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Trip report: i'm here and I LOVE it!!!

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san francisco
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Trip report: i'm here and I LOVE it!!!

I was going to do a trip report as we go along but the ipad has totally frustrated me to death. I cant do spell check, it doesnt capitalize or do apostrophes so please bear with all the mistakes

People always ask "will I like Barcelona if I like Paris"....For me the answer has been yes! This is one fabulous place. It is truly a beautiful place, the people are so friendly, the food is wonderful and the shopping is incredible.

I'm going to tell u a little of our trip as it goes along and will fill in when im back home

We arrived last thurs, klm from san francisco through amsterdam. We arrived about 430 in the afernoon at our apartment rented through habitat barcelona. The company was great to deal with, the price was very reasonable,u get what u pay for! We are on Rambla Catalanya at about Diagonal, great location for shopping and eating. The apartment is not to my liking but ill post about that when im home.

We unpack, use an app on my iphone called "around me" and locate a grocery store two blocks away. Its small but we only need breakfast things...we are unpacked, have set up the kitchen and need to find food soon. Its only about 7pm but we only have about an hour left in us until we crash for 15 hours.

We choose Cerveceria Catalana which is a block away. In our jet lag stupor we try to sit at the bar but cant find two seats together and we dont think we can ask someone to move over one stool. Then we see someone leaving the seafood bar and there r two seats but this man with a newspaper waves us away..ok we are tired and dull, we take a table which turns out to be a blessing! We get a menu, we can figure it out cuz it has english translations and the waiters couldnt be nicer. I get a glass of house white wine cuz they only have half bottles of cava(my preferance), my DH a coke lite and we start with fried artichokes,delish!, grilled prawns with garlic and olive oil,calamari roman style, which turns out to be big breaded fried rings of calamari, the waiter suggestes we get the "special" potatoes brava which has the addition of two soft eggs on top,when all mixed together it was heaven, and the tinyest bagette sandwich with bacon and roquefort. Total bill with another wine. 31€. We fall into a very happy coma!

san francisco
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1. Re: Trip report: i'm here and I LOVE it!!!

We wake about 1000 and decide to do the Fat Tire Bike Tour of the city. Weve done this in other cities and its a nice way to see the sites and get a little exercise and fresh air. We havent a clue about the metro yet and dont really know how far the walk to the meeting place is so we cab it. For the locals, i have a question, sometimes we get charged a suppliment and sometimes not. I understand the baggage charge when we had suitcases but today we have nothing and get an extra 2€ charge...why?

We meet at 1100, have a nice group of people, about 15, and were off with our aussi tour guide Buddah! Hes funny, the history lesson is light and informative, it feels great to be outside in the sun! All that bad weather is gone, its a beautiful day! We stop for wine, jambon and cheese and drunk drive to the finish.

We try to find Euskal Etxca but are hopelessly lost, I spot Taller de Tapas, recognize the name and in we go. We sit at the bar cuz its not very busy and have a terrible lunch! I order the plate of the day which is hake and ratatouille, its actually good but they forget to cook it until my DH is finished with his prawns, which are boiled and cold and an odd timbale of eggplant, roasted red peppers and anchovies. Both of his dishes are very bland, with two coke lites its 33€...we wont be back.

We walk around las rambles, the bouqueria, the barri gothic and born... Well really I dont know exactly where we walked but I think it was that. We still have a bit of the jet lag so we decided to head back to the apartment and eat close by. We walk by Gresca and make a reservation for Sat night, by tomorrow Ill be ready for a nice dinner.

The next closest tapas place that I have on my list is Ciudad Condal, about 4blocks away. We arrive around 930 and its packed, we dont have a chance in hell of sitting at the bar, we put our name in for a table, we are told it is a 45 min wait but it turns out to only be 15mins. Apperantly this is related to the restaurant we ate at last night, we dont know this but the menu has lots of similarities and we just figure all tapa places have the same menu (wrong). We have another fantastic dinner,great waitstaff again, this place is really pretty too. We start with grilled mushrooms which we polish off before the little fried baby squid (andeluse style)arrive. We have the mini burger (2) OMG these were the bomb and I will be back for more. They are really tiny, cooked rare the way I love meat on homemade buns with sweet carmelized onions, they are hands down better than the mcfois burger I will have later at tapac24 later, and they are about 2€ !!!! Another tiny baguette sandwich with Mijorcan sausages,finished off with a llemon tart, with 2 wines $33€

