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March 25, 2007

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Kristin

We went to Barcelona in late May 2003, and the temperatures were glorious. We did seem to get rained on every day, though, especially the day we went up to Parc Guell, which tempered my experience of the place a bit.

And ya know, there's a lot to be said for just chillin' when you're visiting Europe. I went to Paris four times in 2003-04 and didn't hit the Louvre once (I did go my first time, back in '91). But sometimes you just want to curl up in a cafe with a book rather than feel obligated to visit a temple of high culture just because you happen to be in the vicinity for the week. And some of the most delightful days I have had on the road have occurred as a result of just wanting to hang out and read in some cozy spot of no particular touristic appeal. 'Cause sightseeing is work, and it's supposed to be a vacation!

Lee Kottner

You are so right, Kristin. Sightseeing is hard work, especially when you've got a limited amount of time in which to do it. Last time I was in Europe, I had 8 weeks, which gives one a lot of loafing time. But I know I'm never going to see everything I want to see in Barcelona in 2 weeks, so I'm trying not to guilt myself into doing the "If it's Tuesday it must be Belgium" tour. I like to just sort of settle into a place and get a feel for it, rather than hit all the tourist high spots anyway (and you've seen what luck I've had with the Modernist landmarks on this trip). I love cafes, and wandering around and taking pictures of things nobody else would take pictures of, and looking for little stores and gardens and squares off the beaten track, and discovering new food, and eating where the locals do, and I love history, which makes for a quirky kind of sightseeing anyway. And besides, I went on vacation to relax.

So maybe late April or early may next time. Was Barcelona swamped with tourists when you went?

Kristin

It didn't seem swamped when we visited. Though as I recall, it was the end-of-May bank holiday weekend in the UK, meaning that Luton airport in London was quite busy. Barcelona felt pleasantly busy, I recall, but it wasn't anywhere close to being ridiculous like Venice on a summer weekend, for example.

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