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[infox] Situation in Barcelona - October 2019

NOTE TO ADMIN

I am not sure if admin will want this thread to be up, but given the number of people visiting Barcelona all the time I felt it's important boots-on-the-ground last-minute information regarding blockades and demonstrations happening today and, at intervals, in the foreseeable future so visitors can be in the loop and plan accordingly. Should you feel it's not appropriate in this forum I apologize, please let me know and I will stop updating.

Background
Today (Oct 14th) the sentence against ministers and the vice-president of the Catalan government for having held an independence referendum on October 2017 has been delivered. The sentence, as expected, is disproportionate and the general mood in Catalonia is very upset and angry. The civil disobedience campaign that has been announced these past weeks has started and it's expected to last for an undetermined period of time with actions occurring simultaneously in different parts of Catalonia -not only in Barcelona. The Spanish government has sent several thousand of paramilitary police -the same than perpetrated the violent images against the voters seen in all TVs during the independence referendum celebrated in 2017.

The planned actions of the civil disobedience campaign are always NON-VIOLENT -on the protesters' side- and seek to paralyze the nation (Catalonia) to force a negotiation with the Spanish. These will mostly be in the form of blockades, slow marches and demonstrations. There is no beef against any civilian, much less foreign civilians, so no one visiting these days should worry about personal safety. Just stay away from demonstrations as per the danger of police charges, especially from the Spanish police -easy to recognize, they wear a Spanish flag on the shoulder. And prepare for some discomforts regarding mobility.

MONDAY, 14th OCT

  • The main focus of the protests is located in the airport of Barcelona and the roads in and out connecting this infrastructure with the city. This has also included (intermittently) the metro and the train to the airport. These have been closed by the police to prevent protestors from reaching the airport. It, however, has been resumed shortly after thousands marched on foot instead towards the airport, while several thousand more were already there, inside and outside the airport, blocking mobility. Those flying in or out today best head straight for the metro (if in/to Termina 1) or the train (if in/to Terminal 2). Expect long queues but it's the most likely transport to be able to take you to/from the city... at some point, that is. Check https://twitter.com/BCN_Mobilitat
  • Several flights have been cancelled. CHECK YOUR AIRLINE.
  • There are going to be several marches inside the city convoked by different civil associations from 6 pm onward. The main meeting points are Plaça Catalunya and Passeig de Gràcia near Diagonal Avenue. In most cities and towns across Catalonia, similar demonstrations have been announced for 8 pm.
  • In Girona and Figueres, barricades at the train tracks have stopped the circulation of fast trains (AVE) in the line from Barcelona to France.
  • In Lleida, over 3000 protestors have collapsed the city centre. The Lleida City Hall has approved halting all its activities until Oct 16th.
  • In Tarragona, the AP-7 motorway connecting Valencia and Catalonia has been temporarily blocked.
  • At present, the following roads are blockaded: C-15 Pobla Claramunt, C-16 Berga, C-17 Vic, C-37 Querol, C-59 Moià, C-63 Sant Coloma Farnes i Anglès, C-66 Bisbal Empordà, GI- 634 Verges, N-240 Valls, N-II Mataró and there are slow marches in AP-7 nord in Llinars, C-35 Sant Celoni and C-31 nord Platja d’Aro
Posted by
2507 posts

WED 16th - FRI 18th

  • There are six (6) foot marches, "Marches for Freedom" convoked. These will depart on Wednesday from Girona, Vic, Berga, Tàrrega, Tarragona and Castelldefels and will meet in Barcelona on Friday. The marches will gather thousands of people and will go by the main roads so collapses and long queues in the main roads in Catalonia and especially around the metropolitan area of Barcelona are expected.
  • The main Student Unions have announced a 72h strike in the universities and schools in Catalonia. Also large demonstrations in Barcelona, Tarragona, Lleida and Girona on Thursday at noon and a second one on Friday coinciding with the general strike convoked by several Labor Unions.

FRI 18th

  • A general strike has been announced. It's convoked by two Labor Unions, not the biggest in Catalonia, but the same ones that paralyzed the whole nation on Oct 3th in 2017 to protest the Spanish police brutality against voters during the indy referendum on Oct 1st.

I can understand the restlessness that this situation might present to some travellers arriving into Barcelona but unfortunately, a civil disobedience campaign is not something one announces in advance for the Spanish to be able to react and prevent it, but something that -while having been carefully planned for maximum impact- is announced by the different civil associations to the citizens only a few hours before they're to be executed. Thus, I am afraid it's not possible to "know in advance" everything that might or might not happen, which in turn, is also modulated by what the Spanish police brought to Catalonia might do.

News sources to follow, in English: https://english.vilaweb.cat/ and https://www.elnacional.cat/en/ Note, however, the English versions are not as up-to-date as the local versions regarding last-minute newsflashes. There are other news outlets, of course, but in fluid situations like this one, IMHO it's best to stick to sources in the epicentre of the protests, that is Barcelona-based newspapers.

I beg no questions asking "how will this or that evolve" as these type of situations are very fluid -as explained before- and no one can be sure what will happen next. I can inform about the planned citizenship actions when they're made public, which is the intent of this thread, but we don't know what the Spanish government will do next so it's impossible to predict any outcome.

< end >

Posted by
4200 posts

Thank you again for keeping us informed, Enric. This is a real service to those of us traveling to Barcelona in the coming week. The links you posted to local news sources will be helpful as things develop. I'll be checking with my airline about flight status.

Posted by
246 posts

This is Uncle Sam's warning:

Consulate General of the United States of America
Barcelona, Spain

Security Alert – October 14, 2019

Location: Barcelona, Spain

Event: Demonstration activity has disrupted services and transportation around Barcelona’s El Prat airport, including closures of roads leading to the airport. There are reports of conflicts between demonstrators and law enforcement.

Actions to Take:

· Avoid the areas of the demonstrations.
· Exercise caution if in the vicinity of large gatherings or protests.
· Monitor local media for updates.
· Consider alternative means of transportation.
· Be aware of your surroundings.
· Keep a low profile.
· Notify friends and family of your safety.

Please see our Demonstrations in Spain webpage for more information.

U.S. citizens may monitor English-language Spanish media at the following website:
https://elpais.com/elpais/inenglish.html

Also, view updates on Twitter, Facebook and Official Websites from the Mossos d’Esquadra (Regional Police), Barcelona City Police, Spanish National Police and Guardia Civil:

Mossos d’Esquadra (Regional Police)
Barcelona City Police
https://twitter.com/spanishpolice?lang=en
https://www.facebook.com/PoliciaNacional/?fref=ts
https://www.policia.es/
https://twitter.com/guardiacivil?lang=en
https://www.facebook.com/GuardiaCivil.es/
http://www.guardiacivil.es/en/servicios/atencionciudadano_1/index.html

Posted by
1861 posts

This is also a good resource for live updates, from the major local newspaper of Barcelona, La Vanguardia (may need to use the translate feature):

https://www.lavanguardia.com/politica/20191014/47968670032/carreteras-vias-cortadas-aeropuerto-barcelona-lleida-girona-tarragona-ultima-hora-en-directo.html

Apparently the Barcelona Airport is totally collapsed with flights being cancelled, local police (Mossos) are using rubber bullets to disperse the occupiers.

Live video coming out of El Prat Airport: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yyhjI-u21kk

Posted by
1 posts

We are currently in Barcelona, in our hotel near Plaça Catalunya. We’ve been watching the reports on social media of the situation at the Barcelona airport - police attacking protesters, and access to airport blocked. We are supposed to fly out of here tomorrow morning early to join a Rick Steves VFR tour in Venice. Not sure we we can get to the airport. Saw a twitter video of flight crews walking to the airport, and then a little later police attacking protesters with batons. Is it even safe to try to get to the airport?

Posted by
1861 posts

@hhcassidy, 100s of flights canceled today from Barcelona Airport and flights are already being canceled for tomorrow morning too. I would double check with your airline, as I'd say there's a good chance your flight might be canceled tomorrow as well...

There's currently a lot of misinformation flying around to create maximum chaos, according to the National Police of Spain and AENA (Spanish airport operator) there is currently no incident at Madrid Barajas Airport, as previously reported -

https://twitter.com/aena/status/1183795776734056448

https://twitter.com/guardiacivil/status/1183800722552446977

Posted by
2507 posts

Carlos, I don't post misinformation. Anyone willing to check images can do so with a simple google search. As I said, boots-on-the-ground, not channels from institutions which have vested interests in appearing nothing is going on, that is not useful for those finding themselves "in the middle of it". Everything I post can be independently confirmed via other channels on the Internet -fortunately, information is no longer the monopoly of a few-, otherwise, I don't post: that's 101 in my line of business and also in my personal hobbies, like helping out in this forum.

Posted by
2507 posts

SAT 26th

Another large demonstration has been announced. This has been convoked by the two largest civil society associations -the same than organise the marches every year on Sept 11th, the National Day of Catalonia, and that have gathered between 1 and 2 million protesters every year in the streets of Barcelona- and some 195 other Catalan associations. There are no more details at present.

Posted by
1861 posts

Enric, I never said you are posting misinformation.

Just as you say "there are institutions which have vested interests in appearing nothing is going on", there are also institutions with vested interests in appearing there is absolute chaos going on. I don't think AENA (the largest airport operator in Spain) is in on some grand conspiracy here...

This is a touchy subject for both of us, so I'd rather not discuss further.

Posted by
2507 posts

UPDATE: Oct14th 10pm

END OF BARCELONA AIRPORT BLOCKADE

The organisation convoking today's action at the airport, #tsunamidemocratic, has just announced that the goal has been achieved so the action is now considered over. The airport will return to normality tomorrow albeit during the whole day there'll be a backlog of today's cancelled flights. More actions elsewhere to be announced tomorrow.

Regardless, check with your airline before going to the airport to avoid unnecessary trips.

END OF THE BLOCKADE OF THE TRAIN LINE BETWEEN TARRAGONA AND REUS

Same than above.

Posted by
989 posts

We are in Barcelona and our flight home, schueduled for Tuesday, was canceled. We have been rebooked on a flight for this Friday. Kudos to AA for their excellent communications in reaching out to provide alternatives in returning home. Although adding to our expense we appreciate the opportunity to remain in Barcelona while understanding the same type of delay can be frustrating to other travelers.
We spent Monday on our planned schedule and encountered the peaceful demonstrations in and around central Barcelona. We have never felt threatened. Indeed the civil unrest has provided a unique opportunity to observe, learn and, if desired, to participate in support of a people collectively striving to gain their independence.
We are grateful for the on line updates provided by Enric and provision of web resources to help obtain the best possible understanding of status of events. Thanks also to Rick Steve's for offering this forum and the RS staff for their work.
Great news! At the La Boqueria market on the La Rambla the gentleman who gives the two thumbs up with the giant effusive smile on many of the RS videos, is still there! We first met him in 2005 and it is heart warming to continue to see his smiling face.
Safe travels!

Posted by
2507 posts

UPDATE: Oct15th 10am

FAST TRAIN LINE (AVE) BARCELONA-GIRONA-FIGUERES HAS LIMITED SERVICED

Following yesterday protests in Girona station, when the station was occupied by protesters and the tracks were blockaded, repairs are being conducted. This affects also fast trains going to/from France. It is expected to resume normal service later this morning. More info: https://twitter.com/adif_es?lang=en

Those going to Girona or Figueres can still use the Rodalies train network. Albeit being slower, as they stop in all stations, the train service is working fine. More info: http://www.rodalies.tk and for up-to-date news on service: https://twitter.com/rodalies

Posted by
2507 posts

UPDATE: Oct15th 2pm

INTERMITTENT BLOCKADES IN SEVERAL ROADS ACROSS CATALONIA

Several roads across Catalonia are being blocked at intermittent intervals. The road to/from BCN airport to the city is not affected. Keep up with the information here: https://twitter.com/mossos

PROTESTS ANNOUNCED THIS AFTERNOON AT THE SPANISH GOV DELEGATIONS IN SEVERAL CITIES IN CATALONIA

Between 7pm and 9pm, citizens are convoked to protest in front of the delegations of the Spanish government in Catalonia. The one in Barcelona is located in Carrer de Mallorca, 278 -not far from Casa Batlló. Expected to be very crowded.

Posted by
6 posts

Enric, thanks for continued posts and updates.

My flight leaves tonight (Tuesday) and scheduled to arrive Terminal 2 at BCN on Wednesday. I'm planning to go straight to Girona from the airport on Wednesday around 1pm. Please continue to include updates regarding activities in Girona and train to Girona.

Thanks!

Posted by
2507 posts

UPDATE: Oct15th 3:30pm

PROTESTS ANNOUNCED THIS AFTERNOON AT THE SPANISH GOV DELEGATIONS IN SEVERAL CITIES IN CATALONIA

This area of Barcelona is likely to be very crowded from 6ish until night due to the protests: https://www.scribblemaps.com/maps/view/Protests_Oct15th/fEtj8IounX

This doesn't mean you "can't" reach your accommodation if it happens to be there, it just means it'll take you longer to do so. Protestors will let you pass thru without any problem. Do remember that protestors are peaceful. The only "really complicated area" for mobility will be the immediate zone near the Spanish Gov delegation in Carrer de Mallorca, 278. In any case, watch out for police charges, should they happen.

Posted by
989 posts

Continued thanks to Enric for his coverage.
We have spent the day strolling through neighborhoods and enjoying wonderful weather.
Taxis, traffic, buses and metros all appear to be operating normally.
Our hotel, Petite Palace Boqueria Garden, extended our stay at a reduced rate and has been quite accomodating to meet their impacted customers needs.
We have purchased picnic supplies to reduce the expense of eating out and are enjoying a wonderful array of local produce, meats and wine.
Somehow we feel more like being in Europe through the Back Door then ever before!

Posted by
4200 posts

As I wait for my ride to SeaTac and flights to Barcelona, arriving tomorrow, I join in thanking Enric and Carlos for keeping us informed. I look forward to seeing your wonderful city and learning more about Catalonia and the Catalan people. And thanks to the RS folks who provide this forum and will be providing me with I'm sure a memorable tour starting Saturday in Barcelona.

Posted by
246 posts

The State Department is sending out its alerts again:

Consulate General of the United States of America
Barcelona, Spain

Demonstration Alert – October 15, 2019

Location: Barcelona, Spain

Event: Significant demonstration activity in Catalonia is expected this week in response to the verdict in the trial of 12 pro-independence Catalan leaders. There are demonstrations anticipated in Barcelona, Lleida, Tarragona, Girona and other towns in the region. Most demonstrations are planned around Spanish government offices, including a large gathering on October 15th at 7pm at the Delegacion del Gobierno, Carrer Mallorca 278, in Barcelona.

Some recent demonstrations have led to clashes between law enforcement and protesters and disrupted public transportation, including rail lines and road access to the Barcelona airport.

Please see our Demonstrations in Spain webpage for more information.

Posted by
1861 posts

Thanks for the mention Dick, but Enric is the driving force behind this information service, I just try to contribute bits and pieces when I can. I hope you and the other travelers arriving soon to Barcelona have a, shall we say, memorable cultural experience lol! These are definitely interesting times we are living in ;-)

Posted by
9 posts

We will be arriving in Barcelona on Sunday 10/20/19. I am worried!! Please continue to update us here Enric about the situation. Appreciate it very much.

Posted by
2 posts

Thanks everyone for the updated and giving those of us arriving in the near future updates information. We are planning on taking the Ave from Madrid on Monday and will continue to keep an eye on this thread.

For those of you that have posted that you are arriving this week I know everyone would love to hear how your travel went.

Posted by
136 posts

I add my thanks to Enric and the RS forum for keeping us informed. We will be arriving in Barcelona about noon on Thursday. Normally we would take a cab to where we are staying. We always have a lot of bags, as we are bringing things to our daughter, who lives in the city. I know things can change unexpectedly, but at present is there any reason to avoid cabs from the airport to L'Eixample?

Thanks! Barbara

Posted by
989 posts

my mother in law called wondering about our safety and we laughed. At no time have we felt threatened even as we deliberately chose to walk among the public rallies. The events are well organized, loud (which is to be expected) and composed of passionant folks seeking a peaceful transition to being their own country. We have been taking long walks, sitting at sidewalk cafes, doing a bit of Christmas shopping and spoke with a couple who had taken a cab from the airport today (all went smoothly). All tourist locations are open and well functioning.
Tomorrow we will visit a market and then hop on the metro to head to non-tourist area where a friend has welcomed us to visit.
In short, I am deliberately striving to take the edge off of perceived concerns about arriving and being in the area. Sure, you could experience delays ( just as is possible for a variety of reasons on any journey), but just take a deep breathe and be thankful you are a part of the journey.
We fill enriched for being here during these times.

Posted by
136 posts

Thank for the report, Marbleskies. That all sounds very promising. We were only anxious because we have so much stuff with us and couldn't, say, get out and walk, as we might have been able to do otherwise. Even a train would be a struggle. Grandparenthood has its costs ;)

Posted by
2507 posts

-- PERSONAL REFLECTION --

I would like to remind those that have not followed me in the past that I tend to relativize events and always try to explain them in a general context rather than the odd exception.

Saying this because today I would like to play down a notch the well-intended enthusiasm of my friend Marbleskies in an earlier comment and remind everybody that this is not "a few upset citizens", "a temporary demonstration" or "a handful of radicals that can be skipped just by avoiding this or that street".

This is, mind me, a full-fledged rebellion by a large chunk of the population of Catalonia: all ages, sizes, shapes and walks of life. While Catalans are well known for non-violent protests, the reaction of the polices forces, especially the Spanish paramilitary, are nothing but. Yesterday we had thousands of citizens peacefully taking the airport in Barcelona for nearly 10 hours causing an immense collapse, both at the airport and in the roads to/from the airport as the vast majority of the protestors walked the 8 miles from the city to the airport using the motorway. The harsh reaction of the police caused over 130 reported casualties, two of them serious. During the whole day yesterday and today, dozens of intermittent blockades at roads, stations and streets in many cities across Catalonia have made mobility complicated for those travelling between them. In far too many instances, the police have chosen to charge against citizens peacefully demonstrating or in sit-ins.

This evening, an estimated 40,000 (according to City Police) protested in front of the Spanish gov delegation in Barcelona and several thousand more in the delegations of the Spanish gov in other cities in Catalonia. The protest has included speeches by popular figures of the Catalan society, chants, candle marches and a sit-in. As I am writing this, police helicopters are hovering low and riot units are beating protestors in the streets of central Barcelona, next to such popular and famous sites such as Casa Batlló or La Pedrera. Barricades have been erected and there are a number of dust bins on fire. Similar images can be seen in Girona or Tarragona, to name other cities in Catalonia.

While all demonstrations have started peacefully, the violence provoked by the police charges turns some of them into danger zones, as the younger demonstrators defend themselves as best as they can. This is not to hide as well that some provocateurs might have infiltrated the demonstration as sadly it sometimes happens.

Tomorrow morning life will return to normal in the city, shops will open, people will go to work... and tourists will flood the streets and museums... but many other actions, demonstrations, sit-ins and blockades will happen in the next days, some have already been announced, others will be convoked an hour or two before happening. And sadly, we expect more police violence in the days to come. Earlier today the Spanish Minister of the Interior has announced 1000 more Spanish paramilitary anti-rioting units are being dispatched to Catalonia and has directly threatened the citizens of Catalonia -certainly not a good practice in any democracy!

I am explaining this because one needs to be fully aware that "this ain't a game".

Posted by
2507 posts

Is this a war zone? no, by all means, citizens go about their lives in a 'normal' everyday routine, but when they're called upon to gather for an action (a demonstration, a blockade, etc) many do respond and participate, as I said, peacefully. One of the main organisations calling these actions is called TsunamiDemocratic, its twitter profile has over 173K followers, and its Telegram account -the one used to organize citizens in the actions- has over 268K followers. Take into account the whole population of Catalonia, including children and the elderly is just 7,5 million. Can anyone imagine ACLU in the US having a Telegram with nearly 12 million followers? That's the magnitude. And this is only one of the organisations, which btw, works anonymously and cooperatively with the citizenship to prevent the Spanish police being able to dismantle it. This level of participation and organisation across the Catalan society is what is driving the Spanish government and the police forces to be so violent in repressing the demonstrations. When someone is "caught" in the middle of such episodes of violence, the police don't care whether you're a demonstrator, a passer-by, a journalist or a tourist and hence the reason one needs to be alert and be smart enough to leave an area when the Police start deploying.

Is it safe to come to Barcelona right now? well, that's something each one should judge by him/herself. I'd be inclined to say yes(ish), but I've travelled plenty and encountered a few similar situations in other countries so I am fully aware of what is safe to do and what not and try to play it smart keeping an eye on my surroundings while enjoying my visit. Are you comfortable enough knowing something in the background is going on and that can potentially turn dangerous if you're caught in the middle of it? Some will agree with my earlier appraisal, others won't. Here you have your best answer then.

When will this end? not in the foreseeable future I am afraid, at least not in the next weeks. As I said in my initial post, a lot of people in Catalonia are very upset and angry with the Spanish government and its apparatus, especially after the kangaroo trial to the elected members of the previous Catalan government and some other civil society leaders. Many have said 'enough' and they're now prepared to protest as long as it takes.

Am I, as a visitor, a target? once again, NO, nobody cares about you, your beliefs or where you come from, you're not to blame for anything and you're welcome, as always, if you wish to come. Generally speaking Catalans are open-minded and very used to receive a lot of visitors and migrants from many countries around the world, multiculturality is the norm in many major cities, and certainly in Barcelona. Nothing new for many of you coming from cities with similar backgrounds, right? But not being a target doesn't mean you cannot be in danger, again, if you're in the wrong place at the wrong time, that is, in the middle of a police charge.

Posted by
2507 posts

UPDATE: Oct16th 1am

PROTESTS ANNOUNCED FOR THESE COMING DAYS

WED16th-FRI18th

The announced "Marches for Freedom" will start later this morning from five different major cities in Catalonia (Girona, Tarragona, Vic, Berga and Tàrrega) towards Barcelona gathering people along the way. People will march on foot by some of the main arteries of the road network, including motorways. This will cause severe disruptions on road transportation. The marchers will be stopping in refreshment points along the way and resume the marches on the following day. The five columns are expected to arrive in Barcelona on Friday between 1pm and 5pm. A sixth march will commence on Thursday from Castelldefels, south of Barcelona and will confluence with the rest the next day in Barcelona. Not "all" roads will be occupied so transit will still be possible (possibly!) across Catalonia albeit intermittent queues are expected. Follow the latest developments in mobility in the road network here: https://twitter.com/transit

WED16th-FRI18th

The student unions have announced a 72h stoppage (both in schools and universities) starting Wednesday and finishing on Friday coinciding with the general strike (stoppage) at national level (national=Catalonia).

FRI18th

A general strike (stoppage) across Catalonia has been announced. The unions supporting this action are not the biggest in Catalonia but they're the same that achieved a nearly total stoppage on Oct 3th 2017 when they convoked another strike to protest against the violence inflicted on the voters of the independence referendum in Catalonia by the Spanish paramilitary police sent to Catalonia.

The major unions might or might not second this stoppage, but several smaller unions and workers' representative associations are already adding their support (ie. the port dockers' union or the teachers' association earlier today) so is likely to be reasonably effective.

In such event, most businesses will be closed, including shops and restaurants albeit some might try to remain open. Also, a few major retail chains -many with their HQs in Madrid- have announced they won't second this strike. Picket lines might show up.

It is unlikely -albeit not 100% certain- that visitors will be able to do much "typical tourist stuff", if any, on this day regarding visiting sites.

Posted by
989 posts

Thanks for a well written much appreciate informative document.
On Friday Would you anticipate travel from city center to the airport to become impassable as it was on Monday?

Posted by
2 posts

Yes, thank you so much for sharing all of this up to date information with us weary travelers! My wife and I are in Barcelona on our honeymoon and we are staying in the city center. We are supposed to fly home on Friday around 11am. Do you anticipate we will be able to get into the airport and on our flight despite the planned protests and general strike? Any insights would be GREATLY appreciated!

Posted by
2507 posts

The columns of people marching into Barcelona are expected to arrive from noon onwards on Friday and other people from elsewhere in Catalonia joining the marches later in the day will be arriving by car and buses via secondary roads. These are some images of the starting of the marches in several points earlier today: image1, image2, image3, image4, image5

I would not expect any traffic nor any roadblock to the airport in the early morning on Friday. Still, rapid actions are convoked thru a secure app at very short notice to prevent police from reacting, so there might be a surprise one for the airport at the very last minute. I, however, suspect that won't be the case on Friday as it wouldn't be strategically convenient. Believe it or not, this is a quite organised revolt.

