Trans-Iberian

Trans-Iberian

Covering everything from the major news of the week and burning social issues, to expat living and la vida local, EL PAÍS’ team of English-language bloggers offers its opinions, observations and analysis on Spain and beyond.

The Pets in Spain Charity

Por: | 01 de septiembre de 2014

'Pets in Spain' is a British animal rescue and re-homing charity based in San Fulgencio on the Costa Blanca, Spain. The non-profit organisation has a governing committee of nine members, a total membership of 63, while staffed by 130 volunteers. The vast majority of animals rescued by the group come from the Costa Blanca and Murcia regions. The charity collaborates with other organisations and individuals throughout the Iberian Peninsula. Pets in Spain also work alongside an organisation called, 'Veterpet Clínicas Veterinarias' (Trans. Veterpet Veterinary Clinics) to find new homes for stray and abandoned animals.

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Lesley (Pets in Spain Volunteer) with Patch the dog.

The charity believes that innocent creatures are falling through the cracks in the system. This might be due to either the increasing amount of stray and abandoned animals on the streets that the system cannot manage, or possibly due to negligence on the part of the local authority, if not the sum of both parts.

I met Mark Lewis (secretary of Pets in Spain) throughout June and July 2014, to document the charity's activities and investigate the current situation in regards to animal welfare on the Costa Blanca. He introduced me to charity shop staff, animal foster carers, adopters and a whole assembly of benevolent creatures. I also met veterinary physicians at the Veterpet animal hospital during August 2014 in the town of Guardamar del Segura and documented their collaborative work with Pets in Spain. Their joint work is explained on my slideshow, featured at the end of this article.

When, I discussed animal welfare issues among carers involved with Pets in Spain, one particular name arose. The name that emerged belongs to a private animal collection company called, 'Cereco S.L.'. Since, June 2011, Cereco S.L. has been contracted by San Fulgencio's current Partido Popular (PP) led coalition council to provide a stray animal collection service within the municipality. The aforementioned firm has woefully become the fly in the ointment, in the eyes of the animal welfare community in the local region. Although, Mark Lewis has conceded that the Cereco S.L. adoption initiative, endeavour to provide a good service, he feels the company's animal collection centre in Crevillente is an altogether different beast.

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A boy with his ferrets at a Pets in Spain foster home.

San Fulgencio's council has agreed upon a profitable business arrangement with Cereco S.L.. The company is paid per animal collected from the streets by the town hall. Mark Lewis said, "The contract is for €12,000 per annum, depending on the number of strays they (Cereco S.L.) collect. The more they collect the more the council has to pay. Once, they (the stray animals) are collected, the council then forgets about them. They're (the council) not interested in any follow-up or what happens to them (the stray animals)."

It shall remain a contentious issue; whether a local authority via a private company, discounts itself from providing adequate follow-up care for animals in their possession. If the council is thoughtless, does it become conveniently effortless for it to feel above reproach? The effects of indifference can be far worse than hatred itself. In some cases, it can result in the wholesale slaughter of countless innocent animals.

Mark told me that Cereco S.L., before destroying these strays; rarely coordinate their efforts with local animal welfare charities, associations or organisations in regards to finding new homes for these potential pets. He believes that Cereco S.L. soldiers on, without seeking a viable and acceptable end result for the animals.

After, being collected off the streets, the animals are transported in vans to the Cereco S.L. collection centre located in the town of Crevillente. Mark Lewis said, "One day each week at the collection centre in Crevillente, they close all the heavy doors to the public, usually on a Friday, to kill dogs and cats collected during the previous week, to make space for the next week's consignment. The in-house incinerator is fired up to immediately destroy the corpses and any evidence of previous owners. The Cereco statistics (death toll) are never made public."

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Pascale (Pets in Spain foster carer) with Zack the dog.

