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mistybleu Barcelona - A travel report by Amanda
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Barcelona,  Spain - flag Spain
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mistybleu's travel reports

Barcelona - a city post Olympics

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You can't go to Barcelona without getting wrapped up in Guadi and his architecture. If not a little bizarre, his buildings are very unique and characterised Barcelona.


The Flavour of Barcelona
The Flavour of Barcelona
I really shouldn't try to explain Barcelona or even Madrid, as we have so many members who have a better insight than I, but from the outside looking in Spain can provide the perfect holiday.

I loved Barcelona as it was like a new city when I went there. I stayed just outside the Olympic village and was told that this part of the city had been completely rejuvenated for the Games and the decade following has seen a boost in tourism, now it’s the cool place to visit and rightly so.

Barcelona has a population of 3 million and sits on the Iberian peninsula in the Mediterranean; it is the second largest city in Spain after Madrid.

Barcelona is the capital of Catalonia, that is rich in tradition, history and culture; it is an autonomous community of Spain and is actually just one of 17. They have two official languages both Catalan and off course Spanish.

The best time to visit is between June and September; however the bridges months on either side can be pleasant, owing to its position the weather is quite mild, that bodes well for eating al fresco and enjoying the late evening on the coast. However they do have a lot of rain, but they say, this just keeps everything looking green and lush.

Things you may need to know:

• The Olympic Port is just 20 minutes from the El Prat International Airport and costs about 20 euros by taxi. This part of the city has good public transport connections, both buses and metro. The metro links most central parts and runs daily until midnight. The station closest to port is Ciutadella/Vila Olimpica on Line 4.

• Shops open 10-7.30pm but usually closes for lunch, however markets, department stores and shopping centres remain open over lunch. Banks only open until 2pm.

• It isn’t compulsory to tip, however like in most countries welcomed.

• To dial Barcelona you use 34 then 93 followed by the local number.

The voltage is 220-240AC/DC.

Favourite spots:
Fountain at the Park Guell
Fountain at the Park Guell
The thing to do in Barcelona is discover the buildings of Antoni Gaudí. One of his masterpieces is LA PEDRERA, a building that combines apartment with an office block. It was formerly called the Casa Milà but it is better known La Pedrera, in English the Quarry because of its uneven grey stone façade and the way it ripples around the street corner that creates a wave effect emphasised by elaborate wrought-iron balconies. It is located at Passeig de Gràcia and can be seen from the inside to see another aspect of his architecture

At the bottom of PARK GUELL (at the main entrance) Gaudí lived within a pink building (for about 20 years) that is now the museum. It exhibits some of the furniture he designed as well as decorations, drawings and portraits.

The park of itself is fascinating. It contains wonderful shapes and formation and it is said 'that he created an equilibrium that usually only exists in nature, but never in architecture'.

What's really great:
The Olympic Stadium
The Olympic Stadium
One of the hills overlooking the city is Montjuic and is considered the home to some fine art galleries, leisure attractions and parks, one of which the Anella Olímpica (Olympic Ring) is the group of sports facilities that was the main sites for the 1992 Olympics.

At the time I visited Barcelona, I'd never been to a city that had held the Olympic Games and I was surprised that the area and facilities were called the Olympic village/stadium etc. But was amazed of how such a large section of the city looked so new, surely the lasting effects of the Games are positive!

A little further downhill, there is the Fundacio Joan Miro Gallery and exhibits include some of Catalan greatest 20th century artists.

The Plaça de Braus Les Arenes, is a former bullring where back in 1966 the Beatles performed. Nearby, the Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya has an impressive collection of art Roman in origin.

Sights:
Close up of La Sagrada Familia
Close up of La Sagrada Familia
The most recognizable symbol of Barcelona is LA SAGRADA FAMILIA. It is truly a magnificent site made even more special by the story behind it. Gaudi spent his life working on this cathedral, he died in 1926 before it was completed and it remains unfinished to this day.

There are five separate streets that form the LA RAMBLA; a tree-lined pedestrian boulevard packed with shops, street entertainers like living statues, buskers, musicians - literally everything.

There is a concentration of medieval gothic buildings dating back to the 14th/15th century in the BARRI GOTIC area, which forms part of old Barcelona. It's a maze of interconnecting little streets and narrow walkways with plenty of cafes and bars.

