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Sonar 2013 – the music

To be honest I find describing music and artists equally boring as describing art.. However, I’ve decided to give it a go this time, as it’s difficult to mention a music festival without mentioning its musical acts.

After discovering the new venue of Sonar day Thursday afternoon, V had some meetings regarding Bridges for Music, hence I decided to check out Richie Hawtin’s free popup gig in its new location. The annual and very popular off-Sonar show is known to take place in La boqueria in Raval (read my post from last year’s Sonar here) and see , but has now moved to El Parque Ciutadella, near the harbour.

Stepping out of the metro 10 minutes away from the park I felt the typical mega-excitement among young Spaniards that already had lined up along the way for their botellon (expression for the concept of drinking plenty somewhere public before entering a party), and smiled my way to the park. Sweating too that is, because oh my it was cooking..

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The above pic shows how it looked when I arrived

and the below pic shows the crowd from stage, just when Rich started.

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As you see what started as a secret popup gig isn’t very secret anymore.

I’m not convinced if it was worth it missing out on Gold Panda at Sonar, but it was fun to catch up with the Minus guys again over some Sake and talk about last time we met – in South Africa – (read post from it all here) while bouncing to techno in the boiling heat. Also fun to see Rich’s parents who always are in Europe around this time; both so fresh, happy and easygoing.

Heading back to Sonar I was super eager to discover an artist I’ve read about lately, but never heard of before; the pianist Fransesco Tristano. And WOW: What an explosion of classical and electronic music mixed together, a rather unique experiment of pure and rough piano playing accompanied with deep bass in both melancholic and dance-rhythm like tunes. Kinda reminded me of some of the old sets of the Norwegian electronica and jazz artist Bugge Wesseltoft in his glory days.. Point is: not one single person was sitting down during the second half of the concert. Just amazingly refreshing and surprising all together! I’ll definitely continue checking on him from now on.

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Before Tristano we got a quick glimpse of Sebastian Tellier whose song La Ritournelle is one of my favorite of all times. As much as I’d like to hear that song being performed live I must say there is something with Tellier that just makes me see a big banner with PRETENTIOUS written over it. Why the attitude?

Finally, the two DJs hired to close Sonar Village on Thursday were the two Norwegian cutie-pies Lindstrøm and Todd Terje, with nothing but a live act! We met some friends by the bar and loved finally being able to stand under the sun. What I liked the most from the gig was to see how intensely the DJs were concentrated on their set, which was a fun contrast to the crowd that was going absolutely mental on the dance floor. And – maybe it was due to the crowd, maybe it was due to the sudden blissful feeling of summer – that made the DJs put on Whitney Houston’s “I wanna dance with somebody” as a closing track (!)…

Hahaha, true story!

Anyway…

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The best festi-day of them all was of course Friday when Annabelle came, a friend from the time I lived in Buenos Aires in 2007. We were actually at Sonar 2009 together when I met V on the dancefloor (yup, we have our anniversary during Sonar), but she hasn’t been since. Loving this year’s lineup Annabelle decided last minute to come for one day. Meaning I got to spend a full day with my favorite giraffe!

Look at her!

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Luckily, she came on the day with the Bridges for Music conference, which attracted over 200 persons and was delivered amazingly well by Bridges’ founder Valentino Barrioseta (yes, I’m proud of him and already wrote a post about it all), and that way got to understand more about what Bridges for Music is about after having heard me talk about it for months.

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Later – just like in the old times – the men had to go out networking so Annabelle and I ran out to the sun for some fun. We got to see the funky group Foreign Beggars at Sonar Village before we met some Spanish friends and increased the party level. Super Sonia brought with her the bartender gene like always, and started serving us shots of Tequila on the very dance floor.

That’s the way!

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Everyone was keen to see Matthew Herbert during the sunset at Sonar Village, and got likely disappointed by understanding he was doing a DJ set and not a live act. But the tequila helped.. and then Jamie Lidell came on stage. I think these moments of good music, random encounters with plenty of friends in the sunset hours are of my top favorite thing when on festivals.

Here some handsome up and coming Spanish DJ friends; Edu Imbernon in the middle with his friends Los Suruba.

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When we started to feel perfectly blurry Friday night, we had a quick burrito dinner on site before we took the bus to Sonar Night. The group to open Friday night was Kraftwerk, whom we obviously all were keen to see.

