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Barcelona observations, revisiting first time in years

Barcelona observations, revisiting first time in years

Old Jul 14th, 2021, 01:01 AM
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Barcelona observations, revisiting first time in years

Rambla is cleaned up, I mean renovated building facades everywhere. Maybe not as crowded as it normally would be but only saw one busker all the way down to the Columbus statue.

Usually also saw cops armed with automatic rifles but not this time.

Lot of cleaned up buildings in the Gothic quarter, especially around the southern side of the cathedral. There is still scaffolding on the central spire of La Seu but not as much as the last time I saw it.

However, now all tourists pay 9 Euros to visit, which includes a visit to the tower or something. I only wanted to visit the main hall, didn’t look like much of a view up there. There are sites indicating free hours during services but that isn’t the case. Ticket office person said 9 Euros for everyone but residents.

Casa Batlo is like 35 or 40 Euros!

And Sagrada Famiglia isn’t cheap either.

Last time I visited I walked through Hospital Ant Pau area, looking at all the colorful tiled buildings there. That is also no longer free either.

OK I can afford all these fees but Barcelona seems to stand out compared to other big European destinations, nickel and diming everything. Especially the cathedral.

I also see a lot more streets with store frontages now. There is one wide street, mostly pedestrian, adjacent to Plaza Catalunya, filled with shops.


Catalunya is currently seeing a big surge of new cases. Masks are maybe 1/4 to 1/3 compliance on the streets though most people seem to put them on to go inside. You see masks on chins or people wrap them around their elbows, something I also saw in France during this trip.

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Old Jul 14th, 2021, 05:30 AM
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I was last there in 2015, and Casa Battlo was 22.50 then, so that's a noticeable rise, and I thought 22.50 was high. However, I know that the residents want a lot fewer tourists, so this could be one way to try to reduce the numbers. Don't remember whether I had to pay for the hospital.
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Old Jul 14th, 2021, 05:38 AM
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Thanks for this, scrub11. Too bad about all the extra charges. Was your hotel very expensive?
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Old Jul 14th, 2021, 05:58 AM
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Originally Posted by TDudette View Post
Thanks for this, scrub11. Too bad about all the extra charges. Was your hotel very expensive?
Hotel I think is a pretty good deal, just under €250 for two nights, right on the Pl. Catalunya, a 4-star rated pretty well in the reviews. Seems to be pretty new, pretty spacious room. Though in the mornings, I hear the water from people taking showers upstairs so poor insulation characteristic of Spanish buildings.

I would say the food options are decent too, if you want to grab a quick bite of good quality. Honest Greens seems to be a popular local chain.


Not too far from La Seu is the Basilica Santa Maria del Mar. They also have pay options for the crypt and the tower but people mostly went into the huge nave (free), surrounded by large stained glass windows.

I walked around thinking maybe I will go there in the afternoon but I covered a lot of ground, too tired to go back.

The geese will have to wait for another time.



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Old Jul 14th, 2021, 06:00 AM
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Originally Posted by thursdaysd View Post
I was last there in 2015, and Casa Battlo was 22.50 then, so that's a noticeable rise, and I thought 22.50 was high. However, I know that the residents want a lot fewer tourists, so this could be one way to try to reduce the numbers. Don't remember whether I had to pay for the hospital.
I walked by and it was empty. They have cordoned off sections for people to visit but nobody was waiting to get in, nobody at the ticket counter around 1 PM.

Of course tourist traffic is probably way down but even at peak, I wonder how many takers they will have.


Also went by Palau Guell yesterday, a few people there at the ticket counter. I think they wanted €10.

I haven't visited the Picasso Museum, which is €14. I walked through the El Born Center, which is this ornate building over an archeological site, snapped some pics and went on my way, nobody asking for a ticket.




Last edited by scrb11; Jul 14th, 2021 at 06:07 AM.
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Old Jul 14th, 2021, 09:44 AM
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Not sure if cleaned up buildings is good or bad on the Rambla.