A few random thoughts: We have been extremely careful about pickpocketers, but really, for all those worrying, its no worse than any other city. I remember worrying the first time to Rome and this is the same, its just a city!!! Take the usual precautions and u should be fine. My husband is in the "field of crime" he can usually pick them out pretty quick, and yes they are around. Los of them around the outside of Sagrada Famillia, one on a phone came up behind DH, still chatting away but he knew he was up to something, he turned around to face him and the guy turned and walked away, another at the platform for the train, she had a white binder but didnt seem to be too concerned about taking a train. I went to read the board to see which train we would take and DH said she came up behind me, close. I turned around when I heard my name, she turned fast and walked away. We watched her until our train came, she knew we knew, she didnt approach anyone else while we were there. A third time I was texting on the street and sure enough since I wasnt paying attention an older woman came up to me, I just ignored her an walked on. Maybe all these people werent pickpockets but I wouldnt talk to them in my own city let alone here. They are crimes of opportunity,they dont want a hassel,they will move on to an easier target.

Dont give them the opportunity and u will be fine.

Barcelona and the catalonian people like to party. Coming up next: the local carnival parade in Barcelona, the carnival festivities in Vilanova, the over the top festivities in Sitges !

And last but not least, not to fuel a fight either, theres no dog poo....

Toronto, Canada
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for Barcelona
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2. Re: Trip report: i'm here and I LOVE it!!!

Hola Susanna!

I'm enjoying your report! :-) Thanks for sharing!

Kfar Yasif...
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3. Re: Trip report: i'm here and I LOVE it!!!

Thanks for you report susanna1875,

loved to hear that the weather their is sunny , i would love if it still like this (or even warmer) when i head there in two weeks.

enjoyed the "crime" detecting :D ..

san francisco
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4. Re: Trip report: i'm here and I LOVE it!!!

Hey gigis_mum. You have no idea how helpful all your tips to me and others have been, muchas gracias!!!!!

You should be the Mayor!!!!!

We are now on Barcelona time and we dont get out of the house ever before 1100, sometimes not till 100. I walk down to Place Catalayna and find the tourist office. A very nice lady who speaks great english answers all my 100 questions! When u stay in an apartment in a new place there isnt anyone to ask simple questions...like can I drink the water from the faucet? She said better not, but I had already and Im here to pass on her advice. She tells me how and where to get the train for my day trips, where to catch the bus for Park Guell, where the parade is tonight,how many children she has and no she doesnt want to join us for coffee.

We are off to the park, great tip to take the #24 bus which lets you off up on top and you walk down to the entrance. Its just a beautiful park, incredible rock formations, the mosaic work is out of this world, Gaudi sure had an eye for color combinations. We are too late to go to the museum, its closes early. Its a clear sunny day and u can see forever from the vistas. We take a cab down to las rambles area and ask a policeman exactly where is the parade.

The last few days we have seen lots of people dressed up for carnival, tonight is no exception, we just follow some of them. We end up in the staging area which I find more fun than the actual parades. I love to see them practice their routines,music, dance, I take tons of pictures. Its a small parade but there are tons of people, everyone has their kids in costume, some have matched their costume to their childrens,its a very family oriented, and a good time is had by all.

Little girls dressed like minnie mouse are the clear favorite!

We stop in Orion in the Barri Gothic(?) we had walked by yesterday and the food on the bar looked great. A friendly waitress says its self serve, take a plate and she'll count the toothpicks afterwards, and do i help myself to the cava, no she'll do that!! I believe we are now having our first taste of the basque food and i cant wait to go there in june! They are all beautiful and we cant decide since we are going out to gresca in a few hours. We have a cod salad on bagette as well as a fake crab sald, both delish, a pate with sweet jam,a tortilla that is one of the best ive ever had, a nice chat with a belgium couple 13€. i love eating like this,little here little there,hope it doesnt follow me home in my "trunk"!!!

