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Barcelona - Am I the only one who wasn't blown away?

Barcelona - Am I the only one who wasn't blown away?

Aug 22nd, 2015, 06:39 AM
Join Date: Aug 2007
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"The city's main attraction is probably Camp Nou. At least, it draws by far the most visitors."
A football fan , no doubt!
danon is offline  
Aug 22nd, 2015, 06:46 AM
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I think most people would define Cordoba as a beautiful city, and it's definitely not anywhere near to be the "ugliest city's in Spain" by any reasonable standards. And of course also very interesting. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hBqrdMioqY8
kimhe is offline  
Aug 22nd, 2015, 06:46 AM
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-I guess I'm more of a fan of Spain than Catalonia.-

Where else did you go in Catalonia?
rialtogrl is offline  
Aug 22nd, 2015, 06:49 AM
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Hi, Loacker. I can understand how you felt about Barcelona although DH and I enjoyed our stay there. I think where you "live" can make a huge difference. We were away from the center and had to use metro for each day's Gaudi, Ramblas and El Poble venues. All were interesting to us though.

Madrid "grabbed" me so much more by its general beauty. The art museums astounding in Madrid also.

I wonder if your trip had begun in Barcelona if you would have been more enthusiastic about it. Who knows. At least you were lucky enough to make the trip, eh?
TDudette is offline  
Aug 22nd, 2015, 06:51 AM
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I agree with kimhe...some place just have the right " vibe" and one keeps coming back.

In spite of their beauty, Stockholm, St. Petersburg , Florence, Oxford , Prague..
are places I have no interest in revisiting.
On the other hand, I have been to ( not so beautiful ) Berlin five times.
danon is offline  
Aug 22nd, 2015, 07:07 AM
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not to bee picky, but you contradict yourself:

"Ruins or landmarks don't make the city."
"Seeing Al Hambra lit at night, from the Mirador De San Nicolas was the highlight of my trip"

... Granada is " mindblowingly beautiful" or is it that one landmark that makes it so attractive?
danon is offline  
Aug 22nd, 2015, 07:07 AM
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danon is offline  
Aug 22nd, 2015, 07:13 AM
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Glad to see I'm not the only one, sometimes it feels that way. I chose to visit Barcelona because of the Mediterranean setting as well as the art nouveau architecture. Maybe my expectations were too high, but I came away underwhelmed. I was pretty taken with the Casa Mila though, the other buildings of note not so much. All personal taste of course. Food and service were generally so-so, but that can be the luck of the draw. My most memorable experience might be when I tried absinthe for the first time, Barcelona temporarily looked a lot better!

Overall I found Madrid more welcoming, and safer. My guard wasn't constantly up like in Barcelona. Also liked the architecture more in general. There's an earthiness, and subtlety,to Madrid I find appealing, less pretense maybe. The food was simple but delicious, service more accommodating. I just got a good feeling about the city, one of those elusive things. There is something about the light too, tough to explain. Again, personal preference/experience.
Rien63 is offline  
Aug 22nd, 2015, 07:16 AM
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Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

We certainly did note find Codoba ugly!
milaedg is offline  
Aug 22nd, 2015, 07:20 AM
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Actually, I thoroughly enjoyed Granada, itself. Not just the Al Hambra. I spent 3 nights here. Thought it was a city with elegant squares, great tapas bars, and a perfectly preserved Moorish quarter. Even the areas outside the center are nice.
Loacker is offline  
Aug 22nd, 2015, 07:33 AM
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'Barcelona is often touted as one of the most beautiful cities in Europe along with Paris, Venice and Prague.'

Beauty IS in the eye of the beholder, and too general a statement to be taken seriously. There are myriad reasons why people choose to visit, or not visit, a city. Speaking for myself, Venice attracts me with its lovely architecture and unique setting, but as someone with severe mold/mildew allergies it's none too appealing after all. Although for those who don't have my issues, I can see why they might find it beautiful.
Rien63 is offline  
Aug 22nd, 2015, 08:00 AM
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We were in Barcelona last year for 5 days. We enjoyed our trip and I'm really glad we went but I don't think we would go back.

We also went to Seville and Cordoba and really enjoyed the experience. Our apartment owner in Cordoba made some recommendations off the beaten path and we saw some beautiful areas of Cordoba. Would definitely go back to either.

We're heading to Madrid for the first time in about a month so I'm find the comments here about Madrid very encouraging, as I did't want a repeat of our last year's trip. Looking forward to a new experience and we'll see if Madrid's vibe captures us.
debinthepeg is offline  
Aug 22nd, 2015, 08:10 AM
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"Beauty IS in the eye of the beholder, and too general a statement to be taken seriously. There are myriad reasons why people choose to visit, or not visit, a city"

most tourists visit a city for several days and follow the predictable tourist path.
In big cities there are so many different areas ( from seedy to lovely) seldom seen in a short stay.
hotel location, weather, tiredness, unfamiliar food, grumpy service, expectations, and more .
influence one's impressions .
There is no definite good, bad or ugly.
danon is offline  
Aug 22nd, 2015, 08:22 AM
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We enjoyed Barcelona a lot. Some of the architecture was quite beautiful, especially on our walk down Carrer de València.