Thing is now that the festival fixers are getting smarter for each year, making sure to put some of the main headliners on early, meaning one can’t sit too long around the table after dining (or sit at all).

Upon arrival we were handed 3D glasses and suddenly we found ourselves in a hall with 4000 others with these on. Fabulous idea.

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Unfortunately I was way too happy to get it at all in the moment, but I had a lot of fun dancing on right hand side (I’ve read reviews of their new concert concept saying that the trick is to stand rather close to stage to get the 3D thing) afterwards. The two V’s kept buying Vodka Redbull and Annabelle just seemed to be in heaven, but then we understood we were in a festival again with a loooong lineup. We headed over to the Sonar Lab to see Nicolas Jaar, which has been one of my favorite artists the last two years..

Apparently I’m not the only one because that stage was crowded, man. It wasn’t possible to even hear the music well as Sonar Lab covers one of these rectangular long open air dance floors that everybody seem to be crossing at the same time in a steady flow. Disappointing!

However, after some radio cars we cheered up …

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And were ready to see the next gig on the list: Bat for Lashes in the Sonar Pub. Since I read they were playing at Sonar this year they were highest on my personal lineup of must sees – and yes – they delivered! It feels a bit random with such an organic, slow-styled gig during Sonar night, but it worked thanks to their electronic elements, the energetic singer Natasha Khan whom by the way is truly amazingly good live! And SEXY! She got this little touch of Bjork going on, which I’m sure she won’t mind being tagged as (and that she probably is aware of).

Here is one of their more up beat tracks:

From there on the night turned into a backstage affair with reunions with artists that we’d met South Africa some months ago. First we spent half an hour with the super nice Skrill crew, – with bulging eyes over the sick space ship on stage in which he perform his set. Again I say what I said after the first time I saw him live, the music isn’t my favorite but man is he a cool DJ! His energy and way of engaging with the crowd is very impressive!

We moved over to Richie Hawtin’s stage and from there Sonar was loads of fun people, champagne, laughter and crazy ideas. Basically Annabelle and I swayed our 1.83 m tall bodies into Saturday morning alongside people like Skrillex – that had come backstage to see Richie after his own set. C U T E

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A great Maya Jane Coles set later we were tired and went home where we smuggled Annabelle in to our rented room and got a few hours sleep before party day 2.

This got long, man and I gotta dash so the music and fun from Saturday has to be continued… if ever..

Sonar 2013 -new airs

Splish Splash and this summer’s first festival highlight is over.

2013 was the year Sonar Day moved to another venue and part of town after over a decade in the venues of MACBA in Raval. As much as we are many that have loved Sonar Day at MACBA due to the viby city feel surrounding it, it’s also true it started to get very crowded in there. It’s also true that the residents around MACBA have been tired of the festival’s noise for years and deserved a break. Thus, after the announcements about Fira Mont Juic being Sonar Day’s new party dress, many of us were excited to see it.

And my oh my, a more perfect sight for Sonar Day is impossible to find. I’m a bigger fan of the festival already. Yes it did feel very big initially, but considering they’ve sold many more tickets this year and that MACBA indeed got over crowded the last years, I cant express how much I loved Sonar Day in bigger venues. Now there are enough bars, toilets and space to walk around for everybody, which feels particularly important in a place where the temperature easily exceeds 30 C.  Moreover it is obvious that the organisers have worked hard to give the place a typical ‘Sonar feel’, – with success! We were several Sonar veterans talking about it; it all feels like before and one quickly forgets that Sonar has moved. The only thing I could point my finger at is that there only is one open air scene now, as opposed to 1,5 (one smaller stage was inside of a tent) before. Besides: Sonar Village lacks some trees. However, all in all: WAY to go, Sonar!

This year was my seventh Sonar and as expected a bit more ‘industry’- like. Firstly due to the preparation and expectations regarding the Bridges for Music conference presented by my V together with the three ambassadors Richie Hawtin, Luciano and Skrillex. Secondly due to not having many of my own friends around, therefore mostly hanging with new acquaintances from the sector, rushing from a place to another to catch up with both artists, concerts and people. Thirdly due to finding myself constantly backstage rather than in front of stages. A slight exaggeration, but still a trend. And I have got some mixed feelings about it actually…

Though I seem to be very happy right here

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To be continued..

