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Updated (trip report, sorta)SOS - struggling with Barcelona itinerary

Edit: I arrived yesterday and it seemed easier to just write a few lines now and then as "responses" than start a new topic.

My new year's resolution is to be a better trip planner. I've spent hours pouring over internet resources and the RS Barcelona guide. I have a long list of sights and tours, and I'm still trying to organize them into daily itineraries. I have 6.5 days, landing in Barcelona at 10 am on Tuesday, March 8, taking a morning train (ticket purchased) to Valencia on Tuesday morning, March 15. I'm staying across the street from the Palau de la Musica - good for sightseeing, not so good for getting to the train. I spent 4.5 days in Barcelona last year, saw many sights and day-tripped to Girona.

I want to take day trips to Tarragona, Figueres and maybe Montserrat (for the views, easy hiking). Does it matter if I go to any of these on Saturday instead of a weekday?

Here's what I've got so far:

  • Tuesday. Land at 10:10, get settled in hotel, 15.00-16.00 Santa Maria del Mar rooftop tour, walk around, have some tapas and early to bed (not much sleep Monday night - no jetlag, 1 hour time change)
  • Wednesday. 8.30-14.00 Montjuic (castle for views, then archaeology museum, ethnology museum, MNAC) 15.30-17.30 Modernisme walking tour starts at Placa Catalunya.
  • Thursday. Tarragona
  • Friday. Figueres, 21.30-23.30 Ghosts of Barcelona walking tour (in English & Spanish)
  • Saturday. Monserrat (tentative); 19.45-23.30 Sefarad at Palau Requesens tour and dinner (incl. lecture on Jews of Barcelona) . . . OR . . . 19.30-21.30 Barcelona's Darkest Past walking tour
  • Sunday. 10.00 Casa de la Ciutat (City Hall) visit; 12.00 Castellers at Placa de Valenti Almirall
  • Monday. 11.00-12.00 Amatller House tour. 2 hours for laundry.

As a solo traveler, walking tours also give me an opportunity to meet others. These (in bold) sound interesting. Has anyone taken any of them?

Other sights I want to fit into the plan: Casa Batllo, Picasso Museum, Museu del Modernisme, MUHBA Plaça del Rei, Museu d'Historia de Catalunya. Others on my radar are Museu Frederic Marès, Palau de la Virreina (if the new exhibition is open), Sant Pau del Camp, also the Hash and Chocolate museums. I'm open to suggestions for other "lesser" sights.

Any help/advice will be more than welcome. . . . less than 2 weeks to go.

Posted by
2530 posts

Hi Chani

Your schedule seems very balanced to me and time-wise you've planned well.

Some suggestions:

if you're going to be in StaMaria del Mar on Monday, do add the visit to Picasso Museum since it's just at a stone throw away, literally. You should pre-book though thus skipping any potential queue. This way you can tick it off from your bucket list already.

the Modernisme walking tour offered by Turisme de Barcelona includes a visit to the Museu del Modernisme Català in Carrer Balmes, so you know. You could add a visit to Casa Batlló afterwards as it's close by.

If you plan to go only to Figueres (no Portlligat or Púbol) and you depart Barcelona early, say 9ish, you'll possibly want to be back in Barcelona by late afternoon, say 5-6ish or so at the most... while Figueres is a cozy town, other than the Toy Museum, the Castle of Sant Ferran and the Museum of the Empordà, there isn't that much else to see other than strolling the ramble and the streets around it, which you should! Keep in mind the high speed train to/from Figueres is 1h only -plus the taxi/bus to the station (Figueres-Vilafant) which is in the outskirts of the town. Thus, you could fit something before that Ghost tour. A personal note: I haven't done this tour but friends who did didn't like it at all saying it was more a 'showy-gory' tour full of irrelevant and unconnected stories than anything else. Much different from that offered by RunnerBean which is actually a true history tour.

Sant Pau del Camp has a very restrictive shedule... so you know.

