Barcelona Spain

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Shopping and other tips for Barcelona
Shopping in Barcelona is excellent and this city has arguably the best selection of shops in the whole of Spain. With everything from top designer outlets to traditional family speciality stores, there are also large shopping arcades and department stores. The markets in Barcelona are equally impressive and the food markets in particular draw large crowds of both tourists and locals. Boqueria Market is an exciting food market that is situated in a cavernous iron and glass structure and is filled with the freshest produce. Street-café life is rich and in the evenings, many people site outside in the squares and watch the world go by.
Shopping Barcelona
Nearby excursions include Montserrat - a town close to Barcelona with many interesting features, Tarragona - with some splendid Roman remains, such as a well-preserved amphitheatre, Sitges - a popular seaside part of the city which is frequented by many families, and Barceloneta - a busy fishing area which retains its village charm and has some of the best seafood restaurants in town.

Barcelona is without doubt one of the most exiting cities to visit in the Mediterranean, and with glorious beaches and a history stretching back over 2,000 years, Barcelona deserves to be seen and enjoyed.

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Eating in Barcelona
Barcelona's cuisine is inconsistent in quality, as with all highly touristic cities, but good food does exist at reasonable prices. The golden rule of thumb applies well in Barcelona; to save money and get better food, look for places off the beaten track by fellow travellers and seek out cafes and restaurants where the locals frequent.
Most restaurants (and some bars) offer a menú del dia (menu of the day), which usually means a simple and unpretentious two course meal (one salad, main dish and a drink; plus a dessert sometimes), 3 or 4 options each, with a drink and a dessert, for €8 to €15-20, depending on a restaurant. During the week, some smart restaurants offer lunch specials from 2PM to 4PM. The savvy traveler will try the hip places for a fraction of the price during the day.
A good idea is to avoid restaurants with touts outside.
Shopping Barcelona
The bigger restaurants (more than 100 square meters) have non-smoking areas. In most of the smaller places smoking is permitted.
In several supermarkets you can find a wide stall with a great selection of ready-to-eat dishes. You can get a two-course lunch for less than €5.
Non-Catalan Cuisine
Döner Kebab: There is no shortage of Döner (more commonly known as Gyro) stands in Barcelona, offering tasty beef or chicken and salad in toasted flatbread for around €3.50. Gyro is the Greek name and version of the Turkish doner-kebab and it is unlike any kebab you have ever had in the US (but like anywhere else in Europe)! Delicious! You could live on these things for a week!
  Bella Istanbul (1: Barceloneta Pg. Joan de Borbo 2; 2: Carrer Industria 164, near to the Sagrada Familia--metro "Hospital de Sant Pau") The most famous and cheapest Döner Kebab in the city. They have got my favorite food in the city for only 3.50€. Very delicious
Barcelona food shop
Language in Barcelona
Barcelona's official languages are Catalan and Spanish. However, most signs are indicated only in Catalan because it is established by law as the official one. Yet, Spanish is also widely used in public transports and other facilities. As in most other countries, any attempt by visitors to use the native language, in this case Catalan and Spanish, is always appreciated. Most Catalans instinctively address foreigners in Spanish. Catalan is a language, not a dialect, and sounds closer to Italian and French in many ways. Try to avoid referring to Catalan as a dialect, which will probably offend Catalans. Around 30% of local people consider that Catalonia is a nation, with its own culture, history and traditions, different from the other regions in Spain. Contrary to stereotypes, bullfighting and flamenco are not so popular in this region (as in many other Spanish regions), but the other differences are actually quite few. The identity subject might be a very sensitive one among certain traditional Catalans. Moreover, speaking in Catalan to Spanish-speaking Catalans might also be a sensitive issue.
In tourist areas, almost all shops and bars have some English speaking staff. But English is not very widespread among Spanish people, even among young ones. They are kind and will make an effort to try to help you if you speak in English, but their vocabulary will be very limited. If you do find a fluent English-speaking Barcelonian, the person is most likely to be born outside of Spain, usually a European or North American inmigrant (both groups being a very significant part of the city center inhabitants along with the not-so-very-well-integrated Asian and African inmigrants, who, of course, also often know English).
 Barcelona Safety
Barcelona is easily Spain's pickpocketing capital. As always be alert in crowded places, such as public transport, train and bus stations, La Rambla and Raval. People may approach you asking for change, or to change money. Just ignore them. If you are asked to change money, then it has been known that official looking police will approach you afterwards to 'check' your wallet for ID etc. These are not police, so be at your most vigilant, otherwise you might find they have taken a few cards or cash upon returning your wallet. The Football trick is a local specialty. At certain tourist hotspots there are African men who will try to show you a 'magic trick'. This involves tying a piece of string around your finger. While you are distracted (and your arm is effectively disabled), an accomplice will pickpocket you. It is also possible that criminals will pose as tourists and ask directions in order approach their victims. Keep your distance and likewise try not be offended if you find it difficult to engage passers-by in busy The subway is a hotbed for pickpocketing activity, which can range from