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Competing Tour Groups
There are several main tour bus companies. We used the Barcelona Turistic Bus which is the hop-on hop-off bus. However we got our tickets at the airport and had no idea what the actual buses looked like except that they were double deckers.
At first we tried to board the Barcelona Tours buses. But this was not the right tour company - don't get confused. The buses that we wanted were blue on top, and white on the bottom with a red front bumper. The two types of buses are shown in the first photo, with a full picture of each in photo 2 and 3.
I really liked the Turistic Bus that we purchased. I do not know anything about the Barcelona bus or what you see on it but I think the stops are pretty much the same.
I understand that 'Barcelona Tours' company is more expensive than the Bus Turistic, and it may have the commentary in more languages.Related to:
- Arts and Culture
- Historical Travel
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Shark Tunnel photos
The aquarium takes photos of you as you exit the shark tunnel. The ones of us were horrible as my grandson had his back to the camera, and they weren't very good of me either. I snapped a photo of the booth where the photos were displayed (it is the picture that is with this tip) and the girl tried to charge me 9 €
You can kind of see us even in this blurred photo. I'm wearing a bright pink coat (sitting in the bottom right corner), and my grandson is wearing a bright blue hoodie and is standing next to me (see second photo, which I did buy)Related to:
- Family Travel
Look out for pickpocket
Anywhere I travelling, always I've read the warnings for pickpockets.
So, since Barcelona I was lucky, never nothing wasn't happened.
Now I lost my purse, it was stolen with my ID card and driving licence in time we watch the show at Magic Fountain of Montjuic.
It was stolen so dexterously, I didn't detect nothing, since next morning ...
Now, for my next trip, I take the warnings seriously, I prepare for such surprises better
The Barcelona Bug
Once in Barcelona, beware of the Barcelona Bug. This harmful little animal can bite you and contaminate for the rest of your life, so, be careful. And not to mention if you are “unlucky” to meet the great people from the city as I did, then, you will want to go back to Barcelona time and again!
PS: This tip is dedicated to the “evil” inhabitants of Barcelona.
Sagrada Family: Awesome Yet Acrophobic Too!
This was such an impressive cathedral to me! I was really moved by Gaudi's vision for the church, which he began constructing in 1882. The construction is still underway, following what is known of Gaudi's plans, and funded by the generosity of donors and ticket sales.
When I visited in Jan 2006 I waited in line about 30 minutes to get in. My oldest daughter and I chose to climb up the spire and across an arc to an observation point. This is not a task for those with acrophobia! The spiral stairs leading up were very tight and steep with no room to change one's mind once one starts the ascent. (While we were going up, one frightened woman turned back, anyway, and just became very personal with those of us she met going down!) Small windows were cut along the way with holes big enough for light but too narrow for normal people to fit through. With no bars or glass in the openings, the views were quite nice, but for that part of me that fears heights, the seamless connection with the outside at such an altitude was also a bit unsettling.
I loved looking out in the small, round observation area (and again, the windows were holes with no bars or glass, but small enough to be safe). I could see that words were placed going down the top of the spires that said, "Gloria In Excelcius Deo." It was a suprise to me and struck me as both incredibly clever and inspiring.
We were able to climb over another arc to another observation area located even higher, but at that point I opted out. The arcs had a wall that went up to perhaps upper arm height (I can't remember, exactly) and then it was just--open. I decided that one arc was enough for the time but I was envious of those moving onward, wondering what view they would get.
At the point of the observation area, there is an elevator nearby that we could ride down to keep the spiral staircase traffic one-way.Related to:
- Religious Travel
- Family Travel
The one thing I disliked about Barcelona is the beggers. It wouldn't be so bad if they didn't use children, babies even, and if they didn't touch you. The beggers here are relentless. There were women carrying babies crying and touching you asking for money to feed their babies. And they don't let up when you say no. They just keep crying and holding on to your sleeve. It made me feel very uncomfortable. It was worst on Las Ramblas. Just be aware that it is going to happen and keep your posessions close.
It is really tough being a vegetarian in Spain. While there are a few token vegetarian places, the vast majority of restaurants have some kind of meat, poultry or fish in every dish, except for one or two vegetable appetizers. Vegetarian main courses are practically unheard of. Heaven help the poor vegan who decides he/she wants to spend a week in Spain.
I ate lots of Andalucian gazpacho (delicious!), or would order the ensalata mixto and scrape off the tuna. But my view is that traveling to a country means experiencing everything, even the cuisine. And if that means I have to eat non-vegetarian food, I will. If I had eaten only fruit and veggies in Spain, I would have missed out on a significant part of Spain's culture. I had plenty to choose from by eating fish. I didn't even have to branch out to poultry or red meat. And I certainly didn't have to eat any of the stuff shown in this picture!Related to:
- Food and Dining
Encants Vells: kinda creepy
So I went to Encants Vells for the first and only time NOT so early in the morning, which could have been my mistake. I can't say that it isn't worth the trip if you're willing to get up for the early morning bargain hunt. But if you're into flea markets (a la Paris or Los Angeles) with vintage clothes and furniture etc, I'd say you have better chances elsewhere. Encants Vells, at least later in the day when I was there, had a lot of new furniture, old random belongings, cords, electronic parts and pieces, and dirty piles of unidentifiables. (Oh and don't forget the barrage of VHS porn). There was also a lot of kitchen accessories.