Not sure the Aerobus, being a private company, will be working at all. It might or it might not. The metro however should have some service, albeit reduced, which means 50% in the period 6.30h to 9.30h and 17h to 20h, and 25% the rest of the day. For trains to the airport, the service is reduced to 1 in 3 throughout the day. In this country, strikes are "regulated" with the government imposing a "minimum service" on publicly-run companies (such as metro and train) which, in normal circumstances is respected by strikers. But again, despite the term "strike" being officially used (for legal reasons), this is not a strike per se but a stoppage, which translates in that it might be a 100% strike in some sectors.

CHECK with your airline anyway, because I know of certain US visitors that have been rescheduled once more, for Tuesday.

Posted by
2507 posts

UPDATE: Oct16th 2:30pm

DEMONSTRATION ANNOUNCED FOR TOMORROW OCT 17th AT 11:30 IN PLAÇA UNIVERSITAT

Updating info published above yesterday, The Union of Students of the Catalan Countries, which englobes students from Catalonia, Valencia and the Balearic Islands, has announced four demonstrations by students to be held in the four major cities in Catalonia: Barcelona, Girona, Tarragona and Lleida. These are convoked at 11:30am. The one in Barcelona will start in Plaça Universitat. Attendance expected to be in the thousands.

Posted by
6 posts

Thank you very much Enric for a very detailed update to keep us informed. The stoppage are scheduled until Fri 18th. Are you expecting that will be it?We will be coming from the US via Madrid and then to Barcelona late night on Sat 19th. I’m not sure if we should be keeping the Barcelona portion of our trip or if we should just start from Madrid, given the choice that we do not fly directly to Barcelona.
Thank you

Posted by
2507 posts

@jsudewa
Sat 19th, so far, seems to be a pause in the battle ;), nothing major announced. Likely to be business-as-usual I'd say (sort of). Same for Sun20th.

@carrielaker
On Sat 26th there's a major demonstration in Barcelona. The airport won't be affected though. It's likely to be similar, in size, to the 11th of September -Catalonia's National Day- so we're talking hundreds of thousands of citizens. This, for example, was 2018. No further details yet. Sun27th will likely to be a quiet day regarding protests.

AGAIN... info as of today, and without knowing what the Spanish government will do next.

Posted by
1 posts

Hi Enric, we have been visiting Spain since this past Monday. Nice city, but we were hoping to visit the Dali museum.

It sounds like the slow rails are working, but I'm concerned of a stoppage preventing us from getting back to Barcelona. We have a cruise on Saturday.

We also planned on seeing a flamenco show tomorrow night in the Gothic Quarter, but are just unsure of whether there will be disruptions.

Any thoughts?

Posted by
2507 posts

I apologize, but I don't have that much detail, much less certainty. You need to assess your options from the general information I'm trying to pass. In any case, as I've pointed since the beginning, mobility -in general- this week can be complicated all across Catalonia.

Posted by
989 posts

I am updating information to provide ONE example of how we as travelers are repsonding to this situation.
First, Enric is spot on with his information and a resource to be cherished.
Second, today we used the metro to travel from the Liceu station (central la rambla) to access the Sagrada area and all was normal. However, in choosing to deliberately address the issue of the anticipated impact on the city infrastructure this coming Friday the comments were consistent: do not count on any normal operations within the city. These comments came from waiters, a taxi driver waiting at a cab stand and two security guards at the Sagrada Familia location.
Third, we were scheduled to fly out Friday morning at 9:40 a.m. Requiring an arrival at the airport by 7:40. Our hotel manager could not commit to if a taxi being available nor if the metro would be impacted by the planned rallies. So we made arrangements to depart on Thursday morning simply to insure we could get home by Friday night (we have been away for three weeks and need to refresh prior to returning to work next Monday).
Fourth, the citizens of Barcelona are fantastic as well as the experiences. Even if you are impacted by these events please take a deep breath, pause and appreciate the just cause for which they are striving to accomplish. From 40 years of travel experiences we are truly grateful to be on the ground to witness these events.
Safe travels!

Posted by
10 posts

We are heading to BCN on Nov 3. I'm hoping the protests die down, by then.

Posted by
2507 posts

UPDATE: Oct17th 5am

THIRD NIGHT OF STREET DISTURBANCES IN BARCELONA AND OTHER CITIES IN CATALONIA

For the third consecutive night, disturbances have occurred in the streets of the central Eixample district in Barcelona. Tension is running high after several days of very heavy-handed police charges against protesters. Earlier in the day Catalan President Mr Torra has attended a stretch of one of the six foot-marches mentioned above in solidarity with the jailed elected politicians and in support of the indy demands. Tonight, in an institutional address on national TV in Catalonia, he has urged restraint and publicly denounced the existence of infiltrated professional provocateurs in the protests and demonstrations. Civil associations are demanding a stop to the police charges and requesting the Spanish paramilitary police to back off while at the same time are asking protesters to isolate and denounce provocateurs as identified, for example, in this video.

For nearly fifteen years, the indy movement has organised the biggest demonstrations in Europe since V Day in WWII gathering between 1 and 2 million participants every time in Barcelona. Not a single incident has ever happened. More recently, two large pro-indy marches were held in Brussels (+50,000 attendees from Catalonia) and in Madrid (+100,000 attendees from Catalonia) with the same results. The essence of the pro-independence movement, which gathers people from all ages and walks of life, has always been promoting non-violent civil disobedience in the steps of Martin Luther King or Gandhi. Still, we're 'very conveniently' now seeing ugly scenes of violence in the streets of our towns at the end of some of the protests with the Spanish Minister of the Interior continuously sending more anti-riot paramilitary police and other "support" units to the region. Tonight there has been a demonstration in support of Catalonia in Madrid, by citizens of that city, which has also suspiciously ended with police charges.

To all visiting Catalonia these days, there's no danger at all to you while among citizens but, as mentioned above, keep an eye for the presence of anti-riot police units and leave the area if you see lots of them. Be safe. Other than that, continue enjoying Catalonia as you've always done.

No more info on planned civil disobedience activities to add at this moment.

Posted by
2507 posts

USEFUL SOURCES OF NEWS INFORMATION FOR THOSE VISITING THESE DAYS

MOBILITY ALERTS

NEWS -locally sourced // in English-

Posted by
2507 posts

BARCELONA: AEROBUS TO/FROM THE AIRPORT DURING OCT 18th GENERAL STRIKE

http://www.aerobusbcn.com/en/vaga_general_18_10_19

Other options:

  • Train (Rodalies): either from Passeig de Gràcia, Sants or Estació de França (*)
  • Metro, line L9S (*)
  • Taxi
  • Uber

(*) being 'services of public interest' some minimum services have been decreed by the Catalan government, as in any strike, but the particular circumstances of this stoppage make it impossible to guarantee that they'll be observed. IMHO, there'll be some level of service so as citizens and visitors can reach the airport, but travel time can be far longer than usual.

Posted by
3 posts

Thank you Enric for keeping us all informed and for all of the travelers going to/currently in Barcelona for posting as well. This forum is exactly the information I was looking for; info from people who are actually in Barcelona or who will be going there. We will be flying to Barcelona on Oct 22 and then actually staying in Barcelona beginning Oct 30. I’ve been very nervous about this trip with the news of the protests and this forum has helped me feel a little better. Please continue to post and update us on what is happening there. You’re doing us all a big favor. Thank you!

Posted by
16 posts

Eric you are a saint to those of us abroad on our way to or from Barcelona, my wife and I were supposed to end our 3 week vacation this weekend in Barcelona and fly out this Sunday 20/10/19 so all the airport information has been a huge relief for us. We are in Palma now and just decided to stay here until Saturday fly into Barcelona and maybe take the train into the city if we can if not I just hope we are able to leave on Sunday still.

Anyway thanks again for all of the updates and please if you can keep them coming, believe or not this thread has more information than anywhere else online right now for those of us who are currently out traveling.

Posted by
2 posts

Thanks so much for the updates. Due to arrive in Barcelona on Monday for my first visit and was a little worried. This has helped to make some sense of the situation and given me somewhere to head to online to keep up to date.

Posted by
2 posts

Hi Enric / team,

I am travelling Barcelona tomorrow October 18, 2019, 2 questions

1.what time the strike will get over - my flight lands at 9PM

2.I am planning to book a taxi through Viva transfers - do you thoink taxi drivers can come inside the airport.

Airlines confirmed there is no issue- pls revert.

Thanks for the Help.
MS

Posted by
6 posts

I flew into BCN yesterday (Wednesday) and everything was normal. Then took the train to Barcelona Sants, and transferred to a local Rodalies train to Girona (which is headed to Figueras). No problems with the journey. At one point, a large group came aboard, looked like they had just finished a demonstration --regular people, men, women, lots of school aged children, wearing the Catalan flag as a cape. Very peaceful in old town of Girona. Still see high school kids with the Catalan flag-cape. Having said that, transport is disrupted because my walking tour was cancelled due to the guide coming from outside the city. Tomorrow, Friday, is the work stoppage so I plan to buy some groceries. The restaurant I went to last night will be closed on Friday. I think, being in Catalonia during this time, does not pose a personal danger, but requires travelers to be flexible to adjust plans and exercise increased awareness and common sense.

Posted by
2507 posts

@mark_salsaero
-All day long
-No idea, sorry

Posted by
2507 posts

UPDATE: Oct17th 1pm

DEMONSTRATION ANNOUNCED FOR THIS EVENING OCT 17th AT 19h IN JARDINETS DE GRÀCIA

Another demonstration at the top of Passeig de Gràcia, corner with Diagonal Ave. has been announced for this evening, from 7 to 9pm.

Posted by
3 posts

Hello all.
On Oct. 23rd, My daughter is arriving at BCN terminal 1, and has a connecting flight out 4 hours later at BCN terminal 2. Is there a chance the protests will still be happening, and if so can they affect the transfer between the terminals?
Thank you, and if this was already answered in a previous post, I must have missed it. Appreciate any help you can give...

Posted by
1861 posts

A 2000 passenger cruise cancels its stopover in Tarragona (just south of Barcelona) due to the impending general strike and increase in radical violence: https://www.lavanguardia.com/local/tarragona/20191017/471036477361/crucero-cancela-tarragona-protestas-sentencia.html

To those soon arriving for a cruise from Barcelona, it may be a good idea to double check with the cruise operator to see if there are any updates or changes on boarding procedures. After the collapse of the airport in Barcelona by the protesters, I wouldn't be surprised if the cruise ship terminal is similarly targeted.

Posted by
1861 posts

@cindyshine99, I don't think another collapse of the airport will totally sever transfer between the two terminals, technically you can exit one terminal and walk to the other, but it may force the cancellation of her flight if air crews can't enter the airport.

Posted by
3 posts

Thank you. She spent 2 days in lines Oct 14-15. She had 3 rebooked flights cancelled BCN to ATH, which made her miss multiple rebooked flights from ATH to JMK (Mykonos). They walked miles to the BCN airport on the 14th, in the rain. When they got to the airport, she said there was no food, no water and thousands upon thousands of people waiting everywhere. I know there were many in the same situation, but as her mom, it was hard to hear her voice, in tears, saying she didn't know what to do, hadn't eaten in over 24 hours, no sleep, etc. They wanted to leave the airport and try to get a train to Madrid, thankfully we convinced her to stay put and wait because who knew what was going on outside the airport, if there was train service, and if there were protests in Madrid.
I am just hoping it is smoother for her, when she flies into Barcelona for her connecting flight back to the US.

Posted by
1861 posts

@cindyshine99, so sorry that your daughter had to go through that... hopefully her next visit to Barcelona will not leave such a bitter taste, just so you know, many locals (including myself) are not on-board with what's currently going on.

You can always check to see if you can rebook the returning flight through Madrid or through another European city, for peace of mind.

Posted by
3 posts

Thank you Carlos. She is young, 25 yo, and is wanting to see the world. I think she may someday come back, but she said she will stay inside the US for awhile. I reminded her that there are protests in the US too, we live in the Seattle area, and have much the same (WTO riots & protests, May Day riots & protests, along with others. It seems that there are always protests in Seattle for something) as what is going on in your beautiful city. She really did enjoy her 3 days there, before the protests started. She and her friend walked miles around the city, seeing the sights, the market, the cathedrals, the beaches. Thanks for the tips, I will let her know what you said.

Posted by
10 posts

I suggest anyone going to Spain, register with the Smart program. I use it for ANY intl travel I do. It's free and it's a great resource.
https://step.state.gov/

The Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) is a free service to allow U.S. citizens and nationals traveling and living abroad to enroll their trip with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate.

Posted by
1861 posts

-UPDATE-

42+ Flight cancellations already confirmed for tomorrow (Fri 18), due to the impending general strike. As of now, mainly local Vueling and Iberia flights are affected, both to and from Barcelona El Prat Airport. International carriers are expected to be affected too and will begin informing passengers in the coming hours of flight cancellations.

As reported by El Pais: https://elpais.com/ccaa/2019/10/17/catalunya/1571338115_747663.html

Posted by
5 posts

We arrived in Barcelona via atocha train from Madrid this afternoon. There was no problems but strong police presence at Barcelona Sants. We then took the metro to Maragall station. There is no evidence of protests here. We were advised to stay out of the demonstration areas tomorrow. We are planning to go to Montserrat.
The metro is to be at 50% from 6-9, 20% 9-3, 50% 5-9 due to the strike.
Just be smart and avoid the areas in question.

Posted by
2 posts

For whatever it’s worth, my flight landed at the Barcelona airport this evening at 9 pm and I was able to get a cab to my destination on gran via de les corts near jardins Del doctor Robert. When I asked at a Ryan air desk at the airport where to find a cab, (I haven’t been here before) the employee said “there are no cabs..aren’t you aware of what’s going on in Barcelona?”

I followed the signs outside and there was a long line of available cabs.

I told the driver where I was going and he said “no problem”. It took about 20 minutes.

He had to take a circuitous route to get here because of all the traffic barricades. I can hear helicopters and have seen a few police cars drive by with their sirens on. Overall, I’m not sure I’d know anything was going on here if I hadn’t read about it. Tomorrow will be different, I suppose.

Posted by
9 posts

I dont know the politics of people like Enric and some of the others who have posted here. Nor do I care. I’m in Barcelona right now and here is what I’m seeing from my hotel window.
Im staying in a hotel on Calle de Mallorca. From my hotel window i have been watching fighting in the street, vandalism on a massive scale, and fires being set in the street. Just from my hotel room window I could see 6 different fires. The smoke was rising and I had to wake my wife up to have her be ready to evacuate. This is the third straight night of this. The fire alarm went off on Tuesday and we evacuated the room and went down to the lobby to see a huge fire in front of the hotel, and street fighting on the other side of the lobby window.
Fires are being set all around the area, streets are closed and at night it is utter chaos. I talked to a young man on Tuesday night who could not get a taxi within 2 miles of the hotel. He had to jump out and run through the choas of fires and street fights for miles. People have had to walk for miles to get to the hotel because of street closures that prevented taxis from getting to thr hotel. I know because they told me.
And its getting worse. Each night has gotten worse. And Friday is the big strike day. I shudder to think what will happen.
Sound like fun? Im here on vacation. Im not here to be a social justice warrior. I dont care who the good guys and who the bad guys are.
If your idea of a great trip is to hide in your hotel from 8 PM on and hope your hotel does not burn down, then enjoy it.
I STRONGLY recommend against coming to Barcelona. I cant wait to get out of this mad house. I will NEVER recommend Barcelona to anyone EVER. This situation could drag on for a long time. AVOID.

Posted by
9 posts

Its after 2 AM and the explosions seem to have finally stopped. The gun fire has finally subsided after hours of prolonged firing. People are still just milling around on the street. The police are over matched and out numbered. The fire department cant keep up. Dont buy the notion that this is the work of a few bad apples.

Ive been staying up all night on fire watch. Ive been watching these lunatics pull the furniture from the street cafes, pile it up and set it ablaze. Multiple fires. And that’s just on my one little corner on Calle de Mallorca. These fires are just a few feet from the hotel Im staying in.
Not a war zone? Really? You should have seen all the rubble and broken glass on Passieg de Gracia on Wednesday. I sure did. It took them all day to clean that up. And today has been much much worse. I fear for what will happen tomorrow. Im sure there are many parts of Barcelona that are untouched. But if you are near Passieg de Gracia and the adjoining streets, it is a total war zone. And if you are a tourist, where else are you likely to stay?

Each day the fires get bigger and more dangerous. Whats next? Are they going to start setting buildings on fire? Ive seen some of the Youtube videos. The reality is far far far worse.
Rick Steves, I urge you to get the true word out on this mess. The safety of innocent people is at risk.

Posted by
2 posts

@bearcade, thanks for putting this up, am really scared. Am from India and was supposed to come today Friday 18th to Barcelona but flights got cancelled but they confirmed tomorrow shouldn't be a problem, but am worried, am landing at 2 pm Saturday . What do u anticipate. Am going to lloert de Mar.

Posted by
1861 posts

@bearcated Oh my god, all I can say is - I'm truly sorry for what you and your wife are currently going through!

I've been holding back these past couple of days, as I don't want to be branded as "alarmist" (a word thrown around here from time to time). From what my local friends and family living in Barcelona tell me, your story is not unique, I'm quite ashamed with my hometown and the local/regional government. I can assure you a majority of us are similarly horrified with how the situation deteriorating and how violence is becoming more profound. Throw in this night's violent clashes between fascists and anarchists and you've got a real big mess.

I can also assure you that these violent extremists do not represent us and are only using these current round of manifestations as an excuse to terrorise the city. However you're right, these are not just a few bad apples, this tendency towards violence in Barcelona has been brewing under the surface (we saw that in this summer's crime wave), and no one has had the cojones to speak up.

At this point, Friday and into the weekend is going to be tough, these kind of actions usually spike during the weekends, and there's even talk of a new occupation of El Prat Airport over the weekend. I'd stock up on some food if you can, many shops/restaurants will be closed.

To those traveling to Barcelona these next few weeks, at this point, I would say it's totally within reason and even justified to look into dropping Barcelona/Catalonia from your itineraries. This is no way to spend your vacations...

Posted by
296 posts

It's not just Barcelona. Watch this video clip from Tarragona and make your own mind up as to what's going on. Here's a clue, in the background a young woman protestor is being handcuffed: https://twitter.com/jordisalvia/status/1184966695506632709?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1184966695506632709&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.vilaweb.cat%2Fnoticies%2Fvideos-policia-espanyola-de-paisa-detenen-violentament-una-manifestant-a-tarragona%2F

Posted by
1861 posts

@Bill, if they are Guardia Civil infiltrators, as the video suggests, then why would they proudly stand on the street corner while being photographed by the press... for me it doesn't make sense, then again nothing has made much sense these past few days.

Posted by
578 posts

The BBC radio program 'From Our Own Correspondent' recently had a six minute segment on Barcelona - Barcelona Boils

There's been violence for several days in Barcelona in reaction to the jail sentences handed out on Monday to Catalan separatist leaders. Guy Hedgecoe has been on the streets as demonstrators and riot police clashed. He says there's no end in sight to this deepening conflict.

Posted by
1 posts

We are staying near Maria Cristina metro station. We were able to go around last 2 days without any issues. During daytime, we saw protestors pass through but they were very peaceful. No problems travelling on Metro stations on L3 line.
We plan to go to go to nearest hop on bus stop today and will report anything that happens today.

Posted by
7 posts

We arrived in Barcelona on Saturday Oct. 12th staying in the Diagonal Mar District by the International Convention Center. Everything absolutely calm there Monday until Wednesday morning when we went to airport at 6:15 am via taxi without any delay or incident. Flights were going normally, we flew to Majorca. We we are Plaza Catalunya and Passeig de Gràcia areas after visit to Hospital de Sant Pau art nouveau site mid-Monday afternoon when first low-key demonstrations took place, we returned to Diagonal Mar area by subway normally. I heard that airport was a mess on Monday afternoon as some business colleagues had cancelled flights and slept in T1 overnite.

Went to Casino area Monday nite and all quiet. Tuesday afternoon went by subway to Sagrada Família and then walked to Passeig de Gràcia area and once again everything normal and calm by main tourist areas; took subway back to hotel. American Airlines cancelled all flights from US into Barcelona Monday nite and back Tuesday but friends departed normally on Delta on Tuesday then AA on Wednesday. AA and Delta appear to be operating normally however, United has had severe disruptions with both EWR and IAD flights Wednesday and Thursday - EWR flight arrived Thursday morning but neither flight departed from BCN Thursday. A friend who was suppose to depart to EWR Thursday left this morning via Frankfurt.. We are scheduled to return to BCN from Mallorca tomorrow/Saturday 19th and stay overnite in Gava 10 minutes south of BCN and - hopefully - depart on United to EWR Sunday morning, fingers crossed. United has travel waiver in place but will only re-route you on code shares via Frankfurt, Munich, or Zurich if your United flight is cancelled.

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7 posts

.....looks like 2 of the 4 AA flights are cancelled today (Friday) from BCN, the flights to Philly and Chicago (JFK and Miami are operating). Yesterday’s 11:15 am United flight to Newark left this morning at 9:30 am (delayed from 8:00 am). Otherwise AENA Spanish airport operator app shows virtually all flights arriving and departing on time so far today despite the”general strike” in Barcelona; Spanish web sites say about 50% of public transport from Barcelona center to BCN are operating.

Posted by
16 posts

Any updates on airport protest? My wife and I are in Mallorca right now but we fly out of Barcelona back to the us on Sunday and I’m trying to figure if it’s best to stay here Saturday night again and take the earliest flight Sunday to Barcelona and just connect to my flight home that way if something does go down I can always stay here where it’s nice and peaceful.

Any suggestions would be great, our flight from Barcelona leaves at 10:50am on Sunday night and right now I’m looking to fly from Palma to Barcelona around 7am arriving around 7:50. Thanks Carlos and Eric for all the updates

Posted by
9 posts

Its 9 AM and all is quiet now. Its amazing how quickly the debris has been cleaned up. You can walk around and see all the spots where fires were set.
During the day things are peaceful. Ive walked the city center during the day and had no issues. The problems happen at night. Ive been to all the sights in the day, no problem. That being said you do not want to be out after dark at all. Many of the sidewalk cafes will be shut down today either because the owners have locked away their furniture, or the terrorists have burned it all.
It is utterly impossible to predict what happens next. I will say that last night was the first time i could tell the hotel employees were truly scared. So was I.

Travel to Barcelona if you must, but understand the risks, and that the situation is very unpredictable.

Posted by
5 posts

Montserrat train is closed due to the strike. There was a small group 150+ calmly marching around the Espanya circle with police blocking traffic for them. We will try to change our itinerary to leave by train early Sunday morning.

Posted by
2 posts

My wife and I are scheduled to fly from Barcelona to Toronto today at 11:45am. In an effort to avoid the travel disruptions from the general strike and corresponding protests we took a cab from our hotel in the Gothic Quarter at 6:30am. There did not seem to be any issues on our drive. The airport was very crowded as many others arrived extra early too, but everything proceeded just fine. Our flight still shows as scheduled for an on time departure. I’ll update if anything changes, but if you can get here, the airport is functioning well up to this point.

Posted by
7 posts

Hey blazerskj7315, we are in Mallorca too (Port de Pollença) and are taking a 7:40 pm flight Saturday nite back to BCN, then staying at AC hotel (Marriot) in Gava just 10 minutes south of airport so no need to go into Barcelona at all as our flight is 11:15 am Sunday (hopefully). You are probably fine with the early Sunday flight to BCN but I’m cautious about such non-connected transfers. Hard to leave Mallorca with this gorgeous weather. If United would do so I’d prefer to go from Mallorca to Frankfurt or Munich on Sunday morning to connect to flight to Boston but they won’t make such a change now....I could change my wife’s frequent flyer award ticket to do so right now!

Posted by
2507 posts

Hi, sorry for my absence yesterday. I'm back now.

As I initially said, I rather not entering into arguments, so I will not comment on someone else's post, even if they're totally out of character, grossly misusing terms. At the end of the day, my motto and advice to anyone is: "don't ever trust one poster only. Trust shouldn't be placed in one basket. Always do your research, compare the style and frequency of the posts and evaluate its content", and this, obviously, applies to my posts too.

Also, I have realized a change of format in my posts might be in order. Not being this a journal but a forum instead, publishing individual bits of information here and there about planned protests and other actions, might be difficult to follow and see if "they apply to me or not".

So from now on, I'll try to SUMMARIZE on more time spaced posts, kind of "daily report", which I'll try to keep twice a day if I have the time. These will contain the "outlook" regarding things that will happen the following 72hrs as well as a "forecast and advice" for fellow visitors, based exclusively on my personal views and gut-feeling. This last bit it's optional for any reader to even read :) I hope this new format is more helpful.

