I am currently visiting Barcelona, for the Cisco Networkers 2009 convention.
The city is very nice, wide and vivid streets, people everywhere, the old town is magnificent, but its also gloomy and dirty some times (there is a city wide smell not easy to identify and it can really spoil your mood sometimes). The little bars and restaurants in the old town give me the impression that it’s best if you visit the this town with someone you love or are at least intimate. It can be very romantic. It’s not as interesting for two colleagues seeking a place to have quiet beer after work for instance. Too many churches and museums. Those can be expensive to visit. You need to make a budget if you want to visit them. This is a picture of the Segrada Familla, a temple conceived by the famous architect Gaudi.
The spaniards (or I should say the catalans) seem to be thinking a lot about food. You can find tapas bars everywhere. But its more about eating then drinking. There is also a strict timetable for restaurants. You cant eat anytime. You have to be there from 13:30 to 16:00 and then from 20:30 to 23:30.
Prices are ok. You can find high and normal, compared to Greek restaurants, at least with those in Athens.
There are small markets where you can find some things you need. They are called ‘super merkats’ meaning super markets. Its a good idea to buy your water there. Water is rare and expensive. The city water is not drinkable.
If you want to look around the city be prepared for long walks, the metro subway network is not as dense as you might expect in some areas. Not like Paris or London. But its close. There are several ways to go about the city. You can also use the tourist bus, which goes around the city sights, and you can hop on and off as you like. There are also bikes to rent. The metro is also a solution but have a map in hand with the station locations.
Our hotel is Pere IV which is near Bogatel station, line 4 of the metro. Its modern on the outside, retro in the inside. I m not that satisfied. I have a small internal room, and its always very hot. its almost sickening. But its clean and a little stylish. The beds are ok for a good night sleep (which i probably wont be getting). The neighbourhood is not very good, but its quiet. It is also near the city center.
I dont think i like spannish food. They do take their food seriously but they mix stuff a little too much for me. I also dont think i ll get a chance to see the zoo or the aquarium. I really need to find some time to look for small presents for my family.. I have to say also that I hate this terrible icy wind..