Versus

Vs. Festival of la Mercè: traditional or alternative?

Barcelona says farewell to those long summer days and announces an autumn full of energy by holding its largest street party, the festival of La Mercè, which is during the 18th to the 24th of September. This festivity is held in honor of one of the patron-saints of the city, our Lady of the Mercy, and all you fortunate ones to be here shall experience some of the best Catalan traditions, street art and music! There are over 500 events taking place during this festival, that’s why we would like to show you two different types of ways to experience La Mercè:   THE TRADITIONAL MERCÈ Human Towers “Castells” Castells are one of the highlights of the festival, so it’s always better if you arrive a bit early. The aim of the Castellers is to build a human tower and have a young child climb to the top of the tower and stand up. You can enjoy this performance in Plaça Sant Jaume on Sunday 20th at 12h and on Thursday 24th at 12.30h in the morning. Giants “Gegants” The giants dance on the streets, march around in circles, accompanied by the music of flutes and drums. On the first day of La Mercè, Friday 18th, you can see them together with other figures that will march around the streets starting from Palau de la Virreina at 19h, continuing to La Rambla, carrer Ferran, plaça de Sant Miquel and plaça Sant Jaume. On Saturday 19th you can also enjoy watching the “gegants” marching from Palau de la Virreina at 18h, to La Rambla, Portal de Santa Madrona and Drassanes,...

Mountains vs. Seaside, Which Would You Rather?

Now that summer is around the corner, many of you will be looking forward to spending a few days away on holiday. If you pay close attention, you’ll notice some people always opt for field or mountain getaways in places like the Pyrenees or the Swiss Alps; while others like to relax by the seaside, choosing places like the Balearic Islands, Greece, or towns along the Italian coast instead. There are also those of us that can’t seem to agree with our partners, and thus have to compromise and find something in between. But it goes without saying that we all have our own personal preference based on our personality, and here some of the peculiarities that characterize those at either side of the scale.   Sea lovers- Like a duck takes to water If you love the sea, then you also love the beach. Those rushing that rush off to islands when it comes to taking a break from their work routine tend to love hot weather and everything that it implies: sunbathing, long afternoon naps, and going out at night for drinks wearing little clothing. In fact, beach enthusiasts tend to be lazier during the day hours but their energy picks up at night. They love to party and they have more friends than they can count: friends at the beach, friends at that nightclub, friends from their hometown, friends of their friends, friends of their partner… well, let’s just say they’re very sociable. When it comes to eating habits, beach lovers often like light foods: rice, salads, fish… not only because these dishes just seem to...

AC/DC in Barcelona and Madrid: Rock and Metal Pub Crawl

The legendary hard rock band, AC/DC is coming back to Spain. The Australian band will present their new album, Rock or Bust, which has debuted at number 1 on the charts of 10 countries, namely Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Switzerland, Finland, France, Norway, Sweden, and Germany. In the latter, it also became the fastest-selling international album in almost ten years. The last time AC/DC came to Spain was back in 2009, at which time they played five concerts in the country, three in indoor venues in Bilbao, Madrid and Barcelona, and right before summer, they announced another two gigs in outdoor arenas that took place at the Montjuic Olympic Stadium and at the Vicente Calderon Stadium. The tour will feature the awaited return of Chris Slade on the drums. Catch them at Barcelona’s Lluís Companys Olympic Stadium this coming May 29th, or at Madrid’s Vicente Calderón Stadium on May 31st and June 2nd. We’d like to recommend some local rock venues so you can party on with the metal crowd. Rock on! In Barcelona Bollocks Rock Bar The Bollocks Rock Bar is a well decorated rock bar. It combines very affordable beer with a selection of music that takes one back to the Guns’n’Roses years. You’ll find a mannequin of Iron Maiden’s Eddie sat at the toilet hanging on the wall. It is never quiet at The Bollocks, and you are better off making a reservation if you want to find a table. Valhalla Club de Rock Barcelona’s Valhalla Club de Rock is a rock club in the Ciutat Vella, the part of town with the highest density of...

Copa del Rey: Barça vs. Athletic de Bilbao

The Barcelona FC and Athletic Bilbao face-off this coming May 30th at Camp Nou for the Copa del Rey title will no doubt be a sharp display of two markedly contrasting styles of play between the Catalans and the Basques. Two cultures that are distinctly different in their everyday lives. And this is the perfect chance for us to explore both cities through their gastronomy, art, scenery, and of course, football. And you? Who do you support? Gastronomy   Bilbao: We couldn’t talk about Basque cuisine without mentioning its famous pintxos (small snacks typically eaten in bars). El poteo (a daytime bar crawl of sorts involving wine and small servings of food) is a very typical activity in the Basque Country, and you can follow a route through the streets of the old town in Bilbao. Bacalao a la vizcaína (a traditional codfish dish) is another of Bilbao’s classics. But are you still hungry? You can try some delicious Carolinas (small puff pastry tarts filled with custard and topped with a generous tuft of meringue and chocolate and egg yolk frosting.   Barcelona: The famous Catalan pa amb tomàquet served in most of the city’s restaurants consists of sliced, toasted bread with fresh tomato, olive oil, and a touch of garlic… delicious! Calçots, a type of onion cooked over an open flame and eaten with romesco sauce are another typical Catalan plate. And to finish off on a sweet note, try the Crema Catalana, egg-yolk based custard cream topped with a thin layer of caramelized sugar. Monuments and Museums Bilbao’s Guggenheim Museum: Inaugurated by King Juan Carlos I of Spain...

