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Mail

The postal system in Spain, called Correos, does work, but delivery times can vary widely. An airmail letter to the United States may take four days to reach its destination, or it may take two weeks. Mail to the United Kingdom may range from overnight delivery to four days. Delivery to other places worldwide is equally unpredictable. Sending letters by special delivery (urgente) will ensure speedier delivery.

Post offices are usually open 8:30 am to 8:30 pm on weekdays, and 10–2 on Saturday. Barcelona's main post office, which is on Plaça Antonio López at the port end of Via Laietana, is open all day, 8:30 am to 8:30 pm Monday through Saturday, and 9 am to 2:30 pm on Sunday.

Airmail letters to Australia, New Zealand, the United States, and Canada cost €0.80 up to 20 grams. Letters to the United Kingdom and other EU countries cost €0.65 up to 20 grams. Postcard rates are identical. An urgente (urgent) sticker costs €2.84. Letters within Spain are €0.35. You can buy stamps at post offices and at licensed tobacco shops.

To have mail held at the Barcelona post office, have it addressed to Lista de Correos (the equivalent of Poste Restante), Oficina Central de Correus i Telecomunicacions, Plaça Antonio López 1, 08002. Provincial postal addresses should include the name of the province in parentheses, for example, Figueres (Girona). For Barcelona, this is not necessary.

Main Branches

Oficina Carrer Aragó (Aragó 282, Eixample, Barcelona, Catalonia, 08007. 93/216–0453. Passeig de Gràcia.)

Oficina Central de Correus i Telecomunicacions (Pl. Antonio López 1, Barri Gòtic, Barcelona, Catalonia, 08002. 902/197197. www.correos.es. Jaume I.)

Shipping Packages

When speed is essential or when you must send valuable items or documents, you can use a courier service (mensajero), although it is expensive to ship items from Spain abroad, especially for overnight service. The major international agencies, such as Federal Express and UPS, have representatives in Spain, and the biggest Spanish courier service, Seur, has similar services and fees. Couriers will pick up the package at your door and can deliver it anywhere in the world, usually within one to three days. It's best to call the day before for a next-day morning pickup. You can also drop off the package at an office. If the package is picked up before noon, it will usually arrive in New York or London the following day before 5 pm; delivery often takes another day in Australia or New Zealand. Prices vary from €20 to €60 per delivery.

Most stores, including shippers of fragile items such as ceramics or Lladró, will, for a price, wrap and ship purchases home. Depending on whether you choose surface or airmail, items may take from a week to a month. Logically, the farther away you send items, the longer it takes to get there.

Express Services

DHL (902/122424. www.dhl.com.)

Federal Express (900/100871. www.fedex.com.)

MRW (900/300400. www.mrw.gi.)

Seur (902/101010. www.seur.es.)

UPS (900/102410. www.ups.com.)

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