Soliciting personal recommendations for a Barcelona trip

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Swampy
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Soliciting personal recommendations for a Barcelona trip

Post by Swampy » Sun Aug 13, 2017 3:13 pm

Planning independent travel to Barcelona, then the Pyrenees including Andorra, Bayonne, Lourdes, Carcassonne, Perpignan and points in between this fall. Does anyone have personal recommendations of places they enjoyed or places to avoid as regards to lodging, dining and historical sights on and off the beaten path? We will be driving and are open to side trips as well.

Thanks.
Last edited by Swampy on Thu Aug 17, 2017 12:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Watty
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Re: Soliciting personal recommendations for a European trip

Post by Watty » Sun Aug 13, 2017 4:18 pm

In Barcelona get your tickets for Sagrada Familia well an advance and get them for when it first opens so that it will be less crowded. Also get the tickets ahead of time for one of the elevator towers where you take the elevator up and then walk down. We did the one in the Nativity facade and it was one of the highlights of our trip.

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Nicolas
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Re: Soliciting personal recommendations for a European trip

Post by Nicolas » Sun Aug 13, 2017 4:23 pm

We went to Andorra for a day and didn't like it much. It's mainly a place for the Spanish & French to go to to buy duty-free electronics, perfume, and motorcycle parts. But we didn't stay at a resort, it was just a day trip. It's fun now to tell people I've been there, that's the value it has for me.

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Re: Soliciting personal recommendations for a European trip

Post by ResearchMed » Sun Aug 13, 2017 9:15 pm

Stay overnight in Carcassonne.
There is a nice hotel ($$, but maybe not too bad off season?), but I think there is at least one other hotel.

After hours, it's even more special!

I'll never forget driving up to the City. It was hard not to think it was a "Disneyland" of sorts. But it's real :happy

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Re: Soliciting personal recommendations for a European trip

Post by WiscoTrout » Sun Aug 13, 2017 9:57 pm

A little outside of Carcassonne is small medieval village spanning a trout stream, called Lagrasse. It's one of the most charming towns I've seen in that part of SW France (outside of Cucugnan and Collioure). Also, in Spain, Girona is good for a visit if you are a Game of Thrones fan (part of season 6 was filmed there), or enjoy the amazing rocky coastline and beaches of the Costa Brava between Barcelona and France. Just google images of the town of Calella de Palafrugell (yes it does look like that in reality).

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Re: Soliciting personal recommendations for a European trip

Post by dandinsac » Sun Aug 13, 2017 11:50 pm

We stayed in Luchon for a couple of nights. It was a fairly easy drive to Carcassone. Luchon is often a finish for stages in the Tour de France. It's a gorgeous drive up the valley, and Luchon is at the base of the mountains.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bagnères-de-Luchon

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Re: Soliciting personal recommendations for a European trip

Post by VictoriaF » Mon Aug 14, 2017 5:56 am

I have spent two weeks in Barcelona and liked it very much. Earlier I had a post asking for suggestions for where to take day trips from Barcelona, but I ended up staying here because I like it. I used to consider spending a few days in Andorra, because it's cooler in August, but everybody I asked told me that it's a shopping destination because of a European tax exemption and otherwise boring. In the fall Barcelona will be less hot, less crowded, and probably even better than now. My favorite place is the Montjuic hill with its numerous parks, several museums, the Olympic stadium, the castle on the top, and the magic fountain at the bottom.

I've visited Carcassonne years ago and still remember it as a wonderful place.

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Re: Soliciting personal recommendations for a European trip

Post by curmudgeon » Mon Aug 14, 2017 10:17 am

Some good recommendations in here; I think I agree with pretty much all. Barcelona itself deserves a few days, and you definitely do NOT want a car while you are in the city (stay in the center, not the suburbs). Sagrada Familia, Montjuic, and a day trip to Monserrat would be Barcelona recommendations.

Carcassonne is nice; we stayed in walking distance from the old walled city, which worked out fairly well. Staying inside the walls would be a bit more hassle, but could be fun. The bulk of the newer city is less interesting, but does have more modern hotels. It is a quite scenic drive out through LaGrasse.