Posted by
2507 posts

UPDATE: Oct 18 11am

I am not including today's outlook because I feel it won't help much to those already coming to the city or in the city. It suffices to say today it's a general stoppage (read general strike) so expect crowds of protesters, many businesses closed, road blockades and some cancellations at the airport and other services. Also, if you need to go to the airport, avoid surface transportation as thousands are arriving into Barcelona in the foot marches (view of the C-31, the road to the airport, right now). Use train and metro instead, which are unaffected.

OUTLOOK FOR THE NEXT 72hr IN BARCELONA

Sat 19th.
No major actions planned

SHOPS, MUSEUMS AND SITES: business as usual
RESTAURANTS: business as usual
BARCELONA AIRPORT: business as usual, yet some backlog from yesterday's general strike
MOBILITY AIRPORT-CITY: business as usual
PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION: business as usual
ROAD NETWORK: blockades announced for several main roads across Catalonia. If travelling by car, take secondary roads.
SAFETY LEVEL: It is unlikely there'll be major disturbances. Still, groups of troublemakers, not-related with the protests, might stir clashes with the police from time to time, especially in the central area of l'Eixample in the evening. Reports of small fascists groupings in the area of Sarrià confronting citizens were also reported yesterday. No further news.

FORECAST AND ADVICE
Thousands of the protesters that foot-marched into Barcelona on Friday will be returning to their cities and towns so public transports out of Barcelona (train mostly) can be crowded.

Sun 20th.
No major actions planned

SHOPS, MUSEUMS AND SITES: business as usual -remember that Sunday is the day off for most shops
RESTAURANTS: business as usual
BARCELONA AIRPORT: business as usual
MOBILITY AIRPORT-CITY: business as usual
PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION: business as usual
ROAD NETWORK: business as usual
SAFETY LEVEL: It is unlikely there'll be major disturbances. Still, groups of troublemakers, not-related with the protests, might stir clashes with the police from time to time, especially in the central area of l'Eixample in the evening.

FORECAST AND ADVICE
None at this time

Mon 21st.
No major actions planned

SHOPS, MUSEUMS AND SITES: business as usual -remember that Monday is the day off for most publicly-run museums and sights. This does not include most of the major sites: S.Familia, Batlló, Pedrera, Picasso...
RESTAURANTS: business as usual
BARCELONA AIRPORT: business as usual
MOBILITY AIRPORT-CITY: business as usual
PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION: business as usual
ROAD NETWORK: business as usual
SAFETY LEVEL: It is unlikely there'll be major disturbances. Still, groups of troublemakers, not-related with the protests, might stir clashes with the police from time to time, especially in the central area of l'Eixample in the evening.

FORECAST AND ADVICE
None at this time


Disclaimer: this post intends to summarize the announced major actions to happen in the next 72hr, it does not account for flash actions -those called at the last minute- nor minor actions that affect only a particular place, regardless its consequences to the global view of the situation. Note this is not an official channel but just a fellow traveller, born and bred in Barcelona, trying to keep friends here at RS 'in the loop'.

Hi Enric,
Thank you SO MUCH for your updates (and for this forum in general). I’m an American in Barcelona for 5 days (arrived yesterday) and this is the first site in English I’ve been able to get updated information.
You mentioned not updating for today (Friday, October 18) but it would actually be helpful for me. I’m staying at an Airbnb near the Gran Villa and heard there’s a demonstration planned there where they’ll be blocking off the entire road. Do you know what general areas should be avoided today and also if it’s true that better to return home before dark when the protests start and the road is blocked?
Thank you!

Posted by
2507 posts

Hi Marina,

There are six (6) foot marches, "Marches for Freedom" convoked. These departed on Wednesday from different cities and towns in Catalonia to meet in Barcelona today. The marches have gathered thousands of people along the way and are going by the main roads so collapses and long queues in the main roads in Catalonia and especially around the metropolitan area of Barcelona are expected. These marches will be arriving into Barcelona from 1pm onward and will all convey in a major demonstration at 5pm at Jardinets de Gràcia (Passeig de Gràcia boulevard corner with Diagonal avenue). Yet such large crowds will convey that the area will be saturated with people in a radius of at least 10 blocks.

This is a peaceful protest, you'll have no problem at all attending, mingling or just passing by (as your accommodation is not that far). They won't be "blocking" as in 'not permitting to pass', but in that the sheer number of people attending will make it difficult to move. I' might take you longer than usual in a crowd, but you'll eventually arrive at your destination whatever it is ;)

There are, however, some groups of infiltrated Spanish police in plainclothes (now already confirmed by different sources) that might try to provoke trouble again, as well as other groups of provocateurs (fascists and anarchists). This is unlikely to succeed while the bulk of the protestors are in the demonstration but they might cause violence -as seen in previous nights- after the demonstration is called off and most regular folks have gone home or are going home. So, out of precaution, I'd suggest keeping an eye after 9ish. Any other night my advice would stop there "keep an eye, nothing more" but given today it's a general strike -and the vast majority of businesses are closed- there's not much to do anyway so I'd add "there's no reason to stay out on this particular night anyway".

Having said all this, we don't know that the Spanish deep state is preparing, so the situation might change at any time, any day.

Regards

UPDATE Just in, there's also a proposal for a permanent sit-in ("acampada") at the area of Passeig de Gràcia with Gran Via de les Corts Catalanes. We'll see how this plays out, if the police decide not to intervene, there's unlikely to be any violence at all.

Posted by
2507 posts

NEWS FLASH: TRAIN TO/FROM BCN AIRPORT

For those arriving/departing TODAY Fri18th: Passeig de Gràcia train station has been ordered to close down until tomorrow Saturday. If you need to reach the airport you can do it from Sants station and from Estació de França station

Posted by
5 posts

Many people on the subway today going to the protest. Families, young people, etc. no problems on the subway.
I heard that La Sagrada Família was closed but Parc Guell was open and they were nice enough to let us use our tickets for tomorrow today.
It is peaceful up in the north part of the city.
I will say that if we were staying in the affected areas I would probably not have come. It has been ugly there at night.

Posted by
296 posts

The Guardia Civil have today (Friday 18) been asked by the Spanish Audiencia Nacional to investigate the Committees for the Defence of the Republic and the Democratic Tsunami platform for terrorist activities. This will increase tensions and likely make matters worse. Things will likely get uglier over the next few days.
In other news, El Clásico scheduled for October 26th is now scheduled for December 18th. FC Barcelona did not want to move the game at all, and the city mayor has said that there was no reason to move the game at all. La Liga was concerned about the game becoming a platform for further protests and expressions of Catalan independence ideas on an international stage. The Spanish government share that position — from the Guardian

Posted by
2507 posts

.... aaaaand the Spanish police and paramilitary police decided to charge again. Better get to the hotel if you are in the area at central Barcelona.

Posted by
52 posts

This thread has been so helpful to monitor the situation in Barcelona. I really feel for the people travelling in and out of the region during the past week. I'm flying to and from Barcelona for my Spain trip from Nov 15 to Dec 1. On one hand I'm hoping the protests die down by then, but on the other hand, I'm so confused whether to book or what to book. I have non stop flights from Miami to Barcelona. I'm thinking to take a train to Zaragoza immediately after my flight landing and avoid Barcelona altogether. But so risky to make the bookings. :(

Posted by
1861 posts

I'm thinking to take a train to Zaragoza immediately after my flight landing

That wouldn't be a bad idea... though in one month the situation can change dramatically, heck the train station could be occupied on your arrival day, no way of knowing what will happen so far in the future.

Posted by
10 posts

We go on Nov 3....so I'm watching like a hawk. Also will only cxl if the airline gives a waiver....

Posted by
52 posts

@Kat You would cancel the whole trip because of this? I really have planned long for this trip. I dont think I can cancel, plus I can't go anywhere else than Spain, as an Indian I had to get a proper tourist visa. I'm not sure the airlines will cancel until the very last moment. I wish I booked to and from Madrid. But hoping that the situation will be alright by then.

Posted by
7 posts

Waivers are for changing dates of flights, usually with the same city pair.. They usually do NOT include cancellation - unless your ticket of course is a fully refundable ticket. Waiver MIGHT allow you to cancel - without a change fee - and re-use of the value of the ticket for a one year from original ticketing period.

Posted by
1861 posts

@Nick, yeah I saw that protesters are starting to block entrance to tourists sights, including la Sagrada Familia.

That's actually what I predicted would happen in the other topic a few weeks ago:
https://community.ricksteves.com/travel-forum/spain/infox-to-those-visiting-barcelona-around-oct-12ish-and-staying-for-some-days

If the indys really want to make a chaos, then they could target the mass tourist infrastructure of Barcelona, blocking entrance to the main tourist sites etc. to force international acknowledgement too.

Posted by
296 posts

The Spanish police on Laeitana and around Urquinaona have started using tear gas. Entrance to Plaça Catalunya metro station now closed (together with Passeig de Gràcia which was cosed at 5pm).
Avoid Urquinaona and Laeitana.

Posted by
10 posts

If I fear for my safety and can't access tourist sites or have to stay locked indoors after 9pm, then yes...I'll reschedule. it's not the end of the world.....Spain isn't going anywhere....we'll just have to visit another time.
We're staying at an airbnb and not a hotel, so safety is an issue. Just keeping glued to this site and the TV

Posted by
10 posts

@ingoldman. That is not true. I'm in the 'industry' and in times of severe weather or unrest, airlines make exceptions to cancel and refund tickets.

Posted by
252 posts

From the "Front Lines". Our RS hotel is one block from Placa Catalunya. We came in yesterday morning, went down La Ramblas, saw the Picasso Museum and saw Palau Guell. Today, we walked to Casa Batllo, La Predrera and up to Park Guell and back. There were tens of thousands of people, but we never felt threatened. Stuck to side streets and were fine even after dark. There are the fires and clashes seen on tv but we saw none of that. Everything was open. We did not try public transportation. The Four Cats was excellent for dinner. And as far as safety and walking go, we're country not city mice and not British, in spite of our preference for walking.

Posted by
10 posts

We are schedule to fly in on 11/6. I am planning to come unless my flight is cancelled. We have a apartment rented right in Passig de Garcia. #50. Which from what I can tell is in the middle of the protest zone .. My plan is to do things during the day. Get groceries for dinner at night in the apartment. My concern not is getting to the apartment with 3 suitcases. We are in Baracelona for 10 days then getting on a transatlantic cruise. Advice on getting to the apartment if there are still protests? We arrive around 9 am. Meeting the apartment agent at noon.

Posted by
2 posts

We are staying on gran via de les corts about 4 blocks from Passeig de Gracia, We arrived from the airport about 24 hours ago with no problem. We’ve been out and about all day, mostly in this neighborhood and it has been very peaceful. Lots of stores and restaurants are open. For a few hours in the afternoon, hundreds of protesters walked by...it was very peaceful. Right now, all the cafes on the street are filled with people enjoying their evening. I do not want to minimize the confrontation between police and protesters that is currently going on about 6 blocks from here and is a very serious and difficult situation. I can hear helicopters and an occasional police siren. We chose to eat dinner at a restaurant not too far from where we’re staying. It’s still early and no one knows what will happen later this evening and over the weekend.

We’ve been in Spain for 2 weeks. I tried to avoid coming to Barcelona, due to the protests, but Norwegian airlines would have charged us $1,000+ to reroute us back to the us through a different city and we wanted to visit our son who lives here. I was terrified about coming here but so far I have not felt unsafe or inconvenienced. We were with our son earlier and he returned to his house near the entenca metro station at 10 pm reporting that all stations were open.

I’m watching “24h” on tv right now and they’re reporting that Barcelona is in chaos. I don’t want to be dismissive about a very challenging situation, but I think it’s fair to say that for a tourist, the unrest is confined to a pretty small part of the city.

Posted by
7 posts

@kat
https://www.united.com/CMS/en-US/travel/news/Pages/travelnotices.aspx

information
Barcelona Civil Unrest

Airports:

Barcelona, ES (BCN)
​​​

Original travel date(s):

October 16, 2019 - October 20, 2019

Flight changes:

The change fee and any difference in fare will be waived for new United flights departing between October 16, 2019, and November 1, 2019, as long as travel is rescheduled in the originally ticketed cabin (any fare class) and between the same cities as originally ticketed.
For wholly rescheduled travel departing after November 1, 2019, or for a change in departure or destination city, the change fee will be waived, but a difference in fare may apply. Rescheduled travel must be completed within one year from the date when the ticket was issued.

Posted by
2667 posts

2 years ago , decided to cancel my Barcelona segment but due to cancellation fees, had to leave from BCN. There is a bus from the airport to Valencia bypassing downtown...if that helps anyone.

Posted by
136 posts

We are experiencing the same as bzoclay. We are staying with family in L’Eixample, in a residential area about a mile from where the main demonstration took place this afternoon. The streets here have been quiet and some stores, including the local supermarket, and restaurants have been open today. We just got home and it is almost 11pm, very peaceful outside. But we can see the smoke coming from the city center, and like many people here, we are watching the news about the fires. So for other tourists, I would say it just all depends upon where you are. Without getting political, I would also say that from what I’ve seen, most of the protesting has been nonviolent. I would still recommend staying away from any gatherings just because the outcome is never completely foreseeable. If I were staying in the city center, I personally would change my accommodations to a place further away from the action. I definitely would not want to be anywhere near ground zero. But not all of Barcelona is unsafe, and many places seem unaffected by what’s going on.

Posted by
9 posts

Its 11:30 at Calle de Mallorca and all is quiet here. As quiet as its been since we’ve been here. Thank goodness.

We walked the city today, had a lunch around 3 and then went to the hotel to hide out for the evening. The hotel bar was packed. A lot of people did what we did and hunkered in the bunker tonight.
Ive heard a few gunshots and explosions in the distance, but not much here.
Does that mean all is well? I would not bet the farm on that. The situation still seems volatile. There was a LOT of energy on the street today. Lets hope common sense prevails.

Posted by
296 posts

Just back home after a bit of a scout about in l'Eixample Dreta. Met with Basque, Italian and Catalan friends — and had a couple of beers and, amid lots of laughs, discussed the situation.
BTW on the way home found that the traffic lights on the cruilla/intersection of Passeig de Sant Joan and Carrer de Rossellò are out.
Be extra careful if driving, or walking and crossing roads, in l'Eixample Dreta.
From what I've seen so far this week I've been surprised to learn that the Spanish police are an undisciplined rabble — rushing here, rushing there, occasionally beating up on accredited reporters and anyone who happens to be strolling by. Even seen them arguing amongst themselves. Their tactical leadership, or lack of, is a critical weakness and a cause of much uneccessary trouble. They DO NOT have control of the streets and seem more concerned to spread as much panic and distress as possible. They are acting as if having been given carte blanche. Their actions are not sustainable. We are many they are few.
As you can imagine local parents are very concerned for their children. My stepson (thoroughly Catalan) WhatsApped me at 20:11 tonight: 'We are on Gran Via.' We've not heard from him since (it's now 23:40) — despite messaging him to stay clear of Urquinaona and the tear gas the Spanish police are firing liberally — while preparing water cannons.
Strange, strained times indeed.
If intending to visit in the next few days — don't fretkeep alert to reliable news sources, such as El Nacional: https://www.elnacional.cat, avoid flashpoints and go about your itinerary as normal.

Posted by
9 posts

@Barbara. I think you are spot on. Its funny how some parts of the city seem unaffected, and others are a mess. A lot of people have asked if they should come to Barcelona. My suggestion would be to avoid the tourist areas at night. Stay outside the city center at night, but visit in the daylight.

Posted by
10 posts

@ ingoldman

I'm a travel manager and here is a Delta waiver.....

Barcelona Civil Unrest, October 18 - Bulletin 1

TRAVEL EXCEPTION POLICY ADVISORY Barcelona Civil Unrest, October 18

BULLETIN 1 ISSUED: October 16, 2019 05:00 PM ET

Applies for tickets issued on or before October 16, 2019

Delta Air Lines is offering a waiver to assist customers who may be impacted due to civil unrest in Barcelona, Spain on October 18, 2019.

Refunds
If a customer’s flight is cancelled due to this event, and no other alternate flights are acceptable, travel agents may refund a totally unused non-refundable ticket(s) through normal ARC/BSP processing.

Posted by
136 posts

@bearcated - I agree with your common sense advice and good suggestions.

@bill - I have to say respectfully that I have a different view. I did not see the police earlier this week, so can’t comment on that. But today we have been glued to the Catalan TV stations all day and what we have consistently seen doesn’t support what you wrote about the police. We have seen that the demonstrations have been exceptionally peaceful and the police have been admirably restrained. It really does look like a relative handful of agitators changed the dynamics, trying to make things chaotic, but even after the fires started, the police avoided attacking the crowds. Even when they were being pelted by people in the crowd, they kept their line. We really watched this all day, so this was not an isolated sound bite and frame. Perhaps these police were better trained units than the ones you saw?

Posted by
2 posts

I spoke with an exceptionally helpful agent with United who allowed me to change a departure from Barcelona to Madrid without a paying the difference in the fare even though that was not what their website said. The flight I was due out on next week has already been cancelled four times this week.

Posted by
1 posts

Will be visiting Barcelona from Oct 31 for 12 days. The apartment we're staying is located at Carrer Riera de Sant Miquel. According to the owner it's near Passeig de Gràcia and metro station Diagonal. Read that it's a hot spot for demonstrations and clashes. How bad the area is affected by fire smoke and tear gas, because one of my friend has asthma. We've planned to join guided tour to medieval cities, Giorna, Dali, Montserrat, etc and visit most attractions during our 12-day stay. Also like to see a Flamenco show at Palau de la Musica on November 10 evening. Due to unpredictable roadblock, closure, cancellation, should we book guided tours and reserve tickets online in advance as planned?

Posted by
136 posts

An update at 2am 2/19 - the situation as I described it today has deteriorated badly tonight. The few targeted streets really are anarchic tonight, with masked people lobbing molotov cocktails and the police responding by arresting them. This is totally unlike the largely peaceful protests of the day. The masks would seemingly identify these instigators as agitators rather than the vast majority of the peaceful Catalan protesters. In my view, the police have responded accordingly, if you can believe what you see on both Spanish and Catalan TV. Right now, outside our window, we periodically hear voices singing despite the late hour, but no signs of violence other than the occasional police siren in the distance. Whether you visit Barcelona or not during these times depends on your tolerance for uncertainty and willingness to possibly change your plans. Visit the tourist sites during the day but be flexible - if one is closed or otherwise inaccessible, rearrange your schedule and try a different site farther away. Barcelona has no shortage of interesting places to visit, and most of the city is not experiencing the violence we've seen tonight in a few streets. Hopefully you'll be able to return to your original choices when they reopen.

Posted by
136 posts

And by the way, the flamenco show at the Palau de la Musica is excellent - a cut above others we've seen.

Posted by
52 posts

I was discussing this with one of my friends. The situation in Barcelona is so similar to stuff that happens daily in many third world countries actually. Without even understanding the meaning of the protest, hooligans are always creating chaos. In some places, they hide behind some political parties, in some places young students just love to oppose anything and everything. I’m pretty sure the actual protestors who I believe have a normal life, family and job, wouldn’t turn towards violence. But this kind of situations are exactly what some radical groups are looking for. And the police needs to be very strong in retaliation. I know it’s a big tourist place but it’s just like any other city to their locals and should not be ridiculed because of radicals. Stay safe !!

Posted by
296 posts

@Barbara.
Yes, you have a different view. A view, as you admit, not informed by wandering around and encountering things on the ground — and talking with local people — but, as you confess, from "being glued to" TV "all day".
Q: “I do not know who you “learned” your information from…”
A: From seeing it with my own eyes. And, being a serious student of police tactics during civil disturbances since 1980, (and having helped both make a TV documentary and a theatre play about the subject — based on the Peterloo Massacre and Miners' Strike of 1984) was able to make my own judgement.

“we have been glued to Catalan TV stations all day”.

As far as I am aware TV3 (I didn't watch TV yesterday) — the Catalan TV station — was on strike yesterday — so I do not really understand how you could have been watching "Catalan TV stations all day." Be useful to know which Catalan TV stations you were watching.

You can’t have it both ways — TV or reality? You, by your own admission, “we have been glued to … TV stations all day” chose TV. Or, maybe, it was a case of TV all day and a few steps from the hotel? Either way — not a reliable stand from which to criticise a local resident's perspective.

https://www.vilaweb.cat/noticies/via-laietana-carregues-directe-policia-espanyola/

https://www.elnacional.cat

http://www.catalannews.com

Posted by
1 posts

My girlfriend and I are booked to sail on the Rhapsody of the Seas on November 9th from Barcelona. . We're flying into Barcelona on the 4th. However, I'm thinking of flying instead to Zaragoza. We've both been to Barcelona before and, while it would be nice to see it again after 36 years (for me), it's not worth it in these conditions. Plus the fact that I've never been to Zaragoza. So we could check it out for four days and then take an early train from there to Barcelona on the 9th. So far the protests have been confined mostly to the night hours. Anyways, we will continue to keep our fingers crossed!

Posted by
136 posts

@Bill, i regret that an honest difference in opinion has provoked a hostile response.. i had actually decided that my comment about how you learned the police were undisciplined etc seemed disrespectful, although that was not how i intended it, and I edited it almost immediately. It’s unfortunate that anyone saw it in the interim, and i do apologize for it. i misread the intent of what you'd said, which is why i withdrew the comment. again, my apologies.

i think our situation here is very much like the old story of the blind men and the elephant. The first touches the elephant‘s ear and says “an elephant is very like a fan.” The next touches the tail and announces, “no, an elephant is very much like a rope.” The third touches a leg and insists that the elephant is very much like a tree trunk. and so on. Under these situations, no one can see everything. i may miss the sights, sounds, and smells of the battle, but not miss some of the peaceful areas elsewhere in the city that are worth reporting on. And as Enric said earlier, i believe pictures and videos that I see live from multiple sources (on both sides) that are presumably reporting accurately. i speak Spanish, my son inlaw speaks Spanish and Catalan. We know and believe what we saw. There is room here for multiple sources and views, and i would hope you could respect mine.

You are also wrong with your assumptions about me. We are retired and have immediate family here so we are over here multiple times a year. The last time we were here was 3 months ago and we stayed for a month. We do not stay in hotels. When we are here, we run our family’s household - cooking, cleaning, food shopping, picking up household items at Corte Ingles, walking the dog, doing laundry, taking out the garbage and recycling etc. Here we visit other friends from Barcelona and go to events or just tapas bars with them or to their houses for dinner. We go to restaurants where locals go and no tourists are seen. We vacation in places like Costa Brava, the Pyrenees, and Priorat, again with more locals than not. We drink ribeira del duero and tinto verano rather than sangria. i have been to a major hospital here and seen their (excellent level of care). So basically we live like locals not tourists when we are here. Which does not of course take away from your experience as a resident, but I'm entitled to my informed viewpoint as well.

Let’s agree to respect one another.

Posted by
1861 posts

@mikejgwynn, I think your idea of going to Zaragoza is perfectly fine, especially if you've already been to Barcelona and want peace of mind. For me it's one of the unsung cites of Spain, complete with Roman ruins, a Moorish Palace, and a great Tapas quarter, everything but the foreign tourists. Conveniently just 1:30 hr away from Barcelona on the AVE.

Posted by
989 posts

Barbara,
A wonderful post enabling dialogue among parties of varying opinions.
Thanks for sharing your authentic heart.
Safe travels!

Posted by
7 posts

@kat I’m a United Million Miler and 10X 1K status so I don’t really fly Delta. Good on them forgiving refunds for non-reimbursable tickets!! I’ve never seen United orAmerican do likewise with their travel waivers.

Posted by
2 posts

As an outsider looking in I really hope this can settled down quickly but what I don't understand is why don't the Spanish government let the Catalunya people have a referendum and let the people decide what is best for them, was in Barcelona in Summer for first time and absolutely fell in love with the city and it's people , I'm from Scotland where a large percentage also want independence, I am not British and we had the opportunity through our own referendum to become independent but lost out narrowly at the ballots 55%/45% , to me as an outsider looking in it looks like the Spanish government can easily put a stop to the protests and violence by letting the Catalunya people have a referendum and letting them decide what is best for them with a pen !!! Stay safe people and cant wait to return to your beautiful city

Posted by
908 posts

Thanks Enric and everyone on the ground for the reports. IMO, the Spanish government has mishandled this from the start. If they had just let the voters in Catalonia vote the first time, the majority would have voted to stay in Spain but. with the harsh crackdown, jailing the leaders and beating up protestors-they've inflamed the situation. I have read today that the Catalonian government has asked for meetings with Spanish government to end the violence and protests.

As for the news sensationalizing protests, they've done that a lot. Most protestors in Spain are regular people who want the best for their families and make their voices heard. However, there's always that small sector of people just looking for a fight. It seems the most world is in quite a mess nowadays.

