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EnricM

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About EnricM

  • Rank
    Cool Cruiser

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  • Location
    Barcelona (CATALONIA)
  1. De res!... thanks for the effort, albeit my mother tongue is Catalan -the local language over here is not Spanish:) Yes indeed... keep in mind that Barcelona, contrary to many other cities elsewhere, especially in the [allow me...] New World, did not historically grow from a centre into suburbs but absorbing towns already existing in the plain of Barcelona. They now form part of the city as neighbourhoods. This results in having a very "decentralized" city, in fact, there are several centres so to speak. These neighbourhoods are sort of self-contained areas, meaning they all have their main squares, main streets, shops, cinemas, restaurants, monuments, etc. If you live in one of these neighbourhoods there's no real "need" to go out of the neighbourhood for food or entertainment. This is not to say neighbours don't go elsewhere, of course, we Barcelonians are very "mobile" and we like to move about to different parts of the city whether for a stroll, a restaurant, that special shop, or whatever. There are only a few neighbourhoods that are were created as "residential" per se, and this happened mainly during the 1920s and then the 1950s and 60s to accommodate successive waves of the Spanish migrants into Catalonia. But even these have grown over time into a mix of residential-commercial areas. They, however, have little or no reason to be visited as they don't contain special buildings, monuments or other places of interest -much less to an occasional visitor. Anyhow, among the historical neighbourhoods, I would highlight Poble Nou or Sarrià among other. These neighbourhoods are not spectacular nor have many "monuments" or "attractions", but they keep a little town-like ambience which seems to have preserved their spirit over time and which makes them worthwhile a visit. POBLE NOU Literally "New Town" in Catalan. It was nicknamed "The little Manchester" back in the mid-1800s because it had a large number of factories (textile and metal manufacturing mostly) resembling the epicentre of the Industrial Revolution, the English city of Manchester. Nowadays all these factories are long gone, albeit one can still see some of the factory chimneys -which are now heritage monuments. The neighbourhood is nowadays a melange of different things: on the one hand it contains the so-called "@22 district", the hub of the knowledge industries and technology companies in the city -where all the major ones' HQs are located; it also houses dozens of creative workshops and art studies, and alongside this, the traditional working-class neighbourhood of the historical Poble Nou. Being next to the beaches, it also encompasses a new breed of wealthy investors -local and foreign alike- which hog all the premium real estate in the new developments at the beach front. Note however that "beachfront" in these shores means at least 150 yards from the actual beach as the coast (all the coast) is public land and developments are not allowed. You might find the odd house or building but these were built during the Spanish dictatorship of Franco, and you know in such corrupt environments rules and regulations are "bendable". I particularly like the area around Rambla del Poblenou, sort of the main street in the neighbourhood, a long nice promenade full of small shops and restaurants with terraces which communicates the area with the beaches. In that particular boulevard, there are a couple of good restaurants I tend to go from time to time, one is specialized in seafood in carrer Taulat and serve great paellas and the other is a no-frills very cosy and romantic place serving typical Catalan snacks located in the promenade itself. This one is cosier in the evening but you to get there at 8:30-9 since it's always full. Unfortunately, it seems that in this forum "locals at port" are always considered guilty of something (while in truth I couldn't care less whether any one goes or not to the places I mention!) so if I name the places the post will be deleted. Sorry. I hope the hints help ;) SARRIÀ Much older than the previous, its origins are traced as far back as the 10th century albeit the first stable settlement dates from the 13th century. In 1921 the town was annexed to the growing city and now, administratively, is a neighbourhood of Barcelona. Life in Sarrià evolved around its main street "Major de Sarrià" which ends in a little square where the church of Sant Vicenç de Sarrià is located. Much like in squares in many towns and cities across Catalonia, many Sunday mornings at noon "sardanes" -the national dance of Catalonia- are danced in that square. Young and elderly join hands in circles to dance this ancient folkloric dance. The calendar for sardanes gatherings in the neighbourhood for 2018 is here. (note, "lloc" is Catalan for "place" so you know if the gathering is happening elsewhere in the neighbourhood). Among other curiosities, this fancy-decorated balcony in Major de Sarria, 21 pays homage to the Roman roots of the village. A visit to Sarrià must include, of course, a visit to the Monastery of Pedralbes once the heart of the Catalan royalty during the 13th-14th centuries. There are also quite a few nice small quirky little restaurants in this area. A few in which I have eaten at quite a few times in that part of the city: one is an unassuming tavern-like place in Major de Sarrià street serving no-frills plain traditional Catalan cooking dishes. The place was established in 1873 and has since served the hardworking citizens of this neighbourhood. A couple more places I like: one is located in the same main street, in nbr 134 and it has a wonderful interior patio for a meal on a hot day; the other one is a romantic little place a further down the same street, in nbr 109. For a quick snack, there's a place by the church square of Sant Vicenç de Sarrià, which is located in an 18th-century 'medievalised' manor from a very rich merchant family of that time. Now the ground foor is a restaurant. Worthwhile seeing. Food is also very good. And a map so you know where these neighbourhoods are located. Enjoy!
  2. EnricM