Do take the opp on Sunday to add a visit to say MUHBA Plaça del Rei then Frederic Marés as they're close to each other. Ideally that should be after the visit to the City Hall since they're very close, but I understand you want to see castellers near Plaça de les Glòries, so maybe after that you could take the metro in Glòries (L1) and return to the centre... both museums close at 8pm so plenty of time. Unfortunately Museu d'Història de Catalunya closes at 2.30 on Sundays.

Saturday... Montserrat, why not?. If you want to hike check these routes: http://www.cremallerademontserrat.com/website_cremallera/eng/itineraris_rutes.asp Regarding tours for Sat night... both are great so it's a difficult choice. Sefarad is probably more intimate and more luxurious so to speak... I'd probably choose this one over the other.

On Monday you could fit Museu de la Xocolata and the Hash Museum but not Museu d'Història de Catalunya nor Palau de la Virreina, which are closed that day.

Enjoy!

Posted by
3040 posts

Hi Chani,
We thought the Museum of the history of Catalunya was very good; and Monserrat, forgettable.

Posted by
14227 posts

Rosalyn - thanks. I've put a star next to the museum and you've confirmed my impression that Montserrat will be low-priority . . . . Maybe on Monday if the weather's good and I've seen most of the sights on my list.

Enric - as always, you have valuable info and advice. Thank you for taking the time.

Tuesday I will be up around 2 a.m. (CST) to get the 5 am flight to Barcelona. I don't want to book the Picasso Museum, I fear I'll be too tired to appreciate it (unless I get some sleep on the plane). If I feel up to it, I will walk by and if there's no line . . . Right now there are lots of tickets available for the next 2-3 days, so I figure I'll be able to get a ticket sometime during the week.

Wednesday I was trying to figure out if the museum visit was included in the tour. Thanks for clearing that up for me. After a long morning on Montjuic and a 2-hour walking tour, I'm not sure I'll have the energy to enjoy Casa Batllo. question What are the pros and cons of an evening visit instead of in the morning/afternoon? I'd
visit Casa Amattler first because it's a limited time visit and I'd like to do them together.

Friday I'd take my time absorbing Dali Museum and have a leisurely lunch before the Clock Museum, then whatever else fits in - I'll certainly look into the other places you mention. question Would it make a difference if I switched Figueres to Saturday (for instance, would it be more crowded then)? I'd rather alternate the day trips and my days in the city. Your comment about the Ghost tour brought back memories of a really cheesy ghost tour I took in Sydney, so I have crossed it off. I'd take the Runnerbean tour in a flash, but they only start on the 16th, after I leave.

Saturday I am torn between the two tours. Unless someone comes along and says it was awful, I'll take Sefarad. It's only offered once a month, my changes of doing it on a future visit are pretty slim. The focus on Jews appeals greatly - the meal, not so much.

I expect to fit in the other sights on various days. Staying near the Palau de la Musica (literally across the street) means it's a short walk to many of "my" sights. Even Sant Pau del Camp isn't that far. My information is that it's open 10.00-13.30 and 16.00-19.30 every day, closed Sunday.

Posted by
2530 posts

Hi Chani,

The Museu d'Història de Catalunya is one of my favourites as I am passionate in history, nevertheless I would also like to point out that if you really like nature, Montserrat is a must.

Montserrat is far more than the monastery, which in fact, despite being a small gem in itself (check out for the magnificent Romanesque collection in the museum too!) one could arguee that there are 'other' similar monasteries elsewhere in Europe equally worthwhile. But Montserrat, as I said, is the name of the mountain range where the monastery complex is located. The name is Catalan for 'serrated mountain' as in the teeth of a saw and it's called so because of the peculiar shape of the peaks. The mountain has several trails and routes for easy to hard hiking which are a nice complement to a visit to the monastery complex (or vice versa!). Check this post for more info on Montserrat. In short, I would seriously reconsider a visit to Montserrat. Check post #5 at TA

As per the other questions:

  • Museu Picasso... it's risky... today I've walked by at 4ish and there was a long queue. In Barcelona you never know when a group of students -local and foreign alike-, or pensioners or simply tourists on a group trip are going to turn up, so you can never rely on "ah, an hour ago it was almost empty" :)) Yet I can appreciate your observation as per you being too tired.

