5 reasons to look up Barcelona

The owl

Corner of Avinguda Diagonal and Passeig de Sant Joan

Even on a bland, traffic-heavy street like Avinguda Diagonal you might get surprised. The owl on top of that building should have disappeared a long time ago: the company it advertised for doesn’t exist anymore and the use of neon at night became forbidden. But the people liked it, so now the owl is just an owl, no publicity, no neon. It overlooks with stern annoyance the hustle and bustle below.

La Casa de las Paraguas

Les Rambles 82

Casa Bruno Quadros is better known as the ‘House of the Umbrellas’. There was an umbrella shop on the ground floor, when architect Josep Vilaseca started renovating the house in 1883, riding the first wave of modernist creations. The building doesn’t just show umbrellas, there are also oriental elements, including a large forged-iron dragon jutting out of the corner.

Torre del Reloj

Moll dels Pescadors s/n

An overlooked Barceloneta beauty, the Clock Tower used to be a lighthouse, when this part of the beach was stil used as a commercial harbour. When the lighthouse became obsolete, a clock was installed in the top.

Torre de les Aigües del BesÒs

Plaça de Ramon Calsina
+34 (0)93 256 36 42

This one isn’t overlooked but overshadowed: by nearby Torre Agbar. This water tower is one of the last remains of Poblenou’s industrial past and can be visited.

Post Office Building Dome

Via Laietana 1

The central post office building is a mastodont on the outside and inside it looks like the perfect place to shoot a Franz Kafka movie adaptation. Take a ticket and while you are waiting to buy some stamps for your postcards, look up towards the glass dome, the semi-Graeco-Roman murals and (a bit lower) the guilded lanterns. In the vestibule are two antique bikes, used by the Spanish postal services to deliver mail and telegrams.

part of 70 good-to-know facts and urban details

The 500 Hidden Secrets of Barcelona