Last updated: May 14, 2014

Trouble’s Travels Volume IX: Barcelona, First Of The Worst




  1. Prologue: Trouble Returns From Travels
  2. Volume I: Getting To Poland – 30 Hours Of Delays, Kissing-Ass, And Getting Drunk In Airports
  3. Volume II: The First Night In Poland, Selling Strip Club Tickets
  4. Volume III: Getting Yadstopped
  5. Volume IV: Where Is Alpha Dwarf?
  6. Volume V: The Wroclaw Dash
  7. Volume VI: “I-So-Would” Go To London
  8. Volume VII: The First Solo Dolo Day
  9. Volume VIII: To The Top

If you follow me on Twitter (which you have no excuse not to be), then you would have picked up on the fact that Barcelona was not my favorite place whilst travelling.  Hell, I even wrote this while holed up in my apartment on a rainy day there:

…I think it is a bit of a disgusting shithole.  And maybe it is because I have yet to have a sunny day here.  Tomorrow is supposed to be 66 and sunny, so maybe I will be singing a different tune at this point tomorrow.

However, it reminds me a lot of Mexico, which, being from San Diego, I have a fifteen minute drive to the border.  But the way there is graffiti everywhere, the smell, the gypsy beggars…it reminds me a lot of the country that borders my city.  Which is not a good thing.

I’m sorry to report that my opinion of Barcelona did not change much over the next two days.  I was fortunate enough to have a sunny day on the final day there, and did get to see some cool sites.  But overall, here is how I would sum up the city:

  • Disgusting – it smells bad, there’s graffiti everywhere, and like I said, it reminded me of Mexico, which is a hell of a lot closer and easier for me to get to.
  • Expensive – food, souvenirs, transit, you name it – it was expensive.
  • Overrated – the food was lackluster, at best.  Admittedly, I am not a big seafood guy, which BCN is quite renowned for.  However, even chicken and steak dishes were mediocre at best.  I ended up cooking most of my meals in my apartment.  In addition, the nightlife is hardly better than a Las Vegas sausagefest.  Now, I did do the “tourist” nightlife areas, and did not venture into the more locals areas, which I suspect would have been better.  Why didn’t I venture into those?  See the next bullet.
  • Sketch – I constantly had my guard up for pickpocketers and punks looking to cause trouble.  I wasn’t really worried about my safety, per se, I’m a young guy who is in excellent shape – most people aren’t going to fuck with me.  But, I knew right away I had to be careful, with tons of gypsies getting in your face, and the sheer madness of some of the tourist areas.  I kept my hands in my pockets at all time to ensure I wouldn’t get picked off.  In addition, this resulted in making it difficult for me to enjoy the nightlife.  I would pregame in my apartment and knock back 4-5 drinks, but when it came time to head out, I’d sober up as soon as I left my apartment.  I just didn’t feel safe, which meant there was no way I could let myself go and have fun – which makes going out solo dolo in a foreign country very difficult.
  • The language barrier – I didn’t have a huge problem, fortunately I speak some Spanish which made it easier for me.  But, I was surprised at how poor the English in this country was, and those considering a trip to Barcelona should keep this in mind.  You see, not only do they speak Spanish, but Barcelona is rich in Catalunyan history, which is different than typical Spanish.  In addition to that, being from California, I speak Mexican-Spanish, which is different than Espana-Spanish, which (once again) differs from Catalunyan.

With that being said, Barcelona does have some cool architecture, and I would be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy exploring the city.  But, it is not a place I would visit again, and certainly would never consider living there on a permanent or even semi-permanent basis.

Back to the story – I managed to get to my apartment in the city center at about noon.  I stayed in the Gotic Quarter, very close to the famous Las Ramblas street.  I didn’t find out until I got there that Las Ramblas is tourist-central, and most of the reports on the forum said to stay the hell away from that area.  Oops.  Here’s a few random pictures of the area.

Sweet art.
This was close to my apartment.  SKETCH!
This was close to my apartment. SKETCH!
One of the many plazas/squares.
One of the many plazas/squares.

I spent the latter half of the first afternoon just exploring and walking around.  I scoped out a couple clubs and bars and settled on where I would head out that night.  Once it started raining on me, I decided I’d pick up a few groceries and rest up for the evening.

So let’s fast forward to the evening.  Like I said, I pounded about four rum and cokes and headed out.  Instantly, it was just hard to keep any sort of buzz, much less actually get drunk.  Eventually, a young promoter stopped me on the street, and he spoke excellent English.  He actually seemed like a cool guy, so when he offered me a club entry and a drink for all of 15 Euros, I decided it would be a deal.  So he walked me to a bar where he said people would gather until about midnight, and then we would all walk to the next club.  I actually really enjoyed the venue – knowing where I was going next allowed me to relax a bit, but there was only one problem.

Every girl in my “group” was from Denmark, and they were all wearing jeans and Chuck Taylors.  Not exactly what I imagined when I had fantasized about partying in Barcelona until the wee hours of the morning.

Eventually, when it was time to roll out for the actual club, my promoter friend found me and told me he would get me into the VIP with him in the club.  Rolling my eyes at him, knowing he was full of shit, I played along.  He introduced me to another friend of his – from Sweden, who was helping him promote.  She was cute and friendly, and our group walked a long way.  Probably about a mile up the road, we waited at a bus stop, and it hit me that I had no idea where the fuck I was going, only had 30 Euros left to get back, and didn’t know my way around well enough to find my way back if needed.  I asked the promoter how far the club was, to which the response was, “About 7 miles by bus.”

Fuck that.

Maybe I was paranoid, but this didn’t seem like a situation I should go along with.  In hindsight, it was probably one of the clubs I visited on a later night, but I decided to bail out and call it a night.  You have two more nights, I thought to myself.  You’ll figure it out.

I’m sad to say, I really didn’t figure out Barcelona throughout the entire time I was there.  But, check back tomorrow for some amazing pictures, scenery, and fatties eating McDonald’s.

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  1. You have good instincts. I got into the same situation in Bangkok and they wouldn’t let me leave the bar. Basically, these scum lure you far away (from the cops) to get you to pay for some bimbo’s drinks at an inflated price. Doesn’t matter where you go: China, Spain, Malaysia, Thailand, etc. I paid for one and said that was it. Watched the dancer smoke from her VJJ and stick unusual things in it. A man and a woman made love on stage and it was the opposite of erotic somehow. The taxi drivers get kickbacks for bringing customers. The taxi drivers even get kickbacks from clothing stores where I was drugged and bought a suit that made me look like a Japanese postman.

    My family members keep travelling to Barcelona on cruise ships and now my nephew is moving there. Meanwhile, they never come over to Japan where I live. Until last weekend. And we had a great time and met lots of sweet young fluent Orientals in sparkling Tokyo. We had great food and with no tipping, my brother was astonished at the food value. He loves beer and enjoyed paying less than $3 a mug for Asahi super dry.

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