Here’s all my thoughts on my recent vacation to Barcelona. They are in no particular order

  • Dining is really late in Barcelona- most restaurants do not open for the evening meal until 8:30 (20:30) Our first night there, as we’d been up for 24 hours, we ate at 7pm. I don’t like eating dinner after 8pm. Period. I don’t care if it’s not very Spanish. My Husband felt very uncultured eating this early in Barcelona (I was tired and wanted to sleep on the very lovely banquette we were seated at. The tablecloth would have made a fine blanket) The second night we ate at 8:30. The third night we ate at 9. On Saturday after the opera, we ate at 10. After our 10pm dining experience, and subsequent problem sleeping because he didn’t digest properly, my Husband admitted that he likes dining earlier. Sometimes you have to learn by yourself.
  • They say that NYC is the city that never sleeps, but I tip my hat to Barcelona. Barcelona deserves that title. We got out of a restaurant at midnight and were unable to find a cab because they were all full with people just starting their nights. Our hotel room overlooked a plaza and musicians and people were out there all night. When we were going to the airport at 430am, we saw A LOT of people on their way home from their night out.
  • We met a woman on our Costa Brava/Gerona/Pals tour who was only in Barcelona for two days. On her first day she did a hop on/hop off tour, and on her second day she did our tour. There is nothing wrong with this. However, if you have one day in Barcelona, hop off the bus and do La Sagrada Familia- to come to Barcelona and not see this is almost criminal.
  • I was 90% happy with the way I planned the trip. My one regret was booking Park Guell for a Saturday, because it I left myself with the Monday open and museums are closed on Mondays. In retrospect, I would have liked to have been able to see Joan Miro museum.
  • My husband and I really liked Casa Battlo, which oddly is the least talked about of the “big” Gaudi sights. I felt like I could have lived in this space- both beautiful and practical. If you have limited time in Barcelona, I think you should pick one Gaudi site apart from LSF, because there’s so much to see in this city and you get a good knowledge of Gaudi from two things.
  • If you do LSF, get the tour with a real guide. Having a person take you around around and talk to you about it is much better than an audio guide. In fact, if it is possible, get a real person guide at everything. I learned so much more with my people guides than I did with my audio things.
  • I told you the Hitler/Holy Grail thing the other day, but the other interesting thing I learned was about St. Jordi, the patron saint of Catalonia. There’s a legend about a dragon and Jordi, but the result of this is that on April 21, Diada de Sant Jordi, you give a rose to your beloved (not romantically- our guide gives roses to his wife, his mother in law and his daughter) and women give books to the men. (apparently it’s also the day that Cervantes and Shakespeare died). I thought this was a pretty cool tradition and I think we should adapt it here
  • If you come to Barcelona, be prepared to hear a lot about Catalan independence. Look for the flags. People are very passionate about this subject.
  • We did two day tours outside of the city. Our guides on both of these tours were not from Spain/Catalan. Our guide to Montserrat was Polish, and our guide to Gerona was Irish. I thought this was interesting.
  • The only time we wore masks was in taxis, on one of our tours, and on our plane from Barcelona to London. There is no talk of COVID aside from that.
  • Heathrow is a giant shopping mall. A very high end shopping mall.
  • Alcohol is really cheap in Barcelona. A glass of Cava (sparkling wine) might cost me 15$ in NYC. I was paying 4.50 euro (which is presently a 1:1 exchange rate) in Barcelona. So. Much. Cheaper.
  • There are SO MANY fast food outlets. SO MANY. I don’t know if they are for the tourists or the locals.
  • The food we ate was fresh, locally sourced and good. We did not have a bad meal here. We tried to eat Catalan/Spanish food as often as we could. Butifarra, the traditional Catalan sausage is delicious. My Husband had it as a sandwich and we had it served with beans- so good. The only think we didn’t love was octopus. We also did not eat the traditional anchovy dishes.
  • I was surprised by how few people smoked- I always think of Europe as filled with smokers, but I rarely saw anyone smoke.
  • We met some lovely people from all over, including a wonderful couple from Belgium and a woman from Brazil on one of our tours. We also met a some very obnoxious people, and before you say anything, most of them were not American. To be clear, there are disrespectful people of all nationalities. One non american guy, stood for about five minutes taking pictures on a bridge, not giving us the option to walk past. When I walked past he said “hey you’re in my picture” and I said not surprising as you just took about a hundred… Note: let people pass if you are taking a long time trying to get the perfect shot of your partner, especially if you are on a footbridge not wide enough to walk around you. Also, of you are on a group tour, remember the group part: don’t be late to meet back up. Be respectful of the others in your group. Respect your fellow humans.
  • In Gerona, there’s a statue of a lion up on a pole (I posted the pic without the story) You are supposed to climb up the pole and kiss the butt of the lion to ensure that you will come back to Gerona. There used to be a ladder- but that is a COVID casualty
  • Our hotel was in the Gothic Quarter across the plaza from the Barcelona Cathedral. This was a perfect location as it was walking distance to a lot of things. I recommend this neighborhood if you ever visit.
  • Speaking of our hotel- just perfection. Beautiful, fully appointed, helpful staff. Wonderful.
  • My stupidity at the hotel- it took me four days to figure out how to get the perfect water temp in the shower.
  • Another stupid thing: when we finally found a cab after our dinner, when we got in and I had to tell our address, I said Catedral Barcelona, and the driver had no idea. So I was trying to tell him the address, which was Catedral 7, and I kept saying SEVEN, then I realized that I was saying it in English, so I’m in the backseat going Uno, dos, tres, because I couldn’t remember what SEVEN was in Spanish. To be fair, as soon as I said Catedral, he should have known because there’s only like three buildings on Carrer Catedral.
  • We were warned from everyone we knew, and the hotel staff, about pickpockets. After having been there as obvious tourists for a week, we never felt in fear of being pickpocketed. In fact, we felt very safe the entire time.