Callella de Palafrugel was incredibly scenic, but when we stayed there in mid-September, things were starting to close up for the season. The weather was still very good, but restaurants and hotels were winding down. Not sure if some of the other towns (Begur or Cadaques might be an option) keep going longer. Parts of Costa Brava are lined with high rise hotels, while other parts are less built up.

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Re: Soliciting personal recommendations for a European trip

Post by Swampy » Mon Aug 14, 2017 8:08 pm

Great recommendations so far. Has anyone visited the national parks in this area, specifically Vall del Madriu or either of the Parc Naturel des Pyrenees?

We're planning on spending at least two nights in each of multiple locations along the way with a longer stay in Barcelona at the end of our stay and agree that a car is not necessary there.

We're looking to experience some off the beaten path beauty and historical sights. Names of lodging and dining establishments would help as we can do research prior to going. To paraphrase Robert Frost, we prefer to take the roads less traveled by, which make all the difference.
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Re: Soliciting personal recommendations for a European trip

Post by TravelGeek » Tue Aug 15, 2017 1:04 am

I loved Carcassonne as well as one of the caves with prehistoric paintings.

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Re: Soliciting personal recommendations for a Barcelona trip

Post by Swampy » Thu Aug 17, 2017 12:43 pm

Any further ideas - other than to be safe?
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Re: Soliciting personal recommendations for a Barcelona trip

Post by VictoriaF » Thu Aug 17, 2017 1:00 pm

Swampy wrote:
Thu Aug 17, 2017 12:43 pm
Any further ideas - other than to be safe?
Being safe is always recommended, in Barcelona and elsewhere. I am watching the current news with horror. On Sunday, I walked at the exactly the intersection where the van has stopped! However, I also keep the perspective: while I was in Barcelona there was a similar attack in Virginia, my home state.

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Re: Soliciting personal recommendations for a Barcelona trip

Post by Swampy » Thu Aug 17, 2017 1:59 pm

VictoriaF wrote:
Thu Aug 17, 2017 1:00 pm
Swampy wrote:
Thu Aug 17, 2017 12:43 pm
Any further ideas - other than to be safe?
Being safe is always recommended, in Barcelona and elsewhere. I am watching the current news with horror. On Sunday, I walked at the exactly the intersection where the van has stopped! However, I also keep the perspective: while I was in Barcelona there was a similar attack in Virginia, my home state.

Victoria
We were on International Drive, just a few miles from the Pulse attack when it happened last June in Orlando.
Situational awareness is mandatory but it is no guarantee of safety anywhere.
It's like investing, hope for the best but be prepared for the worst.
The law of averages is still in our favor.
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Re: Soliciting personal recommendations for a Barcelona trip

Post by SueG5123 » Thu Aug 17, 2017 2:01 pm

Montserrat was a wonderful day trip, as I recall. Views are fabulous.

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Re: Soliciting personal recommendations for a Barcelona trip

Post by curmudgeon » Thu Aug 17, 2017 2:56 pm

SueG5123 wrote:
Thu Aug 17, 2017 2:01 pm
Montserrat was a wonderful day trip, as I recall. Views are fabulous.
If the weather is clear, Monserrat is great. If overcast/cloudy, the monastery and hermitages are still interesting, but you may lose the views. It's worth checking the weather to chose the day for this one. The train works fine to get there from Barcelona they sell a combined ticket), but it might be more time-efficient to to it before you drop the car off.

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Re: Soliciting personal recommendations for a Barcelona trip

Post by Numa » Thu Aug 17, 2017 2:58 pm

I've been to the Parc Naturel des Pyrenees, four nights in Cauterets. Beautiful. There's a great old family hotel there called the Lion d'Or. One of my favorite stays ever. Loved everything about it. Looking forward to going back one day.

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Re: Soliciting personal recommendations for a Barcelona trip

Post by obgraham » Thu Aug 17, 2017 11:04 pm

If you like such things, the organ in Perpignan Cathedral is glorious. Of course, you need to find out when somebody will play it!
There's another one in Narbonne Cathedral also.

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Re: Soliciting personal recommendations for a Barcelona trip

Post by TravelforFun » Fri Aug 18, 2017 7:09 am

Hope you haven't changed your mind yesterday. You should continue to plan to go.