I don't see anything wrong with charging fees for tourists to visit sites, it's a lot of wear and tear, why should it be free? The cathedral got nothing out of thousands of tourists visiting it and causing many dollars of wear and tear and upkeep. I don't consider that "nickel and diming" since people aren't paying anything without those fees, such as the cathedral. Most tourists can well afford to pay that, why shouldn't they. I've been in other churches in Europe that charged entrance fees also, one in Krakow does and one in Seville does, also, and St Vitus in Prague has for many years, and it's more than 10 euro, just to name a few. The cathedral in Seville charges more than Barcelona. I don't see why anyone would expect to visit those places as tourists for their own touristy enjoyment, not for religious services, but it should be free for them to do that. It's about 10 euro for St Denis basilica in Paris, also, and Paris museums are pretty expensive. I think the problem is churches are supposed to be open for persons who want to go there to pray, so it's difficult to set up a ticket system, actually. Places that do it usually limit it to certain hours, seems to me. What I really objected to was when they let tourists wander around the church during services, that should always be banned, in my opinion. As I recall, people did that in Paris.at ND.

I do think 40 euro for Cas Batllo etc is a lot, though, but that isn't that big a place. From the website, this looks objectionable because it appears they are turning it into those audio-visual light show experience which tourists seem to love nowadays, as it's more like video and AV entertainment. It's closer to 30 euro for seniors and youths. But it appears you can't visit without that light show. That sounds horrible to me, that they've ruined the building to do that kind of thing. At least it appears the Pedrera is normal and about the prices it used to be, more like 20 euro.

So I don't think it is too bad about the extra charges, I think tourists should pay more as things are getting ruined in lots of places and tourists shouldn't have the idea they shouldn't have to pay anything.
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Old Jul 14th, 2021, 10:08 AM
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We were there in March 2020, just as COVID hit and forced us to leave after just a few days.

Segrada Familia was €26, €21 for seniors

La Pedrera was €24, €18.50 senior

Casa Batlló was 22 (blue ticket) which gave us access to the audio guide. (No idea what light show Christina is talking about)

The tour of Sant Pau Recinte Modernista was
€20, €14 for seniors, but we never made it, as cancelled due to COVID

Park Guell (timed tickets for the monumental zone) was €10, €7 for seniors

I think it'd be nice to be there now with so few people. Are you enjoying your visit?


(And I can't help but think of Dick Waffles when I think of Barcelona...what a hoot)

And FWIW, it seems that every business the world over is currently nickel and diming.

Last edited by Melnq8; Jul 14th, 2021 at 10:15 AM.
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Old Jul 14th, 2021, 10:31 AM
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There are plenty of people out on the streets.

I guess maybe it's not as crowded at the venues though I didn't go to Sagrada Familia.

I looked at the Barcelona Card. Starts at €72 Euro and many of the venues are not free with it but a discount of 10 or 20%. But it appears you can only get it with the transport pass and a lot of these venues are in Gotico or Eixample so walkable between each other.

So if it was like the Paris Museum Pass, you actually might have a chance to get some value out of it.

Yeah La Seu has been undergoing renovations for years so I get that. Maybe they could revamp the Barcelona card and put it on the list.

Off the top of my head, it seems more expensive than Paris is as far as going to say 5 or 10 of the most popular venues, especially if you use the Paris Visit card.

I'm not trying to do too many museums or indoor venues in general on this trip, especially when case numbers are high. So La Seu would have been one of the few I would have visited. I don't ever see myself paying for Casa Battlo. They're entitled to make money but I don't want to reinforce that kind of behavior.