Posted by
296 posts

@Barbara. Accept your apology for seeming to question my ability to form opinions based on what I’ve seen.
However, hundreds of others have also questioned the Spanish police tactics (apart from seeing Mossos mobile squads vans speeding through the streets I have yet to see them in action during the disturbances — so my comments refer explicitly to the CNP).

According to The Guardian today, hardly a mouthpiece for any Spanish or Catalan faction, “Officers from both national and regional forces have been criticised for their heavy-handed actions and a journalist from El País was arrested while covering Friday’s skirmishes.”

And…from the same Guardian article, “Ada Colau, the mayor of Barcelona, said the violence could not continue. She criticised both the throwing of objects by protesters and the police’s use of rubber bullets as well as “the attacks on media professionals”.

Quite a contrast, don’t you think, to your assertion that, “the police have been admirably restrained”?

You say, “You are also wrong with your assumptions about me.” Apologies — however, the only assumption I made was that you were staying in a hotel.

Yes, of course, you are entitled to your viewpoint — but whether it is an “informed viewpoint” is the moot point. Respectfully.

Posted by
1861 posts

@markboor51 - not sure if this is the platform to discuss these kind of politics so directly, but all I'd say to that is look what a hastily called referendum did for David Cameron and the UK, no one really knew (or still knows) what a "brexit" would look like, and now it's only created more institutional chaos not less. The political situation is not so simple as presented.

Even if the Generalitat called for another referendum in the next few weeks, and it miraculously was supported by the central gov in Madrid, what would "Independence" look like, what are the economic ramifications? Would we also leave the EU? Being born in Barcelona, would I lose my EU Citizenship? Can we really legitimately declare independence with only a slight majority? How would the borders work? Do we start printing our own currency? These are the questions we should be asking before a referendum, not after one, else Catalonia will really be a chaos, like nothing compared to what you're currently seeing now.

Anyway, all of that does not matter, as the Spanish gov would not in 100000 years even entertain the possibility of Catalonia leaving Spain so dramatically. It would also have to significantly change its own constitution to allow for such a thing. As Spain knows it would soon collapse into a bunch of smaller pieces, like what happened to Yugoslavia in the 90s.

Posted by
10 posts

How is the city today?? Any other protests planned for the next few days ??

Posted by
136 posts

I’m a bit worried that this very important and useful thread might get closed by the administrators if it turns more political than travel-oriented. Perhaps if posts at least offer practical advice for tourists?

Posted by
1861 posts

-UPDATE-

A potentially large demonstration has just been convoked by the CDR for today at 18:00 at Plaza Urquinaona, the site of the significant violent clashes of last night. FYI Urquinaona is just north of Plaza de Catalunya. Public transportation is already being cut off to the area. Also the Corte Inglés in Plaza de Catalunya has just closed early today in response.

Live video from Plaza Urquinaona: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RBbsDOuKejk

I'd definitely give this one a wide breadth...

Posted by
2 posts

@Carlos unless I missed something I can assure you Brexit has not caused any "chaos" to anyone living here and certainly haven't seen anything set on fire , that descions was made by the people of the UK who decided that's what they wanted (although all of Scotland voted to remain and will be the main reason why we get Indy2) the chaos is only cause by Westminster because they can't get anything right .
I totally agree they need plans in place about infrastructure, currency , etc etc
Also I don't think, although I could be completely wrong that other regions in spain want to be independent from Spain
Again I personally just think it should be down to the people of Catalunya to decide if they want independence and a fair vote is the only way to determine what the people actually want , again just an outsider looking in who feel in love with the place and hope it can come to peace soon

Posted by
296 posts

@Nick
“Firstly, Bill, you wrote "the Spanish police are an undisciplined rabble", but your later quote refers to regional and national forces. Are you accusing both? It does seem to be a secessionist "fact" that all the demonstrators are peaceful and any violence is just the fault of "Spanish police" and some ill-defined infiltrators. The actual facts show otherwise.”
I was remarking on what I saw while walking in the streets. Prior to this week I had never seen the Nationals in action — I’d only seem them strutting around or guarding buildings during the aftermath of the Oct. 1 referendum (apart from the shocking TV coverage on the day of the referendum at the time.) I’ve seen the Mossos mobile squads in action up close before — a few times and especially during the Gràcia Banc Expropriat disturbances a few years ago when I narrowly missed getting hit by charging Mossos while walking home via a route which I thought would avoid the trouble.
To be clear, I was not accusing anyone of anything — simply reporting what I saw and adding some thoughts. I was shocked by the CNP’s seeming indiscipline. If what I saw was ‘admirable restraint’ then we’re all in trouble. I’m not saying one anti-disturbance corps of police is better or worse than another. Although, I will say that from my recollections that the Mossos seemed more cohesive, and never saw them arguing amongst themselves. The Mossos have more than likely lashed out at innocent passers by and accredited journalists as well — but I, personally, have not seen this, not yet. Regards.

Posted by
2 posts

Hi everyone, we are desperately looking for up do date travel info. This is a travel link not a political blog. How about we please keep political views to ourselves and simply focus on travel safety please.

Posted by
2667 posts

Unfortunately, annagim, these often dissolve to politics and given that these are regulars, they know the monitors are at home with family until Monday. Try to sift through the crap and hope these adults can put asside their pi@@ing contest for the original intent to be helpful and current.

Posted by
6 posts

So Iberia has cancelled both my in and out Barcelona flights for tonight and 10/22. This made our decision easier, so we just avoid Barcelona altogether and instead staying in Madrid. I want to report that we actually have similar protest in Madrid tonight - although I think in much more smaller scale. I was in Orange at about 8.30PM trying to get a sim card when it happened here in Gran Via area. The employee quickly closed the metal door. We went out before 9PM and try to get back to hotel in the area. I heard several shots - not sure what, might be tear gas? It is now 10:30PM and it has since quiet down.

We will try to stay out late for the rest of our Spain vacation to avoid similar situation.

Safe travels everyone!

Posted by
2507 posts

UPDATE: Oct 19 11:15pm

Nothing new of consequence to add to my update of 10/18/19 11:02 AM (see above)

The SPEC (Student Union) is convoking a demonstration from noon to 9pm tomorrow Sunday, at Plaça de la Creu Alta in Sabadell (that's 30 miles from Barcelona)

The night scuffles continue in several cities. In Barcelona they happen in different spots, tonight at Avinguda Meridiana, near Fabra i Puig as well as near the main Spanish police HQ in Via Laeitana not far from Plaça Urquinaona. They're expected to continue these following days without any precise location. By now it's already clear there are several types of protesters in the night scuffles, all except one not related to the main movement which continues to gather thousands in peaceful demonstrations and sit-ins, as seen last Friday.

One formed simply by troublemakers, another one by anarchists -many foreign- that have just arrived from different countries in Europe, another one by Spanish fascists groups stirring violence against peaceful demonstrators and the fourth one by plainclothes' Spanish police officers (this is confirmed by several sources). I won't enter to discuss the reason how's that so, suffices to say the Spanish government is very interested in continuing to portray an image of mayhem to justify another coup d'etat -like that perpetrated in late 2017- against the Catalan government, removing elected representatives and imposing direct ruling.

There's also a fifth type formed by young indy activists -sons, daughters or nephews of many of us regular citizens- that, rightly or wrongly, see direct confrontation as the only way to make the Spanish government to sit to negotiate, given past refusals to do so of the Spanish when the Catalan government has tried to in a civilized manner.

This is to say, that it's difficult to be on top of all the potential hot spots occurring every night in many Catalan cities, especially noting most of the above-mentioned groups -the plainclothes' police officers being one, duh!- are not in the regular chatter channels of the main movement nor in related groups. As mentioned, I can monitor the events and actions by the main civic associations and political parties as well several other pro-indy groups, but the rest are either out of my scope or far too fluid to be able to keep an accurate report (after all, I am no CNN, lol!)

Do remember, these scuffles do tend to occur AT NIGHT time. Hence the reason I advise to keep an eye if going out at night and avoid areas with heavy anti-riot police presence, which are the ones that have caused so far nearly all the injured.


Btw, some information clarification: in some of the most violent clashes of young activists with the anti-riot police, there are indeed fire barricades erected. However, contrary to false rumours, these are not "vandalic incidents" (for the most part) nor any shop or building is being set alight. This is not happening (so far) in Barcelona or any other city in Catalonia.

Fire barricades in demonstrations, as shown in the Hong Kong protests, are a defensive mechanism by the protesters to difficult the controversial practice -prohibited in many countries- of the "police van carrousels". This practice consists on police vans continuously running at high speed in circles around the protesters (carrousel), indiscriminately shooting rubber bullets thru the side windows of the vans. This has occurred several times in the protests these days hence the reason fire barricades have started to emerge in some of the heaviest clashes.

Posted by
2507 posts

US State Dept "List of planned demonstrations (Oct 18-21)"

Ah yes, forgot to mention... I haven't mentioned anything on the well-intentioned post of Carlos earlier regarding the US State Dept "List of planned demonstrations (Oct 18-21)" because, IMHO, it's really an irrelevant list. The list has been provided by the Government of Catalonia to the US Dept of State and it attempts to contain all of the announced gatherings/demonstrations/sit-ins for the next days.

  • Firstly, it might be confusing to those not knowing about our geography, if you're visiting Barcelona, you wouldn't care or worry about a demonstration announced in, say, Sant Llorenç de Munt, which is not "in" Barcelona nor even "near" Barcelona. But again most visitors wouldn't know this.
  • Secondly, it attempts to lists "all" actions, even those by very small groups whose consequences can be imperceptible just a few streets away thus simply causing unnecessary concern to visitors.
  • Thirdly, no information on who is convoking, thus assessment on potential size and safety hazards is impossible. Most are typical non-violent civil disobedience actions so no major concern should be taken. Yet not knowing who convokes this assessment is not possible.
  • Lastly, given the fluidity of the situation, the information is likely to be obsolete when you read it at the State Dept website. Some of the actions are quickly modified as the situation requires and information flows to demonstrators via social media (and other methods).

So I think it's best to stick to the "major" ones -which are the ones I try to be on top of and to inform here- rather than trying to set up a war room with each and every potential action everywhere in Catalonia. Just my thinking, of course.

Posted by
73 posts

Want to add my thanks for this thread. Have a coworker visiting Barcelona now. Because of this thread he was able to educate himself on the situation. Many thanks!

Posted by
1 posts

I am a traveler in Barcelona at a hotel off of Las Ramblas. I had consulted this board prior to keeping our travel plans to the city. I have seen very dangerous situations these past two evenings right outside our hotel. The masked protesters roam in the evenings and then provoke mischief by setting fires to garbage bins and plants. In fact, I woke up one hour ago to screaming, shouting and gun pops. I witnessed a group of about 25 run down our side street, pull out a large potted plant and a large rubber garbage bin and set it on fire. Again, this in front of our 5 star hotel. Thankfully fire department came and then the police. Quite dramatic, scary and very very real.

During the daytime we move about freely however at night it just doesn’t feel safe.

Posted by
1861 posts

A victory for common sense tonight! As local Barcelona citizens formed a human wall and put themselves between the more radical protesters and police, deterring violence and confrontation. It's been reported throughout Barcelona and Catalonia there has been a significant decrease in the intensity of violence this night, compared to the past 4 nights. Hopefully this will continue and we can begin to take back our streets at night!

At Plaza Urquinaona: https://www.lavanguardia.com/politica/20191019/471070017653/cordon-cadena-humana-voluntarios-barcelona-manifestacion.html#yusp

Same thing happened in Lleida too: https://www.lavanguardia.com/politica/20191020/471078199354/protestas-sentencia-proces-lleida-barrera-violencia-policia.html

Posted by
6 posts

Does anyone know how things are at the airport today? We will be flying Oct 29 from Canada. I'm really hoping we will be able to visit some of the tourist sites. Also, does anyone know if the area in Passatge Rellotge has demonstrators.? (This is where we will be staying).

Posted by
2507 posts

@Daxa

  1. The 29th is nearly 10 days away... nobody can answer that in any meaningful way.
  2. Protests are not "celebrated" in an enclosed area. Some, the biggest and more peaceful ones are announced in different areas of the city, the smaller ones show up spontaneously here or there. Not possible to answer that, sorry
  3. Why wouldn't you be able to visit "most" of the tourist sites? Unless a demonstration happens to be occurring AT THE TIME of your visit AND AROUND the site you're visiting... there's no reason why you can't.
Posted by
1 posts

We are scheduled to stay in Barcelona at The Hotel Granvia later this week. This particular area appears to have a lot of activity and I am getting the impression that we should avoid going out at night, in other words, no dining, shows, sites or enjoying city-life after 19:00. We have been monitoring US Embassy notifications, airline postings, the Rick Steves tour company, this thread, and news reports. Would appreciate any further postings on current activity, and, info regarding travel between the city center and transportation services (airport, trains, taxis). Thanks to all who have posted questions and info. Travel takes a village!
-CuriousTraveler20

Posted by
2507 posts

Not to be rude, but... do you really think most people here are in the mood for "dining out" or "night entertainment"??. I will insist again: this is not "a small bunch of radicals causing trouble", this is a full-fledged rebellion by a large chunk of the population which takes many forms: from peaceful massive demonstrations and sit-ins and other non-violent civil disobedience actions -which are the majority- to roadblocks, sabotage to infrastructures and also, in some instances, direct confrontation.

I'll post again sometime tomorrow with the outlook for the next 72hrs

Posted by
8 posts

Can anyone please inform regarding the current protest situation in Barcelona city center? It's hard to get updated news in the US. We are scheduled to arrive Barcelona October 23rd, and we are staying in a hotel close to Placa Catalunya. Thank you.

Posted by
6 posts

Can anyone update me how things are at the airport today? Are there protestors there and delays with flights?

Posted by
1 posts

regarding to Enric’s notes saying there have been no “vandalic incidents”... we have seen the youngsters destroying the roadsigns, the bus stops, bilboards, burning containers and we have seen several cars and scooters burned down. if this is not vandalism, then what is? I do understand what the Catalans are trying to fight for but is this the way? and do they ... those young people burning containers... understand what are they fighting for? or they just want to fight. and if they are too scared to fight the police, they fight the bus stop??
I also understand the baricades as we could see the police caroussels and it really was scarry to watch. but why does need the baricade burn? wouldn’t be enough to build a baricade to stop the cars? what is the point to burn the containers? now, there are sacks full of garbage on the streets. cause there are no containers around Urquinaona placa.

Posted by
5 posts

For what it’s worth, I’ll tell you what our experience has been. Yesterday we went to Montserrat taking the subway to Espanya station then the Cremallera up to Montserrat. Afterward we went to the Sagrada Familia and toured the gorgeous cathedral. However, we were unable to tour the towers due to “security concerns “. We walked through and all around La Rambla having drinks there until 7:30, went to la Boqueria market then went by subway to la bicileta in Gracia. From there we walked to our hotel arriving around 10.
At no time did I feel concerned for my safety. There were many police vans and a helicopter flying above reminding us about the situation but we didn’t experience any concerns.
We left Barcelona on the 7:30 am train to San Sebastián getting to the train station by subway. No issues. Barcelona Sants station had a few police, nothing like the presence when we arrived last Thursday.
I must say, I am happy to leave because everything’s so uncertain. However, when we arrived in San Sebastián we were told that there was a protest here yesterday as well for solidarity but nothing else is happening.

Posted by
2507 posts

UPDATE: Oct 20th 6pm

NEWSFLASH: A "picnic" (read potential "sit-in") has been convoked this evening at 6pm at the cross of Mallorca St with Roger de Llúria St in Barcelona

This will obviously stop traffic in the area, take that into account if your accommodation is there: https://www.google.com/maps/place/Carrer+de+Roger+de+Ll%C3%BAria,+101,+08037+Barcelona/@41.3956579,2.1641335,18z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m5!3m4!1s0x12a4a2eca4328031:0xc9aae9275bb774ba!8m2!3d41.3956559!4d2.1652305

The organisation has called for non-violent protest, yet this is not a guarantee if the police forces start charging against protesters. Unfortunately the later is likely as the Spanish Government Delegation is also at that location and it has been one of the more protected buildings in the city by the Spanish police since the beginning of the revolt.

My advice is to avoid the area if you can until the sit-in is called off, possibly in a few hours. The "area" meaning a few blocks in every direction.

Posted by
1 posts

For the information of others going to Barcelona in the coming days: We were scheduled to visit Barcelona on vacation Oct. 24-31, with our adult son to join us Oct. 24-29. With great regret I have cancelled the trip this morning. United Airlines has not yet announced waivers but approved our cancellation after a supervisor was consulted. We will receive a full refund of miles and fees. The Hotel Claris indicated they would charge a one night penalty for each of two rooms, but suggested I call back during business hours tomorrow to discuss a refund or application of our deposit to a future stay. Tickets to Sagrada Familia for next Saturday (26th) were very easily cancelled with Trip Advisor. Tickets to Park Guell through Get Your Guide are non-cancellable but I sent an e-mail to appeal for a refund. Restaurant reservations were readily cancelled. I am a 9/11 survivor who worked in the WTC. I have seen the ugliness of agitated crowds and a human panic and am unwilling to risk that. We hope to visit Barcelona in the future. Enric....I applaud your effort to provide information on this Forum and your prudence and even-handedness in doing so. It has been very helpful. Thank you.

Posted by
4 posts

Thank you to everyone posting to this forum, especially Enric, & to the Rick Steves community for allowing such an open discussion. We are catching a cruise in Barcelona in about 2 weeks and watching the situation closely to see if we need to alter our pre-cruise plans, especially our city center hotel location. Wishing everyone a peaceful Sunday.

Posted by
2507 posts

I know I've repeated this over and over: the situation is indeed volatile and, IMHO, decrease of the violence or not in the coming days entirely depends on the response of the Spanish government and its police forces. For a token, yesterday night: less police presence in the street = far fewer incidents.

In any case, my initial comment regarding visitors remain, in plain English, so everybody gets it: "protestors have no beef with visitors". So, if anyone visiting in the coming days/weeks had a shred of doubt can put his mind at rest.

Posted by
1 posts

Wish to thank everyone for posts. Information is truly appreciated. I arrived today form canada. No problems at airport or shuttle to pl Catalunya.spent day at la Sagrada, all quiet. Staying near diagonal and st Joan. Heard helicopters, but all quiet here in north end. Ultimately everyone makes their own decision. I am glad I came and did not cancel

Posted by
10 posts

Thanks to everyone who has provided information. We plan to continue our trip to Barcelona. Doing our visiting of sites during the day and enjoying our apartment in the evenings.

Thanks again to Enric for his advice. Please continue to provide real time information, it is really helpful to us awaiting to travel to the city.

Posted by
7 posts

I just left Barcelona this morning after 8 days in Barcelona and Mallorca. We were at the airport last nite arriving from Majorca and then this morning. Everything normal. We toured major tourist sites on Monday and Tuesday no problems. United, American and Delta all have had flight cancellations this week. If you are going to Barcelona in the next month I’d recommend staying in a hotel outside the main tourist areas that have seen nighttime protests. We stayed in the northeast Diagonal Mar district and there and in Pablenou everything was absolutely calm and normal and you could go out at nite. It’s easy to take Metro into the main tourists areas during the day and even taxis are not that expensive. As long as you can cope with some uncertainties, including possible flight cancellations I’d say to come, albeit with some slightly altered arrangements. You can probably avoid US carrier flight cancellations by flying one of the European carriers via their hubs (e.g. Madrid, Frankfurt, Munich, Paris, London) they have multiple daily flights in and out of Barcelona to connect to your flight to the US. So, while I wouldn’t minimize the situation I believe it’s entirely possible to come to Barcelona and enjoy yourself. Just avoid crowds/demos. Further, it presents the opportunity to visit other parts of Catalonia as well.

Posted by
1861 posts

@ingoldman, glad that the current state of affairs did not impede your holiday too much, and you were able to cope and see the things you wanted to see. I agree, it seems like if you avoid areas of the more intense demonstrations, especially at night, one is still able enjoy the city! ;-)

Posted by
4 posts

Hi all, thanks for all the very helpful updates. This is my first post here. We are scheduled to arrive in Barcelona this Thursday morning and spend 3 days until we board our cruise on Sunday. We have chosen not to cancel anything and go as planned. Will post updates on here to help others planning on traveling.

Posted by
8 posts

Hello,
I wonder if things calmed down. Were there a lot of protest activities on Sunday night? Thanks,

Posted by
1861 posts

@Sunflower, let's just say things have "mellowed out" these past 48 hrs compared to last week, that's not to say the manifestations have disappeared, there was quite a large one today in front of the Spanish Gov. Delegation, and also a number streets in Barcelona were occupied. But local media and my family living in Barcelona tell me there is noticeably less violence in the streets than last week, especially at night.

You can read about it here, but may need to use the auto-translate feature: https://www.lavanguardia.com/politica/20191021/471095737467/protestas-sentencia-ts-proces-basura-delegacion-gobierno.html

You can see photos from today's protests:
https://elpais.com/elpais/2019/10/20/album/1571589794_112750.html#foto_gal_1

Although there are still manifestation actions in and around Barcelona, as you can see from multiple poster's currently in Barcelona, they are fairly easy to avoid and go about your day sightseeing. At night though, you may want to still be a tad more alert than normal.

Posted by
2 posts

We are arriving for one night at Hotel Adagio on Carrer de Ferran on Saturday morning. We would like to know if you would recommend we book another hotel further from this area. And what area would be safer for the one night. Thanks for all the information.

Posted by
1 posts

Hi Carlos / Enric, first of all; thank you so much for this blog. It is great to get honest updates about what is going on in Barcelona. I know you must receive many questions like mine, but I do hope you will time to answer. We are travelling this thursday from Amsterdam to Barcelona, for a 4 day trip, to celebrate our wedding anniversary. We have been saving for a while and booked the Claris hotel. Many of our friends "advice" us to cancel. But none of them lives in Barcelona, they all just watch television and read the news. What is your opinion? Can we still have a romantic and great time in Barcelona? Is the hotel in a safe area? Thanks a lot for taking the time to answer. Best regards, Sven

Posted by
2507 posts

UPDATE: Oct 21st, 10am

OUTLOOK FOR THE NEXT 72hr IN BARCELONA

No major actions planned

SHOPS, MUSEUMS AND SITES: business as usual
RESTAURANTS: business as usual
BARCELONA AIRPORT: business as usual
MOBILITY AIRPORT-CITY: today (21st) there might be delays on the road to/from the airport passing by Gran Via de Les Corts Catalanes due to the sit-in. Rest of the days: business as usual.
PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION: business as usual, albeit detours happen every now and then as temporary sit-ins occur blocking the street. In Barcelona is always best to walk, but if you need to take public transportation, better use the metro these days.
ROAD NETWORK: Flash blockades will continue to occur in some main roads across Catalonia. If travelling by car, take secondary roads.
SAFETY LEVEL: It is unlikely there'll be major disturbances, especially now that Police has backed off their charges. Still, groups of troublemakers, not-related with the protests, might stir clashes with the police from time to time, especially in the central area of l'Eixample in the evening.

Note for OCT 21st: Sit-in planned this morning in front of the Ciutat de la Justicia -complex of courts of justice and other related buildings- located at the entrance of the city of Barcelona, on one of the roads to the airport. Expected attendance: a few thousand people. Peaceful -providing no police unnecessary charges. Better use the train or metro for the airport/city itinerary. Aerobus might alter its regular stops.

MAJOR ACTIONS FOR THE NEXT DAYS

Sat 26th Major demonstration in Barcelona called by several dozen civic associations and the main Catalan political parties. Several hundreds of thousands expected to attend. Peaceful. No further details yet but, for logistical reasons, it'll definitively have to be held in one of the main avenues (Diagonal, Passeig de Gràcia, Gran Via de Les Corts Catalanes...). When the exact location is announced I'll inform. Crowds will reach quite several blocks from that location. Again, during these sort of demonstrations, it's perfectly possible to walk through with your luggage to reach your accommodation should it be in the thick of it as the ambience of demonstrators is very friendly. It might take you a while longer than in a normal day, though!

Another major flash action like the one that collapsed the airport of Barcelona with thousands of citizens last week is brewing, but there are still no details on when or where. Again, the aim of this one will again be international exposure of the situation rather than effective action.

Posted by
2507 posts

PERSONAL NOTE

Understanding what's happening

As mentioned, this is a very complex situation which won't be resolved anytime soon. The tension can increase dramatically though if the reactionary Spanish right-wing forces (which sadly are represented by main political parties) were to win the coming Spanish elections on Nov 10th, which doesn't look like at present. They've already threatened with another forceful removal of the Catalan government -as happened in 2017- and imposing direct rule, and even the use of further repressive measures. That would escalate the situation to untenable levels.

At the same time, there is chatter by main actors here in Catalonia about procedures to potentially starting a government in exile -with the assistance of mayors and other elected representatives currently in office- to be outside the reach of the Spanish apparatus and be able to continue governing the nation. If that happens, there'll surely be a reaction of the Spanish government which, at present, is unknown.