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Re: Soliciting personal recommendations for a Barcelona trip

Post by Peculiar_Investor » Fri Aug 18, 2017 7:37 am

Watty wrote:
Sun Aug 13, 2017 4:18 pm
In Barcelona get your tickets for Sagrada Familia well an advance and get them for when it first opens so that it will be less crowded. Also get the tickets ahead of time for one of the elevator towers where you take the elevator up and then walk down. We did the one in the Nativity facade and it was one of the highlights of our trip.
Sagrada Familia is stunning and heavily visited, so advanced entry tickets are an absolute must. Another Gaudi creation, Park Güell is also worth visiting.
SueG5123 wrote:
Thu Aug 17, 2017 2:01 pm
Montserrat was a wonderful day trip, as I recall. Views are fabulous.
Totally agree.

When we visited Barcelona a few years back, we took the Hop-on, Hop-off bus tour to gain an understanding of the city and it's architecture.
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Swampy
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Re: Soliciting personal recommendations for a Barcelona trip

Post by Swampy » Sun Aug 20, 2017 6:18 am

No plans to skip Barcelona. If anything, we're going to spend more time in the countryside and
rural-seaside hamlets than the city itself. Lodging may actually drop in price after what happened.
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Re: Soliciting personal recommendations for a Barcelona trip

Post by Jeff Albertson » Sun Aug 20, 2017 7:14 am

I enjoyed the less touristy parts of the city. I suppose you have to do the "must sees", but on any return trip I'd definitely avoid them. Petty crime is an issue, search for "barcelona pickpockets".

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Re: Soliciting personal recommendations for a Barcelona trip

Post by Swampy » Mon Aug 21, 2017 6:34 am

Regarding pickpockets, Rome is another hotspot for theft as I already found out on a previous trip.

Given that the terrorists primary target was Sagrada Familia with three van-bombs, it doesn't instill a desire to keep
returning to Europe until they eradicate this menace or get it under control.
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Re: Soliciting personal recommendations for a Barcelona trip

Post by VictoriaF » Mon Aug 21, 2017 8:14 am

Swampy wrote:
Mon Aug 21, 2017 6:34 am
Regarding pickpockets, Rome is another hotspot for theft as I already found out on a previous trip.

Given that the terrorists primary target was Sagrada Familia with three van-bombs, it doesn't instill a desire to keep
returning to Europe until they eradicate this menace or get it under control.
Las Ramblas, the boulevard where the terrorist van drove last week, attracts a lot of pickpockets. But pickpockets are everywhere in Barcelona. At the conference I was attending several people fell victim to theft. In one case, a bag with a laptop and wallet was stolen from the hotel lobby during the Ice Breaker. It was a private event but badging was not enforced.

I have visited Sagrada Familia and consider it a highlight of my trip. If I were in Barcelona today, I'd go back. While it's at a higher risk than other sites, the objective level of risk that something would happen while you are there and the police would not be able to stop it is not that high.

Victoria
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Re: Soliciting personal recommendations for a Barcelona trip

Post by Valuethinker » Mon Aug 21, 2017 10:50 am

Swampy wrote:
Mon Aug 21, 2017 6:34 am
Regarding pickpockets, Rome is another hotspot for theft as I already found out on a previous trip.

Given that the terrorists primary target was Sagrada Familia with three van-bombs, it doesn't instill a desire to keep
returning to Europe until they eradicate this menace or get it under control.
1. I understand your fears, quite visceral. I found myself scanning the crowd in London today, wondering what I would do if someone drove a van at us-- as they did at Westminster Bridge and in Borough Market in the last few months (and Berlin, Nice, Barcelona, Paris etc.). They are in fact looking at tightening security checks on van hire-- the Borough attackers tried to hire a 7.5 tonne lorry, but were not allowed to rent more than a 3.5 tonne one (the standard under a UK general license).

More armed police have been deployed in London and, at least in rumour, armed soldiers in plain clothes (this seems unlikely to me as that would not be their training).

2. You have to remember we read all the time and watch Youtube clips about people in America being gunned down in movie cinemas, in offices by colleagues, in churches, etc. I don't think that is the most likely way of dying if one visits America, as opposed to being run down by a car.

