Barcelona Journals

If I had to live in Europe...

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A December 1999 trip to Barcelona by Jose Kevo

Good Morning Barcelona! Photo, Barcelona, Spain More Photos
Quote: Of eight European vacations, none come close living up to my 10 days in Barcelona for Christmas/millenium New Year! This journal gives personal details and experiences above and beyond the general listings of what you'd expect. You've got to visit this amazing city! VUELVERE - I will return!

If I had to live in Europe...

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Overview

Good Morning Barcelona! Photo, Barcelona, Spain
Quote:
Barcelona is excellent for budget travelers. Not counting airfare, I spent .00 for 10 days on EVERYTHING else! I'll tell you where and how. No matter what your preferences and tastes, there's a lot of something for everyone in this versatile city which appears to have everything to offer...so much, I was still discovering new places and things in the same areas on my last day. The old city (Ciutat Vella), is a never-ending labyrinth of pedestrianized, narrow cobble-stoned streets and alleys. Each different turn thru this often confusing maze will satisfy the most adventurous person's sense of exploration. While surfaces are flat and area much larger than Lisbon's ALfama, no day is comp...Read More

Pension Europa

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Hotel

Pension Europa Photo, Barcelona, Spain
Quote:
Pension Europa is in the heart of the old city and less than 100-yards off La Rambla at it''s center.The location was excellent for basing my vacation from for quick, easy access to everything and having the labyrinth, maze-like streets of the old city to wander everyday in my down time. Europa was not only the first place I came across with any vacancies, but they were also the only place that hadn''t raised their rates for the millenium holidays. I paid 2000 pesetas a night for a very nice single room w/o bath that had everything I needed...though Planet refers to them as small and bare which mine wasn''t. With the Spanish vaulted ceilings, my room had a single bed, night stand, dressing table...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on July 11, 2001

Pension Europa
Calle de la Boqueria 18
Barcelona, Spain
93 318 76 20

Restaurante Pollo Rico

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Restaurant

Quote:
If you're looking for inexpensive, typical foods prepared Catalunyan style, I highly suggest trying RESTAURANTE POLLO RICO at #31 Carrer de Sant Pau in the El Raval section, two blocks off of La Rambla and down from the Gran Theatre de Liceu. Actually, there's two restaurants within the same location. A fancier one upstairs...though I never made it in lieu of bellying up to the downstairs stainless steel counter top shoulder-to-shoulder with all the locals and being welcomed into their everyday lives. The place runs like an old diner with foods prepared across the counter. Service was quick/efficient, the food large proportioned, good and inexpensive. The place was always packed, but it's worth t...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on July 11, 2001

Restaurante Pollo Rico
#31 Carrer De Sant Pau (el Raval Area)
Barcelona, Spain

Barcelona Restaurants

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Restaurant | "Dining In General"

Barcelona Restaurants Photo, Barcelona, Spain
Quote:
Breakfasts were quick; easy, provided you find a place that's open if you're an early riser. (Most places don't open until 9:00 a.m. or later.) Regional pastries were typically good. Two pastries/two cups of coffee usually under $3.00. While small cafes are everywhere, I'd reference places frequented near Pension Europa. There were 3 cafe shops on Boqueria the short distance between the pension and La Rambla. Another morning favorite was a short zig-zag to the beautiful plaza of nearby Esglesia de Santa Maria del Pi which claims to have the world's largest stained glass rose medallion window. From the courtyard cafes, the vistas and church bells made for a good breakfast and morning while watch...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on July 12, 2001

Barcelona Restaurants
Throughout Barcelona
Barcelona, Spain

Antoni Gaudi Landmarks (Gaudi Route)

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Attraction | "Gaudi's Magical Mystery Tour"

Antoni Gaudi Landmarks (Gaudi Route) Photo, Barcelona, Spain
Quote:
No trip to Barcelona would be complete without indepthly exploring the LA EIXAMPLE district which showcases the Modernistas style of architecture as well as various forms of extravagance and elegance within each building. There are many walking tour maps of this area available of which I highly recommend just for the information given, but I also encourage explorers to simply wander the streets - both the thoroughfares and side streets so as to enjoy all there's to see. Rather large shade trees can often make it difficult for spotting important works and makes picture taking all but impossible. Like when touring any city in search of architecture, walk both sides of the streets to get the fullest p...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on July 13, 2001

