People of Spain

Many of the people I came across in Spain were rude and unpleasant.

In Barcelona, a hotel clerk responds to my Sunday request to fix a broken door with: “I’m sure it didn’t happen by itself” and “we’ll call someone to fix it on Monday”. In Benidorm, I ask a bus driver if this bus route goes near the train station and he tells me that I should have found out that information before touring and that he wasn’t there for conversation. At the Picasso museum in Barcelona, the guard yells at me to move, that I am blocking the way. I had stopped to ask one of the attendants a question.

Thank goodness that there are many interesting and lovely people to balance this.

The flamenco dancers in a little club in Grenada dance their hearts out for our small group.Guitarists on the streets of Madrid and Barcelona lend a joyful sound to the crowded and jostling streets.

               

At our small hotel, Leuca, in Alicante, the head waiter and his wife proudly show off the paella they made for us. He has worked at the same hotel for over 25 years and is still doing an energetic and flawless job of serving customers. In old town Alicante, the ladies sitting in the square and doing their embroidery are happy to show us their work and describe how it is done.

     

In Valencia, an elderly woman sells garlic on the streets, ignoring the carefree young tourists happily having their photos taken.

Another elderly women, in Granada outside the venue where the Flamenco dancers have their show, sells castanets and obliges with a demonstration in order to boost sales. Perhaps she used to dance inside. Now she sells outdoors.

          

A teacher whose summer job it is to teach Spanish to North Americans keeps doing a good job even when faced with disinterested students.

The people watching that gave me the greatest pleasure was at the beach destination at Avenida de Benidorm. When the sun goes down, people congregate on the long paseo along the beach. Families, couples, friends amble slowly and salute acquaintances. Some sit at one of the many tables for a drink and tapas; others stand and just enjoy the evening.

         

I enjoyed watching this charming display of neighbourhood, contentment and comraderie.

Maybe this will be enough incentive for me to return one day.

© photos barbara bunce

Ceramics of Spain

 As the Barcelona artist, Antoni Gaudi, knew well, beauty is in the details. The cities I visited in Spain have beautiful details, such as street names on ceramic plaques, historical plaques in ceramic and ceramic for the joy of it. 

Here are a few pictures of my favourites, of the ones that caught my eye. I’ll start with Madrid, with street plates. It’s fun to decipher what is on the street or what kind of street it is by the name and the image.

                                

In Alicante, on the Costa Blanca, I saw many ceramic plaques outside shops, advertising the wares. These are much lovelier than printed cardboard signs, don’t you agree? It also helps that the climate is temperate and will not harm the ceramics.

       

The following ceramics are on the exterior wall of the Basilica at Montserrat. They are modern, done in the twentieth century and feature extracts from the Bible. It’s nice to see that the art form has not been lost and is still used.  

          

A five-star hotel, Montibou, near VillaJoyosa, a town on the Costa Blanca, has a historical ceramic plaque on its facade. It depicts King Jaime 1 when he conquered the Moors and officially entered the city of Valencia on 9 October 1238. This is now a national day in Valencia. The colouful ceramique artwork is impressive on the white walls.  It’s a nice blend of the new and the old.

  

The artist and architect, Antoni Gaudi incorporated a new style of ceramics into his works. The pictures I have here are of Park Guell, in Barcelona. One is a ceiling ceramique in a stone-columned outdoor area and the others are of the beautiful curved benches in the park. These benches, by the way, are surprisingly comfortable.The famous tiled dragon fountain has so many tourists around it that it is difficult to see. His tile work is stunning and modern.

  

  

I love looking for these ceramic pieces of art and I love looking at them. Let me know how you like them.

© photos barbara bunce