Cereco S.L. claims on their official website that they collaborate with a German animal welfare organisation, which can be found at this address - www.112dogs.de However, Mark said, " ...If you go to this page (webpage) and translate it, you will see that they do not mention collaboration with Cereco, in fact they condemn killing stations and the photo they have on the page, wait for it, was taken by me years ago... The German site must have lifted it (Mark's photo) from an English online article years ago condemning Cereco! I cannot see any Cereco dogs for adoption on the German site."

Mark Lewis believes that not only do animals die in the Cereco S.L. collection centre, but sometimes while being transported to Crevillente in the company's vans. He said, "La Marina urbanisation resident (Jose Serrano Gonzales) is just one of the many people that have denounced Cereco after his dog escaped from his garden in La Marina Urbanisation." I recorded Mark, who described how Señor Gonzales's pet had suffered, when seized by Cereco S.L. on that fateful day. Please listen to his short audio story featured below:

The Pukas Audio Story

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A pet owner's sign commemorates the untimely death of Pukas the dog, who died in a Cereco S.L. company van.

Since, its launch in 2004, Pets in Spain have found homes for approximately 30 animals per month. It has a roster of temporary foster homes for pets in need as well as individuals who permanently adopt animals. Its work is endless and the organisation is always seeking donations at its charity shop. The group constantly advertises for more foster carers as well as other volunteers to add to their ranks. It has a strong presence on social media and constantly updates followers on its rescue activities and animals offered-up for adoption.

'Fundación Affinity' (Trans. The Affinity Foundation) is a Spanish non-profit organisation that promotes the positive role played by pets in society. The foundation stated in a recent study, commissioned by an online pet shop called 'Kiwoko', that one pet is abandoned every three minutes on the Iberian Peninsula. Consequently, the grand total of 150,000 animals are cast aside every year in Spain, which represents the highest number of domestic creatures abandoned in any European nation.

Fundación Affinity believes that the economic crisis has played a major role in 15% of these abandonments, where pet owners have underestimated the costs of keeping an animal and veterinary bills. The heavy number of abandoned pets has left animal shelters and local authorities overwhelmed. Hence, we may presume from these statistics that Cereco S.L. might be struggling to cope with the high levels of animals left on the streets. Nonetheless, Cereco S.L. has little reason to be prideful of its soldiering, when I'm told of their insufficient 'self-reliance'; because that might best describe a stubborn masochist at the helm, where the company is bound to not prosper on moral and ethical grounds.

Why has it not dawned upon Cereco S.L. to network regularly with animal welfare organisations and the local authorities to tackle problems that may ensue, which otherwise are insurmountable, when dealt with alone? Is red tape and tight budgets at the town hall imposing a death sentence on many helpless animals?

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Mark Lewis (Secretary of Pets in Spain), while rescuing an abandoned puppy.

Pets in Spain supports the belief that animals who are victims of neglect, abuse, or abandonment must not also be victims of bureaucracy. Furthermore, educated citizens with a good moral compass should support that belief and voice their opinion. It would be pertinent to say, “He who is cruel to animals becomes hard also in his dealings with men. We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals.” -- Immanuel Kant.

Personally, before we can judge the heart of Cereco S.L., I would offer to help them respond to how the animal welfare community in San Fulgencio has portrayed them, because the lines of communication in such matters of life and death should remain open and transparent. In this particular instance, those channels presently remain silent, between Cereco S.L. and animal carers like Mark Lewis. Communication is one of the vital keys that may unlock those heavy doors, before the in-house incinerator is fired-up, again and again.

The audio slideshow is best viewed in Full Screen Mode:

By Paul Louis Archer: Paul Louis Archer Photography

If you want to help by donating to 'Pets in Spain', the charity's PayPal account can be found via this email address: info@petsinspain.info. Alternatively, you can visit their website www.petsinspain.com for other ways to donate.

