mallet-wielding monster with a bird-like face.

Fascinating monsters all, and you can see and read much more at The Public Domain Review.