Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Old Postcard Wednesday--Paseo de Gracia, Barcelona, Spain



This week's postcard was mailed to my grandmother in 1953 from friends happily visiting Barcelona. They wrote that their hotel was "on this street."

Thanks to my desire to find out more about Barcelona due to this postcard, I discovered a really wonderful blog. Carlos Lorenzo at Barcelona Photoblog has, without a doubt, the coolest avatar in his profile that I've ever seen, and Carlos' passion for his city is evident in his stupendous photos and commentary. His post for July 1 is a haunting view of a poverty-stricken woman begging on the Paseo de Gracia. It's in sharp contrast to the goings-on along this avenue, home to upscale hotels and one of Barcelona's most important shopping and business areas. Wikipedia's description refers to the avenue as Passeig de Gracia noting: "In terms of the cost of renting or buying property anywhere in this avenue, Passeig de Gràcia is nowadays regarded as the most expensive street in Barcelona and also in Spain . . . "

Perhaps a reader will explain why the avenue is referred to as both Paseo and Passeig, as I've been unlucky in research on this. A map of Barcelona confirms they are one and the same. In any case it is called Barcelona's most elegant avenue and one of the best architectural walks in the city, containing several of the city’s most celebrated pieces of architecture. Here's one I fell in love with as I learned more about Paseo de Gracia,
La Pedrera by architect Antoni Gaudi:



9 comments:

Wayfaring Wanderer said...

I would love to go to Spain, it's on my very long list!

I love the architecture photos on his blog too, although " Art Nouveau Lamp at Casa Mila or La Pedrera" this photo really struck me. The colors are amazing!

Thanks for sharing.

Jennifer said...

My husband and I visited Barcelona several years ago. It is a beautiful city and we spent a lot of time just looking at that Gaudi building (in addition to a few more of his creations).

Somewhere we may still have a guidebook that could explain the name difference for the Paseo. I know that street names were changed back to the native Catalan, after Franco's death, so that could be it ...

Thanks for stopping by my blog. I'll be back ...

Lily Hydrangea said...

I've just found your blog through PDP & I have to tell you that I love how you wrote your profile. I am a new writer so I find this especially inspiring.

Lydia said...

WW,

Agree about the Lamp photo. I've now added Spain to my list. :)


Jennifer,
You've offered insight already on the street names. That's likely the explanation. If you ever run across your guidebook I'd be interested to know if there's an explanation there.
Looks like we'll be seeing one another at our respective blogs! :)


Lily Hydrangea,
What a glorious name! Thanks for being here and for your kind comments. I'll come check out your blog now.

Carlos said...

It is a real pleasure to be recommended here. I wasn't biased at all in spite of the fact that I read your comment this morning. I had thought to answer the mail but tonight I forgot. I was checking my stats and I thought I might check this new visitor. I saw the postcard and I remembered your story and how you showed a weekly postcard. But after I read your post I knew you have a gift for good writing and that is not a common thing to find. As to the two names, well, Paseo is Spanish and Passeig is Catalan. Jennifer is right. We had Spanish names during Franco's regime, at least officially although it remained on people's mind cause Passeig was the original name. Nowdays the Catalan government sees to it that Catalan language is protected as much as possible and signs tend to be in Catalan. We don't have much problem with that since we are bilingual. I didn't understand that you said about my posting date ("I wonder why you have posted for the full month of July, however?" well I published the July 6th post today which is the 9th) . I am always behind schedule for some days and then I try to update all of them together. I'm supposed to publish daily and I can't miss any day. Thanks for your nice words.

Carlos said...

Lydia, it is a pleasure to be recommended by such a good writer. As to your question, I am behind schedule in my posting as usual, now I am 3 days behind. It is my doom! I am supposed to publish daily and so have I since Feb 2006. So my only trick is to rest for some days and then update in a row. Beautiful and interesting postcard. That's the Lápiz (the pencil), on Diagonal and Passeig de Gracia. I have a post about it. Seach for label "obelisk" Passeig or Paseo is the same, Catalan and Spanish. Jennifer is right about Franco. That's the explanation.

Lydia said...

Carlos,
I'm so glad that you appreciate being recommended in my blog, as I greatly admire your artistic eye and pen.
Thanks for explaining the street name difference and Jennifer is likely to be grateful for the validation so she is off-the-hook in looking for her guidebook!
You will notice that you have a new email from me explaining my confusion about your full-month posts in July. Google sent me to the photo I had sought out, it happened to be in July 2007, I got excited looking at everything and forgot that I hadn't accessed your blog directly to your home page with current 2008 photos.
Don't feel badly about being behind; your work is so worth waiting for!

Katie said...

Love the Barcelona postcard! Wonderful that you have these family treasures. I've only been to Barcelona once for a very short time 20+ years ago. I most definitely need to go back! Thanks for the little video clip of the Gaudi apartment. Hard to believe it's 100 years old! Isn't it fun how a simple postcard can start a while research project!

Lydia said...

Katie,
I read at your blog, or maybe it was a comment you made at PDP, that you studied in France in college. You've seen some beautiful places, Barcelona included. Yes, the research by each of us in publishing our postcards is always interesting. I love learning about other places, which is one reason I enjoy your blog so much!

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