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Trip Notes: NJ to Barcelona: March 2011

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Northern NJ
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Trip Notes: NJ to Barcelona: March 2011

DOLLARS TO EUROS:

I ordered some from Bank of America and got them the next day even with standard shipping ($7.50). You need to be home to sign for the package, they do not allow them to be left at the door. Once in Barcelona, I used the Barclays ATM. A withdrawl of 100 euro resulted in $142 USD being taken from my account. I think it was cheaper to use the ATM than to order them, but I liked arriving with the Euros - no worrying about paying for transportation to the hotel,

FLIGHT:

Continental from Newark. They offered free movies, including The King's Speech and True Grit. Bring good headphones so you can truly enjoy this little perk. Duty-free items are for sale ON THE PLANE, including Marlboro cigarettes for $31/carton - cheaper than buying in Barcelona for @4 euro/pack. Don't accept debit cards or cash - credit only.

ARRIVAL AT BCN:

Aerobus not clearly marked until you actually get down to the bus stop - to find it you need to keep following signs with pictures of the bus. The ticket machine wasn't working - we had to pay driver for for a r/t ticket. Outside attendant sells only one-way tickets.

Bus stopped right in front of hotel. Quick and easy!

PLAZA HOTEL

The desk clerks speak English.

Had to pay 5 Euro per day for safe key and lock. No ice buckets in room and no ice machines in hotel but I saw someone get a bag of ice in Piano Bar (not sure if free). No piano player in the Piano Bar all week.

TV has 31 channels and only 2 (BBC and CNN) are in English. Hard core porn is on one of the channels, so bring DVD player for the kiddies..

You need to put your room key in a slot inside the door to get the lights to work. Also, you may need an adaptor for your 2-pin adaptor to make the pins longer by 3/4 of an inch - the socket was recessed in the wall and a regular adaptor isn't long enough.

Breakfast buffet was ok, but not great. Toast, bacon, beans, Poached eggs, fruit, juices, coffee, cheesecake.

The arena next door is now a mall (opened this week) with a walkway along the top. People with telephoto camera lenses can see in your room if you are on that side of the hotel.

HOP ON/HOP OFF BUS (Bus Turistic):

23 Euro for 1 day and 30 Euro for 2 days. There are 3 routes (red, blue and green) and you can transfer to the other lines if you want.

A few notes: The top deck gets COLD, dress warm. If you are on the Blue Route, the lines to get back on are very long starting at Parc Guell. After people got back on at this stop, very few got off again. When we stopped at Tibidabo and the rest of the stops, very few people were able to fit on the bus and were left behind to wait for another bus. Some were very angry and asked the driver what city buses would get them to their destination. Also, the stop at Parc Guell involves walking up a steep hill. I later noticed that a block past the stop the next street had escalators that went up the hill, Much easier, but it wasn't announced (or I missed it),

The Barcelona City Tour bus seemed to have shorter lines.

LANGUAGE BARRIER:

We had a tough time communicating in many places. We tried to learn some Spanish, but it wasn't enough, especially at restaurants. I suggest you learn some key phrases related to ordering food before you go.

TOURIST SITES:

MNAC Museum: Nothing was written in English. If you want to know about the artwork and don't speak Spanish, you'll need to get the audio tour.

Montjuic: We walked to the top from MNAC and it was a hike, but do-able. Great views and free, We made a mistake by thinking that the cable car went down to the beach from the top. It was actually 2 different cable cars and required walking between the two and 2 different ticket purchases. The one from Miramar to the beach was packed like a sardine can with everyone standing, so we didn't bother with that one.

SCAMS?

Some kids near the escalators at MNAC tried to get us to sign a petition - we kept walking. We also saw an old man sitting on the steps near Placa Espanya discreetly toss something next to some kids sitting nearby and then get up and point it out to them. Not sure of what that was about. Also, the cashier at the concession stand at Montjuic overcharged us for snacks (I asked for a paper receipt before I ordered and saw it on my receipt). He gave me back the 2 euro when I pointed it out. OTHERWISE, we felt safe when walking around the city, including side streets.

I will try to post more as I remember some key points....

Edited: 27 March 2011, 03:11
Baltimore, Maryland
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1. Re: Trip Notes: NJ to Barcelona: March 2011

That was interesting, thanks for posting. Going for week to Barcelona in early April, and would love to hear anything else you remember.

california
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2. Re: Trip Notes: NJ to Barcelona: March 2011

Thanks for th info!

I have a question about the barclay banks with bank of America

Did u get charged any ATM fee or international transaction fee? I saw on the b of a website they only mention barclay in England ??

3. Re: Trip Notes: NJ to Barcelona: March 2011

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