Saturday, March 30, 2013

Old School Record Stores in Barcelona - Guest Blogger Harriet Freeman

Old school Record Stores in Barcelona

Even with the advent of digital music downloads, physical music copies are seeing a raise in sales (15 times more than in 1993). Especially in Barcelona! If you're a hardcore music fan and are looking for records, from Vinyls to CDs, there are a number of stores in Barcelona going stronger than ever that will fulfill your musical needs.

So revisit the days of going into a record shop and discovering new music the tried and tested way. Without further ado, here are some of the best record stores in Barcelona.

1. Revolver Records
Probably the biggest record store company in Barcelona, it's most likely going to be your first point of call for all things musical.  It's very well located too, in the city center, just off of Las Ramblas near Plaza Catalunya. They specialize in practically all music types including rock, indie, metal, punk, garage and more. C/ Tallers, 11.

2. Luchador Records
If you're staying in the Raval Area, then Luchador records will most likely serve you during your trip. This shop in particular is for the collectors out there, those of you who are looking for that hard to find record that you can't get anywhere else. These guys are all about the exclusive and alternative. C/ Ferlandina, 39 (right).

3. Discos Paradiso
Right next door Luchador records is Discos Paradiso, a shop set up by two Catalan music aficionados called Gerard and Arnau. It's a good place to find some golden oldies, but they are also specialists in techno, dub step, house, and electronic types of music. There's also a back room where artists play from time to time! C/ Ferlandina, 39 (left).

4. Subwax
This record store has a long history and was originally located in Sweden. Before it moved to Barcelona, it was the longest running record store there. They mainly focus on electronic music and reggae, and have about 10,000 in their collection. C/ Valldonzella, 3.

5. Wah Wah
This record store is also located in Raval. It's a small store which reminds of me of the record stores I found in Soho, London, when I was an adolescent. It's also a record label which reissues records that are no longer in production. The shop is divided into two sections, "The Classic Section"  run by Shakira where you'll find all sorts of styles, and "The Dance/Electronic Section" run by DJ Zero. C/ Riera Baixa, 14.

Harriet Freeman works in the tourism industry for OK Apartment Barcelona, a company that specializes in Holiday apartments in Barcelona . She is an expert on northern Spain and Barcelona and runs her own blog; Things to do Barcelona.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Barcelona Day Tours - Wine and Cava Country

Spain's growing reputation as a quality wine producer has been well documented over the past few years. At The Spanish Touch we take a different approach to our winery visits: our wine and cava visits are based on the idea that small groups afford the opportunity to really get to know the winery. As we use primarily low-production, high-expression wineries, visits are conducted by someone who is very familiar with the product - in many cases the guide is the winemaker him or herself. This personal attention allows for a greater appreciation and understanding of the wines themselves.

The proximity of Barcelona to so many wine regions (Penedes, Priorat, Alella, Montsant, Emporda, to name a few) affords repeat visitors to the Ciutat Comtal the chance to choose new experiences.

Day tours are available from simple half-day trips to full-day visits with 4x4 vineyard excursions and multi-day adventures to different regions.

For more information on planning a private guided tour in Barcelona or around Spain, contact The Spanish Touch at 888-480-0013.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Paradors and Mines - A Day Tour to Cardona

Cardona is a small town in northern Catalonia where you can find the spectacular castle overlooking the town, which has been turned into one of the most spectacular parador hotels. But at The Spanish Touch want to show you more than just one of our favorite hotels: We want to bring the 30 million year old history of the region to life!

Since well before the arrival of the Romans, the town was a stronghold for the Iberians who built a fortress on the hill next to the "snowy" mountain. Why, you might ask? Because the mountain is a salt mountain, with one of the richest and largest mines of salt in Europe, over 300km of underground tunnels that reached a depth of over 1300 meters!  Join us for a chance to see how the industrial and the historical melded together to produce one of Spain's inspiring stories in a fairytale setting.

Contact The Spanish Touch for more information on this or for help in planning your own private tour of Spain at 888-480-0013.

