Be Aware!, Barcelona
I'm sorry, but this is my pet-peeve.... please, please, please... do not call the city "Barca"!!!
Well, you can do it, in case you like to sound like "yet another clueless tourist thinking he/she sounds cool, but making fool of his/herself" ;-)
Barça = is used ONLY for the football (soccer) team
(Yes, I know many of you do not have the ç on your keyboards). It's pronounced as Bar-ssa
However, as you may imagine, not everybody in Barcelona is a supporter of "el Barça" football club, some are supporters of other teams, or not care about football at all. Plus, there is another major team in town.
... and, to make it even weirder for us locals, "barca" (pronounced as Bar-Ka) in both Spanish or Catalan, does mean "boat".
As well, there is a town in Soria's province named Barca.
Barna= this is how most locals (especially the ones originally from neighboring towns) do shorten the city name
(however, for some, "Barna" is too "pijo"... ops, I don't know how to explain "pijo" now!! preppy? posh?)
Last years using BCN (like the airport code) is becoming more popular
Not far from parkway Passeig de Gracia when I have turned to Avingida Diagonal, there happened a following case with me. It is necessary to tell, Avingida Diagonal unlike Passeig de Gracia is not so populous. I was delighted to an opportunity to have a rest from tourist crowd and have directed aside Templo de la Sagrada Familia.
Suddenly the young man has approached to me with a map and asked how to pass somewhere. I have stopped and looked at his map, trying to explain something. During the same moment a person has approached to us, having presented as a policeman. He has shown any counter without a name and posts. He demanded to show the passport as he suspected, that I search for drugs. I was filled with indignition by such suspicion, but I have been forced to show the passport, not releasing it from my hands. Then suspicions of false dollars have sounded. Then I with indignation have continued the way, having ceased to answer questions. The person has lagged behind. The mood has been spoiled...
Who was he? A policeman or a swindler? I don't know. Be careful!
There is a real danger of your hand luggage being stolen at the airport. There is a cafe area just inside the revolving door at the Easyjet check in where its very easy for criminals to merge with travellers and pick up bags as if they were their own. We were a party of 6 and checked our cases in whilst others in the party stayed with the hand luggage bags at the cafe. Not once were the bags left unoccupied yet when we left the area to go through security, a backpack was missing which contained a laptop, camera, sat nav, Walkie talkies etc. We were devastated. The police department ( right at the opposite end of the airport) were not interested in helping at all and despite there being a CCTV camera on the cafe area, would not even look at the footage. They took ages taking a report from us and we would have missed our flight had we stayed long enough to complete it but they assured us we could call upon our return home to complete it and obtain a crime reference number for insurance purposes. Upon phoning from the UK, they would not complete the report and said it had to be done in Barcelona. Fortunately, our insurance company honoured the claim otherwise we would have been out of pocket by £1000 +.
In our opinion, the police are turning a blind eye to what is going on in the airport instead of tackling the criminals responsible. They do not want reports of these incidents logged which will further damage the tourism of Barcelona. It's a great shame as Barcelona is a beautiful city but they need to improve security to make tourists feel safe and when their economy is benefiting from tourism it's a scandal that they aren't doing more. PLEASE STOP THE THIEVES IN THEIR TRACKS BY BEING VIGILANT AT ALL TIMES, UNFORTUNATELY THEY PREY ON VULNERABLE TOURISTS IN HOLIDAY MODE WHEN THEIR GUARDS ARE DOWN. We travel all over the world and never before have experienced problems, only in Barcelona.
From Celebrity to Melia International on Sarria, the driver charged us 25 Euros -it should have been 14 Euros. I know there is a small charge added on for luggage. I found out the correct charge from another couple who made the same trip, arriving at the hotel when we did. I reported it to the hotel desk. The taxi driver's number is 10182, car license 4700 FRC. I doubt that the hotel did anything.
The day we arrived in Barcelona, we took a cab to our hotel. The cab driver had wanted to drop us off four blocks away from our destination. I had to argue with him. Then he stopped in a corner and pointed to where our hotel was supposed to be and that it was only a few steps away. I looked at the meter then, then I looked at what he was pointing at. When I looked at the meter again, it jumped by 8 euros! When I asked him why, he said something about extra charge, yada-yada, and that was what I should pay because that was what was on the meter. And I did. Then as we walked to our hotel, we found out our hotel was at the other end of the block and that he could have easily dropped us off in front!