Bridges for Music at Sonar 2013

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Few people would have expected to see Richie Hawtin, Luciano and Skrillex in the same panel discussing social responsibility within EDM (Electronic Dance Music), but that is what people got last Friday at Sonar. The three electronic musical icons were invited to talk about their involvement and experiences with the project of Bridges for Music in South Africa together with the organisation’s director, Valentino Barrioseta. For the lattter it was of course like a dream coming true; seldom have I seen his eyes sparkle as much as this day. 😉

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As I lived the experiences up-close together with the above mentioned men and their crews (told in previous posts here), the excitement of seeing them gathered to present it at a festival like Sonar was huge. Considering the full schedules these guys have one can only imagine how much they’ve traveled since February/ March in South Africa.. Thus some days prior to the conference V and I talked about whether it could seem difficult for them to recall how they perceived the special atmosphere during the township events and express it ‘live’. Additionally we were excited to see how many people would appear.

Thumbs up! Despite of being held in English only, the conference attracted over 200 people and what we knew already we just got confirmed again; Rich, Lucien and Sonny are all highly passionate and professional artists that know well how to engage with their audience. From the very beginning they shared their personal reasons for believing in the project and told various anecdotes surrounding their involvement.

Eager to share the moment we posted many quotes directly to Twitter. Have a look:

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It was indeed touching and inspiring to hear the way Rich, Lucien and Sonny talked about their experiences and motivation for the project’s future. And after the screening of this video, I spotted that more than one person was indicating the appearing goose bumps on their arms.

Have you not seen it yet? Then have a look.

If this interests you, please make sure to like Bridges for Music on Facebook and follow the project on Twitter. I can assure you a lot of cool stuff is to come from that side!

Cheerio

Bridges for Music to Sonar 2013!

The video from Richie Hawtin’s South Africa tour together with Bridges for Music is finally live on youtube. It was hard work to put all the footage together to make the best presentation, but I think they’ve nailed it. Like I wrote about here, the days with Richie and his team in South Africa, and the party in Soweto was from another world! Ill never ever forget the feeling I got while there and the happiness in everybody’s eyes. Just by writing about it I get goose bumps!

As if this isn’t enough, it’s now official that not “only” Skrillex and Richie are going to speak at the Sonar + Day panel presenting what Bridges for Music is about, telling their experiences from the launch of it in South Africa, but hold the press: The one and only Luciano is joining too!

Gosh, I can’t wait for this!

Are you going to Sonar this year?

Look at the promotion the event gets on Sonar.es http://sonar.es/en/2013/prg/sm/_38

Sonar 2012

Querida Barcelona

This spring I thought a lot of whether Id go to Barcelona during the Sonar festival (mid June) or not.. As a Sonar fan, and festival lover in general -and especially when they’re in Spain-, I found out I missed that very special Spanish atmosphere a lot after not going back to Ibiza this year (life changing quick).

I also thought to go only to the ‘Off Sonar’ events as they are increasing in numbers and enhancing in quality; offering fantastic artists and good vibe parties around the city at the exact same days as Official Sonar.

However, I’m now indeed happy I did get the Sonar pass in the end, that enabled me to see that many various and amazing gigs over 3 days. SO first: Thanks to some very kind sources I have in the (spanish) music industry! I was lucky enough to enjoy DJ gigs and concerts of artists like Eltron John, that I actually saw in Warsaw in April and loved by the way. Here is a photo of him while playing for full house Thursday. Heard some shit crazy stories about his nude gigs in Poland back in the days. Can totally imagine that! His energy and style, haha, blew people out of the Redbull tent!

Amazing polish dj guy

Thursday was also Richie Hawtin’s little free gig in La Boqueria, a fruit market just next to the Sonar fest. Think its the second year he does that, gets VERY crowded and rather crazy as he is like THE super DJ of today. Look at how people try to capture him. I think there are like 100 videos of the gig already on youtube too.

Richie Hawtin played at Sonar Night Friday too, however that’s a total different thing than this gig in the fruit market. Friday I saw John Talabot (below picture) which Id say was the most MIND BLOWING HIGHLIGHT for me this year!  A little bit like when I saw Kid Koala last year, or Flying Lotus on Sonar night two years ago. Since then Flying Lotus is like Sonar’s best friend or something, they had 3 gigs this year! Still good though.

