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Posts from the ‘Barcelona’ Category

A weekend in Barcelona

Barcelona: the creative beacon of Catalunya, a thriving city with all the charm of a seaside town, a capital for culture and a statement in gastronomic, stylistic and artistic innovation. It is a mere hop across the sea from Mallorca; on occasional days of peculiar weather, some have even declared that one place can be seen over the horizon of the other. And yet Barcelona may as well be a world apart. It is not just a pretty city fringed by palm trees and an attractive port – it has been the inspiration for some of history’s most famous creatives, and today continues to be an icon for stylists, fashionistas, foodies, designers, architects and artists across the world.

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Famous for its modernista architecture by the likes of genius Antoni Gaudí, as well as for its connections with the likes of Pablo Picasso and Joan Miró, and more recently for the 1992 Olympics which put it firmly on the global map, Barcelona is a veritable feast of visual inspiration for any artist or photographer. Yet as I took the opportunity to fly the short 30 minute journey across the sea to Barcelona last weekend, I found myself so utterly wrapped up in the striking city vibe that I quite forgot to photograph anything. Almost complacently I walked the ravishing streets, soaking in the atmosphere but forgetting to capture the sights all around me in a two dimensional form. That is why, as a new week begins, I am left with a head full of wonderful memories and few photos to support them.

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And yet those few photos which I did capture are fully representative of the kind of weekend which we really enjoyed. For rather than prioritising previously experienced touristic sites or much-explored museums, this trip was about reconnecting with the urban vibe, and enjoying all of the accompanying pleasures which inevitably partner a large city. For us that meant a combination of (largely window) shopping, particularly in chic concept stores such as Jamie Beriestain, where Christmas has come early in the form of full-sized pine trees glittering with gold, or fully indulgent fine dining in new eatery hot spots such as the El Nacional food market or the impressive restaurant, Petit Comite.

This little album is therefore representative of a weekend in Barcelona which involved much dining, and much refined wine-ing, strolls in the autumn sunshine and the odd Gaudi interaction. In short everything which a weekend in one of my favourite cities is guaranteed to offer.

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© Nicholas de Lacy-Brown and The Daily Norm, 2001-2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of the material, whether written work, photography or artwork, included within The Daily Norm without express and written permission from The Daily Norm’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. 

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Barcelona (The Yellow Painting)

I’m on a new road, it’s an artistic revolution, and as part of the journey my art has become abstracted. I have discovered the joys of simplicity, like breathing the freshness of countryside air after years spent in a congested city. Perhaps, now I come to think about it, my new style is the subconscious manifestation of my new life in Mallorca, a freshness of mind which has opened up since my departure from London.

Whatever the cause, my mind is alive with new ideas, and when I recently spent the Valentine’s weekend with my partner in Barcelona, this new painting, simply entitled Barcelona (but better known in our household as “The Yellow Painting”) leapt into life. It was inspired primarily by the textures and experience of our hotel room, whose luxurious black bedspread inspired the black form in the centre of the painting, while the rose is of course the very symbol of Valentines. Meanwhile amongst the simplified shapes, the four spires of one face of Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia can be found, as well as the curved square blocks of the Eixample area which predominate the shape of the city when seen from above, and which also appears in the simplified rose.

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Barcelona (The Yellow Painting) (2016 ©Nicholas de Lacy-Brown, acrylic on canvas)

But this painting is so much more than what is plainly visible. It is a feeling, a sensation – moments of happiness in a weekend of discovery. When we felt free, and excited, and reinvigorated by the city atmosphere. And its predominant colour – a yellow full of hope – just about perfectly sums up the optimism which this new period of creativity has engendered.

© Nicholas de Lacy-Brown and The Daily Norm, 2001-2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of the material, whether written work, photography or artwork, included within The Daily Norm without express and written permission from The Daily Norm’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. For more information on the work of Nicholas de Lacy-Brown, head to his art website at www.delacybrown.com

Valentine’s in Barcelona

We have always loved Barcelona, Dominik and I. For me it’s one of the most perfect cities on the earth. For where else can you find all of the cosmopolitan qualities of London or New York fused so easily with the seaside amiability which comes of being mounted next to the glistening Mediterranean sea, with all of the beach-life benefits that position entails. So when it came to celebrating Valentine’s this year, we decided to take the romantic, candlelit dinner concept a little further, expanding our celebration of love across a weekend city trip where we could show as much love for our surroundings as for each other.

