Trabucaires in the Plaça Sant Jaume, Barcelona | Photo: Tom Walton
Historically, the trabucaires were guerrillas armed with a trabuc (blunderbuss) who fought against the French in the Peninsula War (1808-1814), or the Guerra de la Independencia as it is known in Spain.
Today, you'll find them in their traditional costumes letting off their blunderbusses in celebration in the Festa Major of many a Catalan town — a tradition which has been dated way back beyond the Peninsula War to 1571, when the trabucaires of Solsona celebrated the Spanish victory at Lepanto in such a fashion (according trabucaires.com).
We can't tell you what the ones in the Plaza Sant Jaume last Saturday were celebrating: we did ask when they'd finished, but by then were so deafened by the noise that we couldn't understand the reply!
Orcs swarm across the plains… | Collection AWA; Photo: Tom Walton
Coming to Barcelona this weekend is Games Workshops's Games Day and Golden Demon painting competition. Even if you're not a Lord of the Rings freak (or Warhammer or Warhammer 40k) it's worth going as some of the miniatures on display truly are works of art.
If you are a GW fan, we've got several branches in Barcelona, the nearest being Roger de Lluria 53. For independent stockists, try Kalburi (Sant Joan 1), which is also right in the middle of an area full of shops selling fantasy books and games.
GW Games Day Barcelona: Sunday February 17th, Sala Barcelona 92, Palau Sant Jordi.
Aunt Harriet… ! | Photo: Tom Walton
The old lady was just like my great aunt, with the same hair, the same rather severe look on her face, which was given away by the smile lines around her eyes. It was my aunt — except that she was made of porcelain and was in a large crowd of other equally amazing dolls in a shop window.
If you're a serious collector, don't miss this one; even if you're not, they've got some of the most amazing dolls, and dolls' houses and accessories there.
>> Drap, Carrer del Pi 14, Barcelona [map]
Forn Sant Jordi, Llibreteria 8 | Photo: Tom Walton
Just off the Plaça Sant Jaume, there's a wonderful little baker's shop which it's very tempting to walk out of my way to go to first thing in the morning. In the picture, above, are meringues, madalenas with apple on top that melt in your mouth, pa cremat with a coating of sugar on top and coconut tarts that you'll regret buying only two of, and inside…
Note the plaque on the wall when you go in, telling you that the Forn Sant Jordi has been making bread for over 200 years.
>> Locate on map of Barcelona
The happy (ceramic) couple… | Photo: Tom Walton
Villegas (Carrer Comtal 31, a 5 minute walk from IH) is a shop window I always stop and look in and enjoy. They've always got some fun figures, cats and owls, things for Halloween and figures for your crib and some lovely lamps — that sort of thing.
You're looking for a present from Barcelona for your Mum? Try Villegas…!
>> Carrer Comtal, map