The services offered by Veterpet Veterinary Clinics, including a pet shop, can be viewed by visiting their website: http://www.clinicas-veterpet.com

The services offered by the Cereco S.L. adoption initiative, can be viewed by visiting their website: http://adopcionescereco.org

 

Best Spanish city to live in? No, it’s not Barcelona or Madrid

Por: | 28 de agosto de 2014

How should you decide where to live in Spain? Barcelona and Madrid both offer world-renowned museums and art galleries that house priceless pieces.   One has a beach, the other an enormous palace.  They are regularly listed as two of the most desirable cities to visit for their food, music and history, but according to the data, you’re better off living in Malaga or Oviedo than either Madrid or Barcelona. 

Urban Audit, a research group from the European Commission, earlier this year released the results from its 2012 Perception Survey.  Its aim was to measure the “quality of life” of 79 European cities, including 4 in Spain.  With questions ranging from how satisfied residents were with their public spaces to the presence of foreigners the survey makes for some interesting reading.

According to the survey we should all be on the next flight to Malaga.  96% of those surveyed from the southern city agreed that they were “satisfied to live” there, placing Malaga in the top-fifteen of the 79 European cities surveyed.    10% fewer said the same about living in Madrid (86%).  Malaga was pipped to top-place by Aalborg (99%) Hamburg (98%) and Zurich, Oslo, Copenhagen and Groningen (97%).  According to the results you should think twice about moving to the Greek capital as last place went to Athens (52%) trailed by Athens Surroundings (59%), then Napoli (65%) followed by Palermo (71%).

While the southern city came top on the big question, Oviedo took the most individual top-spots in the survey, and is high on the list of Spanish cities with a high quality of life.  According to the survey, a resident of Oviedo is more likely to be pleased with their city’s “public transport, “schools,” “public spaces,” “streets and buildings,” “sport” and “health care services,” than someone living in Madrid, Barcelona or Malaga.

Also in Oviedo, with its 225,000 residents, you are most likely to “feel safe” in both your city and neighbourhood.  94% of respondents agreed they felt safe in their city, while only 68% feel safe living in Spain’s capital.     One reason why people in Oviedo feel safe may be that this year Asturias witnessed a 6% drop in crime, whereas Madrid and Barcelona witnessed reductions of a much smaller rate.

Trust in public services and the belief that they run efficiently elicited some of the lowest levels of agreement of the entire survey nationwide.  50% of residents in Malaga in the survey agreed, “the administrative services of the city help people efficiently.” In Madrid it was only 38%.  Two figures that have both decreased since the same study was carried out three years ago.

If you’re looking for job satisfaction however, Malaga isn’t the place to go, as it comes out bottom of the four.  Oviedo comes first, with 63% satisfied with their “personal job situation.” Barcelona is second with 62%, Madrid third with 56% and Malaga with 55%. 

As for health services, Malaga, the sixth largest city in Spain, is the least satisfied coming bottom at 63%, however respondents did claim to be most pleased with their “retail shops.”  The other three cities score lower on shopping but higher on “public spaces.”  The residents of Oviedo are so happy with their public spaces that they recorded the second highest level of satisfaction out of all 79 cities.

What about how foreigners are perceived? These results also make for interesting reading.  

The four cities agreed that “the presence of foreigners is good.”  They are however less likely to agree that foreigners who live in their city are well-integrated.   While Barcelona has seen an increase of 18% in respondents agreeing that foreigners are good for their city since the 2009 survey - the second largest positive change in perceptions of foreigners of all the European cities surveyed - there was a lower level of agreement that these foreigners “are well integrated.” Barcelona and Madrid scored 50%, Oviedo 59% and Malaga 64%.  These statistics on foreigners integrating are however up in each city since the 2009 survey.

To live in a city that is satisfied with its schools, transport, streets and buildings and agrees that both their city and neighbourhood is safe and its people trustworthy, Oviedo will be the city for you.  Your job satisfaction will be one percent higher than Barcelona if Oviedo is your home, but satisfaction with the “life you lead” will be two percent lower. 