For who could not love Barcelona, a city whose very streets are so elaborately decorated with modernista masterpieces that not a street goes by which does not call for its own round of photographic admiration. It is a place bursting with the colour of Gaudi’s mosaics, an intensity of kaleidoscopic light which results from Barcelona’s natural affinity with the sun, whatever the time of year. And it is a city which exudes creativity from its every facet, from shops and restaurants, characterised by a conceptual brand of cool which stands as ever on the brink of innovation, to endless galleries showcasing both the newest artists and the classic former residents, Miro and Picasso amongst them.

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We benefit from a Mallorca location which makes a weekend to Barcelona a mere 30 minute flight away. This left us with plenty of time to enjoy the city to the full, from a miraculously warm February walk in the Park Güell, to our admiration of the architectural designs employed in both the undulating roof of the Mercado Santa Caterina, and the modernista details of the Palau de la Música Catalana nearby. We headed up the hill of Montjuic to admire the collection of the National Museum of Catalan art, and into the depths of the Gothic Quarter to share stares with the 13 geese of Santa Eulalia in the Medieval Cathedral courtyard. And as for Valentine’s? Well this was enjoyed across the weekend, from the exchange of a rose in our cosy hotel bedroom, to the enjoyment of a mouthwateringly good Fideuà seafood paella in the Sunny Port Vell.

What more can I say? Barcelona is a city of plenty, and the perfect venue for a weekend of love. I will allow my photos to fill in the details.

All photos and written content are strictly the copyright of Nicholas de Lacy-Brown © 2016 and The Daily Norm. All rights are reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of the material, whether written work, photography or artwork, included within The Daily Norm without express and written permission from The Daily Norm’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

The Honeymoon Suite III: Bedroom at the Arai Barcelona

My Honeymoon Suite series was never intended to be a suite of paintings as such – it all started with a moment’s inspiration at La Colombe d’Or which then led to a second manifestation when we moved hotels to Cagnes-sur-Mer. Having therefore established, in that second work, something of a trend, I knew that a third and final addition to the series was inevitable when we moved from France to our final honeymoon destination of Barcelona.

With its beautifully designed bedrooms characterised by exposed brick walls and classic detailings, the Aparthotel Arai Superior in Barcelona certainly provided the perfect backdrop for this third part of my Honeymoon Suite series. However in this painting the real action comes from the Plaça George Orwell, a bustling triangular square set in the heart of Barcelona’s historic gothic quarter, and positioned right outside our hotel bedroom. With its countless elegant buildings, shuttered windows and small balconies, together with its leafy trees filling the space, the square made for an inspirational view to match the indisputably chic interiors of our final honeymoon suite.

The Honeymoon Suite 3: Bedroom at the Arai Barcelona

The Honeymoon Suite 3: Bedroom at the Arai Barcelona, 2015 © Nicholas de Lacy-Brown, gouache on paper

© Nicholas de Lacy-Brown and The Daily Norm, 2001-2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of the material, whether written work, photography or artwork, included within The Daily Norm without express and written permission from The Daily Norm’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Nicholas de Lacy-Brown and The Daily Norm with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. For more information on the work of Nicholas de Lacy-Brown, head to his art website at www.delacy-brown.com

The Honeymoon Chronicles, Part IX: Barcelona

The Honeymoon Chronicles have been long and mighty: 4 weeks of photographic reportage of an 8 day holiday which could so easily have gone on for longer, before the blissful bubble of our own private paradise was burst by the onset of reality. Nonetheless, we were given a small opportunity to extend our trip just a little longer, when the necessary flight change from Nice to Mallorca presented us with the idea to stay two more nights in the place of that change: Barcelona.

Barcelona is not new to either of us, but it remains one of our favourite of all cities. Exhibiting all of the modernist charm and coastal advantages of Palma de Mallorca, coupled with the cosmopolitan buzz of London, Barcelona is for me probably the most perfect city in the world, and certainly in Europe. And while our time there this time was short, it gave us ample opportunity to stroll the iconic streets of the gothic and Eixample districts, to attend the controversial Beasts and Sovereign exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary art, and to seek out the shade in the roasting sun of the beach.

