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Trip Report Barcelona and Begur - a short trip report

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Ok, I said I would do (a brief) trip report, so I will stick to the highlights and any details and restaurant/hotel info that I hope will be of some use.

Thanks to everyone who helped me plan this but special thanks must go to Ekscrunchy who originally sent me the NY Times link about the Costa Brava. That link bought the beautiful costal area of northern Spain to my attention, as I had the preconceived idea It was all a bit “Brit Abroad” (I am British and to some of us the Costa Brava is a package holiday, eggs and chips type of place)

Anyway, I had used some air miles to get BA flights to Barcelona and planned an 8 night stay – arriving early evening on a Saturday night, what I didn’t realise was that it was a bank holiday weekend in Spain and this did affect some restaurant plans as many were closed on the Monday! Oh well.

D (my BF) wanted us to have a roof top pool, whilst staying in Barcelona, personally I didn’t think we had time to use it but that was a primary reason (and the good deal I got) for picking the Grand Hotel Central for 3 nights.

www.grandhotelcentral.com

Good location on Via Laientana in the Gothic area, very chic place, nice bedrooms but let down with a woefully too small restaurant for breakfast and pretty rubbish service at the rooftop bar. The rooftop pool/bar area was lovely though and we did enjoy a nice bottle of cava one night as the sun went down. I would stay in this area for sure again.

Before we left the UK I did a little bit of research ref tours. I was very surprised how expensive some tours were and then found a free walking tour company (there are a few now springing up) www.runnerbeantours.com

I pre-booked the Gaudi tour for the next morning, meeting at Placa Reial at 11am, they operate every day at 11am and 4pm you can just turn up (if you have not pre booked I would suggest you get there at about 10:45am as places do fill up quickly and they did turn people away).
This was a fantastic 2.5 hours (which incorporated a couple of trips on the metro which was handy to see how that all works!) So highly recommended we went on the Old City tour the next day.
Basically you give them whatever you think the tour was worth at the end of the tour. I saw all sorts being passed over but I would think 10/15e per person is about fair!
Our guide was Anne – Marie a bubbly girl from Ireland, who was clearly very passionate about Gaudi. I didn’t feel over loaded with info and it was hugely interesting. You do NOT go in to any of the sites, you obviously can do that later . We finished at the Sagrada Familia at about 1.30. This tour was A must do in Barcelona IMHO

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