Gresca: very nice place two blocks from home! Its too lAte for us to eat the 9 course tasting menu(50€) so we just pick and choose. To start wecare given two parmigian crisps and a little tase of cod fish with toasted walnuts and yogart sauce. Ive read about the egg souffle with the runny yoke, we both have it, the egg white is whipped and light as air, the yoke is orange, underneath are a few noodles with sauce, yeah it was great. I have the Dorado with grilled onion slices, the fish was seared perfect and undercooked in the middle just the way I like, DH had the sweetbreads cooked the same way on mashed potatoes, both were winners. For desert I had the roquefort biscuit with a sour apple sorbet and DH had a HUGE bowl of warm chocolate molten cake filling( for lack of a better discription) with a dollop of cold sour cream in the middle and fried wheat (like nuts) on top. With two glasses of cava and a bottle of water 90€

a great dinner, very nice waitstaff, all spoke english. I thought this was going to be more molecular but to me it was just modern cooking at its best.

Tomorrow is Sunday and we are going to 2 Carnival celebrations that couldnt be more different. If anyone is reading this that is here now, tomorrow, tuesday, is the BIG parade in Sitges, which I think is going to out do all the others!!!!!! Maybe Ill see u there!

Toronto, Canada
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5. Re: Trip report: i'm here and I LOVE it!!!

ha ha ha....ouch!

I was laughing so hard that I fell out of my chair and I was drooling from your description of the food. :-)

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Yes, the people at the tourism office underneath Placa Catalunya are very nice! (so funny what you wrote) The lady was absolutely right; you shouldn't drink the water. It's perfectly potable, I believe. The real problem is that all water sources in Barcelona must be hooked up to that #@$ Font de Canaletes on Las Ramblas. If you drink even a drop or brush your teeth, you will be addicted to Barcelona forever! See what happened to me? My poor son is probably going to be a junior high school drop-out becuz his mother took all his savings to fuel an addiction to Barcelona!

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Orio on carrer de Ferran is pretty nice for Basque pintxos.

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Gresca! I love that place! Thanks for sharing your meal. It sounds like they have some new items. I look forward to the egg souffle and my son will definitely like the roquefort biscuit with a sour apple sorbet. Even tho' you didn't get to try it, I bet you agree that a 50 euro 9-course meal here is a real steal.

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And thanks for the idea about being the Mayor! I would love to be the Mayor of Barcelona! :-)

Shrewsbury
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6. Re: Trip report: i'm here and I LOVE it!!!

I'll "vote" for you G_m.

Thouroughly enjoying your report Susanna and I'm looking forward to reading about Sitges. I've seen the pics from earlier years and it looks wild. Regulars on here will know that I'm quite keen on Catalan festes.

Glenwood
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7. Re: Trip report: i'm here and I LOVE it!!!

Love the Reports, very entertaining. Will be in Barcelona mid May - and can't wait. Great to hear about your experiences with food/restaurants - where to go and not to go.

Keep up your writing to us all - please !!

Malaga, Spain
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8. Re: Trip report: i'm here and I LOVE it!!!

Sussana:

Great report! Your comments about pickpockets were very good. Some people worry too much and seem to be hyperventilating already thinking of their trip to come.

st simons island
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9. Re: Trip report: i'm here and I LOVE it!!!

Sussanna: thank you so much, I can't wait to follow along as we will be making a trip in April And yes I think Gigi's mum is the bomb!

san francisco
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10. Re: Trip report: i'm here and I LOVE it!!!

Sunday we again get a late start, out by 100. We go to the train station and get. Tickets for. Vilanova which we will stop at first and then move on to Sitges . The train platform is packed, definately looks likehalloween , EVERYONE except us gets on the train to sitges and we are the lone soles waiting for a different train to vilanova....did we make a mistake on the town or the day?

We get to Vilanova and start to walk up to town and its deserted, except for these beautiful colored candy papers, should we just turn around and get back on the train to Sitges, well lets at least walk to the town square since the next train isnt until 15 mons later. The few people I see are in costumes and walking to the train station, I ask "SItges?". "sisisi"

We hear music and the candy paper is getting deeper..the town square is outof control with color, the candy papers are about a foot high, everyone here is in a traditional costume, a huge orchestra is playing music on a stage, everone is dancing, building human pyramids, its an amazing scene, so glad we didnt leave.

Apparently we missed the activities that started at 900 am but we caught the tail end and Im here to tell you that the next time Im here during Carnival I will be up early . People are burying themselves and their children in the candy, they have moved on to current music , and i am about six inches taller with all the cany stuck to my shoes!!!! Again, everyone is so friendly and welcoming, we dance and take pictures, especially of the candy riot, it breaks up in about an hour and we are back on the train to Sitges.