Thanksgiving Dinner, Barcelona style. Grabbed a full rabbit from the Sant Antoni Market for 8 euros, cleaned it up, cut off the head, and threw it in the oven wrapped in tin foil with some spices and peppers. We also fried up some potatoes, the kidneys and liver. Bon appetit!
In Syracuse, there is Winter, then there is construction season. Here in Barcelona, there is the Summer/Tourist Season, then the construction season. A few famous skate and BMX spots are currently unrideable or have gotten destroyed in the last few weeks. These include the Glories volcanoes, the skatepark north of La Barceloneta, and the road in front of the smoothest seawalls by the Forum. R.I.P.
I actually got a couple hours of sleep last night, but it has been raining all day, so I decided to take a stroll around Barcelona in the somewhat unusual weather. I had a couple shots left on my 35mm film camera and I wanted to finish off the roll by shooting Barcelona in the rain. Wet surfaces and reflections can give photos an interesting look, plus no one really sees many photos of the warm Mediterranean metropolis in the rain. I also wanted to examine bike use during a sustained rain event, since this is the longest I have experienced while living here.
Anyway, I left the apartment with no real destination. After a couple seconds of thought, I had a hunch that the beach might be pretty cool in the given situation. I assumed there would be no people and it would just be a quiet, wet scene. There were a lot less people on the streets already, due to the rain and it being 10 degrees Celsius. As soon as I rounded the corner around the last row of buildings alongside La Barceloneta, the wind and rain picked up substantially and most of the street trees on the beach looked like they may break in half. One already had before I got there. The waves were 10ft plus tall and there were a bunch of wind surfers taking advantage of the weather as well. There was so much rain, sand, leaves, wind and mist, but a surprising amount of people were present. It wasn’t crowded like a warm summer day, but I was still surprised.
Yesterday morning while viewing Tibidabo from a balcony in Gracia, I decided it was to be the day to climb up to the Cathedral. I went back to my apartment to meet Ian and grab the bikes, and then we quickly headed out.
We took the L3 metro from the Parallel stop up to Penitents, located directly between Park Guell and Tibidabo. From there we climbed the narrow winding roads via bicycle towards the summit of Tibidabo. We reached a point where the road turned into a much steeper trail, so we locked up the bikes to a metal sign and continued on-foot. We ended up taking a shortcut and bushwhacking through thorn bushes until we reached the main road at the summit.
Tibidabo is an amazing place. The view is even better than the mountain on the edge of Park Guell. It was a clear day so we could see the start of the Catalan Pyrenees to the Northeast, Montserrat to the Northwest, and many surrounding cities in addition to having an incredible view of Barcelona to the East.
The Cathedral was also very impressive, especially being at the summit of the highest point immediately surrounding Barcelona. In Latin, tibi is translated as “to you” and dabo is a present tense verb meaning “I give”. Therefore, Tibidabo means, “I give to you”, which were words said by Jesus, according to the Catholic faith.
Over last weekend, my two friends, John and Pete, and I made a last-minute decision to jump on a plane and spend a few days in Paris. Sleepless, we left for the airport early Thursday morning at 4am via the N16 bus from Plaza de Espana. Our flight left at 6:25am and we touched down in France at the Paris-Beauvais airport before 9am. From there, we had an hour-long bus ride to the city center. Upon arrival, we immediately began the search for a patisserie (bakery) to inhale authentic French baguettes. We then continued to explore the city on foot, meandering our way to the Eiffel Tower. We checked into our hotel around 1pm and passed out as soon as we got into our room. I even slept on the floor until my sofa bed arrived an hour or so later. We woke up around 5pm and decided to explore more. We journeyed on into the Pigalle neighborhood, away from the expensive downtown area. Here we had great Vietnamese Kebobs and began to observe the lively nightlife. We were already tired, so we didn’t stay out too late and returned to the hotel around midnight.
Ruben Alcantara is a legend within the BMX community. He has been a major pioneer of the sport in the past twenty years and continues to ride at a very high level in the his late 30s. Ruben is also from Spain and recently became involved with the design of bike and skate parks. It seems very fitting for such a high-level athlete to become involved with the design process of the medium on which he performs.
My friend shot this Instagram video last night while riding back to the apartment from El Xampanyet, a very good tapas bar. The first spot is right on Via Laietana, and the rest is in the narrow streets of the Gothic neighborhood.
Every morning, I check a couple BMX websites to find out what's new and watch a couple web-videos to help myself wake up. This morning, I went to a popular blog-style website called The Come Up and saw the photo above in their "Photo of the Week" segment. I immediately remembered the scene.
This photo was shot in Liverpool, NY maybe a year ago. The photographer, Mario Martin-Alciati, took the photo from afar, capturing the whole scene. He shot this with his Cannon AE-1 film camera. A friend of mine, Jack Hartje, is the man on the BMX bike, jumping the motorcycles as they burn-out. In true BMX fashion, Jack's idea behind the photo was to capture Fire, Beer, and Mayhem. A popular BMX company from Binghamton, FBM, sometimes goes by this mantra. I am trying to film the scene on my phone, standing next to the gas tank. Next to me, my friend Korey is shooting a photo with his Nikon D7000 DSLR Digital Camera, explaining the flashes scattered about.
Mario is from Spain and Korey has a crazy job protecting America from missile attack. They both travel a lot. Korey is currently in Kazakhstan. Both Mario and Korey are experienced photographers, much more than myself. Check out more of their work below.
The video below is hilarious, so I strongly suggest that you watch it solely based on that. However, this is also a true and somewhat sad story, with over 9 million views.