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The photo collection which follows is something of a miscellany, with shots taken from our perambulations and from the highlights of our visit: the assault of multi-coloured produce at Santa Catalina Market; the elegant facades of the Plaça Reial and the gothic quarter; the magical atmosphere which diffused the Plaça de Sant Felip Neri; and the modernist brilliance of the Exiample. A small selection of photos offering just a hint of the many fantastical faces of one of my favourite cities, and the perfect ending to our honeymoon.

All photos and written content are strictly the copyright of Nicholas de Lacy-Brown ©2015 and The Daily Norm. All rights are reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of the material, whether written work, photography or artwork, included within The Daily Norm without express and written permission from The Daily Norm’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

Barcelona | A photographic miscellany

Now I must admit, I did get waylaid ever so slightly. Having begun my account of my recent weekend trip to Barcelona at the beginning of last month, I neglected to post what must be the most important post of them all – my good old miscellaneous photograph collection. Such is the drawback of organising a solo art exhibition, the likes of which will be alive and kicking some 6 weeks from now, and the preparation for which is taking up almost every minute of my spare time. So in amongst all of this stress, being able to sit back to write this blog and reflect upon the good times, like Barcelona, provides the perfect antidote, and the process of choosing a selection of photos to show Barcelona at its best has been almost as enjoyable as taking them in the first place.

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So why not come on a little journey with me, through the cobbled dark streets of the atmospheric Gothic Quarter to meet the Cathedral geese and sun streaked palaces, or through the old squares whose houses covered with elegant stucco and adorned with ornate ironwork street lamps. Let’s take a small trip to the soft sandy shores of the Costa Brava, or to see the lush slope-hugging gardens of the Montjuic. Then there’s the modern buildings with their abstract reflections, and the paseo by the sea where birds stretch their wings magnificently. It will only be a short stroll – as long as it takes you to flick through the photos below. But in that moment, let these photographs transform you, to the beating bustling heart of Spain’s most vibrant city.

All photos and written content are strictly the copyright of Nicholas de Lacy-Brown © 2014 and The Daily Norm. All rights are reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of the material, whether written work, photography or artwork, included within The Daily Norm without express and written permission from The Daily Norm’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

My Barcelona, on canvas: Separatism

While last week I shared with you one of my more sedate paintings of Barcelona – an oil landscape of the Port Vell – this week, as the tales of my recent Barcelona travels draw to a close, it’s inevitably time to share the second of my two paintings featuring Barcelona – and this time it’s a far more vibrant affair. Part III of my España Volver series, Separatism, explored the fragmentation and political division which is shared by two autonomous regions of Spain, the Basque Country and Catalunya (Catalonia), both of which have a historically fractious relationship with the Spanish nation to whom they are, for some unwittingly, part of a national whole.

By way of demonstration of the political and social fragmentation which means that these two regions sit so uneasily with the rest of Spain, the symbols painted across my painting are framed in the shapes of a jigsaw puzzle which, rather than fitting together easily, is in part broken and displaced. Emerging out of and contained within the pieces of the puzzle are a series of images representing the shared values and passions of the region – food, wine, art and maritime history, as well as icons that are unique to the regions. So out of the Basque Country comes Frank Gehry’s famous Guggenheim building, while in Barcelona, the capital of Catalunya, we have Gehry’s magnificent beachside Peix fish.

Separatism: Catalonia and the Basque Country (2009, Oil on canvas, © Nicholas de Lacy-Brown)

Separatism: Catalonia and the Basque Country (2009, Oil on canvas, © Nicholas de Lacy-Brown)

Representing the Basque town of Saint Sebastian, I have painted a conch shell pierced by arrows (St. Seb’s bay is known as La Concha because of its curving shape), while Gaudi’s iconic Sagrada Familia takes centre stage in this painting, with a dual purpose as a fork on which a juicy salsa drizzled prawn is poised; symbol of the gastronomic prowess of both regions. Meanwhile, further reference to Catalunya’s artistic prowess is made in the broken egg, representing Catalunya born Salvador Dali, while around the canvas, various symbols of Gaudi are represented, from his Passeig de Gracia paving slabs on the left, to the Casa Mila chimney which emerges atop of a bottle of fine Rioja wine.

Of course there’s violence too, with an illustration of the ETA bombings over on the right; symbol of the violent means which some separatist idealist have gone to to make their point, as well as the spiralling energetic core of the painting – a further demonstration of the plethora of cultural, social and historical influences which have made the regions as richly divergent as they are today.