Looking for a city to set up a home in Spain can be a tricky affair but marshalled with the facts it is evident you should book a flight to one of only two Spanish cities, and they aren’t Barcelona or Madrid.

You can follow Christopher Finnigan @chrisjfinnigan

You can’t stop the party

Por: | 08 de agosto de 2014

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Thirteen thousand people had a date last weekend with French DJ David Guetta at a much publicised event in Majorca, only to be stood up at the last minute when it transpired that the promoters hadn’t quite got round to organising all of the paperwork. “Boo”: a lot of disappointed people and “Whoops”: terrible PR for the internationally famous DJ who had only just got over the embarrassment of another gig being cancelled due to licensing issues at the Jarama stadium in Madrid in July (also organised by the same promoter).

As the news was announced coincidentally Guetta’s manager was having lunch with the owner and founder of Ibiza and Mallorca Rocks, Andy McKay. A plan was soon hatched to try to stage a free gig to compensate the fans.  Only a quarter of the original audience would be able to fit into the snug confines of the Mallorca Rocks Hotel, but it was decided that at least this would be some way towards making it up to the people. At a press conference on Wednesday evening, prior to David taking the stage at Mallorca Rocks in Magaluf he and his manager spent twenty minutes with the press: a rare chance to meet a man who is adored all round the world.

David Guetta at Mallorca Rocks PHOTO CREDIT PHOENIXMEDIAMALLORCA  (2 of 5)
The first questions from the press were dominated by the subject of “what exactly happened?” Guetta replied, “To be honest I don’t know what happened, I was ready to take the flight to go play and they told me it was cancelled, my team was there, everybody was there, the sound check,  everything, we were ready to perform.  When I do a concert I am hired by a company who is the promoter, and they hire a venue and I work for them. Unfortunately it was cancelled at the last minute; I felt really bad for my fans, and I wanted to give something back to them”.  Guetta went on to thank Mallorca Rocks and Andy McKay for the enormous effort they had made with short notice.

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It’s hard to understand David Guetta’s appeal until you have experienced the effect his music has on an audience. To many people a DJ is just someone who puts on records, but to others a DJ takes you on a journey through sounds, beats and melodies interspersed with meaningful lyrics and potent hooks to bring you back around and deeper in. This is what David Guetta is famous for, producing and playing music which makes people feel good. He has been DJing for more than twenty years, but only really started to attract attention in 2001 and then hit the big time internationally in 2009 with “When Love Takes Over”. He has collaborated with a roll call of famous singers and musicians, including Rhianna, Kelly Rowland, Flo Rida, and even Madonna. What did he think of her? “She is a legend, I respect her longevity.  I am finishing my next album now and it’s difficult to reinvent yourself as an artist so many times, so I respect this a lot. To have one record which is amazing is already great, sometimes it can be an accident, you have a sound or an idea and it comes at the right time, but when you do it every time then it’s really something else”.

David Guetta at Mallorca Rocks PHOTO CREDIT PHOENIXMEDIAMALLORCA  (5 of 5)
It wouldn’t be summer in the Balearics without a single from Guetta, and he has finally released his offering for 2014. “It’s called “Lovers on the sun”, I’m finishing the video now, I produced it together with Avici and we are presenting a new vocalist, Sam Martin. As much as I have been working with the big stars I like to work with new talent as well”.

The French are famous for being the “avant garde” and being in front of the fashion, so in five years’ time what kind of music does he think he will he be doing? “In five years? I have no idea. I am actually learning about how to live in the present. This is a very tough job for me because I am completely a control freak, I always want to know what is going to happen and plan everything. My personal journey now is to try to enjoy the present and to live without the fear of the future, so it’s not the right time for me to answer a question about what I am going to be doing in five years because I am doing all of this work not to think about it!”

