Overrated Sites, Barcelona
One big disappointment for me in Barcelona was the Palau Nacional and surrounds at Montjuic. Do you remember the 1992 Olympics and that beautiful fountain with the gracious palace in the background?
Well, the fountain wasn't going at all on the two days I went to see it. The Palace was rundown, with old sheets hanging in the windows. The escalators up to it were broken and piles of litter had accumulated at the bottom of them. The whole place was seedy and grubby. It was a moment of reality bights I suppose - you can't always have those picturesque moments!
Sagrada Familia, the much-hyped, Gaudi-designed, terminally-under-construction cathedral complex, Barcelona's showpiece. Yawn. Save your money and just see the cool sculptures on the outside.
Fun Alternatives: The Cathedral in the Barri Gothic neighborhood is much cooler and more interesting, plus it has a candle vending machine as well, so there! Seriously, it does. The machine candles are way overpriced, so I don't recommend *them,* but if you visit one church in BCN, let it not be Sagrada Familia!
Don't pay to get inside the Sagrada Familia unless you do it just to support the building of the church. Because of all the work done to the cathedral everyday you will mostly see fences and ropes and platic sheets and stuff like that. It's much better just to walk around outside. That's what I think...
La Sagrada Familia is an awesome sight and gives a sense of what it must have been like to build a massive cathedral hundreds of years ago. It is definetly a viewing pleasure but what is a COMPLETE waste of time is standing in the long line to go inside. The cathedral is a shell, empty and under construction on the inside without a whole lot to see. It is better viewed and captured on film from the outside.
This picture is of part of the facade which is extremely detailed and ornate. It is virtually impossible to capture the whole building into one picture so this is only a detail.
Not exactly tourist traps but worth a warning.
1. The natural scenery at Montserrat is fine and it worth a visit BUT from my point of view the monastery and the crowds come near to wrecking it. So go early and get up the highest funicular from the top of the cable sar and escape the crowds until you come down.
2. Again the Picasso museum is good and I am glad to have been but I wonder if there would be quite such queues if people realised how heavily it is geared towards his earlier work.
Cannot resist a photo of a building at the entrance to Parc Guell which may look a potential tourist trap but IS NOT.
The "Spanish village" is a kind of open air museum with reproductions of well known buildings of villages in the different Spanish regions. Not a very original idea, but this one exists since as early as 1929, when it was built with occasion of an international exhibition held in Barcelona. I am not a big fan of these folkloric open air musuems, but I guess this one was much more enyoable than others I have visited.
The museum is open even during the night, as some of the buildings host hight clubs and pubs.
The Poble Espanyol is located in the Montjuic mountain (pictured).
Poble español, at Park de Montjuïc, a place catered to tourists which shows us the different styles of architecture that are found thoughout the provinces of Spain. There are many quaint shops that sell crafts and artisan-type souvenirs, some one-of-a-kind, some mass-produced.
The 1992 Olympic Stadium. It was great at the time and on the TV, but now it just seems to be full of school parties. If you have however got an afternoon spare and you don't mind the kids then I suppose it is okay.
Unique Suggestions: Make sure you have a proper look around so you haven't totally wasted your time.
Fun Alternatives: Sit in a cafe and people watch.
We again hopped on the local tourist bus for a couple of days to travel around the sight. It doesn't give a running commentary, just gets you from place to place. Two of the 'main attractions' on the trip are:
The Olympic Village and stadium,(like how long ago were the Barcelona olympics - get over it) and
Poble Espanyol - a fake spanish village (hello you're in Spain, go to the real thing for goodness sake.)I will admit though that they did sell some good handcrafts.
If you're going up to the mountain (??Mt Tibiado??) in the winter, not that the train to the top only goes on the weekend. Though there is an alright view from the bootom of the track. but a few restaurants have hogged the sites so you ahve to go in to see out clearly.
Built for the 1992 Olympics, the Poble Espanyol is now little more than a tourist trap. Each region of Spain except the Canary Islands is represented with typical buildings and crafts. Tourists wander throught the streets, admiring the architecture and browsing through extremely expensive stores and restaurants. Concerts and light shows are held here at night. I have not witnessed them, but perhaps they are more worthy of one's time.
Sagrada Familia looks very impressive from the outside but to be charged 11 euro to be allowed into the building site is a bit much. Dont waste your money just enjoy it from the outside.
The Pueblo Espanol, or Spanish Town, is a specialty shopping mall, where you have to pay to get in.
Unique Suggestions: Visit the craftmen's workshops
Fun Alternatives: For a real spanish town, go to Toledo.