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Old 01-21-2007, 11:53 AM   #1
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Default Barcelona Experts - This one's for you

I'm still in Paris till Wednesday, but now that I'm almost done here, I'm looking towards the next part of this trip which will take place in Barcelona!

I am familiar with traditional suggestions for sightseeing, but I would like any suggestions that you guys can provide, as well as, some help with the following:

1) I have been told many things about Barcelona and people usually fall into one of two camps - Barcelona is very safe, just like any other large city, watch your shit and you'll be ok, but there is also the Spain is notorious for pickpockets and muggings, you could be held at knifepoint in broad daylight, etc...

I take a lot of pictures and I'm a little worried this is going to make me a target...What's the consensus on this? I'm staying near the Old District. If you're facing La Ramblas from the beach, I'm on the left side of it. Someone told me this is a very unsafe area?

2) Any areas in Barcelona that I need to stay away from?

3) I would like to do a good bar crawl to sample the nightlife. Hopefully, something with dancing. Any suggestions?
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Old 01-21-2007, 07:16 PM   #2
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Spain in general was full of pickpockets. I lost my wallet out of my front pocket Madrid and then found a guy in my pocket in Barcelona. pickpockets are usually people that want to avoid conflict so make your self a tough target. keep you stuff in front of you or locked, nothing in you back pockets. don't stop moving with out covering your back, like on escalators. it sucks being paranoid and never being off guard, but when your alone your an easy target.
I stayed behind the Apollo at hello bcn, it was not a real bad area until you started to head too far west. the other parts of the city were fine.
As for night life there were some pub crawls based out of the hostel, i kinda just ran into people at the hostel and just stayed there at night.
Hopefully i didn't scare you to much but you really have to watch what you do everywhere you go, it really sucks to get taken.
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Old 01-21-2007, 09:42 PM   #3
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I'll echo everything Kevin said. Barcelona is the pickpocketing capital of Western Europe. They are good but not magicians, just be super alert in subways/buses/train stations etc.

I have posted this before but it probably bears repeating. Everyone who got pickpocketed told me the same story: I was distracted in a crowd.

It sorta sucks being paranoid, but you can get to the point where it is second nature. If you want to see how good you are (or how good they are) put a dummy wallet in your backpocket.

--Joey
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Old 01-22-2007, 01:24 AM   #4
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If you want to see how good you are (or how good they are) put a dummy wallet in your backpocket.
That's funny man, I was just thinking of doing that. Pick up a cheap one somewhere and leave a note inside: "Go fuck yourself!"
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Old 01-22-2007, 01:42 AM   #5
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Of course you'd have to write that in about 8 different languages just to make sure they get the message.
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Old 01-22-2007, 04:47 AM   #6
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yeah, you are def. gonna meet heaps of people in barca that will have first hand accounts of the pickpocketing. A guy I met on the bus on the way into town from the airport had someone try when we were taking our first steps onto the metro. then at the hostel i met people who had been picked twice in one night. and the staff working there had had purses snatched and stuff. but I just put my atm card and some cash into the tiny pocket of my jeans and i was fine. i didn't even bother carrying my wallet. i was sorta lucky though, i was wandering home from a club at about 5 am alone and got bogus directions from a hooker and then eventually got some good ones from a cop, then finally found a cab when i knew i was close, but couldn't quite find it. well, when i step outta the cab another hooker grabs me by the arm and starts walking with me. she might have gotten my wallet there if i had one on me, but i just pushed her away and went to my hostel. barcelona is def. worth the trouble, but just keep your wits about you. if your purse doesn't close at the top, then people are def. gonna get their hands in there. as for tips though, try to find a chopitos (sp) bar/shots bar. along with kabul's backpackers, cheapest places to get drunk that i found. 1.50Euro shots and they light the bar on fire and shit, and there's like 150 different ones.
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Old 01-22-2007, 05:27 AM   #7
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Of course you'd have to write that in about 8 different languages just to make sure they get the message.
HAHA!

--Joey
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Old 01-22-2007, 08:34 AM   #8
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i was in barca 3 times in my 2 month trip to europe...i kinda liked it haha.

but anyways...i never felt unsafe there...i actually felt more safe than i did in other places

i slept outside at the train station one night which was quite sketchy...obviously haha..i just tucked my purse under my shirt and i was ok.

as far as pickpockets...theyre all over las ramblas but i just hugged my purse or wore my backpack on the front of me and i never felt nervous at all...obviously when you stand and watch the street performers, youre a target...but just think before you stop and you'll be fine.
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Old 01-22-2007, 06:09 PM   #9
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You slept outside Estacio Sants or BCA-Franca? Actually it doesn't matter, you have more balls than me :-P

I have slept in Torino and Frankfurt (the German stations frequently have a Red Cross mission which is helpful...they even gave me tea!)