On the other hand, several European high ranking actors have already unofficially expressed concerns to the Spanish government about the handling of the situation. Until now, they've preferred not to intervene but this attitude is gradually changing with several proposals and debates in different political arenas around Europe. Equally, several judicial procedures against decisions taken by Spanish courts are starting to arrive at the international tribunals which will have to resolve for or against. Should the latter happen, it can ignite a political storm in Spain.

Demonstrations and other actions WON'T stop in the near future, that's a fact. As mentioned in the first post of the thread, a very large chunk of the population here in Catalonia is very upset and angry with the Spanish apparatus. Expect lots of other actions, sit-ins and demonstrations which will remain peaceful in the absence of unnecessary police charges. These will cause disruptions here and there which might affect your trip to Catalonia, especially in Barcelona and other bigger cities, and also, occasionally in smaller towns. However, the number and intensity of these actions are likely to decrease and stabilize over time, the aim being to force a political negotiation.

Those maintaining their vacation plans to my homeland these coming weeks will most likely be able to enjoy them aside from some inconveniences. Again, if (if!) the political situation remains as it is and doesn't escalate.

Folks, this is a volatile situation full of uncertainty so forecasts for longer terms cannot be made.

Posted by
2507 posts

Hi Sven

As we've seen in posts by different posters, this a very personal decision as everyone has a different perception of safety and different willingness to expose themselves to non-stable situations. More often than not, distance and absence of first-hand information cause unnecessary stress to many, but those on-the-ground with more information cannot and should not sanctify because we don't have full certainty either.

This is to say this is just MY VERY PERSONAL reflections on your particular question:

Pros

  • The anti-riot police seem to have backed off these past two nights, likely because they're overwhelmed and exhausted, not because a change of policy. The fact though is that in the absence of anti-riot police, tension dramatically decreases and violence disappears. Should this situation remain, safety for citizens and visitors should return to normal levels even when at demonstrations, being Barcelona as you all know, one of the safest spots among top destinations (leaving pickpockets aside, yes!).
  • During the day, for citizens and visitors it's pretty much business as usual in most instances meaning sites and businesses are open, so are restaurants and shops. Mind me a bit of humour, this is a very civilized revolt, lol!
  • Barcelonans, in general, continue to welcome visitors ;)

Cons

  • Your hotel is 200m around the corner from the Spanish Government delegation in Catalonia -sort of the "Death Star" in this play-, the focus of many protests these past days. Also, the hotel is in one of the main boulevards, which are prone to be ideal places for large demonstrations. Albeit no action is planned as of today, there might be another one within the next few days.
  • Since, as I said, it continues (and will continue to be) non-violent civil disobedience actions here and there, you might have to alter specific plans at specific moments (ie. if there's a temporary blockade of the entrance to Plaça Espanya FGC train station, your trip to Montserrat might need to be postponed or cancelled; or if there's a protest in front of Sagrada Familia, you might need to reschedule...)
Posted by
2507 posts

NEWS FLASH: IMPROMPTU ACTIONS

It's been just discovered the Spanish president will make a flash visit to Barcelona later today. An urgent sit-in is being convoked thru the social networks at 1pm at the Spanish Delegation in Carrer Mallorca corner with Carrer Roger de Lluria. Expected to be answered by a few thousand people yet be peaceful (in principle!). Mobility in the area and a few blocks from there (including Passeig de Gràcia) can be complicated. Drop plans for visiting Casa Milà (La Pedrera).

The top members of the PP (Spanish conservative right-wing party) from Madrid, including its incendiary president Mr Casado, are to have a "private dinner" (not any more!) this evening at restaurant Perikete, by the lower part of Via Laietana in Barcelona., near Old Port. It's likely there'll be lots of protests and even disturbances. Given this is now public, the venue might well be cancelled or move to another secret location in the city. Just in case, avoid the area.

At 7pm, in Passeig de Sant Joan corner with Diputació St in Barcelona, where the Catalan Ministry of the Interior is located, a "balloon party" has been called urging everybody to bring balloons full of paint. Not difficult to foresee the outcome :)

More to follow...

Posted by
4 posts

Is hotel Tryp Barcelona Apolo in a good area or is there lots of potential for demonstration etc in that area? Thanks in advance for your answer!

Posted by
2 posts

Hello, we are staying in Le Méridien Barcelona at La Rambla 111, Pintor Fortunyin Barcelona. Can someone please advise if this is a safe area- should we look elsewhere? we are only in Barcelona 3 days 10/25- 10/28. Thank you everyone!

Posted by
2507 posts

I know many unsuspected visitors asking the forum would like YES/NO answers... but I can't give you that, sorry.

In principle, things have calmed down a bit now, but it's not guaranteed they'll stay that way. The Spanish government has refused today for the third time to sit down and talk with the Catalan government.

I would also point out that most demonstrations are peaceful -on the protesters' side- and violence only arises when the anti-riot police charge. For the past two days, they are nowhere to be seen at night, so no violence.

Anyway:

@DanceLady87
Tryp Apolo in is a large and wide avenue, so yes, there's "potential" which doesn't mean it's got to happen. There haven't been disturbances in that area.

@annagim
Le Méridien Barcelona is in Les Rambles... wide enough for demonstrations... but unlikely as it's not tactically sound to convoke one there. It could potentially be a mousetrap for would-be protesters.

Please DO NOT assault the thread with specific questions regarding "your hotel", follow the general reports me and others post and then make a decision for yourself. There are no YES/NO answers here, sorry.

Posted by
1 posts

Hello, I very much appreciate all the efforts put into these forums, it has been very helpful making a decision on the trip we have planned. We are due in October 28th for several days on our Honeymoon. I understand this is one week away and the situation is ever changing, our hotel reservations are at Hotel Barcelona Center, I have done a whole bunch of research but I don't know that neighborhood and location and the location of current demonstrations. Any advice would be helpful. I don't plan on cancelling the trip at this time, but want to make sure we aren't staying in a "hot spot". We have never been to Spain or Barcelona so we are very excited to see the beautiful city! Thank you in advance for reply.

Brittnie

Posted by
1861 posts

@Brittnie
Hotel Barcelona Center appears to be in the heart of the Eixample, on Calle Majorca, close to Rambla de Catalunya and Passeig de Gràcia, this area has seen it's fair share of disturbances these past few days, the streets are quite wide, perfect for manifestations/blockades. I'd look for somewhere else farther out, Vila de Gracia, El Poble sec, or even northern modern part of Sant Martí, may be good options, as these areas don't lend themselves to large scale demonstrations and are far away from political hot spots. When in doubt, I'd just stay outside of the Eixample.

Posted by
1 posts

We will arrive to Barcelona on November 1st,we are terrified because we are traveling with children,any sugestión for the situation in the beginning of November (4days in Barcelona)we already booked tickets for sagrada familia & the one way AVE train from Barcelona to Madrid,I really don’t know if they will refund the money or re-schedule for another day,any sugestións on this will be appreciated,thanks

Posted by
1861 posts

-UPDATE-

Large sit-in/manifestation convoked for this Saturday Oct 26 at Plaza Sant Jaume in Barcelona, in front of the Generalitat de Catalunya. Plaza Sant Jaume is located in the heart of the Barrio Gotico, so this will definitely block up access within the narrow streets of area with so much foot traffic.

@lborris1 In light of this development, I would look to changing your hotel on Carrer de Ferran for this Saturday, as this is one of the main arteries into Plaza Sant Jaume.

Posted by
10 posts

I see that alot of the demostrations are around passeig de gracia , which is a very large street. Our rental apartment is #50 - Can anyone help with about which end of the street the deomstations have been on ? or do they envelop the whole street. Our plan is to continue with our trip, we arrive on Thursday 11/7, and will meet the rental agent at noon. Assuming on a Thursday midday we should be able to get through via taxi. We will then go to the store for supplies and stay in that evening. Our plan is to sight see during the day and be home at night.

Posted by
3246 posts

As Enric said, "Please DO NOT assault the thread with specific questions regarding "your hotel", follow the general reports me and others post and then make a decision for yourself. There are no YES/NO answers here, sorry."

You can use Google Maps to locate your lodgings, then compare that location with the excellent information on the situation being continously updated here.

Whether you're staying in an area with little action or lots of it, doing such a comparison can show you potential alternative routes and transport options to use to get where you need to go. This is one time when packing light is the best idea, since you may be hoofing it more than you planned.

You can also do a Google search for something like "demonstrations in Barcelona" and refine it by clicking on News or Images. Be sure to pay attention to the dates of what you find. The situation is so fluid that what happened 3 days ago may not be relevant to your info need today. Keep up with the updates on this thread for the very latest news on and advice about what's going on.

Being as well-informed as you can be about what to expect during your visit to Barcelona should help you make the best decisions you can about that visit.

Posted by
203 posts

I appreciate the information being provided here and am watching closely as we'll be in Barcelona Oct 31- Nov 4 and are staying in the Eixample. I am less worried about safety than about possible disruptions to our trip, which has been years in the planning. That said, I have looked at alternative places to which we might detour if the unrest in Barcelona continues at a high level. To readers who live in the USA, if you haven't already registered your trip with the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) through the US State Department, you might consider doing so. They send alerts and the US Embassy will contact you in case of emergency. You can register at https://step.state.gov/.

Posted by
2 posts

@Carlos, we are grateful that you took the time to copy me on the update for our hotel on Calle Ferran, and the big gathering schedule for this coming Saturday.
I have written Hotel Adagio Gastronomic asking for their comprehension in this matter and the possibility of a refund. We were so excited of staying at the Adagio, the perfect location, until now.
We will book another hotel closer to the airport, far from the action or closer to the cruise ship pier. We love Barcelona and we will be back (every two years) but we are getting too old for this kind of stress.
Thanks everyone for keeping us safe. I hope Barcelonians get what the majority wants, It is a democratic country after all.

Posted by
1 posts

I know that Friday, November 1 is All Saints Day -- a major holiday in Spain. Do you have any feel for what the protest situation might be on the day? I am wondering what we might anticipate as we will arrive at the airport that morning.

Posted by
2 posts

Traveling to Barcelona Thursday 10.24 arriving Friday 10.25 closely monitor this thread and others, I have a rental car booked which I think I will cancel, unsure how safe, I think we be better off using a local taxi they know where to go and avoid protestors area. Thanks for sharing the latest information about Barcelona.

Posted by
1861 posts

Map of Barcelona protest hot-spots:
https://www.lavanguardia.com/politica/20191021/471105625481/mapa-semana-protestas-disturbios-barcelona-sentencia.html

For those wondering about where these protests have been concentrating in Barcelona, I thought I'd share an interesting collection of maps created by the major newspaper of Barcelona, La Vanguardia. You may need to use the auto-translate feature, but it breaks down the major manifestation actions of the past week, day by day. For those geographically savvy, you can roughly see where the past protests have been concentrating and deduce what areas are tactically favorable for large scale manifestations.

The maps also gives useful descriptions and statistics about each confrontation. Take this with a grain of salt though, as it's not the end-all predictor for future disturbances.

Posted by
1861 posts

@zcastillo67 you should not have a rental car in Barcelona, even without the current unrest ;-)

Posted by
8 posts

Is there any website that I can check status of tourist attractions such as Sagria Familia etc...?

Posted by
2507 posts

@Sunflower: NO, but there's no need to, everything is business as usual unless otherwise stated. You'd see news or posts here if/when it's best not to visit this or that.

Posted by
8 posts

Thank you, Enric. We are arriving Barcelona Thursday. Do you think we can reasonably expect to experience usual tourist stuff without significant restriction?

Posted by
1 posts

Hello
I am new to this forum. Thanks to everyone for information.
We are flying to Barcelona on 26th around 11 am. When is the announced general strike planned to start?
Do you think we'll have a problem reaching our hotel near the Placa de les Glories Catalanes?
Thx!

Posted by
2 posts

Good morning everyone, my family including kids and grandkids will be in Barcelona this weekend, this thread has play of utmost importance to ease our concerns and questions, I want to thanks Enric for creating this post and keeping us all updated, I recommend it to all traveling with me, with the disclaimer to read the thread and latest update and to avoid asking for yes and no questions, in other words to use their common sense and be alert en route and while in Barcelona, I canceled my car reservation as I believed will be more safe to just grab local transport been taxi, sub, etc, we will be taking a cruise for 7 day Western Meditteranean and we all looking forward for this 1yr+ plan family and friends vacation!! We staying at the HCC Montblanc unfortunally because of the size of the group 32, we will not be able to change with such short notice, so we will have to plan moment by moment , I love Barcelona my 2nd favorite city apart from where I live (MIA) and hope all Catalonia situation gets to a satisfying end for all parties involved. Xoxo Zobe

Posted by
1861 posts

-UPDATE-

  • Tonight at 19:00 hrs, a CDR Manifestation action at Plaza de España in Barcelona.

  • Another large manifestation action has been convoked for this Saturday Oct. 26 at 17:00, starting at Carrer de la Marina, in the northern part of the Eixample.

-

Echoing above: Enric and I cannot answer every "is my hotel safe?" question, I will try to answer if I can, but for the most part that will be up to you to decide based on the information we post.

@tjasmo your hotel in Placa de les Glories Catalanes is only a few blocks from the Manifestation for this Saturday at Carrer de la Marina, it starts later in the day, so I think you will be fine getting to your hotel in the morning, but just be aware the street may be cut starting at 17:00.

Posted by
8 posts

Really appreciated all the information provided here. Where should we look and how do we get information on projected manifestation actions, so we can avoid them? Would it be readily available once in Barcelona?

Posted by
1861 posts

@Sunflower

I've been using these live update features from some local newspapers + what my friends/family living in Barcelona tell me:

It's only in Spanish (you can try using Google translate), but you have to comb through to find specific information on upcoming manifestations. There is a reason why info on upcoming actions are not so readily available days in advance, this is to throw off local authorities/police. Honestly your best bet is just to check this topic as there is hardly any up-to-date info in English out there.

Posted by
1861 posts

-UPDATE No.2-

This Sunday Oct 27 is convoked a large pro-unionist manifestation at 12:00 at the intersection of Carrer de Provenca and Passeig de Gracia.

Posted by
2507 posts

I have the distinct feeling some are not quite understanding what a revolt is, be it peaceful or be it violent.

To shed some light on this:

A "strike", "demonstration", "dispute", "industrial action"... are all actions involving a specific collectivity, generally small in comparison to the total population on a city/region, and which temporarily disrupt a specific spot (or spots) for a specific time. Both sides know the rules of the game and mostly adhere to them. It can be "nuisance" to those not involved but these are (normally) "endurable". In normal circumstances is possible to foresee actions and also outcomes.

On the other hand, a "revolt" involves a large chunk of the population, which in turn means many actions from all different sorts in many different places and often occurring simultaneously, many without previous warning. This is a heterogeneous population: all ages, all walks of life... and the bodies involved range from civil associations, political parties, neighbourhood associations, professional associations, etc. These actions may range from peaceful sit-ins, road blockades or slow-down strikes among other civil disobedience actions to confrontation when necessary. There are no rules, there's no 'fair play', there's no communication between both sides. It's sort of either win or break as there's too much at stake. Under these circumstances, and not knowing what 'the other side' is going to do next, it's impossible to foresee any future actions or reactions neither future outcomes as too many variables are in play. Anyone saying otherwise it's either a fool or far too bold. Well, we're at this point now here in Catalonia.

Thus, and with all due respect, the naivety of asking "will there be any action on such day at such place" is a bit like asking what's the weather gonna be "on the second Sunday in May next year in this specific town".

As I pointed earlier, there are actions which involve a large chunk of the population, like the Marches for Freedom last week, with saw over 600,000 peacefully walking from different cities in Catalonia into Barcelona as a sign of protest. To put into perspective, just this single action mobilised nearly 10% of the total population of the region. Those coming from the US, for example, can you imagine 30 million people walking from all over the country into Washington to protest? That's sort of the magnitude of what happened in these marches. These actions, due to its size and required logistics, are announced by the organisers to the population several days in advance and we here in the forum can provide you with these details too... and I do when they're both made public and also confirmed.

But others, especially from other more fluid and mobile organisations (such as the Student Union or the neighbourhood associations), are convoked via social media with a few hours notice... and they can easily gather tens of thousands in one spot at a given time as we've also seen this week several times. For these kinds of "flash actions", most of which start peacefully but some end violently -especially when Police brutally represses them-, we'd need to have a permanent war room, which we don't, to be able to keep them identified and listed. But we all are volunteering our free time here. Still, when I have the time I try to inform about those that, IMHO, can be more relevant for visitors.

That's why I keep posting information on the "major" actions, and also mostly centred in Barcelona and the other main cities (ie Girona) knowing these posts DO NOT COVER all the announced actions everywhere, much less those not announced!

Do you understand now why I and others keep repeating WE CANNOT provide replies to many of the questions posted here?

Posted by
3 posts

@Enric @Carlos

Thanks so much for the time you have invested in keeping this information up to date. It's been invaluable in providing the information my wife and I need to make an informed decision (not just media driven) on whether to cancel or not.

A question from me. Can anyone confirm whether there are currently any known plans for a general strike on Saturday 26th? Our hotel told us that they think there is but wanted to confirm this information as it will affect our decision.

Thanks in advance.

Thank you Enric and Carlos for all the updates. I am scheduled to reach Barcelona Sants on 27th afternoon 1.15pm from Madrid by Ave train. Travelling with my wife and our 8 year old twin daughters. We are booked in Novotel Hotel, Avinguda Diagonal. Our return flight is from Barcelona on 30th morning at 7.55 am. It's difficult to change our return flight as we are flying by Lufthansa and besides other logistics, there will be penalty charges for any changes in booking. We do want to visit Barcelona but since I am travelling with kids am concerned about reaching the Hotel and the Airport while returning as you have mention there will be fresh protests on 26th and 27th. Would like your genuine opinion and also your advice.

Posted by
16 posts

Our trip is planned arriving at Barcelona on Oct 28 for 4 nights. From there, we have booked train to Sellive... I am really concerning. We have to pay a lot penalty if we cancel our trip. Can someone in Barcelona tell us if most of the transportations/taxi/train are functioning as usual? Unless the flight is cancelled, we probably have to go. :(

Posted by
3 posts

@enric @carlos
I know how frustrating it can be being bombarded with redundant questions countless times over. I’ve been following this thread closely because me and my husband are coming to Barcelona next week. This vacation has been planned a couple of years back and cancelling this most awaited holiday is out of the question. I hope you both won’t get tired for all the updates that we travellers need so badly. Again thank you for the constant updates please keep coming.

Posted by
108 posts

Enric, Thank you, our eyes and ears, our front row seat to history. Please keep posting. I need to now you are safe.

Posted by
6 posts

Traveled home today from Girona to Barcelona Sants and El Prat airport by train, and took a flight out of Terminal 2. Everything with the train and airport was normal, no issues.

Posted by
2 posts

To those travellers who are still due to travel to Barcelona I would say we arrived here Monday and things have been fine, we have seen one fairly small demonstration (I’m from london and this bit we saw was definitely small) and the city is pretty wonderful and please don’t even consider cancelling unless things get really severe and governments recommend staying away which to be honest at the moment I can’t imagine why they would do that!

Posted by
9 posts

My wife and I got back to the US from Barcelona this past Sunday. We spent a week in the city, and despite the mayhem I think that for the most part we still had a good time. That we being said, we were lucky. Had we stayed out later the night of Tuesday the 15th, instead of dining closer to the hotel and being back by 9PM, we would have been in the middle of the whole mess running for our lives in the dark in a strange city. We were tired from walking all day and that saved us.
If I may, I would like to offer a few suggestions.
Can you travel to Barcelona safely? Actually yes. I suspect most of the city is unaffected by the violence. If I was coming for business I would not worry too much.
What if I'm coming to see the sights? During the day you will probably have no problems. We walked miles through the city, and through many protest groups. We were never hassled. Be prepared for tourists sites to be closed, tours to be cancelled, etc. It happened to us for multiple things we had planned for months.
Is it safe in the day time? Actually yes. We walked through the city all week. No problem during the day.
Will it be safe at night? That is impossible to predict. After the Tuesday night mess we made it a point to eat early, buy some wine and take away food, and hang out at the hotel each night. We got to the hotel by 8PM at the latest, since the witching hour was around nine. Don't get caught on the street at night. You may end up regretting it.
How random and widespread is the violence? Very random and very widespread within the areas noted in this forum, Passieg de Gracia and the surrounding streets. I'm sure there are other spots, I can only speak to what I saw myself. We would walk the area during the day and we could see all the burn spots on the pavement. More than we could count. Just by our hotel alone I counted ten fire spots after Thursday. The action at night was random. People would mill about, run, take off and then reappear to set more fires. The police would come out of nowhere, form a skirmish line, charge the street and club everyone they could catch. I saw this all go on for hours from my hotel room window. I'm quite sure innocent bystanders were beaten in the chaos. Police did have weapons drawn and were firing rubber bullets. Do they carry live ammo too? I have no idea.
What if they are setting fires outside our hotel? I stayed up on fire watch. We had our passports and valuables packed in case we needed to leave quickly due to a building fire.
What about the airport? No problems getting to the airport. Security was very tight on Sunday.
Should I plan a trip to Barcelona? Tough call. Barcelona is a great place. As I noted before, it's seems safe during the day. But, at minimum you will end up with plans getting cancelled, sites being closed. It's impossible to predict. The situation is very fluid. Not to mention the other complications. Since dining happens late in Spain, having to be in your hotel early each night is a bit of a buzz kill.
Some final suggestions
Be informed. Depend on your hotel staff to give you the most current information on what's happening and where you can go and where to avoid. Our hotel staff was great. I feel like they saved our neck more than once.
Avoid the protests. Nothing against the protestors. They never bothered us during the day. You do not want to be in the middle of the protesters and the police if trouble erupts. It can get ugly very fast.
Stay off the streets at night. Did I mention that before? If you are nowhere near where the protests are happening, then it may not be an issue. But, until you know the lay of the land and know what's happening and where, don't take the chance.

Good luck to all. I hope this gets resolved. We loved Barcelona and this makes us all very sad.

Posted by
1861 posts

-UPDATE-

If you are wondering why there is a bit of a lull in manifestation actions these past 24 hrs, it's because Catalonia has just been hit hard by massive unprecedented rains and flooding across much of the region. By default, it's put the current unrest on hold, as there is more important things to deal with at the moment, emergency services rushing to help people affected: Floods in Southern Europe: Dead and missing in Spain and Italy - BBC

This severe weather is currently affecting transportation as well, mostly the Rodalies regional trains around Barcelona, Tarragon, Lleida, and Girona. Live updates: https://www.lavanguardia.com/sucesos/20191023/471154727943/catalunya-temporal-lluvias-dana-desaparecidos-carreteras-ultima-hora-hoy-en-directo.html

Thankfully, forecasts are looking favorable for the next few days though.

Posted by
3 posts

@bearcated
Thanks much for the great update. It really gives me a more objective perspective coming from a first hand experience. It will be our turn to visit this wonderful city next week and just hoping for better than worse. Nevertheless there’s no plan to cancel this much awaited trip. Our hotel is off the La Ramblas (i think the end part towards the port area). Do you by any chance can remember if this area was affected much by the protests? It really wouldnt deter our plans but I thought I’d ask you😊. First trip to Barcelona and we plan to make the most of it. Again thanks for all the info

Posted by
8 posts

Thank you everyone for the updates. They are very much appreciated!

Bearcated, I appreciate your thorough report!

Posted by
2507 posts

Clarifying @bearcated's earlier yet otherwise very-throughout post:

  1. Police do not use life ammo
  2. Protestors are not hooligans, are citizens from all walks of life: young, old, students, housewives, shopkeepers, firefighters, office workers, academics, blue-collar, white-collar, whole families sometimes...
  3. This is not to say there are not a handful of hooligans too, sadly some piggyback any protest anywhere with the only objective to cause mayhem.
  4. When police are NOT around there's no violence, no fires, no barricades. It's only when they show up and charge indiscriminately -especially the Spanish police, shooting rubber bullets from speeding vans.
  5. Protests have ALWAYS started peacefully. This is mostly a civil disobedience movement.
  6. You don't need to "avoid protesters" -see 2.)- you need to avoid protests WHEN there's heavy police presence nearby.
  7. Please notice that the major protests gather many thousands, even hundreds of thousands, so complications are unavoidable in those events if you had any plans for that particular area of the city.

and, not related to him or his answer, but IMHO important to point out:

"You might or might not agree with the reasons for the revolt but when you are over here, BE RESPECTFUL with everybody and keep your opinion to yourself. The mood is not happy when this issue arises, especially to those brandishing any sort of misplaced entitlement -you know exactly what I mean :)"

Posted by
10 posts

We have decided to take our trip, starting Nov 3. We're staying at an airbnb near Park Guell and have tickets for Sagrada Familia, dinner reservations near the water and a walking tour of the city.
I'm not worried about protests or anything like that and will definitely keep you updated while we're there.

