bunkers del carmel

Barcelona has a secret. Behind the flurries of swarming crowds and must-see attractions lurks a hidden gem, a snippet of solitude steeped in beauty, charm and history. A place where time has stood still and only Mother Nature dares to impose on the peace and tranquillity. A place I love to go to escape the hustle and bustle of city life, a perfect spot to start your day .

The secret I’m divulging is snugly situated in the secluded district of Carmel, on the upper outskirts of Guinardó Park. Nestled on the Turó de la Rovira (Rovira’s hill) lie a cluster of war bunkers, cannon platforms and look-out points; timeless relics from the Spanish Civil War and the location of one of Barcelona’s lesser-known hotspots. Although not quite as shrouded in mystery as they were a few years ago, the Carmel Bunkers are still relatively unknown to most, even locals, thanks to their remoteness and omission from most tourist guides, providing a welcome break from the swarms of sightseers found at nearby Park Güell or La Rambla.

The bunkers, originally used as anti-aircraft batteries during the Spanish Civil War, were part of Barcelona’s active defence and were constructed in response to the city’s first bombings. After the war, and as an effect of housing shortages at the time, the area was colonised by several local families and the “Barrio de Canons”, as it became known, remained in place until the early ‘90s. Since then, the whole area has been renovated and reclaimed as a historical site by MUHBA (Barcelona History Museum), offering visitors a living, breathing piece of history.

There are buses from Vallcarca to take you up the steep hill, but I prefer to get off the metro at Guinardó and stroll up through the park, taking in the scenery as I breathe in the fresh air. The walk, which takes around 30 minutes, is fairly strenuous (if your fitness levels are as limited as mine) but it’s worth the effort. As you leave the city behind you, a winding path takes you up through the wooded park and you’re rewarded with increasingly dramatic views of the city far below. Once you reach the summit (and catch your breath), you’re greeted by the remains of the concrete bunkers and perfect vistas of the Torre Agbar, the Sagrada Familia, Tibidabo and all the other quintessential landmarks of Barcelona. A camera is a must.

Seeing the city from this perspective is a very humbling and inspiring experience. Take it from me: there is no better way to start the day than perched on the edge of the bunker, with the city slowly waking at your feet, paradise!!!

 

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collages

Now that the time of sunbathing at the beach is over i have to find other things that keep me busy here .  During the day I walk a lot around the city or at Montjuic  in nature but in the evening i spend most of my time home in the apartment . My roommate works during the evening so i am on my own then so i keep myself busy with all sorts of things , one of them is making collages and trying to become better at it .  So in the meantime  i made already a few , well a few ? let’s say about 8 since i am here .  this time i wanted to go a bit further and adding painted parts at the collage.  For me this is really a good excersise because i am not that good in painting or drawing realistic things  so i decided to make a serie of portrets , just cutting the head and the neck from photo’s or combining 2 heads in one and adding a part of the body by painting , not the whole body but with some of them i only did the shoulders and with others i painted the shoulders and a part of the breast  in the position of which the head was placed .  Luckely my roommate , Gedas, is a very talented and schooled painter so i could ask him for advice if i needed it but it went really good i think and i am pleased how they turned out .  Hopefully i get better and better at it , practice always helps they say !!!  Here are some pictures of them ….

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Garbage…

Today i want to talk about the hidden heroes of barcelona : the garbage men and women , the street cleaners & the beach cleaners . Because they really are heroes if you ask me . they are everywhere  in the city but they are here in a quite way i think , they never really annoying or in the way (expect at night they can be a bit noisy ) but they are busy constantly around the clock , 24 hours 7 days in the week . In most of the old center of the city where i live you can put your garbage outside at your door around 8 o’clock at night in no matter what kind of bag or box , it doesn’t matter they come and pick it up . Now most of the people here don’t really hold themselves to this time to put garbage out  and they just put it out whenever they feel like it : in the morning , in the evening , in the afternoon , even in the middle of the night (i do that sometimes , sorry )and every time about 10 min. later (at night a bit longer ) they already picked it up !! it’s unbelievable !! these people work so hard!

Normally tuesday night is the night were you can put bigger things outside for the garbage and what people all put outside it’s unbelievable , all kind of furniture , clothes , all kind of house hold things … everything you can think of and most of them even don’t bother to put it out on the right day , which is tuesday but put it out when ever they want to and some of it is pretty gross too but they always pick it up in about maximum an hour . Day or night !!!

There are always street cleaners everywhere cleaning the street and twice a day , early afternoon and in the evening they clean all the streets with water , imagine how much work that would be in a big city like this . I don’t know if they do it all over the city but i know for sure they clean the street with water twice a day in a real big part of the city .

