Who is Barcelona for and is it worth it to visit? Is Catalonia the best place in Spain like Catalans say? Can we judge whole Spain because of Catalonia? It was an unexpected trip and I wish I could know more about Catalonia before the arrival. I would surely adjust my expectations.
Barcelona – well known for its art and architecture. Beautiful Spanish language, parties, warm and happy people, beautiful women and passionate Spanish temperament. Zaragoza – calm middle-size city full of cheap restaurants with an amazing Spanish cousin.
Eastern Spain which I was lately traveling through was definitely not what I was expecting.
What is worth it to see?
Let’s start from the good things. Sagrada Familia. It is the most amazing building I have ever seen. Do not believe any photos, these cannot show even a part of its magic. It was so amazing that I could come again to Barcelona just for one day to see it finished. They plan to do it finally around 2020, but as it’s in construction for last 150 years, it might take much longer. It is a masterpiece and even if tickets would cost 40 euros I would still recommend to go there.
- Tip: Buy tickets online, you will save yourself 30-60min. When you do it, take the entrance facing the Nativity Façade.
Who should go to Barcelona?
Fans of art, football and architects.
- FC Barcelona’s logo is on every corner, you can buy Messi’s T-Shirt on the street and underground in the subway corridors. They love football and if you cheer their club – it’s a place for you.
- From Picasso to Gaudi. Many famous names and their even more famous creations. You can’t open a fridge without being asked about Gaudi. “He made this building, and this church, and this lamp, he ate here, and prayed there.” He also refused to speak Spanish and was a nightmare to work with, but it’s an open secret. In this region people are very proud of Gaudi and at the moment they are trying to make him a Saint.
What was impressive for me?
- Public infrastructure. Parallel streets with buildings with cut corners which makes more space for parking and gives more sun light.
- Big variety of groceries and its low price. I bought for 2 euros fresh bread, soda and one of the best salami I ever ate. Best ingredients with the lowest prices.
Why you should not go to Barcelona?
Those words might be harsh, but everybody should know what to expect when choosing a place for vacations.
- Architecture is not so amazing like you might think. It’s quite dirty, many buildings look average and distances between attractions worth it to visit are gigantic.
- Food in restaurants is average. Well-made and fresh but is missing some original flavors or ideas. I had a feeling I’m eating similar food like I do in the morning after a party, when there is not too much in my fridge.
- It’s very expensive. 50 euros for accommodation is a minimum and all of the ‘attractions’ which are mostly museums and Gaudi’s creations have crazy prices. 40-60min walk in a house (Casa Batlló) was 22.5 euros. Other places were around 20 as well.
- Taste is a personal thing, but if you are looking for date or a wife, you might be disappointed. Women do not take care about themselves in Barcelona.
- Don’t hope to practice your Spanish. In many cases we’ve been talking Spanish and they’ve been answering in English. They will be however very pleased to talk Catalan with you.
Some tips about other regions
- Spanish people from Majorca told us that on North of Spain they have much better food.
- We heard that South of Spain has great looking women.
- South of Spain speaks also Spanish. They’re supposed to be warmer and happier, have more fun during partying and have a better weather.
Amazing facts about Barcelona and Zaragoza.
It is like Eastern Europe. What are the chances that 2000 km away people will develop the same sick mentality? If you never had an opportunity to be there, here are some facts:
Those are true only for Barcelona:
- You have a problem and you depend on somebody’s decision? In most cases they will try to make it harder for you.
- You feel like an idiot smiling to other people. They look like they’d love to “wipe this stupid smile out of your face”
- You have a good life and want to talk about it? Want to talk about some good things? How about we’ll talk about those bad moments, issues, politics, and how miserable you are so we can feel better.
- Zaragoza is a very modern city that reminded me about Canada. Huge parks with places for kayaking, cycling, running, exercise and training your dog. Clean and safe for kids. They organize often events like the one last Sunday where hundreds of people were running for a hospice.
- People are casual, they seem that they just do their things and go home or spend some time in a restaurant.
- In most bars you throw trash.. on the floor. You light up a match, ate small chocolate or used sugar? Just throw it on the floor. It’s actually quite funny taking into account that a guy who will clean it later is standing next to you.
My story from Eastern-South Spain.
- We have a bus to Barcelona 7:30. At 7:10 we take a bus to the bus-station. Bus is getting broken on its way. We are stuck, no taxis or cars want to stop, so we call for one which comes 7:28. We make it on time and we speak with the bus driver to buy a ticket from him. No way. He seems to enjoy the situation. He will not sell us a ticket, he won’t wait for us to run to the office, we can’t enter to the bus and buy it online. He leaves. With the next bus at 11:30 we’ll be late for the plane. We go for a train and speak with a very nice lady. I feel like back in a Polish small town. She says that the ticket is 70 euros.. each. We ask nicely for a cheaper one, it’s very expensive and blablabla. Her unhappy face makes me want to start shooting random people and blow up the whole city. “Yes..” she answers. “11 minutes later is one, half price.”
- It’s a middle of March and we took partly spring clothes as it supposed to be 15-20 degrees. We sit in a restaurant with wet shoes and freezing while people make photos to snowflakes half of my hand size. They see snow first time since 2006.
- We ask for a King Tour which might be very interesting as monarchy in Spain has a long tradition. They start them after the winter break the next day after we’ll leave.
- There are those two places not connected with art. One of them is an 100 years old Amusement Park. We try to go there, we are late for a train which leaves the same moment we enter the platform. It’s the last connection during the day.
- We go to see those “romantic and stunning fountains”. These should start at 19:00 (it was written on their website). It doesn’t happen.
It is not so bad.
If you read any of my previous articles you might say that I never said anything bad about other countries, is Spain really so bad?
It’s not so bad. It’s just extremely overrated and overpriced. If you visit a third-world country you expect many bad things. If you visit Barcelona you don’t expect to find this narrow minded mentality with partly Scandinavian attitude of mistrust and distance.
It didn’t feel to me like Spain when I visited the region a while ago. Today, 27.10.2017, Catalonia declared independence from Spain. I’m sure it is just a beginning of many problems, however, I believe that they are completely different from the rest of the country.
Good luck Catalonia.