Barcelona – Birthday trip #2

If you’ve been following me on social media, you may have seen that we’d recently visited Barcelona as part of Chris’s birthday celebrations. Now whilst I enjoyed what we did – even the football stadium tour. The organisation of the hotel was to put it nicely – a joke.

I’ll start with the positives, I’d got a really fab deal through Jet2, who were offering 3 nights, transfers, insurance and breakfast for 2 people for £758 which I thought was quite alright to be fair. We were also able to receive the £100 off per person at the time of booking so that brought the price down too.
As we arrived at the hotel around tea time, we took a short walk to get some food, with me suffering from allergies, we took the easy option and found ourselves in a McDonalds, but they did have different menu options so it was something different than the usual UK menu.

On our first full day, I had originally lined up a helicopter tour of Barcelona, but unfortunately this had to be cancelled, so we went to the Zoo instead. As it was out of season, and term-time the zoo was easy to get around so we managed to see all of the open enclosures. As it was out of the main season, the zoo had taken the opportunity to complete maintenance on a few enclosures so some areas had no or limited access. We visited around 10am and spent a few hours there, most of the animals were active so we had opportunities to take lots of photos.

After this we followed google maps (huge mistake) to take a 20 minute an hours walk up to the Disney store in hope of getting a Spanish themed Minnie and Mickey. Unfortunately they didn’t sell these in the Barcelona store, but all was not lost as they had the Hard Rock Café around the corner so we went there for tea. Much to my happiness they had the mango tango mocktail, so I had that with the mandatory souvenir glass.

 

Once we left the HRC, we walked over the road to Plaza De Catalunya where they have the fountains. I believe these may be the ones which light up through some stages of the year. Even without the lights these were lovely to see, they were surrounded by a number of statues and a street entertainer making giant bubbles.

Fountains

We then resided back to the hotel and checked out the skyline view from the hotel roof – which was causing me major vertigo! After taking a few snaps we went back to settle down before our final full day.

Chris had been gifted the Camp Nou tour for his birthday, so as we were quite far away we’d prebooked for one of the Hop-On Hop-Off tours, so we had a stroll to the bus stop to be told we were booked with the other company that operates in Barcelona. Ugh. Luckily the driver had been really helpful and tried to direct us to the nearest stop for that company. Although, language barriers meant it was quite difficult to follow as to where we were meant to go. I managed to find the website for the other company on my phone, so we headed to the first stop for this. We took the blue route, which took us past the Segrada La Familia, Park Guell and Camp Nou, the whole blue route lasts 1hr 45 mins approx.


We originally got off to go to the Camp Nou tour, the stop is directly outside of the gates for the tour, the tour is self-directed and you can get an audio guide if you wish. Upon arrival we were given a wristband so we could have our photos taken at various points across the tour. The photos are 21EUR for one or 5 for 50EUR. We took the 5 as we probably won’t return again. Just a word of warning – some of the photo points are taken at a green screen, don’t wear green like I did, though it did give hilarious results! I didn’t even realise until after!

The store is quite pricey, and there’s on bit where you can buy a bit of pitch grass… the store assistant was really trying to sell it to us by saying the Messi had touched that specific bit. Okay then love.
There’s also opportunity on the VR set, for 5EUR you can experience the sights and sounds of a match taking place, Chris had a go and said it was definitely worth the money. You can also buy a coin with a picture of the stadium on it for 4EUR, as this was the cheapest souvenir item, we did go for it, as we’d not be returning.

The tour itself leads you through the trophies and kits over the years, the stands, the executive seats, the press room, dressing room and commentator boxes (which is really high up) Even though I’m not interested in football, I can see the appeal of the tour to fans and would recommend it to football fans if you’re visiting Barcelona.

We then got the bus back to Plaza De Catalunya, and had another meal in Hard Rock Café. Tell you battling allergies is awful in Spain! So I’ll go where I know! After this we went took the red route back towards the stop closest to our hotel (about a 15 minute walk) the red route was also included in our ticket and took us through the Olympic Village which had some stunning views of Barcelona as the sun was setting, and the ports.

Sunset

Right – now I can’t leave out the negatives, as it’s word of warning to anyone going to Barcelona. Upon arrival at the hotel, we were told that everything in our room rate was included, including the mini-bar. Fab! However, when leaving, we were presented with a 47EUR bill, after debate, I was getting flustered and panicky we reluctantly paid it (must have seen me coming!) All other hotels I’ve stayed in that offered a mini-bar had a price list on the fridge, and was also fitted with a sensor to count item removal – which would have been very helpful. There was a small petrol station over the road, and we’d of happily paid those prices if we knew we were going to be charged so much!
The fire alarm had also been going off in the hotel, which went on for quite a lengthy period, so being safety conscious and not wanting to be burnt alive, we went to reception and I said that the alarm is sounding on our floor. A very rude receptionist, responded to say that it’s not just our floor it’s the whole hotel. No sh*t.
She then preceded to try and reassure me, that if we needed to vacate we’d be called. It was a pretty big hotel, there’s no record of who’s in or out. So are you telling me you’d be ringing every single room….? Okay then…
We then been told that our transfer information to the airport would be left with the reception desk the day before, it wasn’t. The same helpful receptionist from the day before said there’s no record and laughed at my obvious panic we were about to be stranded at the hotel.

Fast forward to checking out and waiting for our transfer… which we finally found the information for. We waited in the location we’d been given for 45 minutes before we were due to be there, a coach pulled up not matching the company name listed on the online information (luckily I recognised it from the one that dropped us off) and then preceded to back out causing Chris to chase him down the street.

So overall, I enjoyed the things we did in Barcelona, and it probably has a lot more to offer, but my experience of the people I’d encountered, I don’t think I want to return

 

Until next time

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