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Barcelona thoughts

Old Apr 15th, 2012, 04:41 PM
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Barcelona thoughts

We start a tour of Spain in Barcelona. We should arrive around 3:30 on a Thursday and be on our own until a dinner Friday night. Then there are 2 days of tours in the morning with free afternoons and evenings. That gives us free time in Thursday evening, all day Friday, and afternoons and evenings on Saturday and Sunday. Our guided tours will cover the Passeig de Gracia, Montjuic, Barri Gotic, La Sagrada Familia and Parc Guell. During our free time we plan to stoll the Rambla (and La Boqueria), possibly go to the Picasso Museum, and maybe walk the waterfront. There is a chance we might go to a concert at the Palau de Musica Catalana one night. Of course, we plan to enjoy tapas and perhaps a dinner some evenings. My question is what is the best way to spend the first day without overlapping the tours? What should we see that isn't on the tours? I even thought of going to Montserrat on that empty full day. The people on this chat line have been the best and I would love your thoughts.
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Old Apr 15th, 2012, 04:46 PM
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Picasso and Miro Museums are both very worthwhile.
I wouldn't spend much time on the Ramblas.
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Old Apr 15th, 2012, 06:46 PM
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Where are you arriving from? If it's an international flight, then you should allow some time to adjust to the time change as well as the difference in dinning hours. For some, it takes a while to get used to.

If you have a free day, then you should use it to explore the city. Barcelona has a lot to offer that you will not see during your guided tours, but tapas in Barcelona are not the same as they are in Madrid or Andalucia.

Have you checked Maribel's Guide to Barcelona? It hasn't been update for a couple of years, but still serves as a decent reference (www.maribelsguides.com).
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Old Apr 16th, 2012, 07:35 AM
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Travelbuggie:
Some suggestions for you to study:
Casa Batllo and or La Pedrera(great Gaudi architecture);the shopping mall at Plaza de España(a bull ring transformed in a S.M.); at night(if in season) the Dancing Waters, an unforgettable show of light, water fountains and music(really close to Plaza de España).
Enjoy your visit !!
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Old Apr 16th, 2012, 08:05 AM
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La Bocqueria is a waste. Display is nice, quality is mediocre. La Rambla is primarily a tourist trap. Go to the Port Vell and stroll around there instead.
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Old Apr 16th, 2012, 08:24 AM
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Definately go inside one of the Gaudi houses if they are not included on your tour.

I like wandering around by the waterfront, either in Port area or further along. If you like to bike, you can rent bikes for this part of the city, there is also a nice park near there.

Not sure why BigRuss disses the market - I think either LaBocqueria is great for a stroll or there is another in the Born area, Santa Caterina?

I am hoping to see the fountains on my visit in May. The trip to Montserrat is IMO a mini-expedition, takes quite a bit of time. In about 5 visits to Barcelona, I have yet to do that. I think you should probably just stay in the city. Be sure to leave some time for cafe sitting and people watching - one of the main joys for me in my travels.
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Old Apr 16th, 2012, 09:17 AM
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Hub and I enjoyed La Bocqueria and the Ramblas, travelbuggie, so I must respectfully disagree with the posters who don't recommend them. Do read about them and see what you think before ruling them out.

We also strolled around that area to the duomo (is that on your Barri Gotic tour?).

We visited the chocolate museum as well (took a taxi as I wasn't feeling well) and that was interesting. Barcelona has an Arc de Triomphe and the taxi passed it so you might find more and better info.

Is your hotel near any of the sites? That might help others make suggestions.
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Old Apr 16th, 2012, 09:34 AM
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La Boqueria is a fantastic market!

It is true that a few of the stands near the Ramblas entrance can be oriented toward tourists, but go behind those to the main body of the mercado and anyone interested in food will be in heaven! Yes, the prices might be a tad higher than they are at other local markets, but few foreign tourists will care about paying a few cents more per kilo of calcots.

Still don't like the Boqueria? Then try the nearby Mercat Sta Caterina, to the east, or the Mercat de San Antoni, a bit further west at the edge of the Raval.

http://www.mercatsantacaterina.net/

http://www.mercatdesantantoni.com/
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Old Apr 16th, 2012, 09:54 AM
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I agree with the previous poster - if Casa Battilo and La Pedrera are not on your tour - then those are must sees - and they are fairly close to each other. While Las Ramblas and La Boqueria are not big wows (La Boqueria is nice, just better markets in Europe is all) they are both certainly worth a stroll through. But I agree I would stay in the city, still so much to see and soak up.
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Old Apr 16th, 2012, 10:16 AM
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Definitely do not miss La Pedrera. We loved the Boqueria and it was fun to walk through it to see some unusual items. We bought bowls of the most delicious strawberries and ate them right there while browsing. It was not a waste of time at all. We are excited to be returning to Barcelona in early June.
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Old Apr 16th, 2012, 10:37 AM
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I "dis" La Bocqueria because I bought there and I bought at the Mercado San Miguel in Madrid and the latter put the former to shame.
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Old Apr 16th, 2012, 10:57 AM
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La Boqueria market is completly different that Mercado San Miguel in Madrid. Travelbuggie, my advice is don't miss La Boqueria(the stroll on Las Ramblas , not that crazy about that but guess its part of the experience).
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Old Apr 16th, 2012, 11:15 AM
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While I think both markets are worth a visit for people interested in food, La Boqueria is a market whose primary purpose is to sell foods of all types to locals, and indeed, you will see many housewives and men with market baskets there.

Mercado San Miguel in Madrid is more of a happening place to eat, drink and ogle gorgeous displays of beautiful, and expensive, foods. I don't think of it as a workaday market.

I'm a foreign tourist in Spain but those were my impressions.
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Old Apr 16th, 2012, 12:01 PM
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I love, love San Miguel . . A great place to sample jamon!
As eks. said La B., is a more of a market where local and tourists shop.
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Old Apr 16th, 2012, 03:51 PM
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I have to say Fodorites are the best! Your suggestions and discussion is just what I needed. I'll make notes on what you all wrote and then just enjoy whatever hits our fancy the first full day based on your comments, rather than "plan" it. Just so you know, we are in a hotel a couple of blocks above the Ramblas and everyone says you have to see it. We don't expect to spend much time there. Based on everyone's comments we might try to see more than one market. I'll start researching some of the other sites suggested. Thank you, thank you.
If anyone thinks of something else memorable, I check back on this thread throughout April.
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