    Park Guell

    ... and if you take bus #24 in Plaça Catalunya -top of Les Rambles- you can stop at the East gate of the park (by the bus parking lot)... a mere 200 yards from the park with no hills :) From the stop of Vallcarca, this is what you'll encounter https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-NJHANogF8a4/UVH20F_bbzI/AAAAAAAAEUU/i7a6t5uRi1c/s1600/4.jpg and notice there are escalators only in some stretches of the hill. For extra info, did you know this street is called "Baixada de la Glòria" -Catalan, the local language- for "descent from glory"? Boy, it is if you're on top but not when you're at the bottom going up!
  3. WHAT TO DO ON A SUNDAY IN BARCELONA Sunday is a weird day so to speak because shops are closed -except for the shopping mall at the old harbour named Maremagnum, and it has to do with the harbour area having a different applicable law than the rest of the city. So most locals tend to either stroll in the morning (La Rambla, Barri Gòtic, or one's own neighbourhood as most have their own 'life'.. or the long promenade by the sea in La Barceloneta), going to the beach or practice some sport (cycling, jogging, skating...) in one of the many green areas of the city or in the biggest city park in Europe: Collserola located at barely a 15' metro ride from the city centre. Another very local tradition is having a vermut before lunch (note I am posting this article just to explain what 'having a vermut' means), and then is either museum and/or cinema in the afternoon (well, you call it 'movie theatres', don't you?). Public museums -those run by the City Council- are free from 3pm onwards including the Botanical Garden and the Pedralbes Monastery in the upper posh part of the city too. This site is not in English yet simply press over 'Veure els museus' and you'll have the list of the museums which are free on Sunday afternoon. As per cinemas in English, check here (we call them: "original language cinemas" because movies are shown in their original language other than our language, Catalan, whatever it might be -not necessarily English, so check before deciding to go to a movie!) ...... Other activities you can do on a Sunday: take a hoho ride, go to the beach, visit a nearby town... and for the later here are some ideas: GIRONA - FIGUERES, note this and Girona are very close - SITGES - MONTSERRAT - TARRAGONA - VIC (in the morning) - BESALÚ (also best in the morning) ...... On a Sunday, and if I had no time or desire to take a train to make an escapade, I would visit Park Güell first and then Sagrada Família later, probably two of the most emblematic sites in the city. Both gather quite a crowd but PG at 9am is far less crowded than later in the day. If, aside the monumental part of the park, you decide to visit as well other features in the free area of the park (ie. the Viaduct, or the Turó de les Tres Creus, which is located in the highest point of the park and offers a magnificent view of the city) then I would calculate over 2 hours in the park. From Plaça Catalunya, take bus #24 and get off in the East gate of the park, visit then first the free area and then, say at 10:30am, enter the monumental part. Note you need to pre-book online! This way you can then exit via the main entrance and walk Larrard Street downhill towards the Gràcia district. Gràcia is a bohemian district, founded in 1626 and independent from Barcelona until 1897 when the expansion of the old city absorbed many neighbouring towns and hamlets into the city and now these are districts and neighbourhoods. But Gràcia, much like Sarrià or Poble Nou, still preserve some of the town-like ambiance, with low rise buildings, narrow semi-pedestrianised streets... A stroll in Gràcia on a Sunday is something you must do, and have a vermut or a beer and a tapa in one of the many terraces in the squares. If you follow the YELLOW route on this map you'll visit the most emblematic areas of this unassuming and unpretentious district: Gràcia has also quite a few restaurants and other places to grab a bite. In their squares, especially the main one: Plaça Vila de Gràcia, one can often find popular gatherings, fairs, castellers' contests (*), etc. on some Sundays. (*) This