Antoni Gaudi Landmarks (Gaudi Route)
La Exaimple -- Center City
Barcelona, Spain

Parc de la Ciutadella

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Attraction | "PARC de la CUITADELLA"

Parc de la Ciutadella Photo, Barcelona, Spain
Quote:
The City Park (Parc de la Cuitadella) and it's surrounding areas are full of history and greenery providing a quiet, relaxing "nature break". The area was developed with Spain still flaunting their wealth in preparation for the 1888 Universal Exhibition - 10 years before suffering defeat in the Spanish-American war that all but crippled and ended their overseas wealth and empires. A good place to begin is the Arc de Triomf; an impressive brick version of the Paris original. The arc leads into a sprawling promenade filled with benches, roller bladers, street entertainers, and a fresh foods market open earlier of a day. Continue on until crossing Passeig de les Pujades where you'll officially e...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on July 13, 2001

Parc de la Ciutadella
Passeig de Pujades
Barcelona, Spain 08005

Montjuic Hill

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Attraction | "Montjuic/Olympic Stadium areas"

Montjuic Hill Photo, Barcelona, Spain
Quote:
The Montjuic & Olympic Stadium are areas you'll feel obligated to see though it wasn't much to get exicted about. Getting there, if you don't take cable cars (read Barcelona Beachfront entry for details), the cheapest way is taking metro line #3 to Paral-lel stop and, without coming above ground, repay to board the funicular and then a chair lift. Reaching the top costs about $3.50 total. You[ll be dropped off at Castell (Castle) de Montjuic which won't seem like much if you've been through the fortresses of Old San Juan. The area's surrounded by gardens to amble thru or head for the '92 Olympic compounds. Follow the winding roads or cut thru the woods for a nice break from the city and...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on July 13, 2001

Montjuic Hill
Southwest of City Center Overlooking the Harbor
Barcelona, Catalonia

Tibidabo

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Attraction | "Tibidabo mountain"

Tibidabo Photo, Barcelona, Spain
Quote:
The Tibidabo area is another excursion that yields a nice break from being within the city and is better planned for the weekend when skies tend to be less tainted with smog. (See my Additional Tips journal entry for further details). Unless you're traveling with young children, the Fun Fair Amusement Park atop the mountain won't be much of a reason for making this trip. Your priority for coming should be the Temple de Sacrat Cor (Temple of the Sacred Heart) that is actually two churches built on top of the other and, at night, are illuminated in white seen from anywhere within Barcelona below. The outer structural works, carvings and statues are more impressive than anything inside and can be ...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on July 13, 2001

Tibidabo
Sarrià Sant Gervasi
Barcelona, Spain 08035

Barcelona for the Holidays

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Story/Tip

Decoration Extravaganzas Photo, Barcelona, Spain
Quote:
Barcelona for the holidays is a choice the traveler won't regret and while things were "larger than life" for the new millenium, something tells me these people know how to do it up right each and every year!First, the mediterranean climate was perfectly sunny (there was no rain) with day temps in the 60's & 70's and nights very mild often needing only a light jacket and t-shirt.Arriving on the 22nd, I was also able to find a room without a reservation though many places were already full.For Christmas, the streets and buildings are beautifully adorned with lights and decorations including a lot of the narrow, cobble-stoned areas in the old city. Ame...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on July 12, 2001

Parc Joan Miro

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Attraction | "DON'T PARK HERE"

Quote:
Barcelona isn't all heavenly so let me spare potentially bursting your bubble with some heads-up warning UNLESS there's been some major renovations over the last two years. Cars race around the circular turn-around at Placa de Espanya, but as a walking tourist, I advise heading for the campaniles, fountains, and such of Montjuic. Heading the opposite direction will be a disappointment despite its somewhat heavy promotions. First, the huge monument centered in Placa de Espanya was heavily corroded, covered with pidgeon droppings and in severe need of a good cleaning. Just across is the "can't miss" local bullring which was built in 1900 but mostly used for concerts since Catalunyans pride themse...Read More

Member Rating 1 out of 5 on July 12, 2001

Parc Joan Miro

Barcelona, Spain

Park Guell (Parc Güell)

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Attraction | "PARC GUELL - an awesome "failure""

