Genreal Info on Barcelona
Barcelona is one of the biggest cities in Spain, but it is not what you typically think of when you think of Spain. There are no bullfights (it was banned in the city a while ago) and the only flamenco shows you'll see are the ones targetted towards tourists. Barcelona is the capital of the province of Catalonia, and since Catalonia was once an independent nation, it has retained many of its own cultural traditions. Catalan is the main language (similar to Castillian Spanish and French), and the music, dance, and food are mostly Catalan rather than Spanish. However, it is a big cosmopolitan city where many people and cultures come together, so if you don't speak Catalan or Castellano, it is not difficult to find someone who can speak English. Also, along with the city skyscrapers and unique architecture by Gaudi, there are also beaches.
Areas of Barcelona (for touristy purposes) Tip #2
1) Barri Gotic: from the right side of Las Ramblas to Via Laietana. The oldest part of the town (some Roman remains close the cathedral), very narrow streets. Nice area but too touristy to my taste.
2) Raval is on the left of Las Ramblas on the map, between Ramblas and Ronda Sant Antoni. It was the old red light district but now is a vibrant multicultural area. Still quite seedy on some streets, but changing fast. The area around MACBA is better, I would not recommend anyone the part closer to the seaport.
3) If you go a bit further away, from Via Laietana to Parc de la Ciutadella, you are at El Born-La Ribera. You'll find plenty of small nice shops, restaurants and clubs, as the old working-class neighborhood have been reconverted to probably the trendiest area in town.
4) L'Eixample (literally means "broad axis") is the area of the city build in the XIX century, easy to see in the map as the streets do cross perpendicularly (up from Plaça Catalunya, most of the city center). This is a very good area of the city, elegant buildings, wide streets, safe, lots of shops, restaurants... More elegant as closer to Passeig de Gracia. Very "local" flavor in general.
5) Another area quite convenient for tourists is La Barceloneta (its name means"little Barcelona"). This is the old fishermen's neighborhood, just next to Port Vell (Old Port). Lots of places to have seafood or paellas, and old-fashion bars to have a "vermut" on Sunday morning.
6) Gracia: a bit more out of the way, but very interesting and lively neighborhood. Located in top of Passeig de Gracia, once crossed the Diagonal. In fact, Passeig de Gracia was once the road from Barcelona to the formerly independent town of Gracia, hence its name. Park Güell is located on the hilly edge of Gracia.
In any case, ALL these areas are central. You can stay at any of them and walk to some interesting places and take the public transport to the rest.
CASTILLO DE CARLOS...
CASTILLO DE CARLOS QUARTO..this is THE PALACIO de CARLOS the 4th...any guy that lived in this lavish a house would have to be influential..right? Well Carlos 'sthpoke withh a listhp' and he was so influential people copied him so now 'they sthey hablan esthpanol' a bit different than the rest of STHPAIN.Got it?
On top of this ..the Barcelona area is known as Catalonia..theres another language called CATALAN which even other Spaniards dont understand. Look at the street signs and youll see 2 languages.BUY A GUIDE BOOK WRITTEN IN ENGLISH and dont give it another thought.;-)
The Solskjaer End
When touring the Nou Camp, being a Manchester United fan, I just had to ask! Manchester United's finest moment came in May 1999 when they completed an amazing treble of trophies by capturing the Champions League at the Nou Camp in the final against Bayern Munich. The victory came in the most dramatic fashion. One nil down for most of the game, and by then deep in to injury time Teddy Sheringham popped up with an equaliser. As if that wasn't enough, just moments later the baby faced assasin- Ole Gunar Solskjaer popped up with a winner, creating the most amazing moment in the clubs history. I had to confirm with the tour guide which end this happened, and took this photograph. Next time you are there, just remember what happened there. Oh, it brings a tear to my eye. :)
PARC DE L'ESPANYA INDUSTRIAL
I passed by this park on the Bus Turistic. It was built back in the 80's and was quite controversial. Its supposed to be a modern version of Roman baths. The towers are like lighthouses and the park houses various sculptuers including a large one of the dragon of St George fame.