Barcelona – Land of the Beautiful Half Vampires (Live for the Nightlife, Walk in the Sunshine)
Hello All 🙂 well here’s my review of Barcelona for anyone who’s contemplating going to Barcelona. I’m going to start by explaining my above statement. Barcelona is a city well known for its nightlife with the people of Barcelona generally eating dinner between 9 and 11pm so come Thursday night (the beginning of their clubbing weekend) they have a few drinks and then head to the clubs around midnight with the majority of them closing at around 5am. Saying that however there are some bars that you can go onto from the clubs which are open until midday so if you didn’t need sleep you could constantly drink and party from Thursday to the early hours of Monday morning woo 😛 With so much time to drink and party you’d guess a lot of the people would be fairly unhealthy however due to the busyness of Barcelona, driving around would be like driving around in London so the majority of people use mopeds, motorbikes (apparently the most used in any European city) or bicycles using a bike system they call Bicing where people can buy a yearly pass to use any of the bicycles placed around the city. You often also see people running, playing sports or walking which my feet found to be quite hard-core considering my hotel was situated 1km from the west end of the famous Rambla de Catalunya (a night shot below shows the outdoors eating and drinking areas of the cafes and restaurants running along the length of the street which are perfect for relaxing and people watching). Considering all of the above it’ll be hard to find any unhealthy people whilst in Barcelona with the majority of people being well toned. Added to this minus myself, a couple of other tourists and the odd drain everyone and everything (the food etc) smelt amazing even when the city was a very sunny and warm 24 degrees Celsius (on average the city is sunny 300 days a year with the rainy days generally being a rain shower rather than a downpour meaning most people have beautifully golden tans). Although I did say vampires I found everyone apart from a taxi driver to be very friendly people.
Barcelona has two official languages Catalan and Spanish although I had been told by a lot of people that you could get by, by speaking English however the surrounding area of my hotel was not a typically tourist area and I found that a lot of people did not speak any English at all so a lot of sign language with a little Catalan and some guess work with when to say ‘si’ or ‘no’ was required on my part. I also found that when starting a conversation the majority of people would reply in Spanish rather than Catalan which went against what I had heard about people being intensely proud of being Catalan though I’m guessing this is because most people would not bother with learning Catalan as it isn’t as widely spoken as Spanish. Saying that however I did use a bit of Catalan and found I kept being charged less than the menu would state or items would be missing from the bill so I’m not sure if it was because of that or because of my natural beauty which also managed to crash the airport security face scanners ;P
Where to Stay and the Bus Turistic
If you decide to go I’d recommend staying somewhere nearby Placa de Catalunya which is situated at the east end of the above mentioned Rambla de Catalunya as this is what I classed as the centre of Barcelona from which you can pick up the Bus Turistics for two of the three routes that the buses run. You can also buy the bus tickets from the tourist information stands which are situated here for €24 for a day ticket or €31 for a two day ticket which covers most of Barcelona. To explain the Bus Turistic once you’ve got your tickets and get on the bus you’ll be offered headphones (to keep) which you plug into the seat in front and choose from 10 different languages to be your tour guide as you go around the city. You can get on and off as many times as you want from any of its stops during the day though the bus runs from 9am to 7/8pm (winter/summer). If you need to get around during other times of the day you can catch general buses, taxis, trams or the metro, however like myself you could walk as I felt perfectly safe the whole time I was in Barcelona due to the majority of areas being well lit and there constantly being people around including the policia (though I unfortunately didn’t get to see a lot of the night life so I cannot guarantee this). Oh I should mention you can also get the aerobus to and from the airport to the Placa de Catalunya which costs €5.30 each way.
La Rambla pretty much continues on from the other side of Placa de Catalunya to where Rambla de Catalunya ends and is in a similar layout with restaurants and cafes down the sides of the street however La Rambla is covered in tourist stands selling overpriced gifts (tip: you can buy some of the gifts, drinks and foodin streets just off of La Rambla for cheaper prices so it’s generally worth wandering down them if you fancy something). If you’re a fan of fresh food markets about halfway down La Rambla you’ll find one full of fresh meat, fish, fruit, veg and juices. Once you get to the bottom of La Rambla you’ll reach the port of Barcelona filled with boats and yachts and if you head to your left you’ll end up at La Barceloneta and the beaches. If you’re a fan of seafood and paella then La Barceloneta is where you should head for your food, just a warning I tried paella in a cafe near my hotel (a couple of miles inland) and didn’t rate it very highly yet the paella being sold in the restaurants by the sea looked pretty good.
If you’re interested in the beaches then you’ll be glad to know they’re sandy (not the shingly rubbish) with Barcelona being voted as having the best city beaches in the whole of Europe, though as you’d expect these can get pretty crowded. A tip I have heard is to try going to the northern most beaches as these are the least crowded as they’re furthest from the tourist areas of Barcelona.
The Architecture, History and Art
If you’re a fan of Architecture then Gaudi is the main man here with parts of his work to be seen all over the city; the most famous being La Sagrada Familia which still hasn’t been finished as shown below
Other architectural features include Barcelona’s Modernista style buildings some of which are pointed out on the Bus Turistic routes. Apart from the buildings and sculptures you can see whilst travelling around Barcelona there are also a few museums of art and history that you can visit though I can’t comment on these as I didn’t get to see them.
For any football fan a tour of the Camp Nou is a must, you’ll be given access to the trophy room which also includes trophies for their other sporting teams (rugby, hockey, futbol, basketball etc), the press room, the changing rooms, views of the stadium from multiple stands including the director’s box and down by the pitch and player’s seating area. If you want to see a match though you should book tickets online before you visit as when I tried to buy tickets on the day of the match they had sold out.
Well as mentioned before when the sun disappears the people arrive for the night life and food which is not at all strange, but I also noticed that some men would arrive with sunglasses that they would try to sell, the strange bit was they weren’t selling very many which I couldn’t understand as when I tried them on sunlight didn’t affect me at all… I was like whoa it’s dark.
Overall I picture Barcelona as a cleaner, sunnier, healthier, chilled out and safer version of London which is another city I love. The only threat I did get warned about was pickpockets which was something I was lucky enough not to encounter though I did make precautions for this anyway. I hope you visit and enjoy Barcelona as much as I did, if you have any questions about Barcelona let me know 🙂