Testimonials

Saturday, December 30, 2006

A Seraph smiling with an angel

I watched him hesitate, walk, stare and pause again.

Curiosity, a beckoning gesture and a smile brought the child to the angel.



What a treat that was to capture the moment. The child was fascinated and the white figure in a gentle way coaxed the child to him.

There was gentleness and purity in the air. They were truly alone.

There were no crowds or anyone that I could see persuading the child to stand next to the white angel.

They seemed to share a special moment, enjoying each others time.

And,

I was lucky to be there.

 People of Interest View barcalunacy's A Candid View of Everyday People FLCKR photoset.


Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.5 License.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Waiting for that MOMENT

The Museu Frederic Marés houses medieval sculpture of the Catalonian region. It is just behind the cathedral.

I have to be honest with you. I haven’t had the chance yet to see the museum. However, the building surrounds a beautiful courtyard.

And,



With just that subtle lighting, patience and time, I managed to take a photo with people in 4 of the 5 arches – a dream of mine.

Not an easy thing to do.

I wonder how long Henri Cartier-Bresson waited to shoot photos similar to mine.

If only I could have asked him, “Can we talk?”

What a thrill that would have been!


Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.5 License.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Farga – the wonderland of good food

This past Christmas Day “my” part of Barcelona was “dead”. No one was in town, nadie - except for me and a few drifters.

Our old-favorite cafés and restaurants all closed before noon, especially my MOST very favorite, which I am too sane to admit I love.

So: we found ourselves in Farga, a restaurant/bar/café on the avenida de Diagonal. Farga has a breathtaking, yet inviting look - even from the outside, which would make a picture postcard look like a packing crate by comparison.


Farga, la Avenida de Diagonal
Barcelona, Spain, 2006

The interior is decorated in a prototypical 1930’s/European style: inviting, old and welcoming.

What makes this place very special to me is the huge variety of tapas (small portions of food): You choose the how many you want, and when you leave, you leave satisfied.

But, really, who am I kidding? The REAL reason to hit FARGA isn’t the good food. No! No way! It’s the amazing assortment of pastries, deserts and CHOCOLATE!


Farga, la Avenida de Diagonal
Barcelona, Spain, 2006

The chocolate cake shown here is about 6” in diameter and costs about 28 euros. I call it the “chocolate of gold”. You might call it expensive.

So: I recommend you start with desert and gorge your way backward to the lobster, about which you could write a book called "FABULOUS!”


Farga, la Avenida de Diagonal
Barcelona, Spain, 2006

Bon Nadal!!

P.S. for those interested the address is:
Diagonal, 391
Tel. 93 416 01 12


Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.5 License.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Too Simple

One thing I love about Barcelona at Christmas is how the city underplays the holiday.

There’s nothing overdone in the stores and you never hear Jingle Bell Rock more than 100,000 times before November 1st.

Lighting is kept at a minimum and thank goodness I don’t see those drive-you-crazy, flashing, blinking lights that we have in the United States!

So, for me, walking on the Gran de Gràcia yesterday, it was a treat to see this majestic tree, alone, dressed in red and not camouflaged in layers of Christmas jewelry.



I was rapt by its startling quality of simplicity.

Its mere presence made me and others stop. I gazed, I enjoyed and I questioned.

Why was this tree gift wrapped?

I realized the gift was for me.

Bon Nadal!

It had made me smile and that was enough.

 Barcelona’s Special Days View photos of of Christmas in Catalonia in barcalunacy's Barcelona’s Special Days FLCKR photoset.


Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.5 License.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Santa's Baby

This season, as last, Stanciu Ilie Nelu, is Papa Noel and he is a “bum”, vagabond or homeless, depending on your perception.

He is thin with blue blood-shot eyes. His hands are rough and his demeanor sometimes agreeable and sometimes somber.



He has a burnt compact disc of his own music. Newspapers, magazines and this BLOG have written about him many times the past one year.

He offers ME food on some occasions and loves to have his photograph taken.

He speaks a language no one understands. His personal life is mysterious and he comes from many countries.

He is the father of two dogs who protect him with their lives.



And so it happened this past Saturday,wishing to take my mind off my troubles after losing somehow, someway, photographs, I asked him if I could interview him and take some photos. He happily smiled that way he has, nodded YES and I was glad.

I returned with my camera and met him at his corner office in the barrio of San Gervasi where you can find him diligently "working" come rain or shine. Any Human Resource Manager would be glad to have him on their team.

And so, we began first with the interview. Click HERE to listen.


Stanciu Ilie Nelu as Papa Noel
Corner Office of Balmes and Travesera de Gràcia, 2006

Briefly we stumbled, as you will hear. We have no common language, except for Castellano, and speaking and understanding one another is sometimes difficult.