  • There are no real cons/pros in visiting Casa Batlló during the day or in the evening as the visit is the same. If anything, if you're into photography you perhaps should visit with day light. This time of the year there's daylight until 6ish

  • Again, it does not really make any difference visiting Figueres on a Saturday. And while indeed the town will be busier as many locals will be strolling, buying, etc. that won't make much different to a visit to the museums -which most locals would have already seen a thousand times. If anything you won't find any school visit then, but nothing will save you from the hordes of tourists... those don't differentiate between weekday and weekend :))

  • I haven't experienced the Ghost tour so I can only rely my friend's impressions... yet having heard that, it's unlikely I'll ever take that tour. Too bad you can't take Runner Bean's instead. Yet maybe you can take another of their tours, say the Gaudí tour or the Old City tour.

  • As I said, I'd also go for the Sefarad. Not that the RB tour is not worth, but the Sefarad tour is probably more unique: http://www.sternalia.com/sefarad/unique-events.html?e=1

  • Re: Sant Pau del Camp, a word of advice... be prepared for a bit of disappointment regarding the schedule. Not being a regular tourist attraction -if you catch my drift- the running of the visits it's less than perfect. Just sayin'.

Just for added info, Chani after reading many of your posts I feel you're the type of visitor that might enjoy this: http://www.casessingulars.com/en/ This company offers very unique tours with high quality experts on the different matters. It's very well connected and aside the tours to Casa Batlló, Ametller, Palau Güell or Torre Bellesguard -which in fact are also accessible for visiting directly on your own- they also have access to visiting other more exclusive venues such as Casa Rocamora, The Medicine Academy, The Science and Arts Academy or the Oleguer Junyent Workshop among other. Also, soon the Palau del Baró de Quadras will be included in this catalogue. More info.

Posted by
1536 posts

This is very helpful for me too -- I will be lodging at the same location on Easter Sunday and the day after,
so my plans are more modest, but I may try to get the tour of the Sciences Academy building on Monday afternoon.
I will be taking Nick Lloyd's walking tour on the civil war on Monday morning, and will consider the Runner Bean tour on Sunday morning, will use the RS Barcelona guide for the rest of my short visit.
I'd like to fit in the MUHBA and the History museum and the Picasso Museum, but not sure it's possible.

What are your dining recommendations there in the Gotic area? It seems hard to believe that there are any gems still hidden, but I've been surprised that there still are out-of-the-way spots even in high-traffic barrios.

Posted by
14227 posts

Hola Enric. I think I've figured it out.

Montserrat - I will wait and see. If the weather's good, I'll probably go, for the scenic beauty . . .

Picasso Museum - I meant that I can probably buy a ticket online for the following day. I'll monitor the sight to see if tickets are selling out.

Figueres - I'd rather avoid the school tours, so Saturday it shall be. Thanks for that too.

I just saw that a new exhibit begins on March 11 at the CaixaForum - "Impressionists and Moderns" so I will probably switch Montjuic to the 11th and stop there as well.

Sant Pau de Camp - Got it. I will be disappointed, but not upset, if it doesn't work out. I'm also thinking about going to Monestir de Pedralbes.

I looked at the Cases Singulars website. The buildings all look interesting! I will write to them and see if there are any tours while I'm in Barcelona. Gran Teatre del Liceu is also on my list. I fell in love with Montaner (Domenech? - or do the locals use both names?). I saw the vestibule of Casa Amatller, so I was also pleased to learn that it's now open to visitors.

Posted by
4556 posts

Hi Chani,

You've definitely been doing much research for your trip!

It looks like you've figured out your day to day itinerary, while visiting Barcelona ;-)

Enric is very knowledgeable & helpful.

Have a wonderful trip!