I think that’s it!!! I will answer any questions about anything we saw/did if you have any! Thanks for taking this trip with me.

43 thoughts on “Barcelona Recap

  1. The Spanish people do eat late, but that is due to the heat of the day. They also eat their larger meal at lunch around 2 pm, then have a siesta or quiet time. They tend to work again from 5 to 8 or 9. So then they have their evening meal after that. We don’t do that as we are retired and are just not used to eating so late. We have found restaurants that do open earlier, you just have to search them out. We also enjoy tapas for an evening meal which you can get at any taverna or pub at any time. The food is good though. Glad you enjoyed Barcelona and area.

    Liked by 3 people

      1. It’s true, businesses no longer close for siesta between 2 and 5 as they once did, but many construction workers, gardeners etc, will take a longer break in the afternoon and work in the evening. It makes sense to me. We get up to 40C some days!

        Liked by 2 people

    1. Technically no. But you do have to provide a negative test or a certificate that you are recovering. However, you need to get authority from the Spanish government to enter Spain, and they do check…multiple times, and you can’t get that approval until 72 hours before flight. There is a risk involved

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I had to laugh at the Spanish lifestyle. When I first visited Spain in my 20’s, my friends and I were so annoyed when the shops closed from 2-5pm for siesta. Every night as we were retiring for the evening, the locals were just heading out for the evening. In the morning, as we were heading out for sightseeing, the locals were stumbling home.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I love that you share pics and impressions of the country. I think of places I’d love to visit in Europe, but Spain has never been one of them and I don’t know why. I think my son/DIL had a stop in Spain on their honeymoon- I’ll have to ask them. It sounds like overall this will be a wonderful memory of a wonderful trip!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My blog became sort of like my journal…it was fun to jot down these memories, and it was fun to share it. Barcelona has been on my husbands short list for awhile. Now I’m already thinking about next year!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. All in all it sounds like a fantastic trip, late dinners notwithstanding. Then again, we sometimes eat as late as 8 or 9 even when we’re home, so I think I’d do okay there.

    I’d skip the octopus, though.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oddly I forgot to mention the funnest thing,but I’ll add it to Sunday. We have friends from Chicago who overlapped two days with us. We went for tapas with them and they ordered octopus. I tried it but was not a fan

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I enjoyed your thoughts about your trip. I think that’s something I will do for myself when we travel. It will help me remember all the details. As for the city that never sleeps, I found Hong Kong to be going 24 hours a day!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Wonder why you thought more people smoke in Europe? It has been outlawed in public places for a long time here and it has always been very expensive, so many who are 50+ and smoked stopped when it became near impossible to smoke anywhere. I have noticed recently that since COVID more younger people are smoking and I still see plenty of cigarette butts tossed on the ground at the bus stops (so somebody still lights up for a quick drag before public transport).
    Sounds like you had a great time.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. It’s so nice you and your husband were able to travel overseas. I am still too afraid to venture too far from home.

    On another note, do you follow on FB “Humans of New York”? Love his stories and have a couple of his books. There is a great story now about a man who is the general manager of our favorite restaurant in NY, Craft.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Montevideo, Uruguay and Buenos Aires, Argentina both had eating patterns similar to Barcelona. What we couldn’t understand was how the people got up and went to work at what we would consider a normal time the next day–and they did.
    My question: Did you purchase a full package for the week with some options for various tours or did you schedule it all yourself? We always “wing it” which personalizes it and you are not on someone else’s schedule, but I wonder if you see more on a tour. Any thoughts?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. No package. I researched Barcelona and tried to come up with a somewhat rounded experience. I booked each thing individually. I like tours for day trips, and for sights, but I don’t like doing a tour,

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Sounds like an amazing trip!!!! Although, I cannot imagine eating that late. My youngest son has voiced his opinion on more than one occasion that we eat dinner too early, which is usually 5:00 but NEVER later than 5:30. That would be a huge adjustment for me. Anyway, thanks for sharing all the great pics. It definitely sounds like a memorable trip.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I have so much to say, but I’ll try and keep it brief.
    Late dinner: that’s one of the main reasons I love Barcelona (Spain, in general). I’m a late riser and a night owl. This was like the perfect city for me. I felt right at home.

    Pickpockets: I agree. I went over a decade ago and got the same speech…nothing ever happened.

    La Sagrada Familia is mandatory viewing, especially because they’ve finished it now, right?

    Prices: I agree about Europe, in general. We ate so well while in Croatia, and we never spent as much money as we do here in the States.

    Like

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