What to do? What to do?
I’ve said before that this blog was aimed at the sort of person that, no matter what time of the month it is, lets out an audible sigh when a cash machine starts making that whirring noise to let you know you have cash in your account. So this entry will be about some things you can do that won’t cost you a lot, if any cash, and one thing that, sadly, will now cost a few quid no matter when you do it.
4 We’re walking, we’re walking As I mentioned in the last post when I did a straw poll of my twitter followers on what they enjoyed most about the city I reckon well over half of the replies said they enjoyed just wandering around Barrio Gotico,The Ramblas and El Borne. As a resident I’m not best placed to comment on this area as I find it too “full-on” for my tastes but I can remember from my first trip here that I loved the “vibe” and buzz.
If you are here on a budget then it’s easy to spend the day in the area. Visiting, La Boqueria , the SENSATIONAL food market just off The Ramblas, The Gothic Cathedral (entry fee is payable if you want to go inside) and my favourite, the cathedral Santa Maria Del Mar. The last one is my favourite, not just because it’s free but its simplicity. I have some issues with the Catholic Church PLC* and its wealth. I have a naive belief that it should be a poor church for the poor people and much of the obvious “bling” you see in churches clashes with that vision.
Santa Maria Del Mar has been stripped of many of its treasures and the bareness of the interior is stunningly impressive.
Incidentally this is the one area where my “Don’t be a wee fanny” advice must be followed to the letter. On the Ramblas, in particular, tourists distracted by the sights and sounds make this Ground Zero for robbers.
5 Beach Life I reckon what separates Barcelona from the other popular European mini break city destinations is the fact the city has its own beach. Being able to combine the best of a true city break with the possibility of elements of a beach holiday is a huge plus for the city. The beach at Barceloneta is only 15 minutes walk from the bottom of the Ramblas and the other beaches extend a couple of miles up the coast. They get a bit less “touristy” the further north you go, incidentally.
This presents the perfect opportunity for a brilliant and relaxing day out that won’t break the bank.
The trick here isn’t rocket science, get to a supermarket, buy your provisions, beer ham, olives, cheese etc. invest in a cheap cool bag and that’s your day at the beach sorted. I have noticed this year that the police have really cracked down on the guys who used to sell beer etc. so taking your own provisions is wise. Having said that, if you are on Barceloneta beach there are plenty of shops near the beach where, although the prices are a bit higher, the value for money holds up well compared to UK
6 FITBA’ FITBA FITBA’ This is what brings a huge number of tourists into the city every week during the football season. Those of you who don’t really follow football will still know that Barcelona has one of the greatest football teams in the world and deffo has, arguably, the greatest player in the history of the game, Lionel Messi. Throw in the fact Barca have just signed Neymar, a Brazilian wonderkid then you have the potential for a double act that could only be bettered by Martine McCutcheon wrestling in baby oil with Katherine Jenkins.
With the exception of the Classico, Barca V Real Madrid you really shouldn’t have a problem getting tickets for any game via the official website. To collect them I suggest heading up to the stadium and when there make sure you do the tour. It’s fantastic.It’s not a spoiler but from outside the stadium is a bit “meh”.
On the tour, the first time you see it properly is as you walk up the stairs from the dressing room. I’ve done the tour many times and I still get goosebumps every single time.
A couple of things I should let you know. If planning a trip around a game then remember that the day and time of the game is only decided around a week beforehand to suit TV. The game can therefore be anytime between 5pm on a Saturday and 9pm on a Sunday so make sure your travel plans can work around this.
The reason that the above advice is so important is that the tickets are not cheap. Up to a few years back, for some games the cheapest tickets were around 20/25€. Those days are gone I’m afraid you really should budget around 60 to 80€ for a seat for most games.
The last summary entry will appear later this week and will focus on my other passion “The Scran and the Swally”
*I should explain this as I don’t want any misunderstandings. I am a viciously lapsed Catholic and have personal issues with the “PLC” element of the Church. One thing I have no problem with are the people who believe. This is an article is on my primary school teacher and when I outline that I have no issue with those who believe it’s my Mum and Nan McCafferty that I bring to mind.
May your God, if you have one bless you.