Priscilla

Posted by
2530 posts

Ahh Chani Monastir de Pedralbes is one of my favourite spots... an oasis of peace in the city. Luckily is located in the other side of town, well away of the most tourist areas -in fact it's located in the poshest district in the city: Pedralbes, meaning "white stones" in Old Catalan. It is considered to be one of the finest examples of Catalan Gothic architecture and allows to see the artistic legacy preserved by the community of nuns from the Order of Saint Clare throughout the centuries, from their origins in the 13th century to the present, and to find out about the way they live. There's still a small community of nuns living in the monastery. The monastery was built by King James II for his wife Queen Elisenda de Montcada, one of our most beloved queens here in Catalonia, and a hell of a woman, certainly not someone to mess with! :) From the centre of the city, Plaça Catalunya, is easily reachable by bus #22.

Anyone visiting that part of town, especially in/around May/early June, might like to visit afterwards the Parc de Cervantes which is a short stroll away. It hosts one of the biggest collections of rosebushes in this part of the world: 10,000 rosebushes of some 2,000 species and different varieties that at the peak flowering period may produce 150,000 roses blooming at a time... imagine the smell! There's an international flower contest held each year in that period.

Also, Palau de Pedralbes gardens (Pedralbes Royal Palace) is not far from this park, with both English and French influences, romantic bridges and verdant green areas. From mid June to early July it hosts an interesting music festival.

As per architect Domènech i Montaner (in Catalonia sometimes we refer to someone with one lastname only, sometimes we use both, especially if the first lastname is common and we insert the "i" in between, meaning and), there are plenty of works in the city, being the most famous visitable ones: Palau de la Música Catalana, the Sant Pau Centre Modernista (formerly known as Hospital de Sant Pau) and hotel Casa Fuster -have a drink in its bar in the ground floor!- and also Casa Lleó i Morera.. but there are plenty more.

Posted by
14227 posts

I'm practicing saying Domenech i Montaner and Puig i Cadafalch a lot! But Domenech i Montaner is still a mouthful. Is it too gauche to use just one name? which one?

I did see all the Montaner buildings you listed on my last (first) visit. I've been to palaces, mansions, Frank Lloyd homes, but the only house I want to live in is Casa Lleo Morera (if I could move it here!).

Posted by
14227 posts

PS - just moved Monestir de Pedralbes to the top of my list :-)

Posted by
2530 posts

If you use one last name only in any of those particular two figures your interlocutor might not initially understand who you're talking about since they both are known by their full two last names.

I take the opportunity for other readers -especially English natives- always so fond of shortening words :)), to warn you about not doing so with Catalan names (landmarks, etc) since many times the end results make no sense whatsoever (and even provoke hilarity) and can create confusion. Say you're going to the town of Vilanova... there are over half a dozen in Catalonia, so better use the full name (Vilanova del Camí, Vilanova i la Geltrú, etc). Same goes with landmarks or street names, for example, there's no shortening in Sagrada Família... saying just 'sagrada' (=sacred) is like refering to Saint Paul's (cathedral) as 'saint'.... saint what?! So you know, LOL! Yes, we do shorten names sometimes, but one's got to know what/how to shorten it, not just skipping a random part of the word :)))

Chani, if this helps: Domènech i Montaner sounds like "doo-meh-neck-ee-moon-tah-neh" and Puig i Cadalfach is roughly pronounced "poo-ee-jee-cah-dah-fahl-k" (give or take, some sounds you don't have in English). You can also listen to it clicking on the names above... I've linked it to Forvo, there's a user that has posted a quite decent pronuntiation. Note though like in many other countries, we here in Catalonia also have 'regional accents' for Catalan, so it might vary quite a bit from person to person depending on their origin, if you hear a lot of "ahhh" that's definitively Barcelonian, hahaha!

Btw, there are other buildings designed by Domènech i Montaner... spread across many cities in Catalonia. Unfortunately many are not open to visits. But, if you're into Modernism, know that there are plenty other famous architects from that time and many of their works in the city. This is just a sample located in l'Eixample district.