Thank you SO much to the residents and tourists who have contributed to this discussion.It's amazing.

Posted by
1 posts

Soooooo. I have been begging my husband to take me to Europe for 14 years. He wavered back and forth because he was worried about terrorism, ISIS, unrest, etc. I picked Barcelona because I figured that's the safest spot. And here we are, leaving today returning Tues Oct 29. Staying in Eixample right next to the protest Saturday.
Pray for my sanity.

Posted by
10 posts

@kathyfayre you'll be fine. Keep us updated and HAVE FUN!

Posted by
9 posts

@JC. We walked Las Ramblas on Monday and Tuesday, before everything really got dicey. We never made it back down again that far. So, anything I can say would only be a guess, and I'm trying to limit this to what I've seen with my own eyes.
My suggestion would be contact the hotel directly and ask them if there were any disturbances outside the hotel. Ask them if there were any fires set by or near their hotel. Tell them you had heard rumors about fires being set. See what they say. You have to ask very direct specific questions. The politics of it all is such a mess many of them are afraid to say much. They don't want to alienate anyone.
To me scariest thing was the fires. With the fires all over the place it's amazing to me that buildings did not catch fire.
Good luck. Stay safe.

Posted by
3 posts

@kathyfayre
Yes please keep us updated. Enjoy the wonderful Barcelona. Will be there day after you leave and no intentions whatsoever to cancel this trip.

Posted by
9 posts

@Enric. This is a travel tips forum, not a political discussion board. My only goal here is to help and inform my fellow travelers. I can assure you 99.99999% of the tourists coming in from the US have never heard of Catalonia in their life.
I think I was clear in my prior post that we had no issues during the day with the protesters. I think I was clear that when I said avoid the protests I stated that I had nothing against the protestors.

From the perspective of the tourist (which is what this forum is really about), it's irrelevant who is at fault, the protestors or the police. There is no way for the average tourist to know if they are near a protest if the police are on the way, or what the police will do. The only smart thing for a tourist to do is stay out of it. Steer clear. Go somewhere else. Be safe.
On Thursday night there were several fires set outside my hotel. At one point smoke was coming up to our room. The next day I could see that the protesters had stacked up furniture from a cafe right next to the building and set it on fire. Why would you do that unless you wanted to set the building itself on fire?

Enric. If someone came to your house and set a fire while your family slept, what would you call those people?

Posted by
9 posts

@kathyfayre. I think you will be fine. Fore warned is fore armed. My wife and I walked into all this blind. We had no idea. We were lucky. I had been to Barcelona before on business and loved the place. I knew the history and I knew there were simmering issues. But, I did not know the most current events that started this all up.
Barcelona is one of my favorite places in all of Europe. The city is great, the food is great, the people are wonderful. The people are such gracious hosts. With many of them I can feel the pain and frustration they feel with the situation.

Be cautious. Be safe. Talk to the people at your hotel, both the desk staff and fellow tourists. You will actually have a great time.

Posted by
3 posts

Hello future travelers! We flew from US to Barcelona with no problems with the flights or at the airports. We’re currently in Seville (which is absolutely lovely) and will be in Barcelona next week. I’ll write back at that time to report back on what we see there. Thank you to everyone who’s contributed to this forum with their updates.

Posted by
3 posts

Please guys. Let’s try not to provoke or defend positions of opinion in this forum. It is too valuable for tourists trying to gather info from locals on the ground to make informed decisions about their travel. The thread owner and others are giving their free time to create and support this valuable source of info. As overseas tourists, let’s be respectful of the highly energized sensitivity of this issue and avoid getting defensive or engaging unnecessary debate.

Thanks to everyone and in particular Enric and Carlos.

Posted by
1861 posts

-UPDATE FOR THIS SUNDAY OCT. 27-

The unionist manifestation I mentioned earlier, for this Sunday at 12:00 noon, is shaping up to be quite large. Many local groups, including leaders from the major Spanish political parties will join the March for the Defense of the Constitution. The mobilization will start at the intersection of Passeig de Gràcia and Carrer de Provença, then march all the way down to Carrer de Arago for a massive rally.

You can expect this mobilization to be disruptive during the mid-day, as it cuts through the heart of the Eixample, between Casa Milà and Casa Batlló. Also due to the high profile participants and the pro-Spain nature of the manifestation, I would not be surprised if there would be some confrontations on the periphery.

https://www.lavanguardia.com/politica/20191023/471162358529/manifestacion-barcelona-constitucionalismo-societat-civil-independencia-proces.html

Posted by
1 posts

Could someone please share some information about the demonstration on 26Oct ? I’m travelling back to Barcelona from Calella on that day and would like to know more about the demonstration place and schedule so that I can plan ahead to avoid those area. Thanks a lot.

Posted by
3 posts

@tammytong

Quotes from previous posts from Enric and Carlos.

“Large sit-in/manifestation convoked for this Saturday Oct 26 at Plaza Sant Jaume in Barcelona, in front of the Generalitat de Catalunya. Plaza Sant Jaume is located in the heart of the Barrio Gotico, so this will definitely block up access within the narrow streets of area with so much foot traffic.”

“Another large manifestation action has been convoked for this Saturday Oct. 26 at 17:00, starting at Carrer de la Marina, in the northern part of the Eixample.”

These are the two main events that have been planned as far as I can tell from this forum on the 26th. Of course more may manifest on the day.

Posted by
6 posts

Is everything back to normal at the airport (no demonstrators at the airport) - T1.

Posted by
2507 posts

UPDATE: Oct 24th, 3 pm

OUTLOOK FOR THE NEXT 72hr IN BARCELONA
(apologies but the sheer number of actions happening all over Catalonia is such (ie just today) that I can't keep this post up-to-date, thus I will stick to Barcelona only and if someone specifically needs details about elsewhere I will try to respond -no promises!)

SHOPS, MUSEUMS AND SITES: business as usual
RESTAURANTS: business as usual
BARCELONA AIRPORT: business as usual
MOBILITY AIRPORT-CITY: business as usual.
PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION: business as usual, albeit detours happen now and then as temporary sit-ins blocking some streets occur. In Barcelona is always best to walk, but if you need to take public transportation, better use the metro these days.
ROAD NETWORK: Flash blockades will continue to occur in some main roads across Catalonia. If travelling by car, take secondary roads.
SAFETY LEVEL: It is unlikely there'll be major disturbances, especially now that Police has backed off their charges. Still, groups of troublemakers, often not-related with the protests, might stir clashes with the police from time to time, especially in the central area of l'Eixample in the evening. Having said that, now that some of the Spanish anti-riot units have temporarily returned to their barracks outside of Catalonia, there has been little or no violence at all.

MAJOR ACTIONS FOR THE NEXT DAYS

Fri 25th
Student demonstration
Different columns of students coming from different neighbourhoods will march into Plaça Universitat at 7pm. Attendance is expected in the few thousands. While most student demonstrations have commenced peaceful, some troublemakers can infiltrate and stir disturbances. The proximity of the Spanish Police HQ might increase the tension. Out of precaution, if you need to pass thru the area, do so quickly.

Sat 26th
At Marina St at 5 pm in Barcelona
A major pro-indy demonstration called by 119 civic associations, among which the biggest in Catalonia, and the main Catalan political parties. Several hundreds of thousands from all over Catalonia expected to attend. Peaceful. Crowds will reach many blocks from that location, especially northbound towards Avinguda Meridiana. To get a feeling, a similar pro-indy rally in the same street in 2017, right after the jailing of the political prisoners. Again, during these sort of demonstrations, it's perfectly possible to walk through with your luggage to reach your accommodation should it be in the thick of it as the ambience of demonstrators is very friendly. It might take you a while longer than in a normal day, though! Traffic in the area will be impossible, take the metro -some nearby stations can be closed for security reasons, so you might need to walk a bit anyway. Given the expected size of the demonstration and the tension of the situation, it is very unlikely there'll any anti-riot police presence, just regular police to guarantee safety.

-part 1 of 2-

Posted by
2507 posts

Sun 27th
At Passeig de Gràcia with Rosselló St at 12 pm in Barcelona, that'd be a block from La Pedrera
A previous demonstration by some of the same organisers a few weeks ago barely gathered a few thousands in Plaça Catalunya. However, this time they have again the support of the main Spanish parties in Madrid and, much like in another big demonstration in 2017, it's expected bus and trainloads of Spaniards from cities all over Spain will flow into Catalonia to attend this rally. Thus, it might end up being a large demonstration, albeit this is yet an unknown. In any case, it should be (overall) a peaceful demonstration and the ambience will most likely remain friendly(ish), but some right-wing groups in Spain have announced they'll be attending too and, much like in 2017, some minor incidents might occur.

WARNING: a notorious fascist group, Los de Artós, linked to some of the pro-Spain groups organising this demonstration has announced earlier today they'll be "joining" this rally. They can easily gather a hundred followers or so and they're often the focus of violence, so it's best to stay away. Theoretically, the police should contain them, but given the collusion of the Spanish government with the objectives of this group, they might well order their troops to let them act. It wouldn't be the first time. They've announced a gathering in Plaça Artós in Sarrià at 10:30 and at 11 they intend to move towards the meeting point of the demonstration in Passeig de Gràcia. Given a visitor is unlikely to notice who's who, it's best to stay away altogether from this area. The demonstration is likely to occupy the central hours of the day. My advice: arrange visits to other parts of the city (ie Parc de La Ciutadella, Montjuïc, Barri Gòtic...)

Wed 30 & 31st
Student strike
Demonstration Thu 31st at Plaça Universitat at noon. Attendance is expected in the few thousands. While most student demonstrations have commenced peaceful, some troublemakers can infiltrate and stir disturbances. The proximity of the Spanish Police HQ might increase the tension. Out of precaution, if you need to pass thru the area, do so quickly.

Please note these are the major actions, but, as I said there are constant smaller demonstrations, blockades and sit-ins all over Catalonia every day. They can last a few hours or even a day or more, all of them can cause mobility inconveniences but they're not violent -only when the police charges. The aim of the revolt is civil disobedience, not rioting. Having said that, there have also been a few altercates provoked by troublemakers -see my earlier posts.

Once again, there's no beef among citizens thus far so there haven't been any clash among civilians -other than some skirmishes among small violent groups (ie fascists, antifas...) Your biggest 'danger' is being in the middle of a police charge, other than that, safety in Barcelona remains as always.

Enjoy your stay.

-part 2 of 2--

Posted by
4 posts

We just flew into Barcelona this morning and it was completely calm and normal, business as usual. We did not see anything on the taxi ride to our hotel and nothing on the streets surrounding our hotel (parallel). We plan to walk to see the Magic Fountain show tonight and grab some drinks after. We feel completely safe so far on day 1 and looking forward to the next few days here!

Posted by
1861 posts

I think for the most part, things are thankfully back to business as usual, as Enric and a few other posters noted above, although this weekend should be interesting, with potentially large dueling protests from both sides on the issue.

Posted by
8 posts

We also arrived Barcelona this morning. We haven't had any issues as tourists. There seemed to be a large police presence around a big police building (not sure where exactly it was but on the way walking from Picasso Museum to Catalunya Plaza), but we felt neither inconvenient nor unsafe. Glad we didn't cancel the trip.

Posted by
2 posts

We just returned (in the past week) from Barcelona and Madrid - Barcelona first 3 days, Madrid for 4 days, Barcelona again for final day. Our outbound flight (start of trip) was cancelled by the airline due to mechanical issues; we therefore had to fly from an alternate local airport to Madrid and take the AVE train from Madrid to Barcelona.

We had a great time overall and would go back! The people were great and being European I thoroughly enjoyed it. We walked a lot every day without incident (there were no signs of protest during the daytime in the places we walked, all over the heart of Barcelona; we did see a very peaceful march one day (Monday of sentencing) around 11 AM or noon near Plaza Catalunya. We also walked to restaurants for dinner every night and never felt unsafe (did not read Carlos separate thread till after coming back). https://community.ricksteves.com/travel-forum/trip-reports/barcelona-has-changed

That being said, we did experience some mostly minor issues (all in Barcelona, none in Madrid) due to the sentencing which occurred 2 days after we arrived!

  1. During one of our dinners in Barcelona (Monday of the sentencing), the waiter advised us, while apologizing, that they could not serve the Crema Catalana dessert we had ordered, since the streets were being closed early and they needed to shut down (we had heard a helicopter overhead as we were finishing our main course). Somehow they surprised us and were able to serve us the dessert anyway; maybe the chef had already prepared it! We ate dessert and they gave it to us for free for the inconvenience of not being able to stay longer.

  2. Our outbound train to Madrid (Tuesday - the day after the sentencing) was delayed by half an hour (in fact we had to buy First Class since the 11 AM train was sold out for other classes). Not sure if this was due to the demonstrations / protests etc.

  3. The biggest thing of all during our trip - Our very last night (we were flying out the next evening), a little after midnight, give or take), my wife told me she saw a group running down the street right in front of our hotel and we were on the first floor (to this point nothing had happened near our hotel, off one of the main streets).
    Before I got out of bed (within seconds), they had set fire to objects (including a big container - one of 800+ that we read on TV news reports had been burned all across Barcelona) in the middle of the narrow street. The flames shot up quickly and before we knew it, we felt the heat and smelled the smoke. We went into the hotel lobby where other guests had congregated. The fire brigade, Mossos and 'regular' Police were on the scene in about 10 minutes (or less) and quickly had the fire extinguished.
    Think they were questioning a person (or two) - not sure how many since the person(s) was up against the wall of the hotel and could only see the policeman from our angle); this surprised me since the culprits had quickly run away (I had taken photos of the scene and some of the masked / unmasked culprits from inside our dark room since we were so close), but maybe there was a straggler.
    Anyway we switched rooms (received complimentary fruit basket & drinks for the inconvenience - we did not ask for it) to the other side of the hotel on a different floor just to avoid the smell of the smoke / burned items.

We still got to do all the sight seeing we had planned and have a great time, but it seems we were perhaps luckier than we realized (in terms of our hotel location) than the other poster above who mentioned he saw MULTIPLE fires by his hotel and police charging etc.
While our hotel was getting information on the official marches & protests etc., they were caught off guard by this single fire setting incident.
Disclaimer - While we felt safe even at night, this may have been partially timing and location-dependent. Be aware of your surroundings, especially at night and watch out for any signs of potential danger.

Posted by
65 posts

We are in Barcelona arrived on Wednesday. Only q slight delay at Passport acobtrop but we arrived our AirBnB on San Pere close to on time. We leave for our cruise on Sunday.

I ebjoyed my Paella cooking class and visit to the Picasso Museum yesterday. Tonight we are going for dinner at Los Coracoles and tomorrow a walking tour of Bari Gothic.

My Parents and I are having a good time . Just be safe and avoid any confrontation and you will be fine

Posted by
4 posts

Day 2– we did the red route on the hop on hop off bus, then walked down la Rambla and had some lunch and went to the market. No issues, everything is business as usual. Planning on going for dinner at the W then a flamenco show. No issues whatsoever!!!! Loving Barcelona!!

Posted by
65 posts

Had dinner tonight at Los Coracoles walked around Passeig Gracias and Example this morning. Tomorrow a Bari Gothic Tour. We walked along La Rambla tonight without a problem. Cruise leaves Sunday and I scheduled a cab to port at 10 AM.

Like the OP Eric were having a blast and wish we had more time in Barcelona. The people are helpful and friendly. I feel safe here

Posted by
1 posts

We're currently at the airport, flying back to Canada after spending 15 days all around Spain, with the last 5 days in Barcelona.

We were a bit worried at first and almost cancelled our stop at Barcelona but we're really glad that we didn't.

We picked an hotel a bit farther from the city center, closer to Plaça Espanya (?). It was still super easy to travel on foot / metro / bus, and we've barely seen any incidents. We got in the middle of the Espanya one where they put soap in the fountain, saw the one with the University students, and a few other smaller protests, but we never felt in danger. Even right now at the airport, it's business as usual, and there's supposed to be a big one later today.

To be fair, the only time we got slightly worried is the night with the torrential rain because our room was in the first floor and there were flood warnings everywhere. We walked at day and at night the whole time (about 20-25 km average daily, so we covered a lot of ground), got to visit everything that we wanted to, and had a great time.

Just be careful, follow the police directions if you see any, "avoid" big gatherings (even then, you can safely get pretty close), and everything should be fine.

Have fun, it's a great country!

Posted by
2507 posts

Glad you had a good time in my home city Frank. I would only add that "staying near" police, especially anti-riot police is where the danger lays as they've been acting violently and indiscriminately against anyone in the area with a tally of over 600 injured citizens just this last week, including four that have lost an eye and one a testicle due to the foam and rubber bullets shot by them. In this "strange" times here in Catalonia, I would advise the contrary, ignore any message from them and keep away from large concentrations of police vans.

Posted by
10 posts

Enric - do you anticipate protests on election day ?

Posted by
2507 posts

At present I have my doubts there'll be an election at all celebrated here in Catalonia. But again, it's too soon to say.

Posted by
10 posts

Enric - Am I wrong that election day is 11/10 ? are you saying it will not be held ? Is it required by law to vote in Spain ? Just trying to understand better the culture and laws before coming. We have tickets to Sagra Familia on Monday 11/11 so just wondering the climate after an election. Thanks again for all your information and insight. It has really helped me and I look forward to visiting your beautiful city in early November this year.

Posted by
2507 posts

Denise, since this is not directly related to tourism, I rather answer you in a PM.

Posted by
1861 posts

Elections will be held in Catalonia and across the rest of Spain on Nov 10th, as mandated by law, though I think that what Enric is getting at is that some separatist groups may boycott the national elections, which really does them no favors. This will strictly be a political affair, I would not worry too much as a tourist.

Posted by
1861 posts

-UPDATE-

Another tense night is unfolding in Barcelona, as the CDR manifestation devolves into violence along Via Laietana, Plaza Urquinaona, and around the HQ of National Police, the protest hotspots from last week. Barricades are coming up and fires are being lit as police clash with protesters. The local police (Mossos) advise people to stay away from the area.

Local coverage: https://www.lavanguardia.com/politica/20191026/471203407401/manifestacion-cdr-via-laietana-barcelona-policia.html

live updates: https://www.lavanguardia.com/politica/20191026/471203818849/manifestacion-independentista-barcelona-26-octubre-contra-sentencia-juicio-proces-via-laietana-calle-marina-en-directo.html

Reminder: This Sunday, Oct. 27th, the center of the Eixample in Barcelona will be the site of a potentially large Unionist (pro-Spain) mobilization and rally starting at 12:00 noon. The mobilization will start at the intersection of Passeig de Gràcia and Carrer de Provença, then march all the way down to Carrer de Arago for a massive rally, very close to Casa Milà and Casa Batlló.

Posted by
1 posts

Hello...I am traveling To Barcelona in a few days ..staying at H10 Casanova for a couple of nights...is this an area with protests??

Posted by
6 posts

We are two sisters travelling from Canada (on our own) staying at an Airbnb - Passatge Rellotge, 08002 Barcelona. A little worried for our safety... Are we near where the protestors are. Should we cancel? We will be arriving Oct 30th.

Posted by
203 posts

These updates have been so helpful and I am very appreciative of the work that goes into posting them.

To all those who keep asking whether you'll be staying near the protests, please read the posts indicating where they will be held, then enter that into Google Maps, click directions, and enter the name or address of your hotel or Airbnb. You'll see exactly how far away you are.

Our hotel is only a few blocks from most of the protests but we're bravely heading into the fray :-) We may need to eat early and stay in after dark but it appears the problems are minimal during the daytime.

Posted by
8 posts

Sunday morning, October 27. We are here in Barcelona staying near Tarragona metro stop. Last night we stayed in from about 8pm onwards. We heard helicopters and sirens all night but our street was fine. Waking the city and riding the metro to and from Park Guell yesterday we saw many wearing the Catalunya flag gearing up for the protests but no one bothered anyone else that we witnessed. My observation as most have already stated is the majority of protestors are peaceful.

We have been here a week and have thoroughly enjoyed our visit. Obviously, we stay away from the protests. It hasn't stopped us from doing/seeing all we came to experience.

Posted by
1 posts

A massive thank you to Enric for the information posted. As we watched events unfold in the week before travel, this forum helped us to put things into context. Having arrived with ease through probably the speediest immigration I've ever experienced we got to our apartment safely at 2200. Yesterday we spent the afternoon/early evening around Sagrada Familia and there was a lovely atmosphere. Even when thousands of people walked by on their way to the 1700 protest, there was no concern. It was an impressive protest - the full range of Catalunya society from babes in arms to great granda's in wheelchairs and lots of dogs! They did close Sagrada Familia at 1600 so we were unable to visit but we were told we will get a refund. Our friends who visited earlier got in but were unable to go up the Tower. As we sat having tapas later we saw TV news of trouble near the police station and we were shocked to see that, but as Enric has said if you stay away from a few areas, there is nothing to worry about. Looking forward to another fascinating day in this beautiful city.

Posted by
8 posts

We toured the Palau de la musica catalana this morning and upon exiting at 1pm the pro-Spain nationalists were marching. As mentioned previously, all were in attendance wearing the national flag of Spain; dogs, children, elderly arm in arm, families, young adults. They were clapping and chanting in front of the police headquarters in support of them. Tourists and locals were photographing and then we all went on our way to enjoy a beautiful day in Barcelona. Restaurants and tourist sites are packed as usual. All that said, the police are obviously heavily armed, thus we observed for a few moments and then left the area.

Posted by
2507 posts

Yes, everything is working. Disruptions occur when actions (blockades or demonstrations) are convoked, but these are not sustained all day every day.

Posted by
1861 posts

-UPDATE-

The CDR have convoked an occupation of Sants Train Station in Barcelona, it has just started at 19:00 hrs (7:00 pm) today, you can expect something similar to what happened at Barcelona airport, which may prompt cancellations of trains today and into tomorrow. The Mossos (local police) have just sent a large number of riot police to break up the occupation. This could get ugly... avoid the area.

Posted by
2 posts

I had earlier a booking of a hotel near Plaça de Catalunya but decied because of the trouble near Laietana to book a hotel further out. So i booked a hotel near Sants (also because i may need to take an early bus on the 7th from Sants bus station). Now im considering booking a hotel in an other place, maybe near Sarria or something.

Well the above is not that important, but i have a question to the locals. If there is some big trouble near a tourists hotel and your advise is to stay away from the area. What advice would you give as a back.up plan to a tourist, A local could maybe go to a friends house, but a tourist only has his/hers hotel. Chill out at a coffee shop and wait and see if things calm down? Book an other hotel for a night? Is there places like libraries that are open late in the evening?

Posted by
1861 posts

@ramblapelai - our Tapas bars are usually open quite late into the night, my favourtie one, Bar Celta Pulperia in El Born, is open until midnight every day, others are open later. I'd probably head over there for a few beers and some croquetas, if my apartment was blockaded by some violent radicals ;-)

Posted by
296 posts

Hi, you ask, “libraries that are open late in the evening?” Well, yes, during school/university term time some libraries will be open until 1am. However, there really should be no need to hide away in public libraries, a good many bars across the city are open until 1am Monday - Thursday, and until 2am or 3am Friday and Saturday. And, then again you really shouldn’t experience problems accessing your hotel, regardless of precisely where it’s situated in the city. Easy said, I know, but, to date, there have been no reports of visitors being denied access to their hotels. Strange, strained times indeed, but nothing that should over-concern visitors. Sounds glib I know, and easy said, but at the moment it is relatively easy to avoid any and all flashpoints in the city and any discomfort and unpleasantness. Take care. Enjoy your visit.

Posted by
2 posts

@Bill Yes, im not that concerned about getting access to the hotel. But i guess it might have been at least unpleasant or even frightening (depending on ones comfort level of course) to go back to the hotel, lets say if you stayed at Hotel ILUNION Almirante during the most troublesome evenings near the police station at Laietana.

Posted by
52 posts

I just booked an airbnb near the intersection of Carrer de Santa Caterina and Carrer de Melcior de Palau. Don't know if the area is facing any troubles due to the protests, but I just didn't want to book anything near Eixample or Gracia. Although, it's actually not that far from Eixample.

Posted by
1861 posts

-UPDATE-

Barcelona Sants station is starting to clear of occupiers now, after 3 hours. Thankfully, this time around has been relatively non-violent with no major clashes with the riot police. Only about 700 people showed up for the blockade of Sants, according to local news.