Talabot’s first gig at Sonar.

Also liked a UK girl called Nightwave, she plaid for a full Redbull MA tent. Then Friday night (however WAY too early and set up at almost the same time (shame on you Sonar!)) I got to see small parts of Nicholas Jaar and Amon Tobin. My two “big sees” this year. Simian Mobile disco fun too! Coyu and UNER finished Saturday, although I cant say I remember much from those hours.. 😛 Luckily I made it to Nicolas Jaar’s other project on Saturday, called Darkside. In the sun with some sangria and friends, think I prefer those moments before some of the Sonar Night spaces.

Right. Other cool stuff was DJ Harvey on Saturday and later that night Hot Chip and Die Antword, Julio Bashmore, Deadmau5, Luciano… This last pic shows a peak moment backstage at Luciano. The crowd went ballistic no matter what the guy put on.

Now Im sitting here with a little downer thinking that after all festivals I end up regretting having missed a bunch..

Pero, sera la proxima!!

SONAR 2009

After three years away from Barcelona it was amazing to be back during the SONAR festival this year. The perfect crew I went with made it even more amazing. Like I told about in May, we managed to plan it well since April and gathered friends from all corners together. My Norwegian friends Lars, Mathias, Gaute and Jorgen are a mix of childhood and college friends.

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And Mark (UK), Jared (AU, both closest to the camera in the above pic) and lovely Annabelle (France, not in picture) are friends I got when living in Buenos Aires last year. We rented a cool flat for 8 people in the center and walked over to daytime – Sonar every day.

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Since arrival we pretty much hanged together 24/7 despite of being a big group (I mean, it’s often challenging to get all together at a festival). Typically we lost half of Day II at Sonar by Day, which actually is my favorite part of Sonar because the Sonar by Night parties got long and hangovers were heavy. Typically we also lost each other at night Sonar, haha!

Here going strong though:

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Being back after three years made me realise that Sonar has changed a wee bit.. I may be wrong, and it doesn’t really matter, society and traveling and festivals change all the time – over time. As happens to other good festivals, Sonar has become quite known internationally, thus is pretty crowded with tourists now. Especially Brits and global club hipsters seem to love it. Never before have I seen that many fashion photographers in a small festival location, pretty fascinating.. Still, Sonar is awesome, and it’s the music that counts!

Lineup was great, although like always I see myself missing out on half of the things I’m there to see. Must be something in the water! Anyway, we saw Tiga, Gilles Peterson, Richie Hawtin, Ricardo Villalobos, Diplo, Crookers, Goldfrapp, Miss Kitten, Nightmares on Wax, Birdy Nam Nam + + + Lost out on a couple of guys that hurt too much to mention. NEXT YEAR!

Almost everybody in the crew left Barcelona Sunday, but Lars, Jared and I staid for another 3 days. I like planning Sonar like that as it’s nice to “land a little” after 3 solid party days, and perfectly it suited my two brothers as well. Got reminded how BCN is great to just chill in with its never-ending sun, beach parties, good vibes and food. As the Sonar week has become very popular many promoters have started their own side events, typically called “OFF- Sonar”, and like we concluded walking home arm in arm after one of them; they may definitely be equally good. Cheaper, less commercial and full of music-lovers.

Part from that we went to the beach, ate tapas every second hour, did the official daytime waste with pink Cava at La Champañeria (a rather unknown place, but one of the BEST recommendations I got when living in BCN in 2004- I wrote about it here).

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Going back to Norway a week later was OK as the weather was on our side. 🙂

And, HOLD THE PRESS: I even met a cutie and will soon go to Valencia to have some fun!!

HAHAHAHA true story! Livin la vida loca!

Pics from our SONAR 2009

Hold the press: We’re going to Sonar!

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Yes, it’s official: we are going to Sonar in June. Now THIS is the carrot I’ve needed to drag my way through this last bit of essay writing. My toes are tingling!

About time, cause it’s been freaking three years since I was there the last time. This year will be with a completely new crowd however; a mix of friends I got when in Buenos Aires and “my Norwegian male homies” that I’ve hanged around with a lot this year.