Day Tour: Nerja and Frigiliana

Malaga is becoming an increasingly popular port destination, and with so much to do and see, it's easy to see why people are starting to see past the "costa del golf" label that has been stuck on it for years. Today we offer you just one of our tours departing from the city itself. and heading into the heart of unspoiled Andalusia.  

The Nerja and Frigiliana tour includes:
Transfer to and from the airport, port or hotel to Nerja and Frigiliana
The Spectacular Balcon de Europa promenade in Nerja, overlooking the Mediterranean Sea.
A Guided tour of the "pueblo blanco" (white village) of Frigiliana, a town of Three Cultures, tucked into the hills behind Nerja. 

For more information about his or other private guided tours in Malaga, contact The Spanish Touch at 888-480-0013.

Modernism and Mosaics in Barcelona - a hands-on experience

Mosaic is a style that is intimately linked to Barcelona. The most prominent are the Modernista examples, the lavish decoration of Park Guell's Drac and the fairytale-inspired guard houses, the Palau Baro de Quadras or the decorative art of the Palau de la Musica CatalanaBut there are other examples as well, from Roman houses to Joan Miro's work on Las Ramblas, Barcelona offers an abundance of styles and examples of over 2000 years of artistic heritage. The Spanish Touch is now offering an exciting way to get involved in the history and culture of Barcelona: a Mosaic in Barcelona Full Day Tour!

The itinerary for the tour:
9:30 Meet your guide/driver at your hotel.
9:30 - 1:30 Spend the morning visiting some of the most important Mosaic sites in Barcelona, including:
Palau Guell
Park Guell
Palau Baro de Quadras
Casa Comalat
Las Ramblas
1:30 - Transfer to Mataro 
2:00 - 3:00 Tapas Lunch     
3:00 - 6:00 An Introduction to Mosaic course with local artists at Can Manetes.
6:00 - 6:30 transfer back to your hotel in Barcelona

 The course offers an introduction to the style most-associated with modernisme:Trencadis. Participants have the opportunity to create their own decorative work, which, naturally, they can take with them when they go.

The tour includes:
Transportation to and from hotel/port/airport
Guided tour in Barcelona
An Introduction-to-Mosaic class with a local bilingual artist
All materials and tools necessary for the class
Tapas lunch in Mataro

A Bilingual Spanish Touch guide

For more information regarding private tours in Spain, contact The Spanish Touch at 888-480-0013.

Roots and Vines - Priorat Day Tour

The Spanish Touch is offering tours for anyone who wants a deeper insight into one of Spain's premier wine regions: Priorat! As one of only two DOQ (DenominaciĆ³n de Origen de Qualidad) - the other is Rioja - Priorat has been the poster child for Spanish wine growth over the last decades. And The Spanish Touch wants you to be able to experience the region, from the roots to the glass and everything in between.

On the roots and vines tour, you will visit the heart of the region, the Scala Dei Monastery, where the thousand year history of the region's winemaking all began, and where they still make an excellent wine. Afterwards enjoy a tasting at a Moderniste winery before enjoying a full lunch at a local restaurant. Walk off your lunch (and the wine) with an afternoon visit to the Bellmunt Mines before returning to Barcelona in time to freshen up, relax and maybe go out for a few tapas!

For more information regarding this or other private wine tours in Spain, contact The Spanish Touch at 888-480-0013.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Private Shore excursions in Barcelona

Barcelona is one of those magical places that seems to draw people into its very essence. The kind of place where people come time and again and never fail to discover something new. At The Spanish Touch we offer private day trips and shore excursions for everyone from first-time visitors to those who have "been there, done that" and are looking for a new experience. We work with you from the beginning to create a custom tour fit to your demands. All of our guides are billingual experts whose main priority is you. our small group tours offer the advantage of getting into more intimate locales and giving you the chance to meet the people and see the sites that make Barcelona such a special place.

For your next visit to Barcelona, contact The Spanish Touch at 888-480-0013 for a free estimate on your private tour or shore excursion.