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Barcelona - Go or Change?

About 6 months ago we realized we had 10 days after Christmas to travel to Europe and had never been to Spain. So, we were able to book a flight to Barcelona - stay for 5 nights and then take the train to Madrid and spend 4 nights there. Now, because of the problems in Barcelona, we're not sure what to do. I realize that a lot can change in 2 months and it's almost impossible to predict the future but it seems to me that these are our options:
1) Be patient and expect the best -- that the situation will greatly improve by the time we travel.
2) Change our plans while we still have enough time to cancel our reservations and find something else.

The big question is: How long do we wait? If we wait too long, we won't have time to make other arrangements and we will end up staying at home. However, if we change too soon we will end up spending a lot of money in cancellation fees and new last minute bookings and miss out on seeing a city we had our hearts set on. (I know Barcelona will always be there and we can go another year, but we had made a lot of plans for it.)

There is no easy answer and I'm sure each of you reading this will look at it a different way. But would you mind sharing your thoughts?

Because of work schedules, we only have a Christmas vacation and summer to take an extended trip like this so we don't want to miss it and end up staying home. (The exact dates we have available for travel are: Leave Dec. 25, Return Jan 5.)

I appreciate your opinions.

Posted by
6841 posts

I am kind of in the same boat as I bought train tickets (trying to save money) last week to Barcelona from France for January 2.
But I have not book hotels. I can change the train ticket for a fee. I am giving it more time but my plan B is to fly maybe to Malaga from Toulouse and tour more of Andalucia.

I don't know may be you should change and just do Andalucia : Granada Seville etc, It is essential and well connected by train to Madrid

Posted by
3789 posts

These tend to not be so long lived. News today things are petering out. Even then read the current posts by Enric and people on the ground are managing to avoid the worst. There is some disruption, however.
So, at worst there is a bus from the BCN airport to Valencia. From there trains go all over.
If you have an alternative city or 2 to visit, then reserve cancelable accommodations for Barcelona, and alternate cities. Commit closer to time.
Spain is big with many alternative places to see. Consider keeping your flights, but it never hurts to have a plan B or C.
If that is still too uncertain then go with your gut.

Posted by
2214 posts

Hello, I am no fortuneteller, but from my experience and with what my family in Barcelona tell me, I think there is a very good chance the current unrest will die down by late Dec/ Early Jan, in fact it's already mellowed out significantly these past 24 hrs. Barcelona is quite festive during the Christmas time, so that may also dampen the tension currently in the city. I'd wait till mid-late Nov, if you can, to make a decision.

Then again, there are plenty of other places in Spain, just as festive during the holidays, to choose from that are easily accessible from Madrid - Valencia, Sevilla, Zaragoza, Cordoba, Palma, Granada, Malaga, the island of Tenerife... to name a few :)

Posted by
3789 posts

Ah, I forgot Spanish elections are Nov 10. Bound to extend current situation which may not help your decision making.

Posted by
2214 posts

@MariaF outside looking in, one would think that there would be blockades/manifestations against the general election on Nov 10, however I don't think there will be any major actions attached to it. Firstly, by law one can't have any mass political meetings the day before and during the election. Also, the Indys know one of thier most powerful tools is voting on the national level, especially for separatist parties like JxCat and ERC, so that they can pressure and stymie the national parliament. They wouldn't throw away this power so readily, by not voting and demonstrating instead. So I think you don't have to worry too much about the Nov 10th Election.

Posted by
3789 posts

@Carlos, without getting into the politics, as I have my own elections today to think about, you know there are more than one side to the situation on this forum. Their writings put a different take on responses to the election than you do. But outside looking in, we also don't know if the decisions of Nov 10 election will lead to calmness or fire things up on the 11th.

Personally, I try to avoid many countries during their elections. And given a choice, why go then if it makes you uncertain? That is all I am saying. You have said yourself it isn't the city you knew. It isn't fun, regardless of the location, to be on tenterhooks guessing whether to stick to or change plans. I was in a similar boat 2 years ago so know what the OP is feeling. I changed my plan and never regretted it. But I decided that entirely on my own to live with my own conscience and uncertainty. Things weren't resolved by my 'line in the sand day' so I moved on. Just mentioned the election date so they could keep or adjust their line in the sand.

Posted by
2214 posts

@MariaF I agree, everyone is entitled to their own opinion. I was in Barcelona before, during, and after the 2017 independence referendum, so I've see how ugly things can get. From my personal experience of voting in Barcelona and knowledge of the current socio-political situation, I think that the Nov 10th Elections will not factor too greatly into the grand scheme of things. Especially since all the major polls in Spain indicate a repeat of the current status quo of dysfunction, with no one party having enough votes to do anything drastic.

I wish Canada well in your voting, and hope to do the same for my own elections, from the Spanish Consulate here in Los Angeles :)

Posted by
3789 posts

I hope you are correct Carlos. What is the saying? "The race isn't won until the last vote is cast" :-)