And look at this sick lineup: Orbital, Grace Jones, Animal Collective, Fever Ray, Richie Hawtin, James Murphy & Pat Mahoney (LCD Soundsystem disco set), Late of the Pier, Jeff Mills, Moderat, La Roux, Little Boots, dan le sac vs. Scroobius Pip, Deadmau5, Carl Craig, Crookers, Filastine, Buraka Som Sistema, Joker, Luomo, Martyn, Beardyman, Konono Nº 1, Micachu and The Shapes, Roland Olbeter + Tim Exile + Jon Hopkins, Alva Noto, Agoria, The Wizard, Breakbot, Young Fathers, GoldieLocks, Bass Clef, Bomb Squad, DSL, Jamie Woon, SebastiAn, Lars Horntveth + BCN216, Marcel Dettmann, Heartbreak, Busy P., Ebony Bones, Institut Fatima, The Gaslamp Killer, Mike Slott, Culoe de Song, Natalia Lafourcade, Tarántula vs. La Orquesta del Caballo Ganador, Omar Souleyman, Rustie, Bullion, Cécile, Mary Anne Hobbs, Michna with Raw Paw, Rob da Bank, Muhsinah, Cardopusher, James Pants, Erol Alkan presents Disco 3000, …

Jeeez, I can’t wait!

14 musts in Barcelona

Did you ever reflect over how some cities in the world seem to be loved by everybody? Like, when you’re having a conversation and the name Barcelona comes up, haven’t you noticed how everyone always goes: Oh, Barcelona! Yes, I freaking love that city, man. It’s so cool, it has everything! I really need to go back there. And if someone in that conversation reveals they haven’t been they’ll probably be told: What, you haven’t been? It’s such a must. Trust me, it’s the best! If the person himself didn’t already interrupt: I know, I know, Barcelona is definitely one of the places I have to visit asap. Everybody always tells me that. It’s on my bucket list this year.

No wonder you’ve been in a similar conversation, because sure thing; Barcelona is one of those cities you just fall in love with. In almost all rankings of Best Cities, Barcelona is among the top 3. The other highly ranked cities are almost always New York, Berlin, London, San Francisco, Cape Town, Rio de Janeiro, Copenhagen, Buenos Aires and Tokyo… Why is that so?

Personally I’ve been a devoted urban traveler for a long time and consider myself a bit over the top interested in trends within the travel industry. Although there obviously are several factors – e.g. geographical, historical and political – that count for a place to become a popular destination among many people (from many different countries), I personally think a city is amazing when it has a mix of great geography (sea, mountain, forest, rivers), friendly locals, vibrant city life (including a variety of food, art, night life & fashion), and a somewhat characteristic architecture. And that’s why I think Barcelona scores so high. It has all of that!

Since my first visit in 2003 and a six months stay in 2005 Barcelona has been one of my favorite cities – thus a city I make sure to visit every year (though I still haven’t visited half of the cities I’d like to). Out of my love for Barcelona I’ve decided to repost a popular city guide from my blog called 14 musts in Barcelona.

Starting off with the obvious temptations:

1. Gaudi, of course. The extraordinary architecture by the highly admired architect Antoni Gaudi (1852- 1926) is known for having made Barcelona into such a uniquely looking city. There is no place in the world you will see anything like the buildings he constructed over hundred years ago. Sagrada Familia, Casa Gaudi, The Guel park (see point 6), Casa Mila and Casa Batllo and much more. At the tourist information in the airport, or downtown (or at your hotel) you’ll get maps over where to find the marvelous constructions. There is also a Gaudi museum in Barcelona that can be good to start a full-on Gaudi day with. My recommendation however is to divide the Gaudi tours into two days according to where the spectaculars are and mix the go-see with other interesting things in each part of the city.

2. Understand the Spanish VS Catalan issue. The sooner you learn some about this, the better. It can in fact affect even a short stay in Barcelona, if the (wrong) person confronts you with this and feel you’re ignorant to the topic. Respect the locals’ feelings about this topic. Advice: Learn to say good day and thanks in Catalan – they’ll love you for it. “Bon dia” & “Merci” (NOT “Buenos dias” & “Gracias” – that’s Spanish!).

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The official flag of Catalunya

3. The beach! When cultural and vibrant cities have a coastline, they often get considered much more beautiful. This fact certainly concerns Barcelona with its not too polluted beaches, despite of occasionally being pretty over-crowded. The beach is long and I always make sure to spend one day strolling from one end to the other along the well-kept promenade. There is a good chance you’ll find whatever you consider is “the perfect beach slot” for you – it be more family-friendly, party-like, high-endish, or hippie-ish. There are small beach bars every 100 meter and good restaurants along the promenade. Make sure to choose local places over major chains like KFC.