3. Don't kid yourself that we will "eradicate this menace" nor "get it under control"-- there will be quiet periods, and then incidents of extreme violence; things the police forestall and things they don't catch in time-- Spanish counter terrorist police and intelligence are apparently well respected in Europe. ISIS is out there, this is an easy copycat crime, it does not require the sort of centralized "brain" of an organization that say 9-11 did. Young men are getting radicalized in Europe, often when they are in prison for other crimes. It's very hard to crush an idea.

It's just going to be one of the ongoing things of modern life, going forward.

The Madrid bombers https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2004_Madr ... n_bombings were far worse (190 dead, 2000 injured) and more sophisticated-- however many of the dead were Latin Americans commuting from a working class suburb of Madrid-- fewer photogenic blonde anglo tourists.

4. Statistically it is just not something to be afraid of. If you are killed in Europe, it will be in a car accident, crossing the road, skiing accident etc.

Terrorism was much worse in the mid 1970s (Bologna train bombing*, Italy & the Red Brigades; Baader Meinhof Complex in Germany; IRA in UK). We survived that, too.

* that was actually by right wing terrorists. Bologna had a communist local government and was famous as a "red" city and university town. It was part of the "strategy of tension" which was to ramp up fears of terrorism to justify a crackdown, and possibly the replacement of the democratic government (there was an abortive coup attempt in Italy in 1970, which collapsed like... an Italian farce https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Golpe_Borghese ).

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Re: Soliciting personal recommendations for a Barcelona trip

Post by themesrob » Mon Aug 21, 2017 11:25 am

Valuethinker wrote:
Mon Aug 21, 2017 10:50 am

4. Statistically it is just not something to be afraid of. If you are killed in Europe, it will be in a car accident, crossing the road, skiing accident etc.

Terrorism was much worse in the mid 1970s (Bologna train bombing*, Italy & the Red Brigades; Baader Meinhof Complex in Germany; IRA in UK). We survived that, too.

* that was actually by right wing terrorists. Bologna had a communist local government and was famous as a "red" city and university town. It was part of the "strategy of tension" which was to ramp up fears of terrorism to justify a crackdown, and possibly the replacement of the democratic government (there was an abortive coup attempt in Italy in 1970, which collapsed like... an Italian farce https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Golpe_Borghese ).
This. With respect to terrorism in 2017, our predilection for recency bias is aggravated by today's constant news coverage. The attacks by radical Islamic terrorists in the UK, for example, are dwarfed in both scale and duration by the terror attacks related to the Troubles. Stay alert wherever you're traveling, but don't think the situation today is somehow worse than it used to be.

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Re: Soliciting personal recommendations for a Barcelona trip

Post by latesaver » Mon Aug 21, 2017 12:02 pm

Swampy wrote:
Thu Aug 17, 2017 12:43 pm
Any further ideas - other than to be safe?
Go to eat at Cal Pep. Amazing. And cheap. You really don't need to spend a lot of $ to eat and drink extremely well there.

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Re: Soliciting personal recommendations for a Barcelona trip

Post by Rick Rock » Mon Aug 21, 2017 1:00 pm

latesaver wrote:
Mon Aug 21, 2017 12:02 pm
Swampy wrote:
Thu Aug 17, 2017 12:43 pm
Any further ideas - other than to be safe?
Go to eat at Cal Pep. Amazing. And cheap. You really don't need to spend a lot of $ to eat and drink extremely well there.
You don't need to spend a lot to eat and drink extremely well all over Barcelona... Quimet y Quimet was a favorite but you can stumble upon some incredible tapas bars and other restaurants in the city. Mercat a la Boqueria is an incredible place as well-- somewhere everyone visits but it's worth the trip.

I don't know if Montserrat qualifies as off the beaten path either but absolutely loved the views, the cable car ride up, and the hiking - go midweek / off season so it's empty and even more incredible.

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Re: Soliciting personal recommendations for a Barcelona trip

Post by WhiteMaxima » Mon Aug 21, 2017 1:02 pm

try squid ink pasta. the black ink taste so yam.

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Re: Soliciting personal recommendations for a Barcelona trip

Post by stlrick » Mon Aug 21, 2017 1:49 pm

The Picasso Museum in Barcelona was a remarkable insight into an artist that I thought I knew. He grew up in Barcelona and they have drawings from his childhood. He was a precocious genius. It is in a wonderful medieval section of town.