I guess I must have missed the drug dealers, and we actually thought the city to be very clean. I also saw a post where someone said locals had signs that said, "Tourists go home!" Didn't see those either. As a matter of fact, contrary to many of you on this thread, I found the people of Barcelona to be very friendly (as they were throughout Spain).

Yes, Las Ramblas has tacky stores and has millions of people on it, but it was a fun stroll, and I never felt like a pick pocket loomed at every step. We also had a hotel with a good location across from the cathedral.

We also liked the work of Domènech i Montaner more than Gaudí (Palau de la Música Catalana and Hospital de Sant Pau both were stupendous, with the latter being a complete surprise). That's not to say I did not find the Gaudí stuff to be of interest, however.

As far as food in Barcelona, we, too, were all a little underwhelmed. We didn't have bad meals, but nothing was truly memorable either.

Barcelona was not our favorite city in Spain (Granada and Toledo were our favorites, although we really enjoyed Madrid and Sevilla, too). Although we were not big Cordoba fans, the Mezquita has to be seen to be believed.

Would I return to Barcelona? If given the opportunity, I definitely would.

Not everyone needs to love the same places as someone else...that's what makes travel so interesting.

maitaitom is online now  
Aug 22nd, 2015, 09:37 AM
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I was only blown away by La Boqueria. I can only take so much Gaudi.
Egbert is offline  
Aug 23rd, 2015, 12:18 AM
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I spent 6 days in Barcelona back in 2011 and absolutely loved it. I felt I hardly scratched the surface, there was (and is) so much to see. I stayed in lovely Gracia and thought the city to be very interesting, loved the feel of the different neighbourhoods. Ravel was a bit seedy, indeed, but nothing too bad. Loved Poble Sec as well, found it intrguing and will give it more time on my next visit, which I hope will be next year.
Keren is offline  
Aug 23rd, 2015, 03:21 AM
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I have been to most of Spain. Although I'm happy to have seen the Mezquita Córdoba is the one city I wouldn't go back to.
Micheline is offline  
Aug 23rd, 2015, 05:03 AM
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My first visit to Barcelona was in 1972. My friend and I stayed in the cheapest hotel we could find near the station. We only spent two days there, met up with other friends, and moved on, but I did not have a wonderful impression of the city.

My second visit was in 2006. Both Barcelona and I had changed for the better, and I loved it. I don't usually decide whether I like cities based on their physical beauty but on their cultural vibrancy, and by this measure my visit to Barcelona was excellent. This visit was with friends, and I liked it enough that I went back with my husband. Had a great time, wonderful food, fascinating historical sites, great views that were reached by interesting modes of transportation (cable cars, old trolleys, funiculars). Saw enjoyable concerts and dance performances. Wandered the streets of Barcelona from Roman times under the modern city. Really liked the maritime museum in the restored medieval shipyards.

For what it's worth, I also had a great time in Madrid, and would go back in a heartbeat, while some other posters here are very lukewarm about that city.

Many things can affect one's appreciation of a destination, and I am sure that staying in a sketchy location would color one's experience. The original poster mentioned that his or her expectations had been raised and were perhaps unrealistic, and it can be a problem to have a fantasy about a place when the reality does not match the image in one's mind.
Nikki is offline  
Aug 23rd, 2015, 05:49 AM
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That might admittedly also explain some of my Barcelona enthusiasm ;-), some fabulous absinthe bars here (and other bars, Barcelona is GT and Vermut heaven).
Absenta in my favourite street in Barceloneta: http://www.absentabar.es/
Bar Marsella in Raval from 1820: http://www.yelp.com/biz/marsella-barcelona-2
Absinthe route in Barcelona: http://www.timeout.com/barcelona/bar...absinthe-route
About Vermut bars in Barcelona (and they make fabulous and creative vermouth based drinks in the many bars in El Born). http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/2/bea68...44feab7de.html

And of course famous Boadas cocktail bar: http://boadascocktails.com/en/

Sad to see that many people have had mediocre food experiences in Barcelona. Many touristy and low quality places, but do a little research and you have at your feet a food mecca that stands very little back from San Sebastian and the rest of the Basque Country.

Apart from the now 23 Michelin stars (#1 city in Spain) there are plenty of plain fantastic places in all categories to be found around town, from the most traditional to the most cutting edge. http://www.barcelonaexperience.com/b...arcelona-blog/
kimhe is offline  
Aug 23rd, 2015, 07:27 AM
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'That might admittedly also explain some of my Barcelona enthusiasm ;-), some fabulous absinthe bars here...'

Glad we don't have absinthe here in the States, serious addiction potential.

Exhausted after a day of serious sightseeing on Montjuic, my boyfriend and I happened upon Casa Almirall on the walk back to our hotel. I'm sure you're familiar with it. Don't know what it's like now (this is several years back), but the bartender couldn't have been more helpful in showing us the technique. Delicious and possibly the best buzz I ever had. Salud!


Rien63 is offline  

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