4. The different barrios. In my opinion you don’t actually get to know a city before you get to know the features of its different neighbourhoods. Some cities may not have too defined neighbourhoods (something I quickly find boring), but luckily Barcelona does. You can say Ciutat Vella is what makes up the “city center” and within this area you’ll find the gorgeous and well-kept old towns Born & Barrigotic (see the Gothic Quarter!) on one side of the (extremely touristy) avenue La Rambla, and the vibrant (and very popular) immigrant area Raval on the other. And yes; all the barrios are brilliant for people watching, drinking, eating and shopping.

Then you got the area La Barceloneta & La vila Olimpica by the harbour. Here you can look at the boats, eat in a fine restaurant, stroll down the beach promenade and if you’re interested in such visit the Aquarium. If you got plenty of time, and/or are not interested in walking where all the other tourists are, consider visiting the surrounding Le Corts (a little west-endish), Gracia and Glories (though the most famous tourist attraction in Spain (La Sagrada Familia) is situated in between the two latter so you do indeed meet foreigners here too).

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El born, close to Barceloneta

5. The plazas. Because Spanish people love getting together for chats and drinks (and are privileged with a climate that allows it pretty much all year), small and big squares packed with restaurants, bars and fountains are characteristic in South European cities. In Barcelona they are everywhere, however not always that easy to find on a map. Plaza Real (at La Rambla) is one of the bigger and very touristy, Passeig del Borne (Born) is more of a street than a plaza but cool (young, hipstery) people hang here, Plaza del Sol (Gracia) is small, young and hippie-ish, the huge Plaza outside of MACBA in Raval is chilled and full of skaters and tourists, Plaza triangular (Barrigotic) is tiny and quite local, Plaza de Sant Jaume connects two barrios and this and that plaza, oh I could go on forever… Just sit down for a beer or a cold Clara (Spanish for shandy), some tapas and enjoy.

6.The parks. Barcelona has many small parks hidden between streets and buildings, but Ill highlight the bigger parks where you can spend a day relaxing and enjoying a taste of nature within the hectic city. (All the parks are perfect for people traveling with children). Parc de la Ciutadella is ground of both the Catalan Parliament building and Barcelona Zoo and part of its charm lies in its ornamental waterfall and artificial lake. You can take a boat out onto the lake, play table tennis, or enjoy any of the seasonal activities and events the park hosts every week.

Parc de la Ciutadella im Frühling, Barcelona, Katalonien, Spanien

Montjuïc park got world known during the 1992 Olympic Games and currently offers a green oasis for culture, sports and entertainment in Barcelona. It’s located on the mountain Montjuïc with a spectacular view of the city and offers theaters and museums, fountains and gardens, sports facilities and fairground pavilions.

The park Guell, built by Gaudi between 1900 and 1924 was originally going to host around sixty houses and a chapel, but was never finished. As a result, it became the property of the city of Barcelona in 1922 and is today one of the main tourist attractions in the city. The view from here is stunning and Gaudi’s particular style is clearly noticeable in the uncommon architectural forms and bright colors.

And for even more stunning views (and potentially some hiking) you go to Tibidabo, which happens to not only be Barcelona’s highest mountain but also represents an old amusement park. The place is well known from the movie Vicky Christina Barcelona and for yet another precious cathedral.

7. Tapas! Though some Nationalistic Catalans (they’re plenty) would disagree, Barcelona is in Spain, and the Spaniards love their tapas. Get used to eating your lunch and dinner like them – and remember tapas is to be shared between people. The classic ones: aceitunas (olives), pan con tomate (bread with tomato), aioli (thick white sauce made of garlic and olive oil, to eat on bread and with seafood), patatas bravas (thick fried potato chunks with a special spicy tomato sauce), tortilla (thick egg omelet with potatoes) and albondigas (meat balls with a touch) and gambas a la plancha (grilled shrimps, or shrimps cooked in a dry-fryish way on a pan).