And for those of you who would like to see this painting closer at hand, it will be on exhibition, along with the rest of my España Volver series at London’s Strand Gallery between 13-18 May. More details can be found here.

© Nicholas de Lacy-Brown and The Daily Norm, 2001-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of the material, whether written work, photography or artwork, included within The Daily Norm without express and written permission from The Daily Norm’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Nicholas de Lacy-Brown and The Daily Norm with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. For more information on the work of Nicholas de Lacy-Brown, head to his art website at www.delacy-brown.com

 Nicholas de Lacy-Brown’s new solo exhibition, When (S)pain became the Norm, will be at London’s Strand Gallery from 13 – 18 May 2014. For more details, click here

Barcelona | Day 3: Up, over and out

What with our last day being on a Monday, Barcelona’s museums and galleries had pretty much shut up shop for the day, as they do on every Monday of each week. This pattern of closures, which appears to be followed across the continent, bamboozles me, especially in a tourist centre such as Paris or Barcelona, where frankly tourists don’t care whether it’s Monday or Friday – they still want to see it. Wouldn’t it be more economically productive to have staff working different shifts to cover a 7 day week rather than close the museum for an entire day? And if cities are so intent on closing one day a week, can’t the attractions close on different days so that tourists aren’t left, one day a week, utterly out in the cold? (I should proudly point out that for tourists coming to London, you will find all of our top galleries – the National Gallery, Tate, the Courtauld, the British Museum open 7 days a week, thank you all the same).

Mercifully on this last Monday in Barcelona, we were not left out in the cold, because despite the museum doors being closed, we were able to enjoy one last burst of warm weather. And where better to enjoy those clement conditions than by heading to the places from which we could best admire this city from above? Seeking something of an unusual vista rather than the normal tourist havens of Park Guell and the old funfair at Tibidabo (which is open even fewer days of the week), our first stop was up a very creaky and somewhat scary small lift to the roof of the old gothic cathedral. Being up amongst the spires and gargoyles of this gothic icon made for a very unique platform from which to admire Barcelona’s old town, and the wider spread of its urban sprawl, down to the coast and up to the fringes of the mountains.

Views from the roof of Barcelona’s Cathedral

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But as far as I am concerned, the best view of all Barcelona can be found, not in the centre, nor North of the city, but from atop the hill of Montjuic. Montjuic can often be overlooked by those stuck rigidly to the tourist trail caught up in the narrow streets of the Gothic Quarter and La Ribera and up into the Eixample amongst the Gaudi masterpieces. But this hill, which overlooks the city from its position south west of the city, and which plunges down from a heady peak almost into the sea below, was the centre point of the 1992 Olympic games which relaunched the city to the world at large. It is also a hub of culture and reclamation, boasting several gardens, the Miro Foundation, and the spectacular National Art Museum of Catalan Art at the Palau Nacional/

Of course both of the latter were shut (after all, it was Monday), but our concern was not with the insides of buildings, but with the extensive open spaces, and the unbeatable view from the top. In order to reach the mountain, we enjoyed the majestic approach which extends from the Plaça d’España to the Palau Nacional, a broad triumphal avenue constructed for the 1929 World Exhibition and which, at certain times of the year, boasts the additional splendour of row after row of spectacular fountains which shoot up into the air like a thousand sparkling columns.

The Palau Nacional on Montjuic and the stunning view from the top

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Sadly there were no active fountains in sight for us, but the added benefit of this was the opportunity to hear the first birdsong of Spring as we ascended the hill, and gradually moved away from the concentrated bustle of the city. As soon as you reach the top, the spectacular views of Barcelona are available to be enjoyed from practically every vantage point. From in front of the Palau Nacional, the view extends down across the triumphal Avenue Reina Maria Cristina to the two copies of Saint Mark’s campanile in Venice; then moving across the hill, you reach the iconic diving pool which was used in the Olympics, and from which the most spectacular view of Barcelona can be enjoyed – with the old town and the Sagrada Familia rolled into one, directly behind the pearly white diving board and cerulean blue pool. What a view! Then heading further up the hill towards its peak, the view switches west, across the beach, the port and the Mediterranean Sea. And it was there that we discovered our next destination: the Jardins de Mossen Costa i Llobera

What we saw of the pool…and some iconic diving shots

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Clinging to the steepest façade of Monjuic and gradually terraced down to the port below, these gardens were crammed full of an abundance of tropical palms and spiky cacti of every variety, size and colour. The bounteous panoply of vegetation was so profuse that, with the sun beating down upon us, I felt as though we had entered a tropical paradise island like the Tahiti of Gauguin’s artworks. It was simply incredible.