PS: Living in Casa Lleó i Morera?... get in line lady! :)))

Posted by
954 posts

Hi Chani, just offering my point of view, that I was not impressed with the Picasso Musem, after seeing the one in Paris. Nice building- his early works are IMHO the better part of the musem- just not great. The Miro was worth a taxi ride if you like him, and I do. A yearlong membership to the Picasso is just a little more than one entry fee unless there is a special exhibit; you go to a different window and get an ID with instant entry. Just an idea if you dont want to commit to a time.
Not a museum but, one of my friends who goes often likes to dine at El Cangrejo Loco. It's on the beach, upscale,had a whole seabass baked with garlic, peppers and oil. They fillet it at the table , nice views.
I liked the small shop Cacao Sampaka for artisanal chocolate- individal bars or bonbons- very good.
Tarragona was enjoyable. There is a tourist office with a good map, whch we did not find til halfway through the day.. The glimpses of the beaches from the train gave me the thought I should have brought my swimsuit.
The atmosphere at Montserrat outside the cathedral is tourist-trippy-- but inside it is lovely. I like geology so that aspect was of interest to me. You dont have to spend too long there, but if you have a lot of time it is a good decompress from the busyness of Barcelona.

Posted by
635 posts

Hi Chani,
I'm inspired by your trip planning! We are returning to Barcelona, too, and appreciate your dedication to a well planned vacation. Thank you for pointing out the new exhibit at the CaixaForum.

A couple thoughts:

I love a museum that is dedicated to 1 amazing artist and the Picasso Museum in Barcelona is one of those gems.

Montserrat is a wonderful day trip. I suggest buying your metro/train tickets that includes the cable car at the TI for a smooth journey. The cable car up to the mountain is really fun, but if you don't like cable cars you can take the rack railway. We also brought a picnic lunch and did some light hiking.

Enjoy and keep us posted on your well-thought out itinerary!

Posted by
14227 posts

Thank you all for your time and enthusiasm and good wishes. I just booked my first stop - the Santa Maria del Mar rooftop rooftop tour for next Tuesday. In exactly one week (and 2 hours) I should be walking through El Prat.

Posted by
11798 posts

The only walking tour I took in Barcelona was the Barri Gotic tour run by the TI. I thought it was a good tour and good value.

I think you can visit anywhere on a Saturday but expect bigger crowds at the popular spots (year round). At Montserrrat There might be lines to touch the "Tan Madonna" and to get on the cable car on Saturdays, as well as more people on the trails. I prefer fewer lines, so might go there on another day. They have daily bus loads of tour groups, see the Madonna first then hike through the middle of the day if you can. If you don't have transportation, the bus stations and/or TI offer cheap day trips.

My planning is all before the trip. I try to exhaustively search all the options, so I know what's available (where, days/hours, cost, what to be sure to see, etc.). I supplement this with a trip to the TI so I know any current events my planning didn't already highlight. When I'm on the ground, I may choose to skip one thing in favor of another, but I try to know what I'm giving up and why.

Posted by
14227 posts

Hi Brad. I did take the TI's Barri Gotic tour, on the basis of your recommendation, not expensive, interesting route and excellent guide.

I think I've done my homework this time. Along with guide books and many websites, I've reread some of your posts and your great trip report (which was of much use to me on both my previous trips). . . . this time, I expect clean toilets . . . but due to Las Fallas in Valencia and Semana Santa in Sevilla, "affordable lodging" . . . not so much.

Posted by
1 posts

Monserrat is beautiful, but go early so you can see the children choir and have time to hike.

Posted by
1536 posts

I think Chani is on her way there right about now -- Buen Viaje! -- and she and I are planning a meet up on the 17th to see the Las Fallas floats for this year. The TI tour claims it will get us into some of the private sections that afternoon. I'm getting pretty excited.

Posted by
14227 posts

leaving for the airport in 10 minutes :-)

see you soon Avi

Posted by
2530 posts

... well, by now I should say: Welcome to Barcelona Chani! :))

Posted by
14227 posts

What a pleasure it was to arrive through El Prat. From the minute the plane landed until I was in Place de Catalunya, everything was fast, easy and efficient.

After lunch at Elsa y Fred, I took the roof-top tour of Santa Maria del Mar - beautiful church, excellent guide, and an interesting viewpoint of the neighborhood - the rooftop patios of the apartments looked so inviting, even in March.