Legionnaire's disease is caused by the legionella bacterium. Air conditioning systems are breeding grounds for the bacterium (others include moist showers, cooling towers, and humidifiers).
Barcelona has had several outbreaks - lack of official inspection and poor upkeep of air conditioning plants are the main culprits.
On 28/9/2000 NRC Handelsblad, a Dutch newspaper, published a list of European hotels where at least 2 cases of legionella were found during the previous 5 years. The Information was provided by the Dutch Ministry of Public Health, Welfare and Sport [Ministerie van Volksgezondheid, Welzijn en Sport.]
It is reckoned that 12,000 European tourists were infected with legionella in the 5 years up to 2000 (most of the cases in Southern Europe), with some 240 tourist deaths a year.
The list below is from an updated (27/8/2001) NRC Handelsblad report (see web site below). Hotels marked in red are in Catalonia. Check current status (local tourist board are unlikely to help).
San Carlos, Rosas (2001).
Hotel Ramblamar, Rosas (2001).
Fariones Apartments and Hotel, Puerto del Carmen, Lanzarote (2000).
Rey Don Jaime, Santa Ponsa, Mallorca (2000).
Aparthotel Jardin del Sol, Santa Ponsa, Mallorca (2000).
Motel Picon del Conde, Monasterio de Rodilla (2000).
Bermudas Apartments, Benidorm (2000).
Hotel Playa Margarita in Salou (2000).
Hotel Pionerp, Santa Ponsa, Mallorca (2000).
La Brujula Hotel, Monasterio de Rodilla, Castille y Leon (2000).
Estrella Del Mar, Alcudia, Mallorca (2000).
Hotel Victoria, Rosas (2000).
Hotel Nautilus, Rosas (1999).
Hotel Fiesta Park, Benidorm (1998).
Presidente Hotel, Benidorm (1998).
Hotel Tropic Parc, Malgrat de Mar (1997).
Hotel Cambrills Princess, Salou (1997).
The Dutch authorities published these lists. It is a pity that other countries are less willing to protect their nationals travelling abroad.
I live in barcelona for month and heared numerous stories about how tourists have been robbet at the metro or on the ramblas.I tried to be very careful on those places and was so far lucky,however,my wallet recently has been stolen-on passeig zona franca....far from the center.
I still had it on the bus 46 but no more at home-which means it was stolen during that 200meters walk between the stop and my place.While walking home a small kid was playing footbal and kept on kicking the ball in front of me. He was with someone who walked close to me on my left side-where my handbag was.There is no zip on it so it is easy to open. the kid kicked the ball 3-4 times in front of me then they both went into a shop. I was tired,coming from the airport so didnt pay attention...
The conclusion is: no matter where you are-in the center or in the suburbs,they will always try! So keep on eye about any unusal things and get a handbag with a zip! Guys-no wallet in the backpocket of your jeans!!!!
The Sagrada Familia, Antoni Gaudí's unfinished masterpiece, is one of Barcelona's most popular tourist attractions. Construction on this church will continue at least until 2041, but it has already become Barcelona's most important landmark.
The Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Família (official Catalan name; Spanish: Templo Expiatorio de la Sagrada Familia; "Expiatory Church of the Holy Family"), often simply called the Sagrada Família, is a massive, privately-funded Roman Catholic church that has been under construction in Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain since 1882 and is not expected to be complete until at least 2026.
The church is to be consecrated by Pope Benedict XVI on November 7, 2010.
Before i went to Barcelona i read many articles warning tourists against the dangers of La Ramblas and I thought that the stories they wrote were either far fetched or built up. Until I arried there with my boyfriend. We had jsut arrived at Passeig de Gracia with our luggage (metro was not working to our destination so we were trying to find our way around). A man dressed in a long shabby black coat was walking by the bus station (ten people waiting for the bus) pickpocketing change from them using the newspaper and internal jacket pockets technique. reminded me of a scene off Oliver Twist!
The following night, towards 2am, we were walking around the Colon coast to Drassanes (south of Ramblas) and an Indian guy kept walkin behind us tryin to sell us drugs. he followed us fro a good 5 mins een though we kept tellin to f*** off!! untill my boyfriend lost his patience and threatened to attack him and the guy went running away. he was working with a black guy who kept a couple of steps behind.
