It’s no secret that we travel in search of amazing, once-in-a-lifetime food. Our trip to Barcelona was part of that mission. For weeks before, I was having dreams of rich rice dishes, sumptuous pasta, and veggies sautéed in the best olive oil (I may be a little one-track-minded.)
But we did what should be the rule of what NOT to do when traveling:
We got caught in the tourist trap.
I admit that it is a decidedly more comfortable place to be in. We had easy metro access to all the main thoroughfares and shopping attractions, and we took advantage of it. It was convenient, clean, and relatively easy to follow (even with my barely-there Spanish). And it feels pretty safe as well, which means a lot to us.
There was a time in my life when I felt robbed if I didn’t get AWAY from the center of whatever city I was visiting or didn’t get to the places only locals frequented. With youth brings plenty of daring, and needless to say, I had plenty of it. Now, I am plenty comfortable with walking the well-traveled tourist streets and finding the restaurants that the highest number of people have recommended on TripAdvisor.
Rather than end up somewhere I may not know how to get back from, I prefer the comfort of well-populated and well-reviewed locales – preferably what is easiest on my wife’s back and my bad knees (I’ve been taking this now and it helps)! I don’t have any problem admitting it or any shame about it. I recall the both of us standing at the bottom of a steep hill we walked to after getting off the train and that we were told was the way to get to the Park Guell (that we were determined to see).
We looked at the hill and we looked back at each other.
Then, we proceeded to wait on a cab to get us where we needed to go. Of course, there are down sides to this philosophy of taking easier tourist route: one is food. As we encountered in Spain, sometimes restaurants in the heavily tourist areas are not the ideal places to find the food that best represents the country. I think this is why we were mostly disappointed. Because the tourist trap got us!
All the same, we enjoyed ourselves thoroughly, and we did get to see different kinds of neighborhoods because where we stayed was not in the main retail center; we also ventured out for coffee and dessert and got to observe some of the diverse living Barcelona has to offer.
I can’t wait to go back again to indulge, explore and get to the beach!
Safe travels, All!