Posted by
296 posts

Hi again, this is going to be difficult to say…but it does, in part, explain why much of the focus of violent demonstrations has occurred on Via Laietana.
Via Laietana — the street — was deliberately planned and built, prior to the invention of the automoblie, and inserted into the city to provide easier access to Spanish troops garrisoned in Pedralbes and Ciutadella (and several other garrisons within the local area, such as Fort Pienc) to prevent the build up of angry locals from assembling outside the inner city walls. In brief, Via Laietana was designed to enable the authorities to use cavalry (and sometimes artillery) to disperse local unrest — of which there was much, viz. bread riots etc etc etc. Please have in mind that in the period 1834-1865 the average life expectancy for an industrial worker living in Barcelona was a shocking 23 years.

Fast forward to the early to mid 20th century, and both national and regional police forces decided to install both public and secret HQs on Via Laietana.

The secret HQs on Via Laietana become renowned for processing and disappearing local dissenters. Lucky dissenters would end up in distant penal colonies, others in prison ships moored in Spanish harbours — the unlucky ones would be tortured to death and their remains scattered amid the scrub of Collserola or along the seashore. Come the Civil war the Communists gained control of former Spanish state police buildings on Via Laietana and constructed an elaborate experimental prison — where they deployed then state-of-the-art techniques, such as 24 hour low frequency sound and white noise, and deliberate perspective and tactile disorientation. After the Civil War the Franquistas were delighted to discover and take ownership of these prisons — and, in 1940, even invited Himmler to inspect their newly acquired resource. From then on the Franquist forces used the Via Laietana prison (and other similar former Communist prisons, such as at Jardins de la Tamarita in Sant-Gervasi) as centres from which to terrorize, torture and subdue local resistance. During the 40s, 50s and 60s, many local people taken to the police HQ on Via Laietana were never heard of or seen again.
It is reasonable to assume that some of those protesting in Via Laietana have members of their families who were disappeared via Via Laietana.
After Franco's death in 1975 the national police forces (les grises — the grays) and the infamous, notoriously savage, Social Investigation Brigade, fought a successful bureaucratic battle to maintain control of the Via Laietana torture facility but eventually lost the war of internal re-organisation — both corps were officially disbanded but were re-grouped under different names — and they retained control of the Via Laietana HQ — and continued to prosecute a low-intensity war against Catalan organisations and individuals espousing the cause of Catalan independence.
The police HQ on Via Laietana is not a target simply because it is a police HQ — and where many National Police Corps happen to be be currently based, but because of its despicable, inhumane and cruel history.
NOTE TO ADMIN: This isn't political — it's history. Many travelers are interested in history, including contemporary history. Honest travelers love history. As we all should. What a time to be in this country. Take this post down and you prove yourselves no better than Stalin's "monitors".

Posted by
631 posts

While Bill's post is interesting, let's all make sure we keep this thread on topic with regard to what's happening on the ground so that people traveling there can get the information they need.

Posted by
296 posts

Yep. Personal, and family safety is always paramount. Be alert. Stay safe. Enjoy your visit to Barcelona - as you witness history being made.
Happy trails.

Posted by
1 posts

I am travelling tomorrow to barcelona for my 5 days trip, Can someone please help on my questions?
Is it safe to travel Barcelona?
Is there any protest planned for this week?
What precautions we need to take care?

@Enric, Can you please help here?

Posted by
1 posts

Arriving by train into Sants station from Figueres on Friday and am looking for current information for planned protests on that day as well as into the weekend. I'm not sure if I am missing anything but can someone help me understand if I should expect issues? We expect to take the metro from Sants to Diagonal to walk to our Airbnb on Rambla de Catalunya which should be a 5 minute walk. Just looking for any maps, etc. of proposed demonstration routes/sights. Thanks in advance.

Posted by
6 posts

Arriving tomorrow from Canada to Barcelona. Any updates how things are in the city would be greatly appreciated.

Posted by
1391 posts

The soccer match between Madrid and Barcelona, originally scheduled for last weekend in Barcelona, has been postponed to mid-December at the earliest. That may given you an Idea of how the locals view the situation these days.

Posted by
1861 posts

Barça is currently playing home, at Camp Nou, vs. Real Valladolid, life moves on, I think the worst of it is behind us.

Posted by
16 posts

We arrived at Barcelona on 28th at 4:30pm. Our pickup drove us to our hotel in the Poblenou area in 30min without traffic. We went to Park Guell and La Sagrada Familia, and walked around a lot. Everywhere is normal, peaceful, and friendly. Also I was surprised that the streets are clean. I did not see any trace of protests. I am glad that I came. Barcelona is lovely.

Posted by
296 posts

"The soccer match between Madrid and Barcelona, originally scheduled for last weekend in Barcelona, has been postponed to mid-December at the earliest. That may given you an Idea of how the locals view the situation these days."
Well… no, not really. It wasn't a local decision. The re-scheduling was ordered by La Liga in collaboration with the Royal Football Federation. None of Espanyol's matches have been affected (the clue as to why not is in their official name: Royal Sporting Club Espanyol), and no other football games in Catalunya have been affected. (FWIW I am a season ticket holder for CE Europa — who twice beat FC Barcelona in the Copa Catalunya!).
The truth is that the postponement was a kind of punishment for FC Barca's support for Catalunya's political prisoners. La Liga was concerned about the game becoming a platform for further protests and expressions of Catalan independence ideas on an international stage. The Spanish government shared that position and so sanctioned the completely unnecessary re-scheduling. That's not my thinking — but as reported in UK news media.

Posted by
1 posts

All on this forum. Thank you for the updates. I am heading to Barcelona on the 15th of November. So who knows what will be happening then. But I am staying at the H10 Madison a block off of Via Laietana and about 60m from Jefatura Superior de Policia de Catalunya, Via Laietana, 43, 08003 Barcelona, Spain. Am I tempting fate by staying so close to the Police station? I can cancel up to the day before. Any thoughts on moving toward a place less likely to have protesters? Thanks

Posted by
1 posts

Hello everyone, I am expecting to go to Barcelona over this bank holiday. Is there any protest announcement for the following days? Thank you!

Posted by
12 posts

We recently returned from a week stay in Barcelona, arriving on Saturday October 19th and returning home on Sunday October 27th. We chose to keep our planned vacation to Barcelona and use the information in this forum to help plan our daily activities. We used the Aerobus to travel to and from the airport.
We stayed in a hotel at the upper end of the Ramblas near the street Portal de L’Angel and close to Placa de Catalunya. We had tickets for a concert at the Palace of Catalan Music on the evening of Saturday the 18th, which we walked to and found it was cancelled due to the potential for problems as it is very near the street Via Laietana. There was a police presence on Via Laietana and they advised us to go around to a different street to leave the area. Did not see any protesters yet and simply walked back to our hotel. Could hear helicopters that night but no issues at our hotel. Everywhere near the Ramblas that night the restaurants were full of people and many were out walking, just not right near Via Laietana.
Every day we walked and used the metro to visit all the major sights from Park Guell to the marina without any disruptions or cancellations. We were able to travel one day to Monserrat without any transportation problems. We witnessed one peaceful march down the Ramblas, and did not see any police at that event.
By following this forum during our visit, on Saturday the 26th we chose to go to Montjuic and visit the Catalan Art Museum, the gardens, and Fundacio Joan Miro and avoided the region of planned demonstrations. On this day we encountered no Metro disruptions and very little police presence in the region we visited, however there were more police at Placa de Catalunya. Again helicopters were out on Saturday night.
Overall, we had a wonderful visit to Barcelona. The people were friendly, helpful, and gracious. The food was excellent. We walked everywhere exploring many streets of the old city and the Eixample. We used the information on this forum to avoid the predicted areas of demonstrations. We felt safe during the daytime and early evening, we are not normally up late any time or anywhere and so for us to be back at our hotel by 9 or 10 PM was not out of character for us, nor a sacrifice of our vacation time. For much of the time we would not have known there were any issues in the city if we had not followed this forum, as we personally encounter so little contact with disruptions. There are many, many visitors to Barcelona and often we asked if they had encountered any issues and many were unaware of demonstrations in other parts of the city. We were very glad we visited this city and did not cancel our plans as we had a great visit.

Posted by
2507 posts

UPDATE: Oct 30th, 10 am

OUTLOOK FOR THE NEXT DAYS IN BARCELONA

SHOPS, MUSEUMS AND SITES: business as usual
RESTAURANTS: business as usual
BARCELONA AIRPORT: business as usual
BARCELONA PORT: business as usual except today, which a protest is making mobility difficult
MOBILITY AIRPORT-CITY: business as usual.
PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION: business as usual, albeit detours happen now and then as temporary sit-ins blocking some streets occur. In Barcelona is always best to walk, but if you need to take public transportation, better use the metro these days.
ROAD NETWORK: Flash blockades will continue to occur in some main roads across Catalonia. If travelling by car, take secondary roads.
SAFETY LEVEL: It is unlikely there'll be major disturbances, especially now that Police have backed off their indiscriminate charges against protesters and citizens. Still, groups of troublemakers, often not related to the protests, might stir clashes with the police from time to time.

PERSONAL NOTES

The following days, until Nov 9th, it will be relatively calmed as per convoked actions and protests. This is not to say there won't be any, in fact, all the contrary, it continues to be plenty of them both in Barcelona and elsewhere in Catalonia. These, however, are called by smaller civic and social organisations which gather a few thousand citizens here and there for flash resistance actions. These cause disruptions (blockades) but continue to be, in principle, peaceful in nature. A recent example: the temporary occupation of the outskirts of Sants station a couple of days ago. Several thousands of people blocked the entrances to this train-hub, the biggest in Barcelona, to protest. After a few hours, the protest was called off and activity resumed without having had been any violence at all. These tactics of civil disobedience are aimed to attract attention not to create violence.

Yet this is not to say that there won't be any violence. If (when) police suddenly decide to charge, they can do so very violently --especially the paramilitary police sent by the Spanish government-- sometimes using tactics that are banned in some democracies due to the danger of grave harm to protesters and other citizens. Thus, my advice throughout these days remains: avoid areas with large concentrations of police vans and anti-riot police forces, they're not to be trusted.

I rather not to go into too much detail here because this is not the place, but it has been now confirmed by several reputable sources that the Spanish Ministry of the Interior, which is de-facto commanding as well the Catalan anti-riot police, is using provocation tactics (i.e. deliberately using a lot of violence against citizens when charging to enrage the population, infiltrating groups of plain-clothes' officers in the protests trying to stir violence, arbitrary detentions, false charges which are later dropped, etc.) in order to justify harsh action against the Catalan government and other civic institutions and indy political parties and instituting a generalised repression against the 'rebellious' Catalan society. They have already used these dirty tactics many times in the past in the troublesome history of the Catalonia-Spain conflict.

Thus, mind me, when I say "relatively calmed" or "peaceful demonstration" as I cannot factor in what the Spanish government is going to order next to their troops displaced to Catalonia, so always take my words with a pinch of salt and apply common sense.

-part 1 of 2-

Posted by
2507 posts

As a visitor these days in Barcelona, or anywhere else in Catalonia, you will be able to "do your tourist stuff" for the most part, but you can always run into one of these actions (blockades, protests) that might prevent you from reaching this or that on that particular day/hour. In principle it's not the aim to cause unnecessary inconveniences to visitors -you're not the 'target' of the protests- so, to my knowledge, there won't be actions to block museums or tourists sites. Having said that, there was a temporary protest in front of Sagrada Familia the other day when a few hundreds of citizens walked into the entrance of the temple to protest, making it difficult (but not impossible!) to access it.

I should point out that the use of the word "blockade" in these contexts means mostly that the sheer number of people protesting makes mobility difficult or very difficult, it does not mean protesters prevent anyone passing through. For obvious reasons, this does not apply on transport blockades.. i.e. if a road is cut by a barricade, it's physically impossible passing through until the blockade is called off and the barricade removed. Take that into account if you plan to drive in Catalonia these days. Your worst-case scenario though is a few hours of traffic jam, nothing else.

MAJOR ACTIONS FOR THE NEXT DAYS

Wed 30 & 31st
Student strike
Demonstration Thu 31st at Plaça Universitat at noon. Attendance is expected in the few thousands. While most student demonstrations have commenced peaceful, some troublemakers can infiltrate and stir disturbances. The proximity of the Spanish Police HQ might increase the tension. Out of precaution, if you need to pass thru the area, do so quickly.


New to this matter? Understand what's going on, educate yourself why this is going on (search news online: catalonia independence), read from different sources... and then you'll better assess whether you need to change your plans or not.

-part 2 of 2-

Posted by
2507 posts

A special post for @jjmflyer and others staying very near the Spanish Police HQ in Via Laietana in Barcelona.

While, at present, I wouldn't necessarily recommend per se to anyone in particular to "change" your accommodation, note this particular location will always be bound to be the epicentre of some of the demonstrations and protests when they occur.

Not only its central location makes it a potential focus but also, echoing Bill's post earlier on, the infamous history of this HQ in the long story of repression and tortures of the Spanish police against Catalan citizens makes it one of the most hated buildings in the city, much like Lubyanka in Moscow.

Thus, to avoid inconveniences, those that can afford to change accommodation to a place farther away -a few blocks suffices!-, do so. Those that can't, don't panic, but just be aware that in the worst-case scenario, should another anti-riot police "performance" occur, you might find yourself unable to go in/out of the hotel for a few hours.

Posted by
4 posts

I am 52 and this is the second time I have ever thought a chat room of any kind has been worthwhile. The civil discourse and patience shown here has been almost shocking to behold. Well done to all.
Seasoned traveler. From NYC. Have lived and worked in Germany for several years, and spent a good chunk of my childhood there. Have traveled across/through much of the continent except the Iberian Peninsula and Scandanavia.
Europe, in general, isn't a fav of mine or my wife. Been there, done that. Have not been there in over 20 years. I had never been to Spain however, have always heard wonderful things, and we both decided to go, with our 15 year old son, between Christmas and New Years. We decidied on Barca and Valencia. I read about the country, the current situation, and learned more about relevant history. It takes a bit of effort to learn about the different sides and perspectives.....but with the internet it really isn't that hard. I had always known about Catalonia and it's basic history. I also knew about the elections held there for freedom a few years ago through BASIC research, the upcoming trials, and knew about the possible repercussions. We booked anyway knowing it could get dicey. When the sentences came out I was surprised by the length and not the response. It also would not stop me from going knowing the region, learning about it's history, and how it's people generally conduct themselves. IOW's thank u Carlos, and especially Enric, for your commitment to this forum and your extrodaniry patience with those who could easily do more with almost no effort.
PEOPLE NEED TO EDUCATE THEMSELVES before making choices, especially expensive ones with time constraints. It is not that hard. It really isn't. This is not a vacation for the people over there....this is there life and future.. Accept that. If u can not then purchase Cancel At Anytime insurance when u book your trips in the future. It will cost a bit, but u will have some piece of mind.
Sorry for the little speech, and even if most don't care for my little diatribe, if only a couple do it will be worth it.

Enric. I was very disturbed when La Liga moved the Barca/Real match to Dec 18th. Even if the situation calms considerably by then I fear this will only ignite it again. Since I am arriving on the Dec 25th I would greatly appreciate your thoughts/opinions on this. How do you feel most Catalans will react over Christmas and New Years, if there are no new major political developments, other than what has occurred with these sentencings, how do u feel the populace will react over the holidays? Thank u so much in advance.

Once again....great discussion. Kudos to all. Most appreciated and educate yourselves before u travel and book folks!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by
2507 posts

Thanks for your post @thjknapp. I will, however, PM you instead because you're asking me something which involves lots of what-ifs based on personal intuition which, at the end of the day, comes down to personal points of view involving politics... and this would probably not bring useful info to the discussion on a travel forum. I will PM you as soon as I can.

Posted by
1861 posts

The truth is that the postponement was a kind of punishment for FC Barca's support for Catalunya's political prisoners. La Liga was concerned about the game becoming a platform for further protests and expressions of Catalan independence ideas on an international stage. The Spanish government shared that position and so sanctioned the completely unnecessary re-scheduling. That's not my thinking — but as reported in UK news media.

Could you provide a source for this accusation? I am doubtful La Liga is in on some grand conspiracy here. The rest of Barça's fixtures are actually still unaffected, as far as I know, just yesterday they played a great match at home. The Real Madrid match was only rescheduled because the separatist entity Tsunami Democratic threatened to disrupt it, seems the only ones who want to punish Barça are the separatists themselves.

BTW Tsunami Democratic apparently reports to none other than Catalan President Quim Torra and ex-President Carles Puigdemont, this according to an independent investigation by Franco-Swiss press, specifically Le Temps. You can make your own deductions with this revelation.

I 100% agree, people do need to do some research on their own and use their own best judgment/intuition based of the research. Also know that a lot of these so called "media sources", on both sides of the issue, are pretty biased and slanted and only give half the picture to manipulate the image/cause more chaos. Even for myself, I have to double check and vet everything before I post here and make sure things are coming from a reputable main-stream news sources.

It's also difficult for Enric, Bill, or I to answer hypotheticals, know we can only give our personal opinions, with all the baggage our personal points of view carry. For the time being, things have settled down, for the short term, some say the elections will be a big flashpoint on Nov 10, I disagree, but I don't want to argue over it.

One potential ticking time bomb I see on the horizon, that could cause some disturbances, is what the Belgians will do next with ex-president Carles Puigdemont. Spain has re-activated the EU-Arrest Warrant. The Belgian judge, who was supposed to decide to hand over Puigdemont yesterday has delayed his decision until Dec 16. If they do hand him over to the Spanish authorities, then you can expect trouble around that date. You can read about it here: https://www.euronews.com/2019/10/29/belgian-court-to-rule-on-arrest-warrant-case-for-former-catalan-leader-carles-puigdemont

In Spain the major local news cycles have turned away from the past unrest in Catalonia and are now focusing on the upcoming national elections, this is now the big news of the day, as the campaigning season has started: https://elpais.com/elpais/2019/10/29/inenglish/1572346690_174944.html

As far as the international news cycle, the world has also moved on from Catalonia, with what's happening in Britain, California, Lebanon, Chile etc. now making the headlines.

Posted by
4 posts

Thank u gentleman. Thanks Enric. Completely understand where u r coming from.

Carlos. I agree 10000000% and I forgot to add it to my already to long post. U need to research multiple sources as everyone has their own bias and agenda. Still, not a hard to thing to do. Takes a bit of time, but something everyone can do.
Reuters is a great starting point for those out there. Continuously rated as one of the most unbiased news agencies out there by every non profit, unaffiliated organizations out there. It is a great starting point IMO...and then run from there.
Did not know about the reactivation of the warrant.....with the 16th as a deadline....with the game scheduled on the 18th. Don't have to be a genius to see what could possible happen there. Eek.

Posted by
3 posts

Hello future travelers! Today we flew into Barcelona with no problems at the airport. We took a cab into the city and the cab had to take a different route because gran via was blocked, but otherwise everything seems business as usual. The city is beautiful and we walked around without any issues. In fact, if I hadn’t known about the protests I wouldn’t have even known that anything was going on. To everyone who’s wondering if they should still come to Barcelona, I think you should still come. My two cents. Enjoy your time here.

Posted by
1 posts

Hi everyone,
Thank you all for the educated forum.

I planned to visit Barcelona (4th time) next weekend (8-12 November). I read somewhere (a tweet of a group its name I don't currently remember) that demonstrations are planned for several dates including this weekend. I also realized that there are elections... Any thoughts of this weekend and its potential for violence?
While I agree with people here saying that the risk is low and one should only avoid certain places (and maybe special police forces), I have some concerns and I am not sure this is the right place right now for a vacation and relaxation from hard work. Mostly I am afraid of closing the airport for flights or getting to the airport (tight schedule).

I will decide on Sunday or Monday and have a question regarding the cancellation possibility, hope that it is appropriate to this forum.
Luckily I can cancel the hotel and have insurance for the flight.
However, I have a nonrefundable ticket for Barca-Celta (the expensive part of the stadium and I will know the exact sit only two days before the game). Is there a way to sell the ticket?
I sent an email to oab@fcbarcelona.cat asking if there is a possibility to cancel the ticket due to the unusual circumstances but had no answer. Is there another way to contact the ticket's office (an additional email or a phone number)? Any other suggestions?
Thank you all.

Posted by
1861 posts

@gadi101 I would strongly advise you not to resell your ticket for the Barça vs. Celta game, other than to potentially lose out on some money, there is no legitimate reason to.

Let me be clear: no other FC Barcelona match is affected by current circumstances, other than the Real Madrid match, which was rescheduled due to an abundance of caution. If there were to be some disturbance and they need to postpone the match, which 99.99% it wont happen, then the club will refund your ticket.

Please, you will be perfectly safe for Barça vs. Celta match, I would not pass up a chance to see Barça in action, they are doing quite well this season ;-)

Edit to add: Also need to address this -

I read somewhere (a tweet of a group its name I don't currently remember) that demonstrations are planned for several dates including this weekend. I also realized that there are elections... Any thoughts of this weekend and its potential for violence?

^This above^ is what I was warning about up-thread, there is a lot of misinformation flying around, from groups with a vested interest in creating chaos and panic. It is important for you to double check your information with reliable mainstream local news outlets (https://elpais.com/elpais/inenglish.html) or (https://www.lavanguardia.com/). Don't fall for the disinformation campaign currently being waged on social media.

Posted by
296 posts

@carlos “Could you provide a source for this accusation?”
It’s not an accusation but, sure: Sid Lowe https://www.theguardian.com/profile/sidlowe — the highly regarded, respected, and honest football writer who is among a very few native English-speaking sports writers equipped with an exceptionally good understanding of Spanish and Catalan football politics. He is not an independentista — nor a unionist, and he does he not have an axe to grind.
All the best.

Posted by
1861 posts

@Bill - I tried the link you provided, but all I'm getting is "Sorry – the page you have requested does not exist"...

Edit: Thanks, works now, will take a look.

BTW I'm one the biggest Barça fans around, so genuinely interested in this :)

Posted by
1861 posts

@Bill: Club Esportiu Europa? Wow you are really into the local football lol! What division are they playing at these days?

Posted by
296 posts

To add, for all readers — as you can likely ascertain through such banter above — that the moment of maximum tension has passed. For the moment. All is safe for all visitors. As it ever was. As ever, be alert, be confident, be safe and trust your instincts.
And, most of all, enjoy your visit to the beautiful city of Barcelona.

Posted by
296 posts

An update on my rambling post upstream about the history of the police station on Via Laietana and one of the reasons why it has been a focus for violent demonstrations:
Two days ago, Ernest Maragall, the ERC (Left Republican) candidate for Mayor of Barcelona at the most recent mayoral election (which technically he won — but the current mayor stitched up a deal with Manel Valls (the former Prime Minster of France) to maintain a shaky coalition administration) called for the police building to be converted for use as a museum of the Francoist suppression.
His public call illustrates the depth and breadth of local public feeling re: the police HQ on Via Laietana. It also illustrates the importance of local contemporary history in Barcelona.
Barcelona has many fine pretty buildings which visitors pay to explore. However, there are many fine buildings in Barcelona which have a dark, sinister history which visitors could be made more aware of. Such awareness may enrich visitors' experience.

Posted by
10 posts

Enric
Do you have any updated info on portests planned for 11/10 through 11/14 ??

Thanks

Posted by
2507 posts

I am afraid there is no published programme, no scheduled activities... this is a "revolt" if you catch my drift... :)

As pointed earlier, the situation is volatile and I don't have a crystal ball so, despite having "some" information, anything beyond the next few days would be just speculative. There'll be activity without a doubt and there's wind on some other major actions, but when and what exactly, as well as its intensity, will be made clear as events progress since these adapt to circumstances. Revealing them too much in advance would, of course, detriment its effectivity.

For now, things have calmed down a notch despite being daily actions all over Catalonia (not just in Barcelona). These are much smaller in size but some of them effective nonetheless: blockades, sit-downs, marches, protests, strikes... Hence the reason I said that when I say "business as usual" doesn't necessarily mean you might not encounter something here or there that can prevent you (or delay you) from doing what you were going to do. Bear that in mind. Worth noting also that since the police have backed off on their aggressivity (for the time being at least), there's no violence and protestors can peacefully exercise their right to protest.

I already explained though that I would focus on major actions and in the area of Barcelona only because I couldn't otherwise cope with all the info on everything else that is going at any given time.

Lastly, I would like to mention that the Spanish have an election on the 10th, and when the results are known, the situation can escalate a bit...or a lot, depending on the new composition of their Parliament, with the Spanish right and far-right parties threatening on a daily basis with direct harsh action over Catalonia should they win.

For last update search above UPDATE: Oct 30th, 10 am

Posted by
5 posts

Hello, We are debating on traveling to Barcelona at the beginning of December. Is my assessment correct that things have slightly settled down for now? We are monitoring the situation daily. We will continue to assess the situation after the November 10 election. Is there anything we should know to help us decide if travel is safe to Barcelona the beginning of December?

Thanks

Posted by
10 posts

We are off to BCN tomorrow!! Cannot wait to get there and show my honey around. Was there 3 yrs ago with my best friend, so I know my way around a little.