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The press conference closed with David being asked what he thought of Majorca compared to Ibiza “You shouldn’t ask me the question because I don’t know Majorca enough. But by definition I prefer Ibiza to any other place in the world, but that’s not to say that I wouldn’t love Majorca as much”.

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Having heard the roars of love and excitement from the crowd as they waited for their idol to come to the stage at the completely packed out Mallorca Rocks Hotel on Wednesday night I think Majorca is quite fond of him as well. Guetta made a short speech to the audience saying “Thank you for coming, nobody’s going to stop THIS party!” and with that he played his hits back to back and inside out for two solid hours.

 

 

Photos and text: Vicki McLeod 

More photos at Vicki's blog here.

Vicki McLeod is a freelance writer and photographer. She has lived in Mallorca since 2004. Vicki writes about her beloved islands for The Majorca Daily Bulletin, the only English language daily paper in Spain; produces regular columns for the Euro Weekly News, and articles for Spain-Holiday.com. Vicki runs PR strategies for several businesses in Mallorca and London as well as working on her own blogs and projects. She and her husband, Oliver Neilson, supply photo and text content for private clients via @phoenixmediamlr. She tweets at @mcleod_vicki. 

Shhhh Seville, I'm trying to sleep

Por: | 06 de agosto de 2014

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I clearly remember my first night’s sleep in Seville. It was 2am as I slipped into bed, late by UK standards, though in most Spanish cities the time when an already ebullient population comes into its own. But for the next 4 hours I was party to, rather than partying with, a pulsing arterial flow of revellers going from one bar to the next, stopping just outside my bedroom window for a typically Sevillano animated chat. Throw in a bit of flamenco sung by someone who’d clearly had one Ballantine’s and Coke too many and a stream of passing cars and motorbikes, it’s easy to see how a peaceful night’s sleep was never on the cards.

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I managed to last 2 years living in an area in the old part of Seville called the Alameda, before throwing in the towel (and earplugs) and moving a quiet stone’s throw away to nearby district, The Macarena. So I do have some sympathy for the vociferous outpourings of groups such as the ‘Sevilla sin Ruido’ (Sevilla without noise), who campaign against the city’s noise levels, proclaimed by the World Health Organisation as the second highest in the world. You would imagine then that such neighbourhood action groups would be delighted by the recently announced noise abatement measures introduced by the city council to temper the cacophonous reality of every day life in the Andalusian capital.

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The lengthy official document outlining a whole host of bylaws appears not to leave any stone uncovered, in which noise pollution misdemeanours include playing dominoes or dice on a bar’s terraza, eating standing up outside a bar, shouting and singing in the street, no unnecessary revving of car engines or playing music too loud on the car stereo, no pulling tables and chairs along the ground on outside terraces, no televisions set up outside bars, no honking car horns unless to warn of a possible collision or danger, no car alarms going off for more than 3 minutes, no leaving noisy domestic pets alone and no playing musical instruments at home if there have been any previous complaints by neighbours, to name but a few.

There is, however, one important fly in the ointment. While most of the legislation is geared towards guaranteeing the basic human right of getting a good night’s sleep, the environmental inspectors charged with measuring noise levels on their specialist equipment work only during the day, with any night time complaints being left to the judgement of the local police force as to whether decibel limits have been broken. And on this auditory discernment, would be based the fines of between €300 for minor infractions up to €300,000 for more serious cases, plus the immediate closure of any commercial activity that has infringed the legislation.

However, some of Seville’s noisiest but most entrenched traditions find themselves exempt from the noise restrictions. Religious processions such as the week long Semana Santa parades, church bells and rockets fired to send off the hermandades on their way to El Rocio, all get a big, noisy thumbs up from the council.

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And much to the ire of ‘Sevilla sin Ruido’ there is a surprising and much out of character leniency with nightclubs and karaoke bars bordering residential dwellings, which will be able to operate with levels of up to 90 decibels as long as they have the appropriate soundproofing within. The complaint being that this will not legislate for the inevitable late-night loitering outside the venue as cigarettes are smoked and the world is set to rights in alcohol-induced high tones.

