Spanish photographer Albert Bonsfills moved to China in 2011 and has since travelled with his camera all around East Asia. The extraordinary body of work he has created on his travels has brought him international recognition, and a regular spot in a who’s who of the world’s best publications. Today, exclusively for Fold, Bonsfills returns home to take us on a photographic tour of his favorite places in Barcelona.
1- Bunkers del Carmel
If you want to admire Barcelona, start with a bird’s eye view. The bunkers of Carmel, at the 262 meter peak of Turó de la Rovira in the Carmel neighborhood, offer an extraordinary 360 degree perspective on the city. There is a dormant anti-aircraft base up there too from the Spanish civil war. Go with the person you love or just by yourself to reflect.
2- Mies van der Rohe Pavilion
This beautiful pavilion was designed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, one of the fathers of modern architecture, as the German national pavilion for the 1929 Barcelona International Exhibition. Built from glass, steel and marble, the Pavilion was destroyed in 1930 and then rebuilt in 1986 at its original site. It has a great bookstore, too.
3- Miró Museum
The resplendent museum dedicated to the Barcelona painter, sculptor, and ceramicist was designed by Josep Lluís Sert, and contains courtyards and terraces, each experiences in their own right. Miró’s art is a surrealist mix of dreams and reality. His art will get you in the right mood to see the city for what it is.
4- Jardí Botànic
If you love plants as much as I do, this is a great place to spend the day. The botanical garden divides its plants and flowers up geographically, covering the whole world, paying special attention to the fauna of the Mediterranean.
5- Palau de la Música
The Palau de la Música Catalana is a modernist building built in1908 by the architect Lluís Domènech i Montaner, an astounding concert venue listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Seeing this beautiful Palace is a must on any visit to Barcelona. The modernist shapes, materials and colors will captivate you.
6- Foto Colectania
If you love photography, this will be one of your favorite places in Barcelona. The library of Foto Colectania has more than 3,000 rare volumes of photos, including catalogues of exhibitions, photography collections, and seemingly ancient photo books.
7- Casa Protea
This is a beautiful plant shop owned by the very dedicated Jesús and Pancho. They work with a wide variety of unique species, including families of the Araceae, Euphorbiaceae, Cactus and Agave. They are collectors of plants as much as vendors of them. They offer workshops and events, where plant enthusiasts can meet and exchange expertise. This is not a shop, they like to say, this is home (casa).
8- Platja de Montgat
When I’m in Barcelona, I like to go to the beach all year round. I used to spend whole days at Montgat beach with my friends until the sun went down. As locals, we don’t really like the beaches inside the city. Too many tourists, street vendors and masseurs, and the water isn’t exactly clean. For a real beach day, you have to leave the city, and head to La Platja de Montgat, only 20 minutes by train. It has the most beautiful water.
9- Restaurant Mian
I like to go to this restaurant when I miss China, which happens often. Mian restaurant offers traditional Chinese food with that homemade, mother’s touch. I recommend the Steamed Prawn Xiajiao, Beijing style noodles, Ginger-Pork Zhu Pao, and, frankly, almost the whole dessert menu.
10- Mercat dels Encants
This is the largest flea market in town. In the early morning, there’s a huge auction. This is a great place for a morning walk, strolling among objects from earlier times. Upstairs, there are some bars where they offer great cañas and tapas.
All pictures by Albert Bonfills.