The Balearic Islands vs. the Greek Islands… Which do you prefer?

The beaches of the popular Greek Islands have nothing on those of the Balearic Islands. White sand coves and crystal-clear turquoise waters hide in the little nooks and crannies of Mallorca, Menorca, Formentera, Ibiza and the islet of Cabrera. In this post we’ll try to match some of the best Balearic beaches to their Greek counterparts. Because both share an essential element: the waters of the Mediterranean Sea.

Carnival vs. Saint Valentine’s Day

February is a month of activity, especially in the second half. Between Valentine’s Day and carnival, opportunities to celebrate multiply. If you had to choose, which would you prefer? A colorful carnival party or a romantic, sweet-filled getaway? Here are some tips for both options. Get ready for a February that would suit everyone’s tastes:   CARNIVAL The origin of carnival Have you ever wondered why Carnival dates vary from year to year? Although it’s always celebrated between February and March, this festival is subject to another holiday: Easter Sunday. Once this date has been set, one counts back forty days, which corresponds to the season of Lent, and the week before the first of these forty days is considered to be carnival week. Although it might seem like a convoluted mathematical exercise, everything has a reason. And as often happens in our Western culture, this reason is religious in nature. Although the origin of Carnival dates back to classical antiquity, and they can be identified with the consecrated celebrations to the god Bacchus (god of wine), it was with the spread of Christianity that it became popular and took its present name, which is derived from the vulgar Latin carne levare, which means “leave the flesh.” And it makes sense, since during this week Christians took advantage of most primal instincts to release their passions in the most wild and uncontrolled manner before beginning a period of complete withdrawal and abstinence. And it’s also not surprising that people should choose to protect their identities with costumes and masks during this explosion of sinful impulses.   Carnival costumes It...

On the Ice: The Canary Wharf of London vs. BarGelona

With Christmas just around the corner, we once again have Christmas markets, various family plans, and, of course, ice rinks, a fun alternative to combat the winter cold that’s suitable for all ages. If you’re planning to visit London or Barcelona during the Christmas holidays, don’t miss out on visiting their ice rinks. London Just a 15-minute walk from central Bond Street, the capital of the Thames has an ice rink in the heart of the business district of Canary Wharf. Surrounded by the three tallest skyscrapers in the UK, the Canary Wharf Ice Rink opened on November 1 and won’t be closing until February 28. It’s open from 11 am to 11 pm, except holidays. The ticket price does not exceed 15 pounds per person per hour and there are numerous discounts for groups, students and families. And to avoid the queues, it’s also possible to purchase tickets online with specific dates and times for skating. The open-air rink also has a terrace bar with views, which can also be rented for private parties. The Canary Wharf Ice Rink can be accessed by people with reduced mobility. A traditional Christmas market is also only a two-minute walk from the rink, offering the perfect complement to a day of skating. You can reach the Canary Wharf track is possible by public transport (metro, train, bus and boat) and they also have complimentary parking on weekends and holidays. Barcelona Dubbed BarGelona, the ice rink of Barcelona will host skaters from November 21 until January 11, from 10 am to 9 pm Sunday through Thursday and from 10 am to 11...

Halloween Plans: London vs. Barcelona

While Halloween is traditionally a celebration of Anglo-Saxon origin, the fact is that more and more cities are joining in. This means that today we can find related activities in both London and Barcelona, for example. If you are going to visit one of these two cities in the coming days and have always thought that Halloween is just a holiday for kids, we recommend you to take a look at these suggestions to celebrate the scariest holiday of the year without resorting to classic “trick or treating.” BARCELONA Halloween is definitely a nocturnal party, so celebrations won’t begin before sundown. When darkness covers the city, it’s time to make your way to the Polaroid Bar, in the Barrio Gótico, to attend the screening of The Rocky Horror Picture Show, a cult musical from the 70s for which shows have become a production themselves, as viewers interact, dress up, sing and dance to songs like Time Warp. To continue the terrifying celebration, it’s best to move on to the Sala Apolo and join the Pumpkin Electronik Barcelona, a continuation of the famous Piknic Electrònic sessions that took place during the summer but with a terrifying new twist: DJs and alternative music under a cloak of mystery and occultism. And for the hardiest souls or early-rising zombies out there, we recommend continuing the celebration in proper fashion during the morning of November 1, All Saints Day, by visiting one of the nine cemeteries hat open their doors for the occasion (Montjuïc, Poblenou , Sant Andreu, Horta, Sant Gervasi , Sarrià , Les Corts, Sants and Collserola). Poblenou stands out among...