When Stanciu finished, I gave him my recorder so that he could listen to himself. I wanted to allow him to re-record if necessary. So, my recorder and my hand were held up to his ear. All the while, an elderly by-stander watched.

As he listened to himself, tears flowed from his eyes. I don’t know why he cried, but the moment alarmed me and he assured me all was well.


I gave him a napkin to dry the tears away.

The elderly woman with the pained look kept watching and listening to the both of us. It was evident in my mind's eye that she had a soft spot in her heart for this man.

Listen to her audio HERE and while some of you might not understand her, you can hear a sympathetic voice.

When all was calm, San Gervasi’s Papa Noel sang, first in English. (Click HERE for the audio)

And then in Italian just for YOU!!. (Click HERE for the audio)

 People of Interest View Papa Noel and others in barcalunacy's People of Interest FLCKR photoset.


Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.5 License.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Display your resourcefulness during the Christmas season

It’s Christmas and soon the little ones will be opening their gifts. There will be wrappings, bows, cardboard boxes and styrofoam everywhere.

What to do?!

In some parts of the world, there are trash bins for plastics, glass, newspapers and aluminum cans.

But!!

You can help the environment by just recycling without truly recycling.

This is what someone in the mall at Barcelona’s Mare Magnum did. They had the creativity and the know-how to make a Christmas tree from stryrofoam. Can you imagine that?


Mare Magnum
Barcelona, 2006

So, if you are a pack rat, like me, and have the space, which I don’t, think of the imaginative ideas you can make with styrofoam.

Show your family, friends and neighbors how ingenious you are

AND

Feliz Navidad!!

 Barcelona’s Special Days View photos of of Christmas in Catalonia in barcalunacy's Barcelona’s Special Days FLCKR photoset.


Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.5 License.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

A Leaded Interview

Barcalunacy has over the past 2 months been meeting with and posting pictures of Barcelona’s street artists.

Today, we are proud to bring you an interview of a special guest with a twist.


Weary Pencils
La Predera, Barcelona, 2006

Luna: Thank you all for coming.

Weary Pencil: Thanks for having us here.

Luna: What’s the most important thing about being a pencil?

Weary Pencil: Wherever we go, we’re always pencils. We never change.

Luna: What are your best features?

Weary Pencil
: Hmmm … our colors! We’re equal-opportunity pencils, as you can see by the wondrous array before you. We’re also proud we can bend and adjust comfortably to the human hand.


Luna: What do your families think about the success you’ve had in achieving the great honor of being displayed and sold in the La Pedrera, the famous Gaudi building in Barcelona?

Weary Pencil: Our forefathers’ hearts are swollen with pride. We don’t lose sight of our heritage. Pencils have been evolving and changing since before the Ball-point Age. Not to be philosophical here, but if it if weren’t for the generations of pencils that came before us, we wouldn’t have gotten as far as we have today. We’re overwhelmed by their sacrifice!

Luna: Which segment of the population do you wish would respect you more?

Weary Pencil: Well, we’d like to be as respected as fountain pens for gifts – especially at Bar Mitzvahs.

Luna: What makes your pencils special?

Weary Pencils: We have been fine-tuned to the max: that is, the right lead, the best eraser, and brilliant coloring have been refined and tweaked to make us unique.

Luna: What changes will there be in your future?

Weary Pencil: We’ve heard rumors that there’ll be pencils for lefties, for spelling correctly and to execute the most intimate punctuation marks of the rich and famous. Might even be available at a store near you as we speak!

Luna: I can’t wait!

Luna: What, in your opinion, is the most environmentally-unfriendly thing people do?

Weary Pencil: Hmm … great question and I’m glad you asked. We hate finding ourselves in people’s nostrils. So revolting! Our next pet peeve is how people gnaw and chew on our bodies, pull on our heads and tear off our erasers.

Luna: Oh my, that has to hurt!

Weary Pencil: You betcha!

Luna: Final question: If you’re ever reincarnated, what would you like to come back as?

Weary Pencil: Oak trees!


Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.5 License.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

All you need ....


Las Ramblas

is shadowy light, a famous street, people and hope -- that from this recipe you can make a decent photograph.

The shadows are tall, the light luminous on Las Ramblas, as if you didn't already know; just a football field away from the Mediterranean Sea.


Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.5 License.

Monday, December 11, 2006

The pause by the paws

At the bottom of Las Ramblas, facing the sea, is el monumento de Cristol Colón.

At the base of the column are ferocious lions, protecting Barcelona from unsavory characters entering its port.



If you look closely at the lion’s belly, you see two fellas who have luckily survived the lion’s vigilance and wrath only to enjoy Barcelona’s hospitality, weather and the kindness of its people.


Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.5 License.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Two sleeping beauties


Two sleeping beauties
Mare Magnum, Barcelona, 2006

They looked like sisters. They reminded me of Sandra Bullock or Ali MacGraw. You be the judge.

