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Barcelona Guide Book
on 12 October 2012
During my working life I have been to Barcelona and stayed in the city on many occasions. I have had a chance to explore the city -either by an open top tourist bus -red or blue routes, or by jogging around parts of it -a great way to get to know the place and build an appetite for dinner later. I have stayed in a hotel round the corner from the "Camp Nou" -Barcelona FC's ground. The ground is one of the Lonely Planet's "Top Sites" -as is Gaudi La Sagrada Familia -which is still being built and La Rambla which is a great tree-lined walk down to the harbour to view Columbus's statue set up on high -a bit like Neslon's column
Barcelona is my favourite European city. I think the Lonely Planet guide is packed with good advice -both for short stay visitors -and also those who want to go back a few times. It has a great "Day Planner" to make the most of your visit -but ensure you relax and enjoy the atmosphere of cafes and restaurants en route-it is the "coolest city" as the Lonely Planer says -it adds, "in the world"..'not sure if San Francisco doesn't take that prize for me.
I like the layout of the book which has 7 overlay maps on pages 18-19 which then are described in detail in the later sections
Each of the 7 sections immediately tells you of the top sights -and those that you can explore in just one day.If you arrive in Barcelona say on a Friday and leave on a Sunday, then it is good to go ready prepared. I usually make a list of good weather/wet weather sites so that I am not wasting time - but ensuring there are coffee stops on the way-the Lonely Planet is ideal
And for a short visit this ~A6 sized pocket guide is all you need. It has a larger map at the back too.
The guide book has the Catalan phrases on pages 178-178. For example bon dia for good morning rather than buenos dias as in the other parts of Spain(well most of it!). It is good to have a go -and the two pages are pretty good (French is also a standby if you get stuck as it's just up the coast)
The other 'plus' is that within each section there are mini maps too for particular areas. For example, on page 108 there is a street map of Gracia -which is also marked with a suggested route to follow.
The maps are very clear and uncluttered (one of my key criteria -the balance of sufficient information without cramming too much onto the map that you can't navigate around it with ease)
The guide covers good eating and drinking places -and night life-the locations of these are shown in the smaller maps with their own map reference
There is a survival guide on pages 171-177. It covers airport arrival and the use of taxis, buses, trains and guides on tipping. It is also lists several useful web sites that you can explore as part of your preparation prior to visiting Barcelona
So for a short visit -and a longer one of say, 1 week plus, this small book will help you find your feet and plan the hours that you are there.
Having been to Barcelona several times I can't spot anything that is missing in this lonely planet book. Try to get around as much as you can on foot to really soak up the atmosphere of this really chilled city - a very good guide that meets the needs it set out to achieve