Park Guell (Parc Güell) Photo, Barcelona, Spain
Quote:
There's no admission fee for PARC GUELL; perhaps because this, as another of Antoni Gaudi's showcases, was perceived as a failure and, that if you build it, they won't always come! So the place didn't fill up with estates and mansions, but Gaudi definitely left his mark with his tile mosaic creations in the park entry way which give way to Utopia-like creations hidden within the woods all around the side of the mountain. The further you get from the entry, the more private and secluded your time here will be. However, I also suggest not leaving until you've explored the area all the way to the top!!! Certainly there are unmarked trails thru the woods, but the quickest way to the top I found was...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on July 12, 2001

Park Guell (Parc Güell)
Montana Pelada, Gracia District
Barcelona, Catalonia

Beachfront Barcelona

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Story/Tip

December Desertion Photo, Barcelona, Spain
Quote:
Beachfront Barcelona thankfully includes more than the Port Vell harbor area La Rambla leads up to beyond the Christopher Columbus statue...unless all you're looking for are over-priced shopping malls and the local aquarium.To get to the real sand and surf, your best bet is to eye the location of where the cable car tower is and make a wide walking loop until coming to Passeig de Joan de Barbo and the small community area of La Barceloneta. From here, you can all but sniff your way to the beach with the salty sea scents wafting in the breeze. And in route and looking around, also look up as there were many green parrots playing among the trees. There are several sections of prime beach...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on July 12, 2001

La Rambla (Las Ramblas) Pedestrian Mall

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Attraction | "Help Thyself - a warning of danger"

La Rambla (Las Ramblas) Pedestrian Mall Photo, Barcelona, Spain
Quote:
The areas of lower La Rambla and El Raval are to be enjoyed day and night but with "heads-up" caution literally. If Barcelona has a down-side where tourists need to be aware, these are it! The beautiful Placa Reail, also with Gaudi's influence all over it, is probably the most risky place in the city...and more than just because of all the alternative types who hang out here. Drug dealers heavily frequent the area as do undercover officers...but don't take that as a green light for safety. People here survive by preying upon and taking advantage of others. My own NYC Spanish Harlem ghetto-based opinion of Placa Reail is that any tourist should not be deprived the opportunity to walk thru this ...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on July 12, 2001

La Rambla (Las Ramblas) Pedestrian Mall
Central Barcelona
Barcelona, Spain

Street Culture Art

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Attraction

Street Culture Art Photo, Barcelona, Spain
Quote:
When returning from my trips, I'm always asked which of the art and other museums I visited. Well...except for Rome & The Vatican, I'm just not a museum-type traveler. But I'm also not culturally "void" when it comes to appreciating the finer arts. Based on my ghetto-environs in NYC, I like to track down Europe's shadier sides to view graffiti and murals painted by street artists. Some are done with airbrushes; others "freestyle" meaning they create straight from the can. I can imagine what some of you are thinking, but the obvious talent of these budding young artists is simply too great to ignore as the potential future Picassos and Dalis and Monets of tomorrow. And Barcelona being the ...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on August 29, 2001

Street Culture Art
Around the city
Barcelona, Spain

ADDITIONAL TIPS & HINTS FOR BARCELONA

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Story/Tip

Montserrat Photo, Barcelona, Spain
Quote:
PREPLANNING YOUR TIME Before you travel anywhere, do your homework! Know what options you have. Decide what you'd like to see and do. Learn as much as you can so you know what you'll be experiencing, looking at. Plan a "tenative" schedule alternating heavy/lite sightseeing days. Don't waste valuable time trying to figure things out after you get there; especially crucial when traveling (and often disagreeing) as two or more.<<p>> ATTITUDE ADJUSTMENT Unlike most major touristy European cities, Barcelona is not loaded with major sites and attractions, and as you might have detected reading my journal, Montjuic, Tibidabo, etc. weren't all that much to get excited about. But...Read More

DISCOUNT TRAVEL SERIES - Where you stay

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Story/Tip

Beware of Balconies Photo, Barcelona, Spain
Quote:
Other than the airline ticket that gets you there, where you stay is the other necessary factor that can take a very large chunk out of your budget...though it doesn't have to be that way. Especially when traveling to Europe, I highly recommend staying in the "Pensiones". A pension is often a reliable happy medium between youth backpacking hostals and major hotels. They're usually centrally located in older structured hotels, converted mansions, and some even in local residents' homes. They're a budget traveler's dream when it comes to basic accomodations and real cultural experience at less than half the expected normal cost! When traveling, assess your priorities and levels of necessary crea...Read More