Also the beach they clean twice a day with 3 big trucs and water .  You can not imagine how much dirt tourist leave behind on the beach during the day and also at night . It’s quit disgusting , most of the tourist have no respect for the country there visiting and leave dirt everywhere but the garbage men and cleaners here they always clean it up . I think they are real heroes and my respect goes out to them !! Even with all there work the city is full of cockroaches and also rats so you can think what it would be even they didn’t do their job so well , it would be a real disaster !!

ps.It’s a little past 2 am  and i just went quickly out with josé before i go to sleep .  When i stepped out i noticed there was a lot of noise outside from people talking and when i came at the end of the street i saw there was a lot of people sitting around the little pond  in the square at the end of my street . They were all drinking beer and talking so at the moment i passed there the police just arrived and everyone got up and moved , it is not allowed to drink on the street at night in Barcelona so everyone left there cans of beer they were drinking behind so everywhere you looked on the square were cans of beer , really a lot !

I went with josé quickly around the block and when i arrived again at the square not even 5 minutes later there was already a garbage van and cleaning people cleaning the whole square !!!! That’s how good these people do there job around here , that’s how hard they work even at 2 am at night .  Just amazing !!!!

 

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weird , funny and good things in barcelona

weird…

2 weeks ago my dog josé his ears were infected . I started noticing that when he constantly shaked his head . He has long ears so the dirt doesn’t come out that easily and when we were still at home in Antwerpen and his mother ,my dog Dora was still with him she cleaned his ears repeatedly so i never had to worry about that .  My sweet dog dora is the best dog mom there is !!

But now here in Barcelona , i had to do the job of cleaning his ears and of course i forgot so his ears got infected .  This happened a lot of times with my dog dora so what i always did when dora had it was just go to the pharmacy and asked for ear drops for a dog . That helped immediately and so we didn’t had to go to the vet every time cause everybody knows vets are expensive and this was not really a huge problem and could be solved easily by putting some ear drops for infected dog ears .

So now that josé had it i was thinking of solving this problem also in an easy way so i went to the pharmacy right behind the corner and asked the man behind the counter for some ear drops for my dogs infected ears . He looked at me as if i was somebody crazy and than acted like he didn’t know what to do with me . He went to the back of the shop then came back to the front , just stood there for a few seconds then he asked something quite to his colleague who was helping another client , then they both looked to me as if i was crazy and so did the client . Then the man asked me how big my dog was and what was his weight so i told him he was between 20 kg and 30 kg .  Then he went to speak with the colleague again and finally he gave me something and told me i had to put 1 drop a day .

When i came home i first looked up the name of the medicine he gave me because he acted so strange i didn’t really trusted it and the information of the medicine was all in spanish which i did not understand so i googled it and i discovered that it was for humans who have infected eyes ?!!

So the next morning it even got worse and i decided to go to a vet anyway .  I looked up on the internet the closest vet to my place and it turned out there was a vet just around the corner . I was thinking : that’s strange , i know that there is a pet store at that address but now there was a vet too .  I thought it was kind of weird , for sure when i went there and saw that it was like a pet store but the store had an office in the back where the vet was and after the vet examined josé and told me to buy the medicine for josé’s ears in the pet store in the front i suddenly realized that this is the way here in Spain : a pet store has a vet in the back included and medicine for pets you don’t buy in the pharmacy but at the pet store . Then it came clear to me why the man in the pharmacy looked kind of strange to me and didn’t know what to do , people don’t go to the pharmacy here for buying medicine for their pets !  I think that’s weird !!

 

 

 

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a funny story , the sequel…

a funny story, the sequel…

A few weeks after the story of the cockroach (=cck) in my room  i was again up late and finally went to bed but in bed i decided to smoke another sigaret so i put the light on my phone on to see were my cigarets were on the small cupboard next to my bed , the moment i looked at the cupboard i saw a big cck , for sure 2 cm big !!!  Now i may be the adventurous type but i wasn’t that adventurous!!  So i jumped out of bed and on the way out of my room i took my pillow, my blanket and my dog with me and went in the living room were i slept for the rest of the night .  The following day my roommate didn’t really believe my story , he never saw a cck in his apartment and thought it was kind of weird that it was already the second one i saw in my room !!  Now after the first one i decided to go to war with them and i went to buy cck traps to catch them and looked everything there is to know up about them on my computer so i also went to buy plastic boxes for when i take food up to my room i put it all in plastic boxes so the cck cannot go near it , i also bought mothballs cause i’ve read somewhere they can’t stand the smell of it and stay away from the smell , the same with vinaigrette which i also bought and put in my room , so now there was all that stuff in my room to fight them and the result of it all was that now there was even a bigger one (twice the size of the first one ) in my room somewhere !!  I was afraid to sleep in my room for the next days but then finally thought i had to do something about it cause nobody else did and i couldn’t stay in the living room and sleep on the sofa for ever .  So i then started to take everything , and i mean everything ,out of my room until i found the giant cck , but when my room was totally empty i still hadn’t found it .  I went to buy some duc tape and taped al the little holes and and cracks and gaps i could find in my room so it couldn’t hide anywhere , still no cck !!!  So then i started to put everything back in my room and hanged a mosquito net above my bed so when i was in the bed i could put the ends of the net under the matras so nothing could come in the net and in my bed so i was safe .  The next night i went back to sleep in my bed cause by then i was thinking maybe the cck moved to the living room (which is next to my room and were i was sleeping at that time  ) cause i couldn’t find him anymore in my room and there was also no food in my room so i thought it was safer to sleep in my room then the living room by then .

