Friday, September 30, 2011

The kindest cut

Doctors at Barcelona’s Bellvitge Hospital this week offered to perform free operations on cancer patients.

A group of surgeons there have stated that they will work overtime without pay to lessen the impact of recently slashed health services budgets.


Thursday, September 29, 2011


Atlas Obscura, which calls itself “the definitive guidebook and friendly tour-guide to the world’s most wondrous places” has now recognized Barcelona’s Chocolate Museum as one of it’s world wonders.

"Upon entrance to the museum, guests are greeted by a massive white chocolate ape named Snowy, along with their own chocolate bar as part of their admission. As they gnaw down the confectioner’s chocolate, guests walk past glass-covered sculptures made entirely of chocolate. The sculptures include some famous cultural icons such as Minnie Mouse and Louis Armstrong. However, the bulk of work focuses on Spanish architecture, proudly featuring Sagrada Familia, one of Gaudi’s famous houses and creatures from Parc Guell."

Sunday, September 25, 2011 a great little site for keeping up with the dizzying range of festivals, concerts, shows, and general event-mania that is the Catalan capital.

Available in three languages, it even has a "last-minute" ticket offer section and another link to rental spaces available for hire at the Institut de Cultura de Barcelona.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Ticket to read

This week the Catalan publication El Punt Avui featured an article on a new joint venture by Catalonia Today magazine and Abacus bookshops: English language groups that discuss a different novel every month.

Along with (amongst others) Peter Law and Anne Adamson (below left and centre) we are co-ordinating and chairing a number of groups across Catalonia and into Valencia. The response from the public has already been very strong and my own meetings in St. Cugat, L'Hospitalet and St. Boi begin next month.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

"The Catalan Footprint in Australia" an on-line exhibition presented at The Immigration Museum in Melbourne (Australia) this month. It presents stories and images of the Catalan pioneers in Australia and the human side of this migratory movement.

[Source: The Australian New Zealander Catalan Society.]

Saturday, September 10, 2011

"That smell of wet ash and tiny particles of decayed flesh"

"There were no EL PAÍS correspondents there at that particular moment. Elvira and I had arrived in New York just 10 days earlier with three of our children..."

Great Spanish writer Antonio Muñoz Molina recalls how a day meant for sightseeing was transformed by the imperative need to document the horror caused when two planes were flown into the twin towers.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Wise words on immigration in Catalunya

Journalist Germà Capdevila has some very thoughtful things to say in this article about the place of immigrants and religion both here and in the rest of Europe.

I couldn't agree more with what he wrote. His point that "an extra effort is needed" makes good, humane sense. Equally, it has to be consistent that no religion "has more rights than another."

I fear that increasing numbers of people all across the planet believe that just being born in a particular place or worshipping the most popular god gives a special privelege that newcomers should not have.