The Jardins de Mossen Costa i Llobera

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Not wanting to drag ourselves away, but with lunch and, ultimately, the journey home to England beckoning, we descended Montjuic in the only way two view-seekers possibly can: by cable car down to the port below. Once there we were able to indulge in what has to be the most delicious twist on a seafood paella I have ever eaten – noodle paella, delicately but richly caramelised around the edges so that the subtle flavours of the shellfish stock were transformed into a sweet smoky caramel which tickled ever sensorial trigger.

Down to the Port via the cable car

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And so it was that our trip to Barcelona came to an end. Still outside, still enjoying the sun, still feasting unapologetically and ultimately revelling in the good life which this city can provide so well. All that remained was a trip to Barcelona’s sensationally sparkly new terminal 1 airport, and a swift (if a little bumpy) flight back to blighty.

It all ended with lunch

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So there it was, a city trip that dreams are made of. But although this may conclude the diary of our trip, it is far from the last post in the Daily Norm’s Barcelona series. With new photos, paintings, recipes, food reviews and norm sketches still to share, don’t forget to come back to The Daily Norm soon!

All photos and written content are strictly the copyright of Nicholas de Lacy-Brown © 2014 and The Daily Norm. All rights are reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of the material, whether written work, photography or artwork, included within The Daily Norm without express and written permission from The Daily Norm’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Nicholas de Lacy-Brown and The Daily Norm with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. For more information on the work of Nicholas de Lacy-Brown, head to his art website at www.delacy-brown.com

Barcelona | The Hotel Neri

For years I have walked past the Hotel Neri on C/ Sant Sever, nestled as it is in the atmospheric narrow streets of Barcelona’s gothic quarter, and swooned in admiration: Admiration for a hotel so perfectly situated in between the old gothic Cathedral and the church of Santa Maria del Pi; for the sophistication of its low lit interiors, its large plate glass doors and its stylised furnishings, all of which I had peeked when I passed by its windows; and for the preeminent offerings of its esteemed restaurant, which I first sampled back in 2010. But come 2014,  the opportunity finally arose to upgrade from diner to full-time guest, as I took my place in this wonderful hotel – albeit, sadly, for a mere 3 days and nights.

The striking design of the Hotel Neri, which is a member of Relais and Chateau, and part of the Anima Hotels group, is obvious from the moment you first walk into the ambient reception via the beautifully renovated Sant Sever entrance. The interior designer, Cristina Gabás, has combined the historical aspects of this building, some of which dates back to the 12th century, with the sleek modernity which goes hand in hand with the boutique quality which characterises this hotel. With low hanging lights and heavy dark green velvet curtains; large areas of glass set within rough stone and alongside elegant crystal chandeliers, the reception is the ultimate showcase to the high standard of design chic which is consistent throughout the hotel.

Reception chic

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One of our favourite areas was an inner courtyard towards the back of the hotel. Glassed over at the top and plunging through the entire height of the hotel, this open courtyard area lent light and airyness to the hotel, while a large botanical design tapestry hanging down the entire height gave further freshness and dynamism to the design. And if that image represented the jungle, the huge vivid red cushion-come-sculture at the foot of the tapestry must have been the exotic fruit. It was surely comfortable to lie out on!

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Heading upstairs, past conveniently placed armchairs and cool twig framed mirrors hanging upon the minimalist walls, we were introduced to the room which was to become our own personal piece of Barcelona for the three nights of our stay. Having opted for a junior suite, we were in for a treat. Looking onto the stunning Plaça Sant Felip Neri which featured in my post yesterday, our large spacious room came with its own lounge area, three big windows, and a bathroom which was tiled with rough stone which sparkled in the light – I adored taking a bath in these surroundings, not least amongst all of that rough stone which seemed to have been cut so roughly that I felt as though I was bathing in the middle of a quarry.

