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If you had two months to explore...

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Phoenix, Arizona
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If you had two months to explore...

My husband and I have rented an apartment in Barcelona for September and October. We will be working remotely during US business hours (evenings) but will have most of the days free to explore the city. We did something similar a few years back in Paris, and what we enjoyed most was being able to: 1.) see all the main tourist sites w/the luxury to devote lots of time and not rush from one to the other and 2.) see/do lots of local-type activities that we wouldn't have tried to squeeze in if we'd only been there a week. We are hoping that we will have a similar experience in Barcelona and try to really get to "know" the city (as well as one can in 2 months' time, anyway).

A little about us:

* this is our first time in Barcelona. I speak conversational Spanish, and have been using flashcards to learn some basic Catalan phrases.

* our apartment will be near the Placa del Pi

* we are late 30's/early 40's and reasonably in shape/active

* we love long walks (have purchased CityWalks Barcelona and printed Enric's helpful color-coded walks).

* we are "foodies" who love street food as well as fine dining

* we are looking forward to experiencing La Merce, are there any other lesser-known festivals that we should plan for in Sept/Oct?

* we aren't planning on booking too many things prior to our arrival - are there any "must-see" things that would need to be booked more than 2 months out?

We definitely have guidebooks, have done lots of research, been monitoring this forum regularly, etc. These sources of info have been great but I thought I'd open this thread to solicit advice from people who have actually "been there". What would you do if you had two full months to explore the city and its surroundings? Locals: if you had lots of leisure time, what would be some of the activities/places you would most want to do/see in your city? Frequent visitors: is there anything you gave a miss because you did not have enough time? Was there anything you "stumbled upon" off the beaten path that was a highlight of your trip?

Thanks in advance for your advice!

Barcelona, Spain
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1. Re: If you had two months to explore...

Hi! if you have time go to El Turó de la Rovira " Els Bunkers", from there you have amazing views of the city

barcelona
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2. Re: If you had two months to explore...

Hi,

If you are thinking to visit cities around Barcelona, I suggest Vic ! If you are interested in food: during in the villages of la Seu (ok is a little far of barcelona) there is a cheese's fair very interesting:

http://www.firasantermengol.cat/

I suggested visit other festival as Santa Tecla in Tarragona (around 23th of September) ;

Barcelona, Spain
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for Barcelona, Berlin
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3. Re: If you had two months to explore...

Go on Nick Lloyd's Civil War walks, one in the city centre, one on Montjuic

look at www.barcelona-metropolitan.com to see about some off-the-beaten track things. It's a magazine aimed at expats living in the city and surrounding area

I'm not sure what you'll find in the way of "street food" apart from the odd van selling churros. People don't eat on the move here. Or picnic in parks. At least the locals don't.

Edited: 20 June 2014, 22:11
Phoenix, Arizona
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4. Re: If you had two months to explore...

Thank you for that link and the tour suggestion, Lynda. What I meant by my food comment was that we enjoy food in general - we have adventurous palettes and would try a variety of foods if anyone wants to recommend a favorite local spot to grab a bite. We will definitely plan to eat as the locals do -- sitting down, at a table. :-)

I also appreciate the suggestions from Laia and 5de8. The la Seu cheese festival sounds like something interesting and unique. And we will definitely check El Turó de la Rovira for the city views.

I knew I would get some great suggestions from the TA board...keep them coming, please!

Shrewsbury
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5. Re: If you had two months to explore...

If you have the opportunity, then try to get out and about, especially if you are willing to rent a car. The Ebro delta is both beautiful and exotic and has some fantastic places to eat with a very local cuisine. The restaurants in El Poblenou del Delta are all fabulous and the Allotjament Marjal is a lovely place to stay for a night or two. Hard to enjoy w/o a car, though.