Posted by
7124 posts

Through teeth gritted with jealousy, I wish you an absolutely fantastic journey Chani.
Safe travels my friend, and give my regards to BCN.

Posted by
4556 posts

Chani,

It's great to hear that you've started your trip so amazingly well!

iBuen viaje mi amiga!

iSaludos a mi ciudad favorita, Córdoba!

Posted by
14227 posts

David, I will try my best to enjoy every moment in your name.

After a useless quest in the Barri Gotic, I made my way to the Ruta de Moderisme office to buy the guide book. My information was that it was in the TI at Placa de Catalunya. It moved "years ago" to the 21st floor of a buiding (the only one that tall) near the Drassanes metro. It is worth going up there for the view! When I admired it, they told me I could go out to the stairs (fire escape?) to see it better and take photos.

After a sandwich (great little shop opposite the Ajuntament) I decided to give the Picasso Museum a shot. No line for tickets. Maybe the threat of rain kept everyone at home. Then I took the TI's Moderisme walking tour. The guide, Maribel, was excellent. There were only 5 of us on the tour, and the rain did not dampen our spirits or our interest.

Then I spent half an hour at Sants station. I bought my tarjeta dorada - they accepted my driver's license as proof of age. Then I got a number to buy tickets (with my TD discount). It was worth the wait, and the take-a-number system works well, instead of standing in line, you sit and wait to be called. Very civilized. But you can only buy regional train tickets on the day you are traveling so I'll have to get up a little earlier in the morning. Tomorrow - Tarragona.

Posted by
4556 posts

Hi Chani,

How did you like Tarragona?
I've enjoyed your posts, I hope you keep them coming!
I wish I were back in Spain... Enjoy!

Priscilla

Posted by
14227 posts

Where have the days gone? It's after 1 a.m. on Holy Monday in Malaga. My body gave out about an hour ago, so now I'm in bed with my feet up (aah, heaven) and watching the rest of the processions on TV - live. I can't bear to turn it off.

I didn't do more than half of what I'd planned in Barcelona. The Chocolate Museum was okay, but the chocolate wasn't nearly as good as French chocolate. Later I went to the very interesting Hash Museum . . . unlike the former, no samples, free or otherwise.

I was not overly impressed with the Roman ruins in Tarragona. They don't begin to compare with Italy's treasures, and even our (Israeli) ones are . . . well, better. The cathedral's cloister is lovely. BTW I never got to the Monestir de Pedralbes cloisters. I did see the church (lovely) as part of a private motorcycle tour I got . . . the absolute best way to see Barcelona. At midday I was ready to relax for an hour over lunch, and expected to find a good choice of places in the historic center, but didn't see any. I ended up walking down to the Rambla where I found a lovely cafe and had the local Vermut. . . sweet and very tasty. After the second glass (no one told me how strong it is), I wasn't up to hiking uphill for more sightseeing, so I just headed to the train station. The train ride is lovely, right along the seasshore for most of the journey. On the other hand, I was quite impressed with the Roman ruins in Barcelona's MUHBA Plaça del Rei.

My other day trip was to Figueres. The bus was waiting when the train arrived. It stops near the center, just a few meters from the TI, where I picked up a map and got some walking directions (take the "scenic" route past La Ramba) to the Dali Museum. I arrived about 1/2 hour after they opened (on Saturday), no line for tickets and only a few people already inside. An hour later the place was very full including several high school student groups. So much to take in, quite an experience. I'd read that it's hard to find the exit, but there are lots of signs and I picked up a floor plan which made it quite easy to "navigate." The Dali Jewels are gorgeous too.

I devoted a day to Montjuic. The funicular isn't running (major overhaul, I think), but there's a bus instead. I bypassed the Miro Museum and had a leisurely downhill stroll through a charming park with enticing views of the city to the Ethnology Museum which I found well worth my time. The last stop was MNAC, and I wish I had taken heed of Harold's advice to allow plenty of time. 2-1/2 hours wasn't nearly enough. I rushed through the top floors and wished I'd had another hour at the very least to enjoy it.

