Out of Barcelona


Barcelona is waiting for you!!!

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While Covid-19 virus has put a stop to our normal lives, these are some places that I want to show you. They–and others–are part of our culture, traditions and monuments to be visited. We hope that you’ll be able to see them in person pretty soon!


When you have chosen to visit Barcelona and Catalonia a question arises: and what I am going to see? in this video you have my choice:

Sharing the streets, usually plenty of life, you will see sculptures that links with the recent story of the city; “the Cat” by Fernando Botero; Sant George, patron Saint of Catalonia, killing the dragon; the Goddess by Josep Clarà heats Catalonia Square, the center of Barcelona, and beginning of the elegant boulevard Passeig de Gràcia; by the Olympic games, Roy Lichtensteinpresented us “the face of Barcelona” in his Pop-Art style.

Famous painters have left their print in Catalonia: Salvador Dalí was born and died in Figueres; Joan Miro was born in Barcelona and although Pablo Picasso was born in Malaga (south of Spain), he said that everything started in Barcelona!!!

Catalonia is a welcoming land, chosen by many visitators as its homeland, they have become one of us, they have brought their culture too; as the Flamenco dance, but the Sardana is the original dance of Catalonia. We say that la Sardana is the most beautiful dance of all dances that are done and undone. Maybe it is the unique one that is done and undone; anyway, it is danced in a circle and everyone is accepted.

Of course, in Barcelona you won’t miss the masterpieces of Gaudí: Sagrada Familia, Batlló House or Park Güell. But in our art museums you will admire from the Romanesque frescos that from the Pyrenees mountains were recovered 100 years ago to the modern art such as Ramon Casas.

Not so far from Barcelona, our lady, the Black Madonna of Montserrat watch the mountain; she is the patroness Saint of Catalonia and our devotion for her goes back to 1000 years ago, even Christopher Columbus visited her before his second trip. Caravaggio wasn’t in Montserrat, for sure, but in its museum a Saint Jerome by Caravaggio is exhibit.

We will get our Art and City back and when that time comes, I will be here waiting for you.

Anise del Mono VIDEO

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Badalona is one of the suburbs of Barcelona, and although that I was born in Barcelona, now I am living here, which is very well connected with Barcelona downtown.

Few years ago, in these lands that you can see in this video, we found petrol tanks and big industries; as the factory of Anis del Mono that you can see behind me. The industries were placed along the train line, the first in the Iberian Peninsula which connected Barcelona and Mataró 1948 (of the peninsula but not of Spain, since the first line of train of Spain was in Cuba 1838, a province of Spain back then).

The factory of Anis del Mono is the unique one that survive in this area, now a residential area as you can see. Most of the buildings of the industries has become schools, museums… but the factory of this liquor still produces, and it is the unique one that exists in the World.

Recently the Government and the City hall built the new seafront of Badalona (before we had just rocks and a small path here). In front of the factory Anis del Mono, we find the sculpture of a monkey (2011) by Susana Ruiz Blanch (monkey is mono in Catalan and Spanish). The monkey is the popular name for this anise liquor well know internationally (take a look at the bottle on the table in this sequence of “El Padrino”).

The sculpture is the Monkey designed in the label of the bottle, holding a bottle of this liquor, and surprise us to see that, from the very beginnings, the face of the monkey is human and besides the face of Charles Darwing who assured that humans come from monkeys.

Visiting Montserrat

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When a group decides to visit Montserrat and asks me to go up from Barcelona, visit the Sanctuary and return in five hours and sometimes in four, I think: it’s a shame to spend so much time on that trip and then visit the place so quickly (the sanctuary of Montserrat is an hour driving time away from Barcelona).

Montserrat is not only worth for its spirituality which is connected with the Catalan people and history, but for the mountain itself.

Once, a traveller told me: “here you can breathe peace”. It’s true! For example, some neighbors of Calella (a little town near Barcelona) meet here tree days every year to reinforce their relationship. Others, when they get married, decide to spend some peaceful days in the mountain before going on honeymoon to the other part of the world.

In my opinion the visit to Montserrat is not only to visit the Madonna’s room and to listen to the Choir School (video). People should live the mountain. You can reach the sanctuary by road. I’m not going to ask you to reach it walking as a lot of pilgrims do, but it’s more attractive to go up by cable car or by rack railway which makes us be more in contact with the mountain.

When I arrive there, I can’t help eating a portion of Mel i Mató (a peculiar cheese and honey). My mam started this familiar tradition and we do it every time we go up to the mountain. Cheese and honey are elaborated by the local farmers, who go up every day to sell their products.

After the breakfast, there are different options: I always recommend going up to the highest point of the mountain with the Sant Joan Funicular railway. From there, there are different kinds of paths for every kind of legs: from those which take 20 minutes and are flat, until those which lead you to visit the hermitages of the mountain. Sant Jeroni hermitage is the farthest. Only for the views over Catalonia it’s worth going up there. I’m always impressed with the fraternity of the people when they meet in mountain: maybe they don’t know each other but they always greet saying “Bon dia!” (Good Morning).

Coming back, now that we have been part of the mountain, maybe we would appreciate in a different way the songs of the Choir School. We can go to visit the Black Madonna of Montserrat, see Saint Ignatius of Loyola sword or the Votive Offering Room. If you have any prayer to the Madonna leave a candle to her. Guided by a tour guide we have known a little bit better Catalonia, their traditions and their history. Now, what can be better than to know the Catalan cuisine eating “Mongetes amb Botifarra” (beans with an artisan sausage) in a restaurant of the place?

After eating, visiting the museum of Montserrat can be a good option. It includes pictures from the Gothic stile until Contemporary Art.

Anís del Mono Factory


The only existing factory of the anisette “Anís del Mono” is located in Badalona. It’s an 1870 modernist jewel and, you can not only visit it, but every year it produces more than 4 million of liters of that liquor well known throughout the World.

The factory was founded by José and Vicente Bosch brothers, when they joined and decided to re-locate here the distillation of different liquors which José produced since 1865 in another factory in the center of Badalona.The liquor which would get the fame was “Anisado Refinado Vicente Bosch” (the refined anisette Vicente Bosch) which is in fact the name of the product, but Badalona population knew it as “Anís del Mono” (The monkey’s anisette), due to Vicente Bosch used to have a monkey in the factory yard, animal quite exotic in that time. Such was that habit of calling the liquor with that name, that the monkey’s figure ended up on the bottle label, but with Darwin’s heat, because Darwin in 1859, with his masterwork “On the Origen of the Spices”, had ideas so strange like man come from the ape.

The catalane painter Ramon Casas was the artist of a lot of Modernist Posters at the moment, used by companies as advertising. Companies such as Anís del Mono (see picture); Codorniu; or Cacaolat.

Now, even though the factory belongs to Osborne Group, the liquor is produced in the same handicraft way and, besides, since this year “Aromes de Montserrat” (a liquor produced by the Benedictine monks of Montserrat) is produced also here.

To visit it