video is not from one of the typical gatherings, it's from the "finals" (sort of 'superbowl' for castellers) and it's celebrated every year in a stadium in Tarragona. Then, by say 2:45ish I would head towards Sagrada Família on foot so to admire the architecture of the many modernist facades in L'Eixample district (see here a sample). It's a 30'-45' relaxed stroll so you'd reach La Sagrada Família by say 3:30pm. Do remember to pre-book to ensure you don't have to queue. Near La Sagrada Família (10' walk) you have also another attraction you might want to explore: Sant Pau Centre Modernista. If you decide to include this you'll have to readjust the previous schedule, of course. Alternatively, there's a great Irish pub in the same square of LSF that I do like quite a lot: the Michael Collins (what else!?), a stop for a cold beer is always welcome -or if you are British, you'll probably prefer a warm one, ugh! For both, PG and LSF, your pre-booked tickets give you a window of 15' from the time you chose when booking in which you can enter the premises -after that you'll be refused entrance. Once inside you can spend as long as you want. For those not aware, due to the popularity of the city, some monuments in Barcelona are booked on a time-basis, that is, when booking you're offered a set of available "entry slots" for that day (ie 9am, 9:30am, 10am.... ), and that's the time you need to be there to get in -actually get there 10' before your chosen entry time. Also, IMPORTANT, for some monuments/museums in the city -and especially PG and LSF- forget about "turning up" and getting a ticket in the booth... the queues are epic so you're very likely going to be queueing for a long time. Not just that, it might happen that when it's your turn, the available slots are not convenient and you're offered a slot hours later or worst, for the next day. So DO PRE-BOOK online! Enjoy! Enric
  4. Except for shops and offices, everything else is open on Sundays.
  5. The terminal, or to be exact, in any of the five terminals.
  6. Not Bob, but if my answer helps... around 35€ on weekday+day hours (8am-8pm)+ normal traffic.
  7. Obviously, there's no accountancy for taste, but Cuatro Naciones is representative of nothing, just a horrendously tacky touristy hotel, 'thematized' for unaware visitors and located in one of the noisiest parts of Les Rambles. Just sayin'.
  8. Yes, minivans. Simply wait your turn in the queue and when you arrive at the head of the line ask the taxi marshall to call up a minivan. If any is available -and they normally are- it'll come in a few minutes. They can hold up to 7 pax with luggage.
  9. ... what season?... this ain't Disneyworld, LOL!.... this is a real monastery, with monks living there and the lot. It so happens that we, secular visitors, "disturb" them all year long, but they go on with their daily routines, among which the teaching of music to children and the training and performances of the choir. Don't worry, life in Montserrat, like many other things in here in Barcelona, flows all year around, this is a very vibrant city with 2 million inhabitants.
  10. McDonalds? I am sorry but I don't know what is "american food", I've tasted succulent clam chowder in New England, cochon de lait in Cajun country, broccoli chicken casserole in the Midwest or kuchen in Dakota, among other, all of them from very different types of cuisine. If you could be more precise... I'll be glad to suggest something.
  11. ... which you can also buy in any hardware store (and many supermarkets/dept stores) here in Barcelona for peanuts :)
  12. So you know... 1.) Shuttle bus takes you as far into the centre as the Columbus Statue, then either walk -if the hotel is close- or take metro/bus. Shuttle is 3-4€, bus/metro is 2.20€ (single ticket)... so say you're two pax: it's going to cost you ~13€ (*) 2.) A taxi to anywhere in the centre shouldn't cost you more than 20€ (incl. additional charges) (*) If you need to transfer to a second bus to reach your destination note that you'll need a second ticket -unless you were to purchase initially a T-10 travelcard, but not knowing your particulars I can't advise that.
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