Posted by
2258 posts

Feliz Semana Santa Chani! Sounds like you are having a wonderful trip. I will be in touch with you directly, soon after you are back home, as I will be traveling to Spain about a week later. I will try to give your brain a day or two to rest and recuperate, before I start to pick it for good ideas! Shalom, Chani, and enjoy!

Posted by
4556 posts

Hi Chani,

Where have the days gone?

Time flies when you're having fun!

Thanks for the update, sounds like you're enjoying your trip very much!

Posted by
7124 posts

OK, more details are definitely required of this "private motorcycle tour" in Barcelona.
Happy travels. Safe travels.

Posted by
14227 posts

David, I am trying to represent you well, wearing the beautiful aboriginal design top I bought at Circular Quay a few years back. What would you like to know about my bike tour? We zipped through just about all the neighborhoods of Barcelona, passing (and stopping) at many landmarks, and churros and xoco too. The city is beautiful wherever you look, and lively just about any time of day or night. I was sad to leave Barcelona.

My arrival in Valencia was a bit daunting. I got there about an hour before the afternoon Mascleta, so the center was cordoned off and chockablock with fun seekers. I was lucky to find someone who could give me good walking directions to my hotel. It was an easy walk, and the hotel (Astoria) was much more upscale than I'd expected. An untimely illness (something that started as flu but then turned into a nasty cold that is almost gone now, after 10 days) kept me from going to the midnight fireworks. Feeling a bit better after a good night's sleep, I began to explore . . . beautiful buildings, charming plazas, and the intoxicating aroma of orange blossoms everywhere. . . and Fallas, amusing, imaginative, colorful, and intricately designed. Some are cute, some are clever, and some are downright pornographic. David - don't even bother to ask for details, they might make the Webmaster ban me from the forums.

Posted by
7124 posts

Even more 'out there' than Gay Pride in Tel Aviv? Sounds like a wonderful time.
As I type this a dear friend has just left Melbourne bound for Barcelona and Spain for two weeks. And I received an email last night from my aunt wanting Barcelona advice for a planned visit in August.

Aargh. Pulling my hair out. Jealousy runs deep.

ps. I believe the Webmaster is quite broad minded.

Posted by
650 posts

I know this post is a month old however I must state that I found Montserrat extremely fascinating. The location is spectacular and the monastery and buildings are beautiful. I do not think it is forgettable.

Posted by
11232 posts

"The last stop was MNAC, and I wish I had taken heed of Harold's advice to allow plenty of time. 2-1/2 hours wasn't nearly enough. I rushed through the top floors and wished I'd had another hour at the very least to enjoy it."

For anyone else reading this: the fact that the ticket for MNAC is good for two days within a 30 day period was my first clue that the museum is huge. Spending a half day there and just getting to seeing the top floor (not even getting to see anything on the ground floor at all) was my second hint that I needed to have allotted more time to see the museum.

Sounds like you're having a great trip, Chani (except of course for getting sick).

Posted by
1536 posts

I was very glad to connect with Chani on the 17th in Valencia -- we were heading in opposite directions, so after Valencia / Las Fallas I went up to Tarragona and then Girona and then Barcelona, and back home now. Will be posting a variety of reviews and observations over the next few days.
One quick item -- I'm glad that Chani reminded me about putting together a picnic. This turned out well at least once in the days that followed.

Posted by
14227 posts

That was the picnic meal for my 4.5 hour train ride. I usually have picnic meals several times on a trip, but not in Spain - the tapas are too enticing.

Avi - I hope you post about the rest of your time in Valencia and especially about Las Fallas. I must admit, the day I left the crowds were so daunting that I was not a little relieved to be going.

I will try to write more later, before the memories fade too much. There's so much to do now that I'm home, clean the house, lots of laundry, catch up with friends, and spend the weekend in Jerusalem.

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1536 posts

I have to admit that for the final mascleta the crowd was packed so tightly that I was getting concerned about safety, in a soccer stampede / kumbha mela / hajj level of density. For the crema/final burning that night, I left the historic center before things went up, and instead attended the burning nearer to my lodging, in Cabanyal and the Creu de Greu. Much more local flavor anyway.