So that night  i went to bed in my room , put all the ends of the mosquito net good under the matras and felt really safe so i fell asleep immediately …. after 2 hours i suddenly woke up which was a bit odd cause i just was sleeping for only 2 hours , and i opened my eyes still laying down in my bed and when i opened my eyes i saw something laying in my bed about not even 20 cm next to my head .  The first thought that popped up in my mind was of course the cck , it had the same size , color and everything , except it was not moving . So then i thought it couldn’t be .  Anyway i wasn’t really sure so i touched it with my sheets to see if it would move but it didn’t so i closed back my eyes to sleep again .  But then i suddenly thought that i didn’t take anything with me in the bed , for sure not something that size and also nothing could really come in the bed or fall in the bed because of the mosquito net and then i started panicking !!!   I jumped out of bed switched the light on and my glasses and went to look what it was ….. it was ….the cck !!!!!  The big one!!!!! Death!!!!!  Aaaaarrrgggghhhh!!!!

So that is even more strange ?   How did he came into my bed ???  Why did he came and died just next to me ??  These creatures can survive an atomic bomb so why did this one die just naturally??  Maybe he had eaten some of my vitamins who give me energy  who were on my desk because he was hungry and he couldn’t find food , then went like a crazy one running around in my room feeling really energetic , ended it up exhausted in my bed and didn’t know how he got in there , didn’t find his way out of it and panicked and got a heart attack just next to me , hahaha!!!!  Maybe he felt already he was dying and was looking for help to safe him , wanted to ask me for help  , wanted to ask me to phone for a cck ambulance but just didn’t make it ( if he got to me on time i would have killed him anyway )and died right next to me  .   But then again : how did he get in there ?  Why couldn’t i find him when i completely stripped my room and then he ended up in my bed !!!   I think it is all kind of creepy if you think about it .  Of all the places he dies next to me in my bed!  This is too good to be a coincidence i think !!

When i realized he was there laying death , i run to the kitchen to get a glass and put it over him for would he miraculously come back from the death and escape anyway !! I couldn’t risk that so i put a glass over him and waited until my roommate woke up , i was too scared to take him and put him in the garbage even when he was death !!   Then my roommate woke up and finally he could see i was not delusional and there was infact a cck in my room .  He threw it away in the garbage , just like that , no fancy funeral for mister cck !!!  So now i’m just hoping this was the end of it !!  Let’s wait and see …

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a funny story…

A funny story …

Well my funny story is about cockroaches, i guess that isn’t funny at all but in a way it is cause i’m terrifide of them !!  It’s more like a horror story rather then a comedy I guess .   It started like this : the 3th week when i was here in Barcelona , i was up late and was kind of staring at my computer before i was going to bed.  Suddenly i saw a cockroach(lets call them cck , it’s easier) walking on my computerscreen from one side to the other .   Now cockroaches are a common thing here in Barcelona but i cannot get used to them .  First in a flash i thought it was  in my computer , some kind of app for when you’re up too late and staring at your computer the app let a cck walk over your pc to frighten you so that you are suddenly  wide awake and alert again but then instantly afterwards that thought another thought popped up in my head and said : ilde such an app doesn’t excist (would be a good idea for an app) and for sure you don’t have it on your computer !!  Following with : fuck there is a real cck running around on your computer !!!

I immediatily jumped up , switched my light on and went back to my pc to have a better look but by then the bastard already dissappeard.  I could only do 2 things: 1 . just put the thought in my head that this never happened and forget about it or 2.  going on an adventure and trying to find the cck .  I choose the second option cause i’m more the adventurous type and started to put everything on my desk somewhere else in hope the cck would turn up and it did !!!  When i saw it i panicked , what now ??  The only thing i had in my reach was a glassex spray to clean the windows , i took it without a doubt and started spraying and spraying until the cck was dazzled and couldn’t move for a few seconds .  I then took a piece of paper , took the cck with that piece of paper and threw it with one movement out of the window over the balcony and gone was the cck or that’s what i thought ……end of part one

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Barcelona

i recently moved to barcelona , spain …

I recently moved to Spain , Barcelona . For a few years 
now i was dreaming about moving to Barcelona . i went on 
vacation a lot of times to Barcelona , met some nice 
people there who became friends for life. So add the sun 
and the sea to that and you have the perfect combination 
and reason for spending your days there .So i packed my 
bags , took my youngest dog along , said goodbye to my 
old life and came to spain with an empty mind and a lot 
of enthusiasm for a new beginning...

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