I'll report while there.

CHEERS!

Posted by
4 posts

We’ve been in Barcelona since 10/31 & have seen no protest activity. We’ve avoided being in large crowds so we may have overlooked some though. We switched our hotel to avoid the center of the city where protests took place before our trip. We have not been unhappy with that decision. While we’ve spent extra money on cabs we’ve enjoyed great views of the city & beach from our hotel. Our friends are in the El Born area, which has been a great location for them & we’ve hung out there in the evenings without any worries.

Our hotel did alert us that more protests are anticipated in the upcoming days but we haven’t been able to find out any details.
Great trip so far!

Posted by
203 posts

We have also been in Barcelona since Oct 31st and are staying in L'Exaimple very close to where previous demonstrations were held. Other than the Aerobus not making its usual stop at the university due to a demonstration there that day, we have not seen or heard anything unusual going on and have seen no signs of what did happen. It has been a great visit and I'm so glad we came! It's a beautiful, friendly city.

Posted by
1 posts

We have been in Barcelona since Thursday, October 31st and have been traveling around without incidents, not even seeing any protests. We are staying on Las Ramblas and last night while having dinner on Las Ramblas there was a peaceful protest that came through. We continued our dinner and there was not a problem but we did have an awareness of what was happening. We are happy we came but be aware and watch out for the pickpockets.

Posted by
2507 posts

UPDATE: Nov 4th, 12:30pm

OUTLOOK FOR THE NEXT DAYS IN BARCELONA

SHOPS, MUSEUMS AND SITES: business as usual
RESTAURANTS: business as usual
BARCELONA AIRPORT: business as usual
BARCELONA PORT: business as usual
MOBILITY AIRPORT-CITY: business as usual.
PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION: business as usual, albeit detours happen now and then as temporary sit-ins blocking some streets occur. In Barcelona is always best to walk, but if you need to take public transportation, better use the metro these days.
ROAD NETWORK: Flash blockades will continue to occur in some main roads across Catalonia. If travelling by car, take secondary roads. FYI, these can be a nuisance, but there are absolutely no personal safety issues.
SAFETY LEVEL: It is unlikely there'll be major disturbances, especially now that Police have backed off their indiscriminate charges against protesters and citizens. Still, groups of troublemakers, often not related to the protests, might stir clashes with the police from time to time.

PERSONAL NOTES
Thus, mind me, when I say "relatively calmed" or "peaceful demonstration" as I cannot factor in what the Spanish government is going to order next to their troops displaced to Catalonia, so always take my words with a pinch of salt and apply common sense.

As a visitor these days in Barcelona, or anywhere else in Catalonia, you will be able to "do your tourist stuff" for the most part, but you can always run into one of these actions (blockades, protests) that might prevent you from reaching this or that on that particular day/hour. In principle it's not the aim to cause unnecessary inconveniences to visitors -you're not the 'target' of the protests- so, to my knowledge, there won't be actions to block museums or tourists sites. Having said that, there was a temporary protest in front of Sagrada Familia the other day when a few hundreds of citizens walked into the entrance of the temple to protest, making it difficult (but not impossible!) to access it.

I should point out that the use of the word "blockade" in these contexts means mostly that the sheer number of people protesting makes mobility difficult or very difficult, it does not mean protesters prevent anyone passing through. For obvious reasons, this does not apply on transport blockades.. i.e. if a road is cut by a barricade, it's physically impossible passing through until the blockade is called off and the barricade removed. Take that into account if you plan to drive in Catalonia these days. Your worst-case scenario though is a few hours of traffic jam, nothing else.

-part 1 of 2-

Posted by
2507 posts

MAJOR ACTIONS FOR THE NEXT DAYS

Nov 4th
Today the Spanish king is visiting Barcelona, several protests are going on right now near the exhibition centre he's due to attend, on the edge of the city, in Diagonal Avenue. There is a lot of animadversion against the Spanish Crown in Catalonia. There's a lot of police presence but, unless anti-riot units get into action, the protest will continue to be peaceful. I shall remind violence these past days has always been started by the police.

Nov 9th
On Nov 10th there's an election to the Spanish Parliament. Spanish law dictates the previous day as a 'reflection day' (yeah, that!) and, under penalty, no activities remotely linked to social or political protest/support, etc. are allowed. The main grass-roots association in Catalonia has convoked many dozens of actions all over Catalonia as part of the civil disobedience campaign in the ongoing revolt, and these are expected to be seconded by many thousands of people. These will be festive actions (cultural and entertainment, but with a political background, of course) and some of them will be convoked in squares and streets/roads, so they'll be impeding traffic too. This translates in that mobility in certain areas can be difficult (I wouldn't necessarily plan an excursion outside Barcelona by road, just in case). Regarding safety, all these actions will be peaceful, much like the celebration of the National Day of Catalonia, every year on Sep 11th. HOWEVER, the Spanish Minister of the Interior has already publicly threatened with the use of violence (again) if the Spanish law is broken, and especially if the election is disturbed -albeit it has been explicitly announced by the indy organisations it won't. Therefore I don't know what to expect on the 9th on the side of the police troops sent by the Spanish government to Catalonia. I would think they won't provoke any violence, but the reputation these past days doesn't guarantee that.

Nov 10th
Spanish Parliament election day. No civil disobedience actions announced on this day by the social and civic indy associations here in Catalonia. The current party in the Spanish government, PSOE (centre-left) is likely to retain a simple majority yet they'll probably be allowed to form a government -with the specific support of several other parties. In any case, the resulting government is going to be dependent on the support of other parties, including Catalan indy parties, to pass most legislative initiatives, therefore instability in Spanish politics is likely to continue. Should this be the case, it's unlikely the policy towards the Spain-Catalonia conflict would change therefore the protests and civil disobedience actions will continue in the foreseeable future, much like the Hong Kong protests, which have been going on already for a long time. In the unlikely event that the right and far-right Spanish parties were able to form an alternative government, the tension would escalate almost overnight as they've been claiming harsh action and direct imposition in Catalonia.

If you happen to be in Catalonia this day, you'll be able to do all the "tourist stuff" as in any normal day.

Nov 11th through 13th
Several massive flash actions of civil disobedience have been announced, place and time are still held so for the actions to be effective. More info to follow.


New to this matter? Understand what's going on, educate yourself why this is going on (search news online: catalonia independence), read from different sources... and then you'll better assess whether you need to change your plans or not. IMHO I wouldn't advise cancelling any plans at present, but that's just my view --and no, I don't have any link to any tourism-related business :)

-part 2 of 2-

Posted by
5 posts

Can you tell me the exact address of the main police headquarters? I'm having trouble finding out where it is in location to my hotel. Thank you for all your helpful information. I'm sure as the weekend gets here and the election takes place there will be more to discuss. I'm arriving in a week and really appreciate the updates!!

Posted by
2507 posts

@kcmarion74: Via Laietana, 43, 08003 Barcelona See map.

Posted by
2507 posts

UPDATE: Nov 8th, 9:00am

OUTLOOK FOR THE NEXT DAYS IN BARCELONA

No major changes from my last outlook (see UPDATE 11/04/19 12:31 PM)

MAJOR ACTIONS FOR THE NEXT DAYS

9th of November
It's confirmed that cultural and festive open-air activities, including political protest,, will take place on this day in over 600 different cities and towns across Catalonia (the list is growing every day), including many districts in Barcelona. The motto is "Make THEM reflect" and these are meant to defy the prohibition and threat of the Spanish judiciary to do so as this is, supposedly, a "reflection day" previous to an election day, and according to Spanish law, no such activities can be held. This draconian measure has been in place for years, and just yesterday, several cultural associations that had planned activities for Saturday, including castellers and other folk-related associations received explicit warnings from the JEC (the Spanish electoral commission for elections). All these activities will be festive and family-friendly in nature and it's not expected any kind of disturbance... other than that by the violence of the Spanish Police, should they decide to act to prevent them. Given what's at stake though, it's vastly unlikely they'll do so. As a visitor, this translates in a "normal day" for you, if you catch my drift, so go ahead with your own planned activities. Explanation and programme for some of these cultural activities can be seen here

10th of November
The election day will see heavy Police presence in the streets of Catalonia for an (unnecessary) show-off of the Spanish government, but there'll be no (significant, if any) protest or sabotage actions in the streets.

11th to 13th of November
Activity and protest actions brewing but no detailed information still available to preserve its effectiveness. They'll, however, greatly disrupt mobility during those days. Have a plan B to swap visits to different places in Catalonia for visits to sites you can reach locally wherever you are.
.
.
PERSONAL NOTES

Not that, as a visitor, this will make too much sense to you since it's aimed for internal consumption of the Catalan population, but should you be interested in following the activity (and intended activity) of the most powerful grass-roots association in Catalonia at present, Tsunami Democràtic, you can follow them in their public channel in Telegram at www.t.me/tsunamid.

The Spanish government hasn't (yet) been able to censure this source, much like their websites and other Microsoft and Google-related channels. Currently is followed by nearly 400,000 of the most tech-savvy activists and sympathizers (a bit under 10% of the total population in Catalonia) and it has become one of the Telegram's most-followed and active political channel in the world (https://tgstat.com/politics).

This channel is one of the sources that regularly announces and convokes some of the most important flash actions and protests to happen at short and very short notice, such as the famous occupation for a day of the Barcelona airport last month. Unfortunately for most visitors, as mentioned, it's aimed for internal consumption so information is published in Catalan language and addressed to people "in-the-know" (=resident) so you might not make full sense of it. Still, to see whether "something" is soon planned for the town/road/place, in general, you intend to visit, this can be a good source.

Posted by
2507 posts

Ah yes, forgot to mention: the Spanish government just approved a "decree" thru a speedy backdoor that, in short, gives them powers to "censure Internet" (yes, you heard right). They can now "legally" (wtf?!) close down websites without any judicial warrant and even cut access to the Internet (!) in a whole area or region should they deem necessary "for National security". So you know!

The decree will no doubt be contested both by civil liberties' groups and even by the European Commission itself as it goes against one of the pillars of the EU, but it might take time to reverse. I have no doubt in my mind -because they already have done so- that they'll abuse against freedom of speech and will continue to close down websites, but I seriously doubt the Spanish would dare (at least for now) to cut the whole access to the Internet because of the political and diplomatic s** storm that this would create in Western Europe. So, I hope to be able to continue logging to this forum for the time being!

Posted by
5 posts

We are arriving on Nov. 16th Saturday. I'm following all of the info you're providing as well as the US Embassy in Barcelona, which just sent an email with details of planned protests this coming week. Plaza Catalunya seems to be a popular spot for these. We are scheduled to stay on the Plaza. Would you recommend changing that hotel location? I realize you can't predict the future, but with your experience with protests, roads closed, etc....would advise to stay or move locations? thanks again!!

Posted by
2507 posts

@kcmarion74 protests and sit-ins are largely peaceful. Violence has only arisen when the anti-riot police have violently charged against protestors and mainly as a mechanism of self-defence by some protesters. When police have not acted, protests have gone peaceful until they've been called off. All the protests and other actions planned for the foreseeable future are convoked following non-violence patterns so, in principle, protests or not, I wouldn't recommend changing your hotel. But again, I have no crystal ball.... and I don't know what the other side will do.

Posted by
4 posts

I registered specifically to thank Enric, Carlos, Bill and all the other posters in this thread. I was in Barcelona from Oct 26 - 30 and their contributions went a long way in allaying any concerns I had.

There were two big street protests during my time there, the pro-independence demonstrations on Saturday, Oct 26 and the counter-protests on Sunday. I just did all the normal touristy things that I would do, and really had no serious issues. The only time the protests directly affected me was on Saturday evening, when I was going to go look for a tapas place in El Poblenou, but then I saw a huge march headed my way, and decided that I may want to drink somewhere else. During the day at least, the crowds seemed very good-natured, with what appeared to be people from all walks of life participating.

I also went out for a bite to eat later that night around midnight. I could hear helicopters overhead by my hotel which was near the Passeig de Gràcia metro stop. However walking through the Eixample it seemed like a regular Saturday evening with people on the street eating, drinking, and clubbing. Only the next day did I learn (from his thread) that there were violent clashes just a few minutes walk away.

I would just add my voice to the others in this thread and say that for anyone wavering, please do not be scared of going to Barcelona. It was really a wonderful city, and as long as you exercise some normal big city caution, you're unlikely to experience serious problems.

Posted by
1861 posts

@Chord - thanks for the shout-out, glad you were able to spend your holidays in Barcelona without much disruption :-)

PS - and to those who were worrying about some kind of massive unrest during the N-10 elections, as you can see there was none today (as I previously stated), and elections were celebrated throughout Spain, even in Catalonia. The people pulling the strings, on both sides of the issue, know the most power lies in the ballot box, not the street violence, disrupting the elections would only be detrimental to each respective cause.

PPS: for those curious, live Spanish election results - https://resultados.elpais.com/elecciones/generales.html

Posted by
10 posts

Back from my week in BCN.

We stayed in an airbnb near El Carmel metro station. Had an amazing time. Never saw any protests, but did see a helicopter a couple times, circling around.
Loved being in a neighborhood and out of the tourist areas. Forced us to find our way around.
Bought butter, cheese, bread and jamon at the grocer down the street and had that every day. Got several bottles of wine as gifts at the same store....for no more than a few euro for each bottle.

Did an free walking tour with Runner Bean, did Sagrada Familia, a last minute nighttime tour and rooftop show at La Pedrera, because we were walking around the area after dinner at night and it just happened to be starting in a few minutes. Continued walking to Casa Batllo to check it out at night.

Did La Boqueria, and Park Guell. Ate at My F*&^ing Restaurant, ate lots of jamon and drank lots of wine and coffee.
Our apartment was at the top of a steep hill, so lots of cardio and thigh action. :)
Ate at a couple of my favorite places and found some fantastic new ones.

Rode the metro everywhere with no issues.

Amazing time. Thank you all who contributed to this forum. Much appreciated.
If you have any questions, please feel free to DM me.

Have a lovely day!

Posted by
1861 posts

-UPDATE 2-

The AP-7 road on Spanish-France border has now reopened, after 36 hrs, as French Gendarmerie remove Separatist road blockade at the frontier.

In related news: The Socialist Party of Spain gained the most votes over our Nov 10 elections, they have just pacted with another major left-wing party, and are well on their way to forming a government, if they are able to gain a majority, this will go a long way in potentially bringing in some long-term stability to Barcelona and the region as a whole.

https://elpais.com/elpais/2019/11/12/inenglish/1573562718_041862.html

Posted by
2507 posts

UPDATE: Nov 13th, 9:00am

OUTLOOK FOR THE NEXT DAYS IN BARCELONA

No major changes from my last outlook (see UPDATE 11/08/19 08:56 AM)

SHOPS, MUSEUMS AND SITES: business as usual
RESTAURANTS: business as usual
BARCELONA AIRPORT: business as usual
BARCELONA PORT: business as usual
MOBILITY AIRPORT-CITY: business as usual.
PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION: business as usual, albeit detours happen now and then as temporary sit-ins blocking some streets occur. In Barcelona is always best to walk, but if you need to take public transportation, better use the metro these days.
ROAD NETWORK: Flash blockades will continue to occur in some main roads across Catalonia. If travelling by car, take secondary roads. FYI, these can be a nuisance, but there are absolutely no personal safety issues.
SAFETY LEVEL: It is unlikely there'll be major disturbances, especially now that Police have backed off their indiscriminate charges against protesters and citizens. Still, groups of troublemakers, often not related to the protests, might stir clashes with the police from time to time.
.
.
MAJOR ACTIONS FOR THE NEXT DAYS
.
None. No major actions doesn't mean there aren't actions. In fact, there are daily sit-ins and roadblocks in many places, including Barcelona. These are called on a temporary basis -to cause disruption- so it doesn't mean such or such road is permanently closed. Barcelona, for example, saw several main roads into the city blocked yesterday evening (Diagonal, Gran Via and Meridiana avenues).

The presence of Spanish police troops in Catalonia is at an all-time high with an estimated 75% of all Spanish anti-riot units now in Catalonia, most of which at the metropolitan area of Barcelona.
.
--part 1 of 2--

Posted by
2507 posts

PERSONAL NOTES

The goals of the three-day stop at the border crossing with France have been achieved and the blockade of the main roads in and out of Spain thru that region has been called off. The main motorways were initially cut at the French side with the help of many fellow neighbours from the towns and cities to the north of Catalonia and from many Catalans from all over Catalonia that went to the call to block the border. By mid-Tuesday, facing mounting police pressure, the blockades were moved to other points of the motorways. Finally, with the goals achieved it has been called off earlier this morning (Wednesday).

Equally, the Basques contributed on Tuesday evening by starting a slow-down car march that created a very large traffic jam at the border crossing with France in Behobia. These two blockades, in Basque Country and Catalonia, left Spain semi-isolated by road from the rest of Europe for a few hours. The sheer number of cars and trucks caught in the traffic jams will make that today (Wednesday) traffic in these roads will be heavy for a few more hours.

For those interested, details are available here https://www.elnacional.cat/en/ but also in the major international press, pick your favourite.

As in any revolt, there are periods of tension and periods of calm, but don't be a fool to think "this is over" as it isn't by a long shot. In fact, as I already forecasted, the fragility of the resulting government from the Spanish elections last weekend -in which no clear majority is secured to even form a government- will continue to try to squelch the Catalan revolt and, as seen so far, the reaction of a large part of the population in Catalonia is anything but to increase its discontent.

Today, a communique from one of the large grass-roots organisation in Catalonia has warned the Spanish government that "there'll be chaos until independence talks and amnesty for the political prisoners are discussed". The next few weeks will probably determine the strength of both sides and whether the situation will entrench.

From a visitor point-of-view, I would recommend continuing monitoring the situation. My personal feeling though is that for the next few weeks it's unlikely the interim Spanish government will increase the repression of the revolt thus the protests will continue to be peaceful. This, however, doesn't rule out that, as it has been the case since the handing of the sentence in October, one can't find oneself's plans altered from time to time. This is especially true if you plan to move around in Catalonia, so have a plan B in case this or that road/train isn't operational on the exact moment you need it to be.

--part 2 of 2--

Posted by
2507 posts

SATURDAY 16th
.
Rodalies train network in and out of Barcelona will be altered due to flash actions to occupy nine major stations in the city.

If arriving/departing to the airport, either plan on taking the Aerobus, the #46 bus to/from Plaça Espanya, the metro L9S or a taxi.

Avoid, if you can, Rodalies/RENFE (stations: Sants, Passeig de Gràcia, Estació de França, etc.) and expect delays on Rodalies lines.

To figure out which are Rodalies lines: http://bit.ly/BCNmetromap2019

Posted by
4 posts

Just a final thanks to Rick Steves organization for allowing this post and to Enric & everyone else who has shared updates. This was an invaluable resource for us in planning our time in Barcelona! Peace and love to all in this beautiful city.

Posted by
52 posts

On November 16th, we landed at BCN and caught the R2 nord to Barcelona sants, had our airbnb near that station ( what a wonderful location). Roamed Arc de Triumphe, Montjuic on that day, I think I saw some protestors in Plaza de Catalunya but looked just like any other city. On Sunday we went to mass at Sagrada familia and also spent 4-5 hours total in there. We managed to watch some local football match on our walk to top of montjuic from parallel. I’m in love with Barcelona. Forget protests, just enjoy.

Posted by
5 posts

Arrived in Barcelona on Nov 16th evening. All seemed as business as usual. Have spent the last 3 days at our hotel in Plaza Catalunya and have toured the city with zero problems. Did walk past a Plaza Universitat where the roads are blocked and people are camping in protest. Looks like it’s been going on for quite a while peacefully. But other than that it’s been a wonderful time.

Posted by
1 posts

Thanks Enric, Bill and Carlos. I have been in Barcelona since Nov 16. My hotel is in Universitat but protestors are very peaceful. Like they have mentioned, just exercise with care at night.

Posted by
1 posts

We were in Barcelona from 17-23 November and did not experience any hindrance or disruptions as we saw the things to do in Barcelona: La Rambla, Gaudi, Barceloneta, and Passeig de Gracia. We even had 2 trips outside of Barcelona to Montserrat and Girona and encountered no disruption at all.

Barcelona is one of the nicest cities you can ever come and adding the most amazing people to interact with. We were in an AIRBNB along Plaza Espany and the residents showed us a lot of graciousness and hospitality.

As the forum posts noted, disruptions come and go and can never be planned for so keep the schedule flexible as we did to make the most of out of the trip.

Lastly, many thanks to Enric, Bill, Carlos for giving a ton of information which made my group feel we were watching the events live.

Posted by
4 posts

Heading over on Christmas night from east coast of the US. Looks like the Barca/Real match went off wihout much disturbance.
At work so I recorded the match, but was told by a friend it was an unusually dull affair....lacked the bite and fire expected from this fixture. If Carlos or Enric have any advice for me and my family, other than the obvious stuff (pay attention, be flexible, and don't be a clueless tourist), would love to hear from them. Otherwise everyone enjoy Christmas and New Years in Catalonia, and thanks again for your exemplerery work here!

Posted by
2507 posts

Nope, nothing relevant to report for now. Enjoy your Christmas :)

Posted by
4 posts

Just got back from Barcelona (25th-30) and Valencia (31st to 2nd)
Wonderful trip, incredible consistent weather every day, and great people. We stayed on Passeig de Colom and saw one small protest. About 25 loud people. Was more of a tourist curiosity than anything else.
As a NYer the drug dealers and pick pockets amused me. I guess since I grew up in a worse environment they were easy to spot and deal with. Watching the teams give nods and hand singles was interesting. Pointed right at two who sized us up on Las Ramblas and they turned immediately and looked elsewhere. Just like anywhere else in the world....don't act like prey and you won't be pray.
Ran into a couple whose duaghters phone was taken during a distract and lift ploy on the subway, and another who almost had the old switcheroo pulled on the their bag at Santes train station. I say these things not as indictment....they happen everywhere....just as a pay attention thing. Yes, it's vacation, but they are not on vacation. Even the drug peddlers were nicer than they are in NY! Great people, great time, and I enjoyed my stay more than I thought I would, The cultural differences between the two are huge. Valencia was clearly more conservative, but the people in both were great. The views on the events of this last fall differed wildly from locals. Once they saw we were knowledgeable, willing to listen and not judge, and spoke a bit of Spanish of course, they opmed up freely.
Interesting stuff. The cab drivers were excellent!!!!! A pet peeve of mine. Can't stand poor/reckless drivers. They were all aggressive but safe. Loved it. I wish everyone in Barcelona and Catalonia well. I hope there can be resolutions that can satisfy most...impossible to satisfy all....and have great 2020. Thanks again to all here and enjoy this wonderful city, and a shout out to Valencia. Good luck guys and best wishes.

Posted by
2507 posts

That's a very "loose" interpretation of reality Carlos. No dialogue has commenced yet, and when it does, will see how long it lasts... the Spanish are very deceitful and they often break their compromises. They've not honoured most of the commitments they have signed, including with the European Union. Spain is the country in the EU with the most open cases at the TJUE for breaching European law. Just sayin'

Posted by
6410 posts

I am in Barcelona now, finished 3rd day had a great day trip to Montserrat. There is nothing going on. By reading these forums and watching sensational TV one would think the world was coming to an end.

Posted by
2507 posts

Jazz+travels...

  • Oct 14th, 2019, road to the main airport of the city, and the airport itself: https://ibb.co/album/mZORBF
  • Oct 18th, 2019, five marches commence in five different points of Catalonia gathering hundreds of thousands of protestors towards Barcelona: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dcrelepq6-k
  • Oct 18th-23rd, 2019, centre of Barcelona, a few yards from Plaça Catalunya: https://ibb.co/album/dtUoQa
  • Nov 11th-13th, 2019, main motorways and roads in and out of Catalonia occupied. Border with France: three days of complete blockade, over 20,000 trucks affected.

... you "didn't see anything"... but it did happen -and might happen again.

Posted by
1861 posts

@Enric those examples of civil disobedience you reference are more than 2 months old, at the height of the unrest. I'd say Jazz's assessment of the current situation is fairly spot on ;-)

Posted by
296 posts

"…it appears dialogue and understanding…" What? Seems something got lost in translation. The Spanish state and Catalan independentistas are not one inch nearer rapprochment than they were 3 months ago. And now the Spanish have decided to suspend the Catalan president — as if that is really going to help things along. And, some among the Spanish ruling caste are now calling for Espanexit — i.e. withdrawal from the European Union, because those pesky European democrats refuse to dance to their tune.
Unless and until the Spanish state drops framed-up terrorism charges against against some ordinary folk exercising their democratic right to protest, AND release ALL political prisoners — there's really not much to talk about, let alone begin to fantasise about peace and harmony breaking out any time soon.
CDR have not gone away.