Visiting Barcelona: A tourism dilemma?
Now that that unpleasant business is out of the way, where were we? Oh yes, telling you about all the things to do and experience in Barcelona! Full disclosure, when we first visited the city way back in our halcyon backpacker days of the early aughts (that's the early 2000s), we'd perhaps never been more disappointed with a destination. The city was overcrowded (even then), La Rambla was full of beggars and prostitutes, Gaudí's strange creations just didn't really do it for us, the beach was dirty and wholly uninviting and as the final insult to our injurious tourist experience, what had hitherto been our infallible travel bible, the venerable Lonely Planet, completely screwed us by saying that the Dali Museum was open on Mondays, which we only found out was not actually the case at the end of a two-hour train ride to Figueres. However, in terms of silver linings, this whole experience did at least teach us to keep our expectations low lest we be disappointed - a lesson that has served us well till this day.
Of course, if political upheaval and massive local protests explicitly imploring you not to visit aren't going to dissuade you, then neither should the curmudgeonly ramblings of a former backpacker turned travel writer. And visit you should, as Barcelona is one of the continent's most visited cities for a reason. The climate, the food, the atmosphere (especially out of the main tourist nexus), the culture and even those crazy buildings, sculptures and massive unfinished church conceived of by one Antoni Gaudí i Cornet are all perfectly excellent reasons to book that 20 quid Easyjet flight, reserve that cosy couch in the corner of someone's living room and plunge into the tourist fray. And if you do so, good luck and Godspeed!