A Travellerspoint blog

Videos, Cinema and TV

sunny 26 °C

We have joined a Video club to satisfy our needs to watch undubbed movies. It is very different though – no ailse of movies to select from , no people to direct you, no popcorn – it is more like an ATM – a machine in a wall. You have to put in credit and get a members card and pass word and then you have 24 hour access to their video library. You can search by genres, actors, etc and it keeps a track of films you have previously borrowed. The minimum cost at out place is 1.50 euro (about $2.25) for 6hours, or more for 12 hours, 24 hrs, 2 days and so on.
We thought there were no video shops at all to start with but now have oticed these video banks in the wall all around the place.

The TV offers about 10 real channels free to air plus a few other very sus info-commercial channels and even like classified ad channels. Some are in Spanish and some are in the local Catalan language. All the movies are dubbed which is a bit disappointing– even The Simpsons and Desperate Housewives but not Sesame Street. Sandra Bullock is in almost every move we have seen so far – either they really like her or it is ‘Sandra Month’.

We have been to one movie at a cinema where they show movies in ‘original version’ ie English for us. Yeah!! The cinema complex was enormous with 15 theatres, but I don’t know how they survive as there was only us 3 and one other person when we went to see – you guessed it Sandra Bullock in ‘ Premonition’. The movie was pretty good tough and nice to be able to hear the real voices.

The cinema had a meal deal with the Bocata Chain next door (Spanish version of Subway) so we got a meal included in the ticket price.

Posted by dworgan 10:10 Archived in Spain Comments (0)

High Rise Living

sunny 24 °C

There is a price to pay for living in a big city – high rise living. The reduced size of the living area is not the real issue – it is the complete lack of a back or front yard and no grass, trees or flowers, no swings or trampolines, definitely no pool. Any ‘backyard activities’ are now the realm of the 1 x 3m balcony.

Hanging the washing now becomes an extreme sport as you lean over the balcony gripping clothes and pegs. The washing hangs on lines you can pull in and out to move the clothes further along and hang others on. It is a mystery to me though what happens to the odd peg or sock that never returns from an expedition to the outer reaches of the clothesline. I guess people on the ground floor never have to buy pegs and have an intriguing collection of unmatched socks and under wear.

Most people also have an alternative hanging space in a shared air/light shaft for all the bathrooms/laundries on the same floor. Max scored this very attractive view from his bedroom window.

As well as drying clothes, you can often see bicycles stored with their wheels hanging over the railing. Potted plants are high on the list of balcony additions. People on lower floors have to dodge the drops from pots above though. Unused furniture, plus the kitty or doggy litter tray often fills up the remaining space on the balcony. Considering this is such a built up area with the average height of buildings about 10 stories, I am amazed that there are so many dogs - and not just little ones.

There is a big commercial market here for pampered pooches; special foods, coats, leads and collars, shampoos, trims and lots of treats. The doggies are taken out to the local park a couple of times a day. It’s not quite the same as lying around the backyard in shade, or chasing the cat or postman as they feel like it though. I am pleased to see that most of the owners here are very responsible about collecting anything left by their animal, but the grassy areas are not where I would choose to walk or sit now that I have seen the dogs at work.

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Posted by dworgan 08:27 Archived in Spain Comments (2)

Train Travel

sunny 25 °C

Given Spain’s recent history, I am pleased to see security measures in place and police, and security guards with dogs often visible at train and metro stations.

On our first long distance train trip last week there were security checks to go through just like at the airport and bag screening too. No one is allowed on the platform until the train has pulled in. I am happy for them to take as many precautions as they want to make sure the train I am on gets to its destination.

The trains were quite nice too – just a bit fancier than in Australia. We had a TV and personal headphones handed out. The 2 movies offered were not bad but dubbed in Spanish of course (and with Spanish sub-titles as well!) All the announcements were in 3 languages – the last one apparently English but we couldn’t understand anything. The seats partially reclined and our seats had a fixed table and desk lamp which made it seem very swish.

The dining car was modern and I must say I am very happy with the coffee in Spain– even train coffee is above average. The worst coffee so far has been at fast food outlets – not a surprise, but even just little, ordinary cafes serve very nice, strong, real coffee and cheap too – about 1.20 euro is standard.

Posted by dworgan 09:38 Archived in Spain Tagged train_travel Comments (0)

Tapas Crawl

sunny 25 °C

This is a very easy to like Spanish custom. Because the main meal of the day is in the middle of the day (or about 2 to 4pm), most people go out in the evening at night for a walk, to take the kids to the park or walk the dog. In the older areas where the bars and restaurants are in abundance this often involves dropping in to the local for a drink, usually a cervesa (beer) and a bite to eat … not a whole meal, just a plate or two to share and often taken at the bar. Then you move on to try out the specialty at some other bar where you again have a drink and a plate of food. On the weekends or holidays it is not uncommon to see the whole family (even toddlers) enjoying tapas until very late at night.

Some of the standard tapas we have tried are potatoes ajo (potatoes with mayonnaise and garlic), albondigas (meatballs), potatoes a la pobre (potatoes fried with onion) mejionnes (muscles in their shell), ensalada rusa (potato salad with tuna).

This way of passing the evening is very pleasant, means you always eat as you drink and walk a fair bit too. I haven’t seen a really drunk Spaniard yet and they even have zero alcohol beer as well as light.

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Posted by dworgan 10:23 Archived in Spain Comments (0)

Sagrada Familia

rain 17 °C

Well we have lived in the shadow of Sagrada Familia (Gaudi’s enormous and unfinished cathedral – a bit like a sand drip castle), for almost 3 weeks now so decided it was time to join the throngs of tourists who visit it each day and have a look inside. Actually we picked today because it was really cold and rainy and a lot of tourists only go out in fine weather but it was still very busy. Apparently it is the most visited tourist attraction in Barcelona and I believe it.

It is an enormous structure and will be almost twice as high when it is finished. The exterior is sculptured, carved and laid with tiles. There is religious symbolism everywhere. The interior uses different types and coloured stones and copies nature to look like a forest, leaves, flowers and stars.

Work is still in progress in the centre and building the remaining 5 towers which will be as big or bigger than the present ones – it is hard to imagine. It is due to be finished by 2020 and will be great to see then.

Gaudi’s work looks so simple and natural but then you see the sketches and the miniature models that he built and see the amount of maths and geometry that is needed to calculate the stresses and weight. Because he died before it was finished other artists have been working on it so there are a number of different styles but it is Gaudi’s overall building that is the masterpiece.

Even the little schoolhouse on the same grounds is amazing with its rippling roof and curved walls – nothing is straight.


Posted by dworgan 10:20 Archived in Spain Comments (1)

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