--Joey
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Old 01-24-2007, 12:40 AM   #10
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Quote:
Barcelona is very safe, just like any other large city, watch your shit and you'll be ok, but there is also the Spain is notorious for pickpockets and muggings, you could be held at knifepoint in broad daylight, etc...
As echoed repeatedly above, everyone has their Barcelona robbery stories. Both times I've been there, people have attempted to rob me, but unsuccessfully. The last time, they were rank amateurs. Overall, as the advice always goes: have your wits about you.

Quote:
I take a lot of pictures and I'm a little worried this is going to make me a target...What's the consensus on this?
Mmm.. considering half the people you see around Barcelona are tourists, you aren't any more a target with or without the camera out. Fortunately, this isn't during the summer, so it's not nearly as bad.

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If you're facing La Ramblas from the beach, I'm on the left side of it. Someone told me this is a very unsafe area?
The neighborhood's called the Raval, and it's a bit seedier than most in Barça. However, it's really not that bad. I wouldn't wander around most of it alone at night, but you'll find that it's mostly an ethnic area and that people are pretty nice overall. If you feel anything is sketchy, just cut over to the Rambla or Av del Paral.el, and you'll be on a wider, more friendly street.

Quote:
Any areas in Barcelona that I need to stay away from?
The Raval can be sketchy, as can be the Estacio Sants area. The south end of the Rambla near the sea is bad in the wee hours, full of hookers and such, but they generally don't bother girls. Overall, there's no place I'd avoid, but those are the areas I'd be more mindful of the people around me.

Quote:
I would like to do a good bar crawl to sample the nightlife. Hopefully, something with dancing.
The only one I know of is the Smashed Bar Crawl hosted by TravelBar, which is fun, but be warned that it's mostly full of Americans and Brits, and visits touristy Irish pubs and a weak club, so you won't get much local flavor. That said, it can be a ton of fun, and you'll get a small hint of the nightlife, but I can give you details of cool places to go otherwise. It runs on Tues, Thurs, and Sat nights, meeting up at TravelBar (Calle Boqueria 27, just off the Rambla) at 9:30-ish.

For some cool, hip tapas bar hopping with the locals, I'd recommend the Born neighborhood (about 1km east of La Rambla, just past Via Laietana). Or just north of where you're staying, the portion of l'Eixample north of the Raval, near the Universitat metro, there's some good nightlife including La Paloma nightclub. Farther afield, I highly recommend finding some buddies and going to Razzmatazz, which is several blocks off the Marina stop of the red (L1) metro line. It's four clubs and a live music venue in one, and surprisingly great for a mega-club. http://www.salarazzmatazz.com/ for listings.

You can read my latest account of Barcelona at http://omidabroad.blogspot.com - They're the postings spanning the end of December and the first week of January.
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Old 01-24-2007, 05:16 PM   #11
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I slept outside Sants....I was in Valencia and came to Barca for the night to see a friend I had met in Portugal..we went out till about 3AM and then she went back to her hotel with her aunt and I made my way to the train station...talking to myself outloud and telling myself I was OK and then just sat down and fell asleep with the crazies!
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Old 01-31-2007, 10:43 AM   #12
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I'm laughing as I write this because it's my last day in Barcelona and things have been really good. Aside from the fact I went nuts in Sephora and spent a crap load of money AND the Caixa Catalunya ATM ate my card.

Everything was awesome. Did the Travel Bar crawl twice and I had a little bit too much fun...

Barcelona is beautiful and completely safe. I was definitely very careful and watched everything, but I wasn't paranoid 24/7.

Thanks for all your input guys...

Ireland tomorrow!
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Old 01-31-2007, 01:55 PM   #13
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Awesome.. Good to hear!

Hey, that Caixa ATM wouldn't happen to have been one on Carrer de Ferran, east of the Rambla, north of Placa Reial, would it? I saw that one eat so many cards. First of which was mine, and on New Year's day, at that. Luckily, it gave it back after I waited around for 5 minutes. The keypad was smashed in - no cancel key!
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