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Old Jul 14th, 2021, 10:36 AM
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I loved Casa Batlló. Not sure what behavior you're talking about unless it was the light show that Christina mentioned (which wasn't a thing when we were there).
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Old Jul 14th, 2021, 10:37 AM
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Originally Posted by Christina View Post
Not sure if cleaned up buildings is good or bad on the Rambla.
Yeah one immediate reaction is it could be a similar process to what they did with Times Square, really clean it up and sanitize it with big international brands.

It's not quite that but a lot of money was spent spiffing up all the facades of those buildings.

I guess the city may have allowed these companies to buy buildings there but spend money on them. I'm not saying it's only McDonalds and the like there now. You still see these small little concessions selling tapas and pizza and burgers, ice cream, etc.

But it's a lot less cluttered in that way than I remember it.

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Old Jul 14th, 2021, 10:38 AM
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Originally Posted by Melnq8 View Post
I loved Casa Batlló. Not sure what behavior you're talking about unless it was the light show that Christina mentioned (which wasn't a thing when we were there).
I don't know about the light show. I just look at the price and the more people pay it, the more increases there will be.
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Old Jul 14th, 2021, 12:56 PM
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FYI, there are two other apartment building you can visit in the "Block of Discord" next to Casa Battlo, both cheaper and less popular (at least they were in 2015). They are not by Gaudi, but from roughly the same period, and I thought they were well worth seeing.

https://mytimetotravel.wordpress.com...a-lleo-morera/

https://mytimetotravel.wordpress.com...casa-amatller/
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Old Jul 14th, 2021, 09:14 PM
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I can’t begin to fathom the cost of repair and maintaining some of the old churches and cathedrals. I would like them to be standing for several more generations, so if that means paying to see them, I am happy to do it. An hour or two in a magnificent cathedral or wonderful museum is worth as much to me as a hamburger, fries and drink, and a lot more than going to a movie. Compare the cost of a day of sightseeing in a historic European city filled with art and architecture with the cost of a day in an amusement park like Busch Gardens.
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Old Jul 15th, 2021, 12:32 AM
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My visit wouldn’t last an hour unless they developed an audio guide with specific descriptions about several features of the cathedral.

They do include the crypt and the roof, though I really didn’t have interest in either.

At least make those opti9nal and reduce the price for the main nave, which is the only part most people want to see.

also they’re only charging tourists, not residents. So they’re putting the burden only on tourists.
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Old Jul 15th, 2021, 01:20 AM
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Before COVID, we'd probably go to Barcelona every few years, not to revisit the main sights but to visit several of the restaurants and take day trips out of the city. Over recent years we've found that the pick pocketing problem has got worse with a disinterested Police service and the prices have shot up for most touristy attractions.

Barcelona is now much further down our visiting list once COVID relents, with Venice right at the top now.
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Old Jul 25th, 2021, 11:01 AM
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Thanks for taking me back 15 years or so to Barcelona, scrb, which i mainly remember for the crowds, heat, sore feet and the incredibly long "correspondences" [a term we borrowed from the Paris metro to describe the passages linking one underground line with another]. We soon learnt that very often it was better to walk than use the metro, though that might have contributed to the soreness of my feet I suppose.

What I don't remember is the sites being very costly - what put us off going into places, when it did, were the long queues. But that was mainly the Gaudi sites - otherwise so far as I remember we were able to walk straight into the Cathedral, the Segrada Familia, the Picasso museum, and many other places. Perhaps we were just lucky!
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Old Jul 25th, 2021, 08:22 PM
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Many of the Spanish sites have relatively high entrance fees. OTOH if you aren't that interested most have free admission days or evening hours.

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Old Jul 27th, 2021, 06:35 AM
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On our last trip to Barcelona (2019), we split our stay between the Gothic Quarter and the Poblenou neighborhood. The Gothic Quarter was very close to the heart of things but we loved the Poblenou area and will definitely stay there again. Great vibe, plenty of restaurants and cafes. Easy to get into the center of the city and far fewer issues with street crime like pickpocketing.

https://www.timeout.com/barcelona/th...arcelona-guide
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