Guide des Auberges
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Catalogne Auberges de Jeunesse
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was really just a big city. It has some really amazing sites and a very pretty beach but it isn't a beautiful coastal city like those in France at all. The streets do not feel safe and the men were absolutely awful. From what I heard traveling it has a lot to do with blonde hair, but when in Las Ramblas and the surrounding area strangers and especially the shop owners harrassed me. They would literally not leave me alone and would follow me out of the stores trying to make me say I would date them and they would offer me huge discounts but not my friend. It was so bad we ended up leaving the area and going back to the hostel.
I went on a monthlong tour of Europe in 2005, visiting London, Paris, Rome, and
each for one week. Barcelona was the only city where I made a point to leave early. It does have its finer points -- the Marina and beaches were worth visiting -- but the heart of the city, Ramblas, had a very tense, uneasy feeling about it. I couldn't put my finger on it, but I knew that the city did not have a homey or vacationy feeling about it. In the evenings, it became apparent very quickly that this area draws a big drunk and wild crowd. Now, I love drinking and partying myself, but this was not a fun, happy crowd -- it was the sort of crowd that brought around lots of crime, drugs, and violence. I wish I could say that the Cultural scene would save my trip, but that was disappointing too. I was not moved by any one particular structure, and I am easily moved. If you find yourself there already, I recommend taking a bus tour of the city, stopping at the interesting spots, and heading to…
I just got back from a five-day trip to
. I must say it was overall a huge disappointment. First the good. There are many things to see there during the day into the early evening hours. The metro system is fairly good overall so it does not take long to get to where you want to go. Taxi cabs fares are also fairly cheap compared to any other place I have been to and should be taken advantage of when you are pressed for time. At night many of the places that were closed or seemed shut down open up and several neighborhoods become lively. Now for the bad. The city has a horrendous stench that actually gets worse when you are not in a heavy tourist area. I have found that locals take their dogs for walks and allow them to pee and poop right on the sidewalk. I have also seen locals and tourists doing the same, including vomitting. So if you are wondering where the stench was coming from, now you know. In the tourist areas the Catalan people are mixed in how they treat you…
Look after your bags! There are many many thieves lingering in the metro stations and kind of push up against you and try and steal your things in your bags. So be cautious and hold on tight to your valuables.
is amazing though! The architecture and beach and sights and people are all fantastic. I suppose like in any place you have to be careful. It's also very easy to get lost in the laneways. And at nighttime there are many drug deals and dodgy people out that will try and sell you anything!
While you're in
in the evening, grab some new friends from the hostel and go check out the "Magic Fountains" nighttime fountains/lights show (ask your hostel front desk person for directions).
is great! There is SO much to do. If you are bored you must be dead or not trying, because there is something for everyone. Try and visit early in the summer or late spring. The weather will be warm but not hot and the crowds will be smaller. You MUST eat at Quinze Nits in Placa Real. But be warned there will be a line up that starts an hour before they open (8ish) and will remain until after 12. Also, try to go to the Chocolate Museum.
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