21 February 2013

hello raval

Spent last Saturday getting to know the Raval a bit. I visited a lot of neighborhoods in Barcelona when I was looking for an apartment (and finally settled here), but I didn't look in the Raval. It has a ... reputation. 

But then I discovered that the only bank in the city that would cash my paychecks was in the heart of the Raval. "Great," I thought, "exactly where I want to be with a wad of cash."  

But guess what? It wasn't sketchy. I found skateboarders, street art, a naan bakery, open air markets, and modern art museums. This is actually the part of Barcelona that feels the most like an American downtown to me. It's not charming, but it has soul.

Plus I ran into linotype machine hanging out in the courtyard of a former monastery here ... the dusty printing equipment follows me, I can't help it.

Also I saw Flo at a market. We go to bookbinding school together. She is also the owner of a business that sells rad handmade notebooks, covered with vintage cloth. Each book has an inscription inside that tells where the cloth came from.

Last weekend she was at the CCCB. Right now they have an exhibit about the Paral•lel. The avenue was Barcelona's entertainment and red light district before the Spanish Civil War, from about 1900-1930. For the exhibit, the galleries were dotted with theater posters that were full of really sweet wood type. Look at this 'A,' pulled from one of the posters:

And 'Marina,' IS THAT TWO COLOR WOOD TYPE??? It was hard to tell how the original was printed because they used an enlarged reproduction for the exhibit.

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