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Re: Soliciting personal recommendations for a Barcelona trip

Post by Jeff Albertson » Mon Aug 21, 2017 3:43 pm

The Economist's travel section had an article a couple of years ago on the Barcelona tourist hordes.
The city’s mayor-elect, Ada Colau Ballano, is looking at ways to stop the influx of visitors because, she thinks, it is in danger of becoming overrun and turning into little more than a theme park.
She has a point. As any visitor can attest, the narrow Gothic streets behind Las Ramblas, a tree-lined shopping promenade, can feel like rush-hour on the tube; the must-see Gaudi sites tend to be well-hidden behind deep ranks of visitors slung round cameras; and at certain times of the year the beaches can be invisible under the quilted rectangles of towels.
https://www.economist.com/blogs/gullive ... -barcelona

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Re: Soliciting personal recommendations for a Barcelona trip

Post by VictoriaF » Mon Aug 21, 2017 3:59 pm

Jeff Albertson wrote:
Mon Aug 21, 2017 3:43 pm
The Economist's travel section had an article a couple of years ago on the Barcelona tourist hordes.
The city’s mayor-elect, Ada Colau Ballano, is looking at ways to stop the influx of visitors because, she thinks, it is in danger of becoming overrun and turning into little more than a theme park.
She has a point. As any visitor can attest, the narrow Gothic streets behind Las Ramblas, a tree-lined shopping promenade, can feel like rush-hour on the tube; the must-see Gaudi sites tend to be well-hidden behind deep ranks of visitors slung round cameras; and at certain times of the year the beaches can be invisible under the quilted rectangles of towels.
https://www.economist.com/blogs/gullive ... -barcelona
This is accurate. But you don't want to be denied the privilege of seeing Gaudi sites and walking narrow Gothic streets.

I also spent a lot of time on the Montjuic Hill. It has beautiful gardens and spectacular views, and is far less crowded because tourists don't like hiking up and down hills.

Victoria
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Re: Soliciting personal recommendations for a Barcelona trip

Post by nedsaid » Mon Aug 21, 2017 5:20 pm

VictoriaF wrote:
Thu Aug 17, 2017 1:00 pm
Swampy wrote:
Thu Aug 17, 2017 12:43 pm
Any further ideas - other than to be safe?
Being safe is always recommended, in Barcelona and elsewhere. I am watching the current news with horror. On Sunday, I walked at the exactly the intersection where the van has stopped! However, I also keep the perspective: while I was in Barcelona there was a similar attack in Virginia, my home state.

Victoria
Yes, I was probably in that very spot back in May 2014. I also took the fast train from Barcelona to Madrid, there was a horrible accident on that line some time back when the train approached a curve too fast and derailed. As I recall, about 80 people lost their lives. In May 2016, I was in the exact spot where a similar terrorist incident took place later in Berlin. My hotel was very close to the spot, close to Ka-De-We. The thing is, one cannot life in fear. You will miss out on a lot of great experiences.
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Re: Soliciting personal recommendations for a Barcelona trip

Post by Swampy » Fri Aug 25, 2017 10:40 am

Any thoughts about the places that offer breakfast, half-board or even full board as opposed to doing it on your own in these areas, especially Lourdes and Carcassonne? The pricing varies quite a bit, but may be a good deal if local restaurants are expensive with mediocre service/food (as I've noted on some website reviews) - or - they may be locking us into lousy food at the hotel. As a rule, I've found hotel food to be 'iffy' in the US and better in Europe. Has anyone else noticed or experienced this?

As regards to what happened in Barcelona, I grew up in the Chicago area in an infamously tough area of town so I'm not overly concerned.
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Re: Soliciting personal recommendations for a Barcelona trip

Post by btenny » Fri Aug 25, 2017 11:25 am

This discussion is great information. I was going to post question about this stuff. Sorry if I am diverting the conversation. We are going to Barcelona in late November. How is the weather that time of year. I know it will be cool but will it be that wet? How about stuff being closed for the "season" in November? And about those elevators in the Sagrada Familia, can you ride them up and down. Can you get reservations with the elevators rides included? My wife and I are older and walking up or down tons of stairs is not desirable.