Our room

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As if further plaudits for the hotel were necessary, there were two further areas which made our stay in the hotel such a memorable pleasure – first, taking a daily breakfast in the hotel’s “library”. For such a small space, breakfast was done in style. With a starting round of cold meats, pastries and fruit brought to the table automatically, this already generous spread was then supplemented by your choice of cooked breakfast from an extensive menu. My particular favourite was the option of fresh pancakes served with syrup and berries – an undoubtedly fine way to start the day, and well timed too – it was, after all, the weekend before Shrove Tuesday.

Breakfast in the library

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Our second Hotel Neri highlight had to be the little roof terrace. Set up on the fourth floor of the hotel, with views over the rooftops of nearby gothic quarter properties, and with vistas further afield towards Tibidabo possible, the terrace offered both a unique viewpoint onto Barcelona, as well as a perfectly cosy and intimate open space.  Filled with comfortable furnishings (including two very tempting hammocks) and surrounded by walls bursting with climbing flowering plants hung with little lanterns, it really was the ideal as far as garden terraces go, and made for the perfect location to enjoy an afternoon rest over a cup of tea and a bowl of mouth-wateringly good orange ice cream, as we were to discover.

The terrace

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So as if it weren’t obvious from the above, I cannot sing the praises of the Hotel Neri enough. I’m almost loathe to recommend it, for fear that it will become too popular and I will never get to go back there. But how can I do otherwise? For a Barcelona stay, it’s simply the perfect choice – for an unbeatable location, for the very best of quality service, and for a unique and ultimately pleasurable stay from breakfast until bed.

More information on the Hotel Neri can be found here.

All photos and written content are strictly the copyright of Nicholas de Lacy-Brown © 2014 and The Daily Norm. All rights are reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of the material, whether written work, photography or artwork, included within The Daily Norm without express and written permission from The Daily Norm’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. 

Barcelona | Photography Focus: Tragedy beneath tranquility

Many years ago, when I first visited Barcelona, I stumbled upon the idyllic Plaça de Sant Felip Neri in the gothic quarter of the city when I had been visiting the cathedral nearby. I was struck by the beautiful tranquility of the place, created as it was by the gently trickling octagonal fountain across which sunlight was peppered, scattered through the dappled shadows cast by leafy trees in the square’s centre, and the decided absence of tourists, many of whom never find this little tucked away place. Back then I could never have imagined that years later I would be staying in the very stylish Hotel Neri situated on one corner of the square; nor had I any idea that this quiet little square, which has all of the appearance of one of the most serene spots of the city, actually hides the secret of one of the most violent and tragic occurrences of its past.

The only sign that cataclysm once cut through today’s unbroken silence is the deep scarring which can be seen punctuated into the surface of the Oratory of Sant Felip Neri whose entrance stands upon the square. For several metres up from the old pavement, the church’s facade is almost eclipsed by a tide of deep pock marks which comprise the violent scars of one of the most tragic incidences of the Spanish Civil War. On 30th January 1938, Nationalist armies bombed the square. The resulting explosion not only caused catastrophic damage to the fabric of the square (much of which was since rebuilt), but it also resulted in the death of 42 innocent citizens, many of whom were children running for shelter in the Oratory when the raid approached.

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It’s therefore something of an irony that this place of uninterrupted tranquility hides such a devastating history; almost as though it has become a living memorial to that moment of great tragedy. And yet despite the sadness which is broken into the fabric of the square, these deep and unforgettable scars are actually incredibly beautiful to look at, their beauty being perhaps manifested in their power to prompt reflection upon a troubled past, and an appreciation of the peaceful present. With the sun still dappling across the square, it remained one of my favourite places in the city – a place to think, and just to admire. And luckily for me, this time round, I had a hotel room looking directly onto it.

It is therefore unsurprising that during my short stay at the Hotel Neri, I collected a good few photographs of this stunning square, which now become the focus of this post. But before I leave you to those shots, here are two more interesting facts about the square: First, it was to this church that Gaudi was headed when he was hit so prematurely by a tram. Secondly, the square was the setting for a lunch between the protagonists of Woody Allen’s brilliant homage to the city, Vicky Cristina Barcelona, when Javier Bardem’s character accidentally plays “footsie” under the table with Vicky rather than Cristina. Clearly a further excuse to take another look at that wonderful film – as if another were needed.

All photos and written content are strictly the copyright of Nicholas de Lacy-Brown © 2014 and The Daily Norm. All rights are reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of the material, whether written work, photography or artwork, included within The Daily Norm without express and written permission from The Daily Norm’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.