For the seafood lovers there are plenty of options – especially for the valiant. Grilled pulpo (octupus) and calamar (squid) is very common and delicious! Chipirones en su tinta (mini squids served in their ink!!) as well, and trust me- it’s yummy! Grilled or dry-fried boquerones (anchovies) you eat whole, and various bacalao (cod in sauce) dishes are served many places. And don’t forget your sangria, it’s just a myth that Spanish people don’t drink it themselves.

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8. La Champañeria. Actually I was unsure whether to post about this, or not, as it’s one of these places you love just the way it is. But I hate it when others keep those secrets away from me, so here it goes. La Champañeria is a gem of an authentic Spanish cava & tapas bar. It’s located at the bottom of Born, in the small street Carrer de la Reina Cristina 7 (close to the harbour). You find it by noticing the crowd of people outside, especially around midday (lunch time for locals). In my opinion it’s the perfect place to go as a couple or with a small group before or after a day on the beach. The bar is tiny but takes surprisingly many people that don’t mind squeezing together..

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La Champañeria

Beware! You go to La Champañeria to get some local, historic vibes and taste their Cava and tapas (both simple, but delicious). Here you’ll kick your way through used carton plates and tissues, and order at the bar with jams hanging over your head. The old sweaty waiters are in a hurry and don’t speak much English, so be patient and speak clearly as it’s normally crowded and noisy. One bottle is served with three plates of tapas.

Open from 9am – 10.30pm, closed on Sundays.

Champaneria

 

 

9. La Boqueria. Originally called Mercat de Sant Josep de la Boqueria, this market is one of the oldest in town, dating back to 1217 (!). It’s easy to find on a map and by walking up La Rambla (with entrance from La Rambla). A perfect place to suck in some history and watch how a typical old Spanish market works, and to buy fresh bread, cheese, fruits, fish and meet (if you’re keen on a picnic in a park or live in an apartment and want to cook).

10. Get inspired! Absorb quirky art and fabulous street performance. Regarding street performance, many seem to think that the street artists in La Rambla are of the best in the world! Regarding contemporary art, visit MACBA in Raval, follow this and google where to find different galleries. Between Barrio Gotic and Born you have two streets full of photo shops and posters and quirky art that I love to visit. For graffiti-interested, the whole city is a gallery actually (just read this). You’ll also find plenty of inspirational stuff by googling the topic.

 

11. Bars! Oh yes: BARcelona! First of all; the nicest bars are obviously not the ones you find in the middle of La Rambla. Then again some of the most historical bars (and also frequently visited by locals) are very close by. Just google and mark them on a map and start your round. The level of cocktail making skills is high! In Raval you have Rabipelao, Ambar and Lobo bar: all stylish, yet odd, chilled & fun. Close by are the two old and unique bars Bar Marsella (be careful with the absinthe, they’re not joking), and Le Pastis (Raval). However Boadas in Barrigotic claims to be the oldest in Barcelona and you should definitely go here if you want a peak into the 1940′s. Sugar bar, Pipa club and Le Petit Jet lag are also all in Gotic, tiny and innovative. In Born around Passeig del Borne and its side streets (mentioned above) you have many more! Not to mention in Gracia.

12. Nightlife! My favorite club when I lived in Barcelona was Sala Apolo; An old small theatre situated in Raval (metro stop Paralel). It still exists and hopefully will forever, has amazing bookings and loads of experimental electronica and hip hop. Razzmatazz is also great, a huge venue with 5 rooms and good concerts from time to time (but check their events online first). La Paloma is a historical gem but be sure to check if it’s open. It constantly has neighbour trouble as it’s in the middle of a resident area in Raval. La Terraza is beautiful and located up in the hills of the city (perfect for warm summer night), though it’s not my kind of vibe (quite high-endish). City Hall (on Placa Catalunya) also had some good concepts going on, but I’m afraid you have to find out of these things yourself when first deciding to go somewhere. It really depends on your music and style, amigo, hence I’d check ResidentAdvisor.com and Timeout.com to find recommendations for the style/music I’d fancy.