I love flea markets and am never hesitant to head into a Goodwill or a swap meet, but this place kinda gave me the creeps.
If it's antiques you're looking for, I'd recommend heading over to the cathedral on Thursday mornings when they have a little weekly antique fair. If you're budget is a little more flexible, take a walk down the pleasant c/ Banys Nous in Ciutat Vella and stop into some of the antique stores down there. This street is also worth a visit just to peek in the windows or to stop for some delicious chocolate at #4 (get the suisse!)
Bottom line, I'd say if you're tight on time or metro rides, skip Encants Vells, but if you're curious and in the area, it might be worth a trip since there's no entrance fee.Related to:
- Study Abroad
- Budget Travel
Beggars and drunks. Only a warning.
This did not in any way spoil our trip to Barcelona but i thought i would warn everyone.
We were staying in the Gothic Quarter. To get anywhere else in Barcelona you have to walk down some very narrow streets with bad lighting especially at night. There are also squares which are surrounded by buildings and on some of these squares or courtyards beggars and drunkards gather.
Sometimes the beggars can get a bit close and loud when asking for money which my wife found uncomfortable and the drunkards can shout and be a bit mad.
One night after a whole load of beggars hassled us, my wife felt unsafe and i had to take her back to the hotel. I needless to say went back out for a nightcap or three.
I live in London so i am used to this but i choose not to go down narrow streets if i can help it. In the Gothic Quarter you dont have a choice sometimes.
Best advice is to always have your head screwed on (dont leave a bar really drunk and on your own). Learn a some spanish phrases that let people know you have no money or no intention of giving them any.Related to:
- Family Travel
- Study Abroad
Avoid olympic area (olympico) for nightlife.Its full of clubs with drunk tourists.And after clubbing there is a problem how to return to hotel, there are a lot of people waiting for taxi and there is only a bus and you have to walk a little to reach the bus station but it is not so helpy as concerns the bus route.
Don't carry a purse
I read a lot of tips describing the overwhelming presence of pick pockets in Barcelona. As a preventative measure I told my Mom that she could not carry a purse. We both had large pockets sewed inside our coats. My new pocket was large enough to place my small camera and map inside. I then placed a small amount of money in my front trouser/pant pocket. The unexpected benefit of this wardrobe adjustment was that I didn't feel as tired or have sore shoulders from carrying around a purse, backpack and /or large camera bag all day.
Hire Car - Fake Punctures - Scooter rider thieves
We were also caught by having to stop to repair a puncture courtesy of scooter rider thieves. Our Hire Car picked up at Girona Airport did not have the obligatory red triangle nor a wheel brace. The scooter rider decoy stopped to discuss this & offer help. The second scooter rider stopped out of my sight. A witness saw the pillion take the bag. Both rode off.
When I challenged the Hire Car Company on my returning the car, they immediately paid the 80 Euros it cost me to have the car removed and wheel changed and said that it was company policy not to include a triangle or tools. They would rather pay the Police Fines?? The sole attendant couldn't explain why this policy exists. I shall be writing to their Headquarters in Alicante.
1. Check Hire Car over thoroughly before accepting it - make sure it has a Triangle and sufficient tools to change the wheel.
2. We paid an extra 15 Euros for tyre, wheel and glass Insurance. I was reluctant to do this but did and it saved me my 80 Euros.
3. Remove Car Hire Company Stickers. The thieves first job is to identify tourists and their Hire Cars.
4. Difficult but do all you can not to be identified as a tourist.
5. When you leave the car park be vigilant for scooter riders and when stopped at Traffic Lights - all alert.
6. Drive with all doors locked and do not leave bags or expensive belongings on a back seat or parcel shelf. People at Station suffered this way.
7. My Son-in-Law's 3 Family Passports, camera etc. were all stolen. Most of all my pride as I am a retired Police Officer. Our holiday was further spoiled by trying to find the nearest British Consulate. We sought help by ringing home and getting the required information from the Internet. The Passport Booklet does not help with telephone numbers so it might be a good idea to find these things out before you go. Eventually he had to travel to Montpellier.Related to:
- Road Trip
SEATING IN RESTAURANTS
Just something to be aware of really.. Particulalry if you happen to be on a budget. Some restaurants will charge you slightly more for your food etc if you sit at outside tables. It can even be cheaper to eat sitting at the bar than at the inside tables but it really depends on the restaurant.
A weekend away in Barcelona was a surprise for me.....so all the spanish I had was what I learnt on the plane! We managed to get by with "hola" "vale" and "no hablo espanol" ( a very handy phrase!!). But we got a rough ride and treated with contempt. We ended up seeking solace in an Irish Bar! We travelled on the underground and got into museums etc no problem...it was the waiters that gave us a bad time. Next time we go, I'll have a few more phrases learnt!Related to:
- Women's Travel
- Study Abroad
Other place where tourists, and locals too, are a target are in the bars in the centre. There are pickpockets that are waiting for the minimun distraction to take your staff, mobile phones on the table and other things. Don't hang the jackets or bags in the back of the chair.
By this tips I don't wanna make you think Barcelona is an unsafe place, just like the other touristic places in popular cities. If you have the basic precautions you don't have to have any problem.
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