The worst happened on Saturday night at 11pm. we just walked out into La Ramblas from the Drasanes side where our hotel was. We had read on the net tha Drassanes was packed with Trannies, drug dealers and other dodgy characters but I was surprised to see the HIGH ammount of such people walking by through the tourists!! A prostitute kept callin out at my man for business (she didnt seem to care that we were holding hands) and after he told her to f*** off, a group of 3 trannies walked up to us, came in between us and surrounded him, pushin me aside. two of these trannies (on d game) started touchin him and feeling him up. I was sharp enough to recognize this from another review I had read on virtual tourist that this was their trick to distrct him while the thirs picked his pocket for money & mobile. I started screaming at him that they wer pickin his pockets and callin policia. he had to twist the pickockets arm to get hiss money back! a pimp jumped out of nowhere and charged at my boyfriend. but boyfriend scared pimp away (pimp was only a young kid in his early twenties) by punchin him and they all ran off. not a good start for a saturday night.
La ramblas is a great street full of street entertainers and performers. lots to see. but be very careful: do NOT act drunk or tipsy after its dark caus these are the people they target. my man was tipsy & they spotted him from a distance. when the police came up to us (called by a street performer who I reckon was friends with these trannies) the police just said: "this is a problem we are facing in barcelona. if u want to file a report, u must go to the police station". Police are big and armed but the only thing they are good at is walking up and down ramblas laughin and joking. they didnt give a damn.
Another tip: ignore the men selling beer in ramblas. this is just a disguise for cocaine selling. they kept walking up to us shouting cervieza and whispering "Cocaine"!!
Also be careful of people acting too friendly, men sellin roses in the street, women begging & people loitering around. ramblas full of prostitutes, pimps, trannies and drug dealers. if ure careful u should be safe and enjoy d trip ;)
This warning has been repeated many times over but it's something well worth being reminded of as you really don't want to have your money and travel documents taken by slippery fingers. My sister and I had a close call when we encountered an old woman holding a bunch of red flowers along Passeig de Gracia (one of the more upscale streets in Barcelona). We were just walking minding our own business when in the blink of an eye, she had stuck a red flower down the front of each of our blouses. And then she opened up her palm asking for a coin. Now, here she gets rather sly. She refused the local coins that I pulled out of my pocket. Instead, she insisted that it had to be a coin of my own currency or any currency other than the euro. When I said that we had none, she pointed to our bags and told us to check in there. My bag was securely zipped up and I firmly refused to open it (knowing at once what she was up to thanks to the reviews here!) but my sister's bag was unfortunately unzipped and the old woman just opened it in broad daylight and started rummaging in it!!! I tried to pull her hand out and saying "NO!" but that woman was very persistent. Luckily, she couldn't find anything in the mess inside my sister's bag and maybe our protests also distracted her. She eventually removed the flowers from our shirts and went off. As we continued walking down the street, I told my sister to check that her passport and money was still in the bag and fortunately, they were. As we stopped at the traffic lights, a local guy who had seen what had happened told us to be wary of such people as they were very slick pickpockets.
So, always keep your wits about you. NEVER leave your bag unzipped even the tiniest bit and definitely say "NO!" when someone tells you to open or check in your bag.
Another good tip is to take out the amount of money you think you require for the day and keep it in a small purse in your pocket so that you don't have to keep taking the purse containing all your money and passport out every time you wish to purchase something. I had a small purse with a fastener clipped to my jeans belt holder and that came in very handy.
Reason i have no photos !!!!! partly my own fault for getting lost whilst drunk and alone late at night. A Morrocon man following me until we seen police who searched me but not the Morrocon, im sure they were in on it. then ended up somewhere another accomplice appeared in front of me, i was jumped from behind, taken to the floor and held at knife point whilst one of them obbed my camera, passport, wallet with 70euro's all bank cards and i.d and also my trainers (scum) so please becarefull and dont make my mistake!!!!! (beautiful place still)
I went to Barcelona in August and found it to be one of the most safest big cities in Europe. During all my stay I didn't observe one single attempt of pickpocketing, even on the overcrowded Rambla where there were lots of people walking with their wallet hanging out of their back pockets. I'm not saying that you should do the same but I keep reading that Barcelona is some kind of heaven for pickpockets which I simply can't subscribe. As for beggars, there were very few and in my whole stay there, I wasn't harassed one single time on the street, bus or metro. (!!!)
So don't be paranoid, just be alert and you should have a very good time in Barcelona.