El Row 14 is apparently a mad club where they play with inflammable toys and dress out. It typically offers electronic music and is probably for the more party valiant as it’s situated a bit outside town and in the Spanish clubbing-way open til early morning (I’ve heard many people start their daytime party here around 10am). Very good bookings of national and international DJs. (EDIT: This place is closest as of 2014)

13. Festivals. Sure thing, the Spaniards embrace their festivos (“holy days”) and find any excuse to throw a party or celebrate something with a festival. Ill mention the most known events for now. Late March: Sitges (gay) carnival has become a wild tourist attraction. Late May: Primavera sound. Mid June: Sitges gay parade. Mid June: Sonar: Barcelona’s biggest festival – and one of my all time favorites (thus promoted several times before). It offers electronic music but also all kinds of experimental stuff including old school hip hop etc. June 24: San Juan (celebration of a saint (generally speaking: a massive beach party). Mid September: Merce. A massive traditional carnival alike party in which locals, families and tourists gather to celebrate Catalan traditions, watch endless parades and intense street fireworks (!).

14. Avoid getting pick-pocketed or mugged! With mass tourism Barcelona – that unfortunately holds a large number of poor inhabitants – has become a Mecca for pickpockets. Like in any other place in the world you have to take precautions, and the typical advices are: Don’t watch street performers in crowded areas/ stand on crowded metros/ walk in crowded streets without having control of you valuables. It’s also common that poor kids wander around tourists’ tables asking for money, cigarettes or directions, but with an attempt to steal. I’ve been to many places considered more ‘dangerous’ than Barcelona (and it may of course be a coincidence) but I’ve honestly never heard of/ seen (and even stopped) as many robberies as here.

General points: Barcelona is perfect for a lot of walking so wear good shoes. To travel further you depend on taxis and public transport. The latter is more environmentally friendly and a cheaper and fun way to see the city. Also, Barcelona is very children- and gay friendly.

Have fun!

Concerts on my bucket list

Yup I still keep searching for the artists I love and their gigs around. Among them are (un)fortunately plenty I haven’t seen live, but to not bore you with a very long list, I keep it at my lucky number which is 7.

The below list extends the last list I wrote back in 2010 over artists I dreamed at seeing then. I just realised it needed to be updated.

1. Radiohead (or Thom Yorke solo)

2. Fleetwood Mac

3. Cinematic Orchestra

4. Moderat (but I did see Apparat!!)

5. Femi Kuti

6. David Bowie (can’t believe I had forgot him on the last list?)

7. Daft Punk (fuck them for not coming to Glastonbury this year the way eeeeverybody predicted…)

Since the last bucket list I could line these over

8. Jonsi (All alone at Sonar weeping my eyes out)

9. Bonobo with band (at XOYO, London)

10. Portishead (PURE MAGIC at Glastonbury 2013)

11. The Rolling Stones (Sorry I’m cheating as they weren’t even on the last list, but I did see them for the first and probably last time in my life at Glastonbury 2013. It was wicked)

12. Trentemoller. TWICE! (And can’t believe he wasn’t on the last list either..)

Before March 2010 I was able to line these over:

 Depeche Mode

Tori Amos

Antony & the Johnson

Bjork

Madonna

Ingrid Olava

Back to Ibiza (2013)

Voluntarily not having a place to live for a while (like me) expands the possibilities to move around. Logically.

Yet without the money of a millionaire it isn’t logical to just move around like another millionaire, thus the options decrease. Either way, as both V and I have a history with living on Ibiza – and loving it -, we thought going back for a month could do us good romantically, familiarly as well as professionally.

bright-ideaTherefore we decided to go back straight after the Sonar festival, but this time the situation from last year has changed. We don’t have our own house, so we depend on:

A) renting a place, B) friends’ hospitality, C) a cheap hotel/hostel

I suggested living in a camp or something, just taking it to the hippie-level for once, but V wasn’t too impressed by the thought of it. Besides the heat could be an issue in the morning. Also, I don’t even know if there is a campsite on this freaking island?

To solve the housing situation we found out that renting a place fairly central is out of the question as the prices are completely mental. When you consider yourself a local and know what an apartment can cost on this island, you don’t go ahead paying 1800 euros for a month all of the sudden. The holiday rental prices are obviously what we would be competing with for only a month stay.

So, we had to go for option C, as option B somehow didn’t turn out viable either.

Therefore, we are currently residing in a hotel in freaking San Antonio where we know a guy that manages a 3 star hotel in the middle of the craziness! And my friends, I can tell you: This is a completely new experience and quite frankly, not in the worst way we would imagine.

I’ll write a post about a local’s eyes on San Antonio asap, but here some shots of the area to warm you up.

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A gem, right.