Along the Mare Magnum harbor, I came across two sleeping beauties. They appeared so peaceful, calm and serene.

I wondered what they had done their evening last. Surely they must have had a late night for them to be on the Mare Magnum pier, asleep and completely oblivious to all around them.

It is no wonder. Barcelona is a place for the young at night. It has so many bars, cafés and nightclubs at their disposal.

Or could they have been at a family reunion, a wedding, or maybe new expats exhausted after a day of cleaning, tidying and painting their new abode.

No matter the reason. They were there. I was there.

Click!

And you know the rest candid of the story!

 People of Interest View barcalunacy's A Candid View of Everyday People FLCKR photoset.


Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.5 License.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Update on Vanessa

Today I received a most welcome and heartwarming email from Vanessa.

I originally wrote about Vanessa in my post titled: A warm human being among others who are cold through and through. You can read it and view some pictures of her HERE.

I store my photos in FLICKR. Vanessa has been viewed many times and 2 of her photos have been selected as someone’s favorite.

I am posting her email and you can feel her excitement. It appears that life is looking up for Vanessa.

Grácias Luna! Las fotos me encantan, are lovely, you
are so lovely! Next Monday it´s my last day working
there, I´d found a better job, free mornings and much
more well paid, more time to do what I want and I must
to do,do-be do-be do, one video whith my friend about
work, my work, Irina´s work ( the younger of the
"three sisters",d´A. Thèkhov )Before I Work in Ramblas
I made a short video of one minut whith him about one
actrees desemployed locking for a job in one festival
of cinema...at the end we can see her working selling
the ticktets for the cinema, and two weeks latter I
get this job in the Ramblas, funny dont you
think?,everything it´s so magic! (you can see it-and
ear it-in www.youtube.com and writte "Actriz en paro"
in Search)...sorry for my horrible english, i´ll
learn.Thank you!,tanks for your shot of
light!-Vanessa-

Anyway, you can access her YOUTUBE video HERE!

We wish Vanessa well.

 People of Interest View Vanessa and others in barcalunacy's People of Interest FLCKR photoset.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Our Eyes Speak the Same Language

When I was a young woman of (cough, cough) age, I met a cousin through marriage for the first time.

She couldn’t speak my language and I couldn’t speak hers.

We spent a month together and communicated in THAT way where language was neither a factor nor a hindrance.

What struck me about Kirtri was not only her beauty but her dancing-eyes. Her eyes welcomed me with sincerity, compassion, fun, soothness and welcome.

She was about 21 at that time and little did I know that two years later she would die from something or other that to this day I do not understand clearly.

My father-in-law’s eyes had those characteristics I mentioned Kirtri had and recently I met a man who reminds me warmly of these two people.

He is not from Barcelona, not a Catalan, not an irresistible Spaniard but from a far-away place called Russia.

I speak of Lev Mochine, a painter in the true sense.


Lev Mochine
Barcelona, 2006

When my friend and I saw Lev we were enchanted and captivated with his face, smile and his eyes.

In the past many weeks on Las Ramblas, we have gotten to know Lev and his friendly, endearing, beautiful wife, Tatiana.


Lev and Tatian Mochine
Barcelona, 2006

I don’t know what it is or what Lev has that fascinates and draws us to him. He does nothing spectacular and says nothing profound but we LIKE him and ALWAYS look for them on Las Ramblas.

Anyway, about a week ago, while walking in the downtown area with no specific or clear objective of what we were doing, we happen to pass by Lev and Tatiana.

We took pictures (we just can’t get enough of him) of Lev and just happened to draw a crowd. For the first time I truly watched him paint.


Lev Mochine
Barcelona, 2006

It was magic! He captured the person’s essence just as he had captured our hearts.

My friend and I were completely captivated with what we were seeing, and so commented to each other.

Some people overheard us, and to our amazement and fantastic surprise, Lev now had a crowd of people who wanted their images drawn. I like to think we were his LUCKY CHARM that day.

A few days later we were back on Las Ramblas, (where else?), and surrealy found ourselves in Lev and Tatiana’s kitchen, drinking tea where its flavor was so intense it could kill ya.

Surrounding the tea, we were served dried fruit of various kinds and CHOCOLATE! Chocolate cut into bite size pieces of which we had none. We could hardly believe ourselves; the chocolate was not harmed.

Lev and Tatiana live in a piso facing Las Ramblas. What an ideal location for people like us to take to take some photos. And I did! WOW! was I excited.


View of Las Ramblas from Lev Mochine's Apartment
Barcelona, 2006

What a view! What a day! What a moment!

It is an honor to be a part of their lives and they in ours.

