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My Escapes Spain Barcelona Exploring Gaudí's Sprawling Surreal Barcelona The Look and Feel of Barcelona

The Look and Feel of Barcelona

December 6, 2013

Barcelona feels warm and typically Mediterranean. colourful, dynamical, temperamental, boasting with art and inspiration yet,... In many places it has a slumish feel and it does indeed have real slums!
As for expenses - it's dreadfully costly!
Though: Barcelona is a lot cheaper than London and Scandinavian countries, but it's a much more expensive destination than Turkey and Greece!

At first, I got a glimpse of the great city at night time. I was around 22-23 o'clock when I got off my airport bus at Plaça de Catalunya and started pulling my bag in this direction and that until I found my first - proximity hotel - the Hotel Apsis Splendid...

It looked like the entire city was having their night out. Entire families, couples, singles, tourists were walking around in the central area. The Plaça de Catalunya was filled with people.

I felt intense dynamism all around. Barcelona is a city that doesn't sleep at night!

At least, I haven't seen central Barcelona quiet at night... not even very late at night.

Casa Fuster's area

The grey building on the right is architect L. D. Montaner's "Casa Fuster". It's a luxury hotel today.

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As for attractions, fun and eating - Barcelona boasts with beautiful architectural wonders. You'll find many works by Antoni Gaudí, Josep Maria Jujol, Lluís Domènech i Montaner and you'll even have a huge old quarter - the gothic quarter to explore.

One thing I loved very much was the fact that almost all houses, buildings looked unique. The uniqueness factor in architecture is strong in this city...
So, even walking across residential areas was fun. You can simply contemplate the buildings and not get bored!

colourful building

So many homes, simple buildings are made more beautiful by rich decoration...

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Of course, instead of just cluelessly wandering on Barcelona's streets, it's good to make a list of the main attractions. Why not check this page, where you'll find the top attractions that I think shouldn't be missed when in the Catalonian capital.

Art Nouveau building

Art Nouveau is the most norious architectural style in Barcelona

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Plenty of shops, restaurants and a vast number of hotels are scattered in Barcelona. Plenty to choose from: budget, mid-range, business, luxury...

Check out my section dedicated to eating and drinking in Barcelona. I've seen few cities with so many restaurants and such a wide variety of choices, foods etc. It's definitely far better to eat in Barcelona than in London or Vienna!

Small plaza

These small rectangular-shaped plazas are characteristic to Barcelona and just about any city in Spain

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Overall, Barcelona feels great for a single traveler.

If you don't wander into its ghetto-like areas, then you should feel secure.

Those darker places look really bad, terrifying even. And I didn't know how deep the rabbit hole went, so I just explored and explored until I found myself in the middle of the great Barcelona slum!

I felt lot safer in Barcelona than Naples, Rome or Athens!

Typical Barcelona buildings

Typical old apartment blocks in central Barcelona

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But I've heard and have read stories and about assaults, brutal theft in Barcelona and later I even witnessed theft on one of my later trips (in 2010)...

The central most frequented areas are very clean and well-maintained, but some areas, like the Ramblas, but especially parts of the Gothic Quarter and the areas around it, as well as the Raval area are dirtier. In fact, Raval and the Barri Gòtic have sort-of-a slum feel - or, parts of those areas a filthy slums with shady creeps and street whores, mountains of dirt with rats criss-crossing streets. I even saw drunk borrachos taking a wiz on the street, in front of everyone.

Street scene in the Gothic Quarter

Fellow eating on the street in the Gothic Quarter

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As the evening sets in and during early night, plenty of police roam in these areas. Still, there were vast neighbourhoods where I would have loved to see more police patrolling!

I found it wicked how people in these areas simply throw the garbage and their "liquids" out their window. As I was walking on those narrow streets, I had to dodge flying liquids that were flying out of the windows here and there, from time to time... Several times they did hit me a bit and it felt like a curse,... gosh it was so terrible! I could only guess the "ingredients"...

Slumish worn-down old building

And there are worse things in the slums of Barcelona... far uglier!

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Escape Hunter

About the Author:

Escape Hunter, the young solo traveler in his early 30's explores the World driven by curiosity, thirst for adventure, deep passion for beauty, love for freedom and diversity.
With a nuanced, even humorous approach to travel, an obsession for art and design, Escape Hunter prefers to travel slowly, in order to learn and "soak up" the local atmosphere...


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