The people of Barcelona are in turmoil in more ways than one. Leaving aside the independence issue which remains unresolved, the permanent residents of the city have had enough of the huge numbers of visitors. The city is awash with foreign workers and tourists. You can’t blame people for wanting to experience this unique city – wacky buildings, art galleries, nightlife – it even boasts a beach, which over the last twenty years has improved beyond recognition with new bars and restaurants, volley ball nets, outdoor gyms, tai chi and yoga sessions enjoyed by locals and visitors alike – but there is a limit !
June, July and August are murder! You can hardly walk along the pavements, there are that many people. Best to leave it till earlier or later in the year when the temperature is kinder and the bars and shops are not brimming to capacity.
A lot of people think Barcelona is quite a dangerous city – muggings and attacks are common, although you have to question the common sense of some tourists! Bars, clubs, restaurants and taxi drivers have no qualms about over charging you but I suspect this is true of any large city anywhere in the world. We tourists are like lambs to the slaughter!
All that said, I go there a lot and have never had a problem. I also go to other parts of Spain, but no other Spanish city has Barcelona’s architecture and atmosphere – it’s a real culture vulture’s paradise. Also, its balmy sub tropical climate means it never gets really cold, unlike the Pyrenees or Madrid, and when you want some ‘me time’ there are parks like Montjuic, other beaches a short train ride away and some lovely gardens – we visited the Marimurtra Jardín Botánico in Blanes last Spring – probably a tad early in the season, but still worth the trip and just a short train ride along the coast.
Of course, the city’s architecture draws many people to Barcelona – along almost every street you will see beautiful balconies and façades or wobbly reflections of the buildings opposite. You can see why artists (and there are hordes of street artists along Las Ramblas, vying for your custom) find inspiration here – the light is magical.
Music is also an important part of the experience: – there is the incredible Modernist concert venue – el Palau de la Música – the building itself is a work of art and whatever time of day you go past there are people photographing it, but inside is where the real magic happens! There are street musicians plying their trade in lots of the squares around town, even classical musicians and opera singers. The Opera House just off the main Rambla is also worth a visit for the building alone; Spaniards are known for their tardiness but the opera is one thing that starts on time!! Also on the main Rambla is the famous Boquería food market.
Visit one of myriad art galleries, celebrating the works of well known artists such as Picasso, Joan Miró and the wackiest catalán of them all, Salvador Dalí, although a better place to see his work is in the town of his birth, Figueres – just up the coast.
There are many temporary exhibitions to enjoy too.
I’ll leave you with a picture of the interior of a recently refurbished restaurant – guess what their speciality is!
Maybe Freddy Mercury said it best. In this duet he is performing with fabulous world renowned soprano, Montserrat Caballé, who was born in Barcelona and died only recently, on October 6, 2018, at the age of 85.