Thanks in advance.

Good Luck.

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Re: Soliciting personal recommendations for a Barcelona trip

Post by btenny » Fri Aug 25, 2017 11:37 am

Safety on vacation is a funny thing. I live in Tahoe and about 4-6 times a summer a tourist drowns while having fun. Yep it makes the local news but it is routine. Sad but true. It just happens every summer. The lake is big and cold and pretty and clear but the people refuse to wear life vests. So they fall off their boat, paddle board, kayak, etc.. and drown. Then about half the time their bodies sink and we don't find them for weeks or months or years. Same thing happens with our mountains roads. People drive too fast and have bad wrecks and people get hurt often. So be careful out there.......

So terrorist are not really all that big a risk IMO. Car accidents and regular accidents are much more likely and those are what you need to watch out for.

Good Luck.

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Re: Soliciting personal recommendations for a Barcelona trip

Post by curmudgeon » Fri Aug 25, 2017 12:40 pm

Swampy wrote:
Fri Aug 25, 2017 10:40 am
Any thoughts about the places that offer breakfast, half-board or even full board as opposed to doing it on your own in these areas, especially Lourdes and Carcassonne? The pricing varies quite a bit, but may be a good deal if local restaurants are expensive with mediocre service/food (as I've noted on some website reviews) - or - they may be locking us into lousy food at the hotel. As a rule, I've found hotel food to be 'iffy' in the US and better in Europe. Has anyone else noticed or experienced this?
I've been quite happy with most breakfasts offered in the area. Do look at descriptions, as some could be the very basic "bread and coffee", while others will have a good spread of meats, cheeses, pastries, etc. I lean towards lunch and dinner elsewhere just for the variety and chance to choose the ambiance, but agree that often a small hotel restaurant can be quite good in the region. We enjoyed the local specialty cassoulet in Carcassonne.

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Re: Soliciting personal recommendations for a Barcelona trip

Post by obgraham » Fri Aug 25, 2017 12:46 pm

We enjoyed the local specialty cassoulet in Carcassonne.
I ate that in Carcassonne also! Maybe same restaurant, on a garden style balcony!

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Re: Soliciting personal recommendations for a Barcelona trip

Post by peterinjapan » Fri Aug 25, 2017 12:53 pm

Study up on Gaudí (pronounced gau-DEE, people look at you funny if you say it wrong), you will enjoy Barcelona much more having done so. It's a great city. It's also the great pride of Japan that one of their citizens, Etsuro Sotoo, was chosen as the main sculptor for Sagrada Familia. (They even put him in a Nestle coffee commercial.)

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Re: Soliciting personal recommendations for a Barcelona trip

Post by Swampy » Mon Aug 28, 2017 7:06 am

Filled in and booked the missing pieces this weekend.

Booked an 'apart-hotel' in Barcelona with one of those well known travel websites. Just got an email from the establishment asking for everyone in our party's name, DOB, Passport numbers, etc. I don't feel comfortable emailing this to them because of potential identity theft. I think I'll respond with just names and DOB's while the passport numbers will be presented in person at the establishment if required.

Honestly, it sounds like I'm having dealings with the old Soviet Union again instead of Spain.
Then again, maybe it's a new standard modus operandi in this terrorist stricken continent?
Is this normal or not? I don't recall this on previous trips before now - even this spring.
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VictoriaF
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Location: Black Swan Lake

Re: Soliciting personal recommendations for a Barcelona trip

Post by VictoriaF » Mon Aug 28, 2017 8:08 am

Swampy wrote:
Mon Aug 28, 2017 7:06 am
Filled in and booked the missing pieces this weekend.

Booked an 'apart-hotel' in Barcelona with one of those well known travel websites. Just got an email from the establishment asking for everyone in our party's name, DOB, Passport numbers, etc. I don't feel comfortable emailing this to them because of potential identity theft. I think I'll respond with just names and DOB's while the passport numbers will be presented in person at the establishment if required.