The MUSEU PICASSO is the most visited museum in Barcelona and is located on Carrer Montcada. Picasso spent several of his formative years in Barcelona; however the museum doesn’t house an extensive collection.

Accommodations:
Hotel Arts
Hotel Arts
I stayed in the Hotel Arts, a truly wonderful hotel. I remember being told 'don't forget your CDs', when I got there they had the state of the art CD players in each room. I suppose this was the first hotel I had come across that had a proper entertainment suite.

From my suite on the 24th floor I had great views of both over the Olympic Village on one side and the port/ocean on the other. The windows were almost floor to ceiling and were fitted with remote control blinds. I was lucky to have corner suite which contained two queen size beds plus a sitting room and two TVs; for me this was living the life of luxury.

I was actually there for a conference, so the only drawback was because it had 43 floors each time we had a break it took about 20 minutes just to get to the room and then back again.

I would recommend this hotel time and time again, as it left a lasting impression.

Nightlife:
The Fish
The Fish
The only 'disco' I went to was in the hotel and it was a brilliant final night party.

I was told that in the Olympia area had quite a lot of nightclubs, but I didn't requent any.

The Aquarium of Barcelona is the largest in Europe. It has 14 tanks that allow you to explore the deep as you stroll through a methacryllate tunnel. But it gives a wonderful views of the Mediterranean coastline.

Restaurants:
Where all the restaurants are located
Where all the restaurants are located
Breakfast in Barcelona is more of a continental one – just a croissant/danish and cup of strong coffee. The main meal of the day is lunch between 2-4pm. But then there is dinner, which is the typical time in Spain, from 9pm. I found this quite difficult to get accustomed to, but as they say when in Rome… Restaurants are therefore opened quite late until around 1am, but the kitchen will probably close around 11.30pm.

You have to try eating Paella or Tapas at one of the restaurants at La Barceloneta

I found being around the Olympic Port really cool, with lots of restaurants especially seafood, which is what you would expect.

But also eating in the hotel was really nice. They have five different restaurants serving typical Mediterranean food.

Other recommendations:
Intruding...
Intruding...
I'm into multi-city breaks, so one of the best things to do is take a train to Madrid, the capital or go further up the coast.

Heading to Madrid I enjoyed some flamenco dancing. It's really a must and highly entertaining, if not a bit too long (especailly if you don't completely understand the storyline).

I spent most of the day in a park and found a family practicing bull fighting techniques. (This is one of the times you think you've captured a good pictures and it does come out - I so needed by digital camera back then).

So the top five things to do include:

1. A football match in Real Madrid's famous Santiago Bernabeu stadium.
2. See a bull fight
3. Enjoy a live flamenco dancing show
4. Visit Plaza Mayor for shopping and cafes etc.
5. Tour the royal palace in the heart of Madrid - Palacio de Oriente.

But to be honest there is so much to do that the list could be limitless!

Published on Monday October 8th, 2007


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Mon, Oct 29 2007 - 11:50 AM rating by cool_imad

Barcelona is a great city... and your report described it very well..
Thanks

Fri, Oct 19 2007 - 12:17 PM rating by marianne

Amanada,
Complete and very interesting to read. What is the exact address of Hotel Arts. It sounds a very good place to stay

Mon, Oct 15 2007 - 05:54 AM rating by bineba

Great report on one of my favourite European cities.

Thu, Oct 11 2007 - 07:47 AM rating by joe_schmidt

Amanda, a very apetizing report whicxh asks to visit this town.

Thu, Oct 11 2007 - 02:03 AM rating by downundergal

Hi Amanda, Great report. I really wanted to see Barcelona but knew I wouldn't have the time. Next time maybe, I would have loved to see the aquarium as we have a marine tank. Do they have a big range of fish and corals?
Cheers,
Kerrie

Wed, Oct 10 2007 - 12:51 AM rating by shalini_md

Amanda, as always, a nice detailed report with lot of helpful tips for a traveller.

Tue, Oct 09 2007 - 11:48 AM rating by barcelona

thanks you for writing about my city. Me and my friend Dani Serralta are very happy.
Regards
Amador

Mon, Oct 08 2007 - 05:34 PM rating by rangutan

A well written report again on one of my favorite cities in Europe. That "La Sagrada Familia" temple is most amazing and should be completed by 2026. Gaudi is known to have said "My client is not in a hurry!" :-)

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