This is the problem: Sevillanos are a city of street dwellers. I don’t mean in a no fixed abode kind of way, but just that it goes against their very nature to sit down in enclosed spaces, with doors firmly shut, when there’s a whole world of street corners and pavements beckoning invitingly. It partly explains why there are a staggeringly small number of bars boasting cool interiors and decent music; people just aren’t interested. Entertainment is a small, cool Cruzcampo beer in hand, somewhere to lean your elbow, some animated conversation and the warm, sultry Sevillano night air.

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In the past in matters of noise pollution and general social nuisance, it was easy to point the finger at the seething masses of the botellón generation, knocking back liter bottles of beer, smoking spliffs and making a racket until either the police moved them on or the street cleaners literally hosed them away. But this new legislation strikes at the very heart of Sevillano-ness, i.e. the positive lifestyle choice of eschewing sofas and going to bed at a sensible time, choosing instead to linger outside, beer in hand until the early hours. I mean really, can you realistically prevent a Sevillano from consuming their tapita standing up outside a bar? I would hazard a guess that even the most militant of anti-noise protesters sneaks in an alfresco ration of jamón, elbow perched on an upright table from time to time. So at the risk of layering one sweeping generalization on top of another, it would be like banning Romans from eating ice creams in a piazza or Brazilians from playing football in the street. It just goes against nature, and I’m not sure that’s something you can legislate against.

It’s Barcelona Parklife - and you’re all invited

Por: | 25 de julio de 2014

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If you wanted to know what life was like in 90s Britain you could do a lot worse than listen to Blur’s Parklife, an album that represented the peak of the band’s Kinks-ian observational songwriting and helped to kick off Britpop as a whole.

The album has its weaknesses - much has been made of its musical conservatism and obvious debt to the past - but it struck a chord with the British public, staying in the charts for 90 weeks thanks to a narrative songwriting approach that journalist John Harris compared to “a bittersweet take on the UK's human patchwork” in his 2004 book Britpop! Cool Britannia and the Spectacular Demise of English Rock.

Nowhere is this more obvious than on the album’s title track, an ode to people watching in London’s Hyde Park that erupts in the all-telling chorus: “All the people / So many people / And they all go hand in hand / hand in hand through their Parklife.”

Not for nothing is an ode to a park the centre of this album: the British love going to parks and London is dotted with some of the most beautiful green spaces to be found in any of Europe’s capitals. British people eat, drink and procreate in the parks and - maybe even more than the local pub - they represent the essence of British urban life.

I was wandering around Barcelona listening to Parklife this week, when I realised that the same can be said for the Catalan capital. Barcelona may have a beach and boundless squares, teeming with human interaction. But there is only one place to get to the heart of Barcelona life: Parc de la Ciutadella, 70 acres of green space, fountains, playgrounds and zoo to be found on the edge of the city centre.

Ciutadella is not just the city’s most popular park, full of life from dawn to dusk and even beyond. It also tells a story of the city - as all the best parks do - marking Barcelona’s evolution through the weeks, months and years.

In itself, the history of Ciutadella is fascinating: in 1714, after the War of the Spanish Succession, Barcelona fell to Philip V of Spain, who flattened a large percentage of the city and built the citadel of Barcelona right where thousands of families had lived. The hated citadel looked out over Barcelona for more than a hundred years until it was turned over to the city in 1869, with the majority of the site being turned into the Parc de la Ciutadella.

That alone would make the park a fascinating place. But Ciutadella is anything but a historical relic. You can feel the modern city move in the park’s bones, as the morning joggers and dog walkers give way to lunchtime picnics, afternoon sunbathers and evening revellers; and Monday’s lunching workers slide into Sunday’s sweaty hedonists, wringing the last drops of sunshine out of a long weekend.