Up north the area around the Pyrenees is breathtakingly beautiful. We drove a 140 km round trip yesterday to do some bird, butterfly and orchid spotting around the Massif de Pedraforca and extended our journey for a late and leisurely lunch in Cal Gabriel in the village of Tuixent. It's a delightful rural hostal which is an amazing place to stay because of the simplicity and the location. Nearby (50 kms?) Hostal Rural de Falgars is also truly special, should you not be frightened and spending time with yourselves and w/o TV and similar distractions.

If you're still around at the end of October then the festival of Santa Ursula in Valls is pretty good. The only reason we're not going this year is that we will have had three weeks in late September/early October in Catalunya so simply can't get the time off. The pinnacle of the festival is the day of castells when the two local teams, Colla Joves Xiquets de Valls and Colla Vella dels Xiquets de Valls have a very competitive session in front of a committed and well informed crowd. Hotel Class is a pleasant enough 'corporate' style hotel in the town and where the English supporters of Colla Joves tend to stay. Look on the internet for videos etc. of Santa Ursula 2013.I think there's one by Aura Domenech who is a Colla Joves casteller that is rather good.

Hope this helps.

Barcelona, Spain
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6. Re: If you had two months to explore...

Best meal-deal is the menu del día served at lunchtime 1-4pm approx., 10-13€ in many places, a few are a bit more. 3 or 4 choices per course normally (with paella a standard as a first course on Thursdays-...I have no idea why that day!). Some places offer the set-price option in the evenings and also lunchtime at weekends

This is not adventurous food, for Spaniards at least, but does offer challenges to those of us who did not grow up here, and want the challenge! Hint, as you will see in supermarket meat sections (even) Spaniards use all parts of an animal.

Two places I go to faily regularly are El Glop del Teatre on Carrer Casp (opposite the Teatre Tivoli) and Sagarra on the corner of Pintor Fortuny and Xuclá. The latter in particular is great home-cooking and has menu del dia on Saturday too, El Glop is bigger but still very good. El Taller de Tapas on Comtal has a good menu del día weekday lunchimes (not tapas)

All theses are an easy walk from your apartment.

Apart from Catalan food and dishes from other areas of Spain, there are lots of "ethnic" restaurants too.

Shrewsbury
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7. Re: If you had two months to explore...

One other thing I meant to mention, if you are comfortable with reading Catalan and a Twitter user, then consider following some local cultural groups. Amongst the ones I follow is Diables de les Corts who quite often post about local cultural events that one might otherwise miss. There are plenty of others. I think Facebook is similarly a source of up to date info but I don't use it.

And following on from Lynda's comments on menu del dias, the menu at Cal Gabriel yesterday included rabbit and a stew made from beef from very local 'bruneta' cows that was exquisite. At €15 it's a bit pricier than some but worth every penny.

Shrewsbury
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8. Re: If you had two months to explore...

Here's an example of why it might be worth getting out of town for a festival or two - a couple of videos from last night in Berga during La Patum. Yesterday was the Patum Infantil which speaks for itself and it's much less intense than the adult version. We actually missed most of it because we had a long day in the mountains but caught the Tirabols at the end, a sort of mass dance that swirls around the square. The tune is El Patumaire and the funereal pace at the beginning is used frequently to inject an element of humour into what is essentially a very light-hearted piece.

…travelpod.com/travel-blog-entries/…tpod.html

The two videos are currently at the beginning but that will change as I add more content. But before then, a day in Cardona beckons.

Liverpool
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9. Re: If you had two months to explore...

As Lynda has said, Nick Lloyd and his Barcelona Civil War Tour is brilliant, though his tour of Montjuic Cemetery i think won't be on till sometime in October due to building works?

USA
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10. Re: If you had two months to explore...

I had two months last year, and finishing up another two months just now. My web page about Barcelona: http://www.billdietrich.me/Barcelona.html

I would take train-trips out to Sitges, Tarragona, Montserrat, Girona, Figueres. Concerts in Palau Musica, MEAM museum, other places (maybe more frequent in the summer, I don't know). Take advantage of free entry times to museums.