Lev has even left a part of himself in an AUDIO in Castellano. Listen to his soft-spoken voice that in my minds eye matches his inviting and warm face.

 Barcelona’s Street Artists View more of Lev and Tatiana and the other performers in barcalunacy's Barcelona’s Street Artists FLCKR photoset.


Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.5 License.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Just a building

Oh, how I wish YOU could have been here with ME.

Just off gran de Gràcia, facing the Hotel Fuster, is an ordinary building on a trillion-of-a kind of street, well worth ignoring.

But today was different. The sun had that special way of caressing the building enveloping it with a kind of softness like a mother cuddling a new-born.



The light was soft and subtle.

Mere words can’t express what my eyes saw.

Can a building teach people, too?

P.S. How funny! The man to the right in the background is yawning the biggest yawn and luckily I got him at just that right moment.

 Buildings of Interest View "Just a building" in barcalunacy's Buildings of Interest FLCKR photoset.


Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.5 License.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Shooting up on the roof

She was shy and so it was a wonder that she let us take photos of her.

We were on the rooftop of the Mare Magnum mall where the sun was working on setting it self to the other side of the world. On the rooftop there is a very long, low fountain surrounded by aquamarine colored walls with a wonderful view of the plaza and surroundings.

Ahem. A little while later I was called away by nature. Upon my return, I saw my friend speaking with this young woman who happened to be sitting on the edge of a corner wall. He had taken some pictures of her and a conversation ensued.

She appeared timid and retiring.

I saw her and immediately liked her face.

I was introduced and we explained what we do, which often is hard to explain. I then asked if I could take her picture.


Noelia
Barcelona, 2006

After taking a few photos of her, she liked what she saw and allowed us to take more.

My friend spoke with her, I shot pictures. I spoke with her, he shot pictures.

Her name is Noelia. She’s been working as a clerk for a few months in a specialty store near the port and living in Barcelona for 4 years. You see, she comes from a province in Spain called Asturias.


Noelia
Barcelona, 2006

How wonderfully odd it was to meet someone with the name Noelia in the Christmas season. No?

So, there! You now have a little history of our accommodating and wonderful subject.

I was excited about my photo results and I ask YOU what you think?

I shot these photos with a Nikon D80, 18-70mm lens. There was no zooming. I cropped little and lightened little the 2 pictures.

My friend has suggested that I change the pictures perspectives. If I do that, then I feel I have strayed away from my objective and that is to minimize alterations on a photo.

You see, someday I want to make that almost PERFECT photo.

However, if YOU had taken the photo, what would you have done?

So, I wonder and ponder. If some of you or any of you can give me your opinions, I wait with abated breadth.

 People of Interest View Noelia in barcalunacy's People of Interest FLCKR photoset.


Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.5 License.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Barcelona wishes you a Bon Nedal

From now on until January 6th, I will hear with good wishes, Bon Nedal, which is Catalan for Merry Christmas.



On my way to and from a language exchange meeting with the English Conversation Group, I had the magic moment of seeing for the first time this season, lights lit luminously for Reyes.



The barrios of Catalunya have, as usual, done a wonderful job of not overstating their Christmas displays.


Side street of Las Ramblas
Barcelona, 2006

There’s peace and stillness in the air.

An aside note: I almost risked my life taking some of these pictures standing in the street and unknowingly to me the light had changed.

Moral: for the children and maybe even you grownups… don’t do what I did; just take heed of what I say.

 Barcelona’s Special Days View photos of Catalunya's barrios in barcalunacy's Barcelona’s Special Days FLCKR photoset.


Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.5 License.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Last Tango in Barcelona

For the past 3 years, I’ve had the wonderful experience to see a particular couple dance the tango at the plaza by the Cathedral. So, this past summer I made several visits to the plaça especially to see them, take videos and pictures.

But wouldn’t you know it. This past summer and up until now it has been difficult to locate them.

However, I did come across a couple who were wowing the crowds. They were in their “zone”, that is, one with the music and oblivious to all around them.


A Twirl and A Lift
Barcelona, 2006

I took a few photos just before their last dance on la Rambla.

They were leaving Spain the following day and coming back sometime in the spring.


Just a simple side-step
Barcelona, 2006

What makes this moment more eventful is how the sun just happens to shine on them in that soft, special way.

Anyway, you can hear Valeria on AUDIO, in castellano, speaking really, REALLY fast -- condensing a four hour speech into one minute.

Meanwhile, I will continue my long, arduous journey, seeking, searching, and yearning to see that special tango couple with the lady ALWAYS dressed in red.

If you happen to see them, can you let me know?

Meanwhile, you can view more pictures of the tango dancers and other street artists by clicking on the link below.

 Barcelona’s Street Artists View the tango dancers and the other performers in barcalunacy's Barcelona’s Street Artists FLCKR photoset.


Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.5 License.