You can watch the seasons pass there, too. In winter Ciutadella is functional, a cold, windswept space to take the dog for some relief; in spring it blooms, playing host to live music and culture; but the park finds its apotheosis in summer, as thousands of locals and tourists seek escape from the relentless heat under scraggy trees and on welcoming benches.

But the passing of time is nothing without people and Ciutadella tells a social history too, its users offering flesh-and-blood proof of how Barcelona has changed over the years, becoming a truly global city where people from all over the world come to live, work, holiday and make new lives.

This story is inescapable. A visit to the park one Sunday in July reveals Argentinian football supporters rubbing shoulders with French tourists;  dancing Indian women sharing space with Catalan jugglers; a multiracial group playing an endlessly circling drum coda on the bench; and - everywhere, like some vast, unexplained rash - people practising their circus skills.

It is a social phenomenon. Many places are. But the park is a great democratiser too: unlike, say, the Camp Nou, that other great symbol of Barcelona’s changing life, you can’t buy a better space at the park and if you want to go there you have to share it with everyone, from Swedish tourists on gleaming new €1,000 bikes to the unfortunate people who sleep under the trees, emerging bleary eyed in the morning form makeshift camps to brush their teeth and wash in the park’s water pumps.

All Barcelona is here, in other words, and - if the people may not quite be going hand in hand, Blur style - they’re generally rubbing along well in their Catalan park life. 

And such is a story of modern Barcelona.

Authors (Bloggers)

Jessica Jones. Hailing from the north east of England, Stockton-on-Tees native Jessica has had a passion for all things Hispanic from an early age. She has lived in and written about France, Chile, Spain and Germany and has been contributing to the Trans-Iberian blog since 2012, when she moved to Madrid after graduating from Durham University.@jessicajones590

Joseph Walker. A graduate of Leeds University, Joseph is a sports journalist based in Madrid, and has written on and covered a wide range of events, from the Champions League to Gibraltar’s first ever UEFA match and Spain’s national rugby team. He writes columns for several websites and will pen his thoughts on the latest goings on in sports-obsessed Spain. You can find him on @joe_in_espana

Ben Cardew is a freelance journalist, translator and teacher, now resident in Barcelona after growing up gracefully in Scotland via Norwich. He writes for The Guardian, the NME and The Quietus, among others, on everything from music to digital media. You can find him on Twitter @bencardew

Jeff Wiseman is an experienced journalist and comedy writer. He was formerly editor of ‘InMadrid’, a monthly English-language newspaper in the Spanish capital, and has contributed scripts and sketches for radio and television in the UK. Published his first book, ‘Shawley Nott: Comic Tales from England’s Strangest Village’, in 2013.

Billy Ehrenberg is an Journalism MA student at City University in London. He lived in Spain for three years, in Granada, Madrid and A Coruña, translating and teaching English. He has written for The Times, The Western Morning News and The Plymouth Herald in the UK and has been contributing to Trans-Iberian since 2013. He enjoys telling stories with numbers and infographics, data visualisations and general statistical tomfoolery. He tweets from @billyehrenberg

Paul Louis Archer is a freelance photographer, multimedia storyteller and artist educator. A cross-disciplinary worker, who endeavors to encompass the mediums of photography, audio design and writing. Born in Hertfordshire of an English father and Spanish mother. Based in the United Kingdom. @PaulLouisArcher

Chris Finnigan is a freelance journalist based in Barcelona. He writes for Barcelona Metropolitan and is a book reviewer and reader for The Barcelona Review. He is a graduate of the London School of Economics. You can find him on twitter @chrisf3757

Eloise Horsfield is a writer and translator currently based in Seville. Her work has featured in various UK nationals including the Daily Telegraph and The Sun. Originally from London, Eloise cut her journalistic teeth at the Olive Press, an expat newspaper on the Costa del Sol. She has been contributing to Trans-Iberian since 2014 and tweets at @EloiseHorsfield

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