Barcelona: The City 2: La Plaza Catalunya

The centre of Barcelona is the Plaza Catalunya. Lined on one side by the traditional Corte Inglés shopping centre and start of the Rambla, the main boulevard, there’s a snowball’s chance in hell you’ll miss it. Most tourist buses start and stop there (our shuttle bus from the camp site dropped us off there and picked us up, and so did most others), the hop on- hop off buses stop there, the metro lines do, the regional train station is under it.

Above it are the pigeons.

Water fountain by night, brightly lit.

The fountain by night.
©Giliell, all rights reserved

 

Water fountain in daylight.

The fountain by day.
©Giliell, all rights reserved

Pigeon bathing in a water fountain.

Did I say fountain? What I meant was “pigeon bath”.
©Giliell, all rights reserved

Pigeons in a tree.

How many pigeons can you count?
©Giliell, all rights reserved

Román Cura Mural, Part 1.

The second Román Cura mural, from Kreator: I was finally able to take decent pictures of the mural which is located in the nearby city of Rawson. It is simply titled “Román Cura,” after the author himself. As I said earlier, it depicts the story of the region that would become my province, Chubut. Click for full size!

© Kreator, all rights reserved.

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 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.

Bad American Blood.

Hervé Garnier poses with a bottle of wine from Beaumont. Courtesy of Hervé Garnier.

Hervé Garnier poses with a bottle of wine from Beaumont. Courtesy of Hervé Garnier.

A story of an illicit wine, one with a history of a hysterical hunt to destroy these vines with bad blood in them. This wine is still illegal, and I have to say after reading the story, that I’d love to get my hands on a bottle, it sounds delicious.

“This cuvée hails from the tiny, remote village of Beaumont, where it’s been perfected by five generations of local winemakers,” whispers Borel. For the past 84 years, the French government and, most recently, the European Union, has sought to eradicate Beaumont’s grapevines due to their American “blood.” Although the vines are French-American hybrids, they are more than 140 years old. Beaumont’s Association Mémoire de la Vigne makes just 7,000 bottles a year.

[…]

“This wine should be celebrated as others are,” says Hervé Garnier, the 66-year-old Association Mémoire de la Vigne president and founder. Garnier loves Beaumont, which is situated in Cévennes National Park along France’s highest mountain range, and is home to groves of chestnut trees, wild boar, and high rocky cliffs. Its centuries-old stone buildings have terracotta roofs and rocky terraces, and are etched into the hillsides overlooking the Beaume River. Since its founding in the 11th century, sheepherders have practiced transhumance—moving herds to summer in alpine meadows—by way of traditional paths. They are some of the last in the world to do so.

“What wine do you think they carry when they go?” fumes Garnier. “For 150 years, the Cuvée des Vignes d’Antan is the taste of this land. And yet, a ridiculous archaic law tries to destroy it!”

Indeed. If it wasn’t for Garnier and a group of unruly older winemakers, Beaumont’s wine would be lost to history.

The village of Beaumont; it’s location in a national park makes its wine a nationally protected folkway. Courtesy of Hervé Garnier.

The village of Beaumont; it’s location in a national park makes its wine a nationally protected folkway. Courtesy of Hervé Garnier.

You can see and read much more at Atlas Obscura.