Barcelona is one of those places where there are tons of people coming for medium-term stays - too long to stay in a pension, hostel or hotel, and too short to look for a standard apartment rental with a lease and all the trapping of a stable accomodation. The result is a flourishing sublet market, one that is far beyond the control of anyone or any agency. Most of the posts you see on a site like loquo.com are legit, but there is a healthy dose of scam artists, psychos, cheaters and crazies who also use the posting boards to lure victims, particularly the young and/or foreigners. Despite having lived in Barcelona before, I fell victim to a psycho - he didn't set out to scam me, but the apartment should have been condemned and he should have been put under state supervision long ago. The place seemed ok when I went through it, but after moving in, I discovered that insurers had refused to insure the place because it was unsound, and that the room I had rented had only one jack out of three that actually had electricity (and that one had a smashed outlet that was barely functional) and that the phone line running into the room was dead. There were also hundreds of euro of outstanding telephone and internet service charges on the apartment. The guy I had rented from was even better. He told me he worked in a hotel, but then it came out that not only had he not worked for more than 6 months, but that he had in fact been thrown in jail for assaulting one of his former co-workers. He had no money, and my deposit evaporated within two days. He was "over-attentive" (figure out what that means on your own) and didn't understand that I rented from him and that he didn't have the right to barge into my room while I was sleeping.
I understand that this is sort of a unique situation that is certainly at the crazier end of the rental scale. Nevertheless, I saw many places for rent before and after this incident and can tell you with certainty that renting a place in Barcelona is no simple affair. Keep your eyes open and question as much as you can. It's common sense in all cities to do that when you rent, but Barcelona is a bit of a Wild West when it comes to renting and you should be on greater guard than usual - since no one in the police or the municipal government will be there to bail you out when things go sour.
This may well be a new scam as I hadn't read about it before on here, but it's something to be well aware of.
Me and my friends were on the beach when we were approached by a guy selling Barcelona Gold cards for €8 or €20 for a deluxe one.
They come with a small map and lists of various clubs which you can supposedly gain free entry to before a certain time/get special offers on drinks/etc.
We were a bit wary at first but decided that for €8 each we might as well buy some, so all 7 of us did, which you can imagine gave the guy selling them a fair bit of money.
By the time we got back to our Youth Hostel we'd figured out they were probably fakes, and asked some of the clubs/people selling tickets to clubs about it, and they told us it was a scam.
So don't buy them and don't get scammed!
My husband and I travelled by car from the south of France to Barcelona. As we arrived in Barcelona we had a particularly unpleasant experience which I would not wish on others. Whilst driving into the centre, in a built up, smart, residential area we heard a terrible noise. When we pulled into the side of the road to investigate we found that we had a very flat tyre. A young man pulled up on the pavement beside us on a motor scooter. He motioned away up the street and talked of "mechanico". When we said we didn't understand he pulled away. Whilst my husband started to change the tyre I realised that someone had removed my handbag and my husband's bag from the front and rear seats of the car. We were stood at the side of the car the whole time and did not hear two doors being opened and closed properly. To do this on our car is very difficult as the doors take some closing- but they obviously practice! Whilst we were making arrangments to go to the nearest police station - a car pulled up and asked us if we needed help. They said that they were plain clothes policemen and briefly showed us a badge - when we said that we would report our theft at the police station they drove off quickly. The real police told us that these fake police offering to help were often part of the robbery - checking whether there is anything else worth taking.
When we reported the theft to the police they said that they had 4/5 reports each day at that police station alone - usually targeting British, French or hire cars because they are obviously holidaymakers. They follow visiting cars through the traffic and at traffic lights the chap on the scooter checks what is visible as well as presuming that most women keep their handbags on the floor at their feet when they are passengers in cars. When they decide on a target the man on the scooter has a metal spike fitted to his shoe. He then pulls close to the car whilst at traffic lights and punctures the tyre with the spike. He and the robbers' car then follow the victims waiting for the flat tyre to be noticed. The police told us that this is replacing pickpocketing because so many people use money belts etc. The police said they target the rear tyres opposite the driver’s door, varying it according to the country of origin. People usually pull in with the problem tyre next to the pavement to enable them to change it and this then leaves the passenger side unattended.
In our case it caused us very serious problems as they took our passports, cash and credit cards. It resulted in us having to return to the UK early.
We thought that we were quite "street-wise" and we were prepared with money belts etc, but because we hadn't even got out of the car then we hadn't put them on. Whilst we were in the British Consulate on Monday morning arranging for replacement passports there were other British visitors who had had the same experience.