Honestly, it sounds like I'm having dealings with the old Soviet Union again instead of Spain.
Then again, maybe it's a new standard modus operandi in this terrorist stricken continent?
Is this normal or not? I don't recall this on previous trips before now - even this spring.
Earlier this August, but before the terrorist attack, I stayed in Barcelona at Meeting Point Hostels, http://meetingpointhostels.com/ . When I made the reservation I only had to provide my credit card number and the associated billing information. When I checked in, they asked to see my passport and entered my data into their logs. The couple that manages the hostel are young Russians who have moved from Moscow to Barcelona for good.

I did live in the Soviet Union. In those days getting a room in a hotel was impossible without connections or bribes. I traveled only with groups or to visit family.

Victoria
WINNER of the 2015 Boglehead Contest. | Every joke has a bit of a joke. ... The rest is the truth. (Marat F)

michaeljc70
Posts: 1831
Joined: Thu Oct 15, 2015 3:53 pm

Re: Soliciting personal recommendations for a Barcelona trip

Post by michaeljc70 » Mon Aug 28, 2017 12:10 pm

Swampy wrote:
Mon Aug 28, 2017 7:06 am
Filled in and booked the missing pieces this weekend.

Booked an 'apart-hotel' in Barcelona with one of those well known travel websites. Just got an email from the establishment asking for everyone in our party's name, DOB, Passport numbers, etc. I don't feel comfortable emailing this to them because of potential identity theft. I think I'll respond with just names and DOB's while the passport numbers will be presented in person at the establishment if required.

Honestly, it sounds like I'm having dealings with the old Soviet Union again instead of Spain.
Then again, maybe it's a new standard modus operandi in this terrorist stricken continent?
Is this normal or not? I don't recall this on previous trips before now - even this spring.
It is an EU requirement that hotels collect passport information. I've never thought twice about it. Can't they just steal your identity after you present them in person? A passport number is not an ssn. My guess is you can present them upon arrival and they are just trying to save time, but I wouldn't worry about giving that information.
Last edited by michaeljc70 on Mon Aug 28, 2017 12:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.

WhiteMaxima
Posts: 381
Joined: Thu May 19, 2016 5:04 pm

Re: Soliciting personal recommendations for a Barcelona trip

Post by WhiteMaxima » Mon Aug 28, 2017 12:32 pm

Safety is No 1. Just be careful. Avoid the crowd. Sadly, I knew now it is not possible with tourist hot spot like Barcelona. I went to Barcelona last year. Just like Paris and NYC. Me and my wife enjoy there but do see some potential problems.

Exit105
Posts: 2
Joined: Tue Apr 04, 2017 3:22 pm

Re: Soliciting personal recommendations for a Barcelona trip

Post by Exit105 » Mon Aug 28, 2017 12:59 pm

Driving to Bsrcelona, thru France, we inadvertently found ourselves in the coastal town of Collioure. Stunningly beautiful and worth looking into options.

BSlew
Posts: 7
Joined: Tue Nov 10, 2015 11:04 am

Re: Soliciting personal recommendations for a Barcelona trip

Post by BSlew » Mon Aug 28, 2017 4:16 pm

Montserrat is incredible...especially if you're Catholic.

Swampy
Posts: 728
Joined: Fri Aug 31, 2012 7:16 am

Re: Soliciting personal recommendations for a Barcelona trip

Post by Swampy » Wed Aug 30, 2017 7:12 am

Thank you everyone for excellent advice and input.
If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. | Failure is not an option. | If I have seen further, it is because I was carried on the shoulders of giants.

Elena
Posts: 78
Joined: Mon Nov 21, 2016 5:42 pm

Re: Soliciting personal recommendations for a Barcelona trip

Post by Elena » Wed Aug 30, 2017 7:46 am

Have a wonderful trip. I just came back from Madrid. Visit Castile next!!!

Swampy
Posts: 728
Joined: Fri Aug 31, 2012 7:16 am

Re: Soliciting personal recommendations for a Barcelona trip

Post by Swampy » Tue Oct 03, 2017 9:17 am

We're days away from going. The news is not indicative of a serene environment as bloodshed in the streets of Barcelona is prevalent. If they start shooting at each other in earnest, then I will cancel and lose the money spent on the trip as there is no reason to endanger my family needlessly.

Here are some recent stories just from the last 24 hours:
http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-41479048
https://www.reuters.com/article/us-spai ... SKCN1C80UK
http://www.smh.com.au/world/anger-and-v ... yse75.html

Maybe I'm a bit overly cautious, gun shy and tired after getting whacked when the center of hurricane Irma's eye came within a few short miles of our utopian residence last month, then dealing with that aftermath.

I guess we're living in some 'interesting times.'
If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. | Failure is not an option. | If I have seen further, it is because I was carried on the shoulders of giants.

curmudgeon
Posts: 1254
Joined: Thu Jun 20, 2013 11:00 pm

Re: Soliciting personal recommendations for a Barcelona trip

Post by curmudgeon » Tue Oct 03, 2017 11:11 am

Swampy wrote:
Tue Oct 03, 2017 9:17 am
We're days away from going. The news is not indicative of a serene environment as bloodshed in the streets of Barcelona is prevalent. If they start shooting at each other in earnest, then I will cancel and lose the money spent on the trip as there is no reason to endanger my family needlessly.

Here are some recent stories just from the last 24 hours:
http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-41479048
https://www.reuters.com/article/us-spai ... SKCN1C80UK
http://www.smh.com.au/world/anger-and-v ... yse75.html

Maybe I'm a bit overly cautious, gun shy and tired after getting whacked when the center of hurricane Irma's eye came within a few short miles of our utopian residence last month, then dealing with that aftermath.

I guess we're living in some 'interesting times.'
It's a tough call. We were in Barcelona a couple of years ago when there was a big rally for the pro-independence party prior to regional elections. It was an amazingly massive turnout, but completely peaceful. I think any protests will center in Barcelona, so I might consider having alternative plans for that part of the trip, at least have options planned for another location.

It's a very different scenario than some of the leftist/anarchist protests we've seen in other cities over WTO or other "globalisation" issues. In Barcelona, the local and state government are with the protests. Both sides have a strong incentive to keep things from getting out of hand, but if you are dealing with massive protests, things can go badly (or at least be very inconvenient to a visitor).

awval999
Posts: 1041
Joined: Fri Apr 08, 2011 10:17 pm

Re: Soliciting personal recommendations for a Barcelona trip

Post by awval999 » Tue Oct 03, 2017 11:16 am

Swampy wrote:
Tue Oct 03, 2017 9:17 am
We're days away from going. The news is not indicative of a serene environment as bloodshed in the streets of Barcelona is prevalent. If they start shooting at each other in earnest, then I will cancel and lose the money spent on the trip as there is no reason to endanger my family needlessly.

Here are some recent stories just from the last 24 hours:
http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-41479048
https://www.reuters.com/article/us-spai ... SKCN1C80UK
http://www.smh.com.au/world/anger-and-v ... yse75.html

Maybe I'm a bit overly cautious, gun shy and tired after getting whacked when the center of hurricane Irma's eye came within a few short miles of our utopian residence last month, then dealing with that aftermath.

I guess we're living in some 'interesting times.'

Have you considered flying to BCN and then taking another flight to the Canaries? Or the Balearic islands? You wouldn't have to even leave the airport in BCN. And you would still have your vacation.

Is the BCN hotel still cancelable?

Swampy
Posts: 728
Joined: Fri Aug 31, 2012 7:16 am

Re: Soliciting personal recommendations for a Barcelona trip

Post by Swampy » Tue Oct 03, 2017 4:25 pm

We are due to arrive at El Prat within the week and will be spending time at a seaside resort just west of the city to get over the jet lag before proceeding to Andorra, then into France through the Pyrenees. After meandering through a number of stops, we are due to come back to Barcelona, staying in the Eixample district. The Eixample reservation is no longer refundable.

I am hoping that the situation simmers down by then, however if the situation heats up instead and SHTF inside the city, we'll plan accordingly and stay in the countryside until it's time to move on. We're due to hop on a boat out of Barcelona.

Trouble is, one doesn't necessarily know where a hot spot is until you get there - especially when you're in unfamiliar territory. I've been to far worse places and far worse situations than this, my family hasn't.

Here's another report from there: http://www.express.co.uk/news/world/861 ... ence-video
If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. | Failure is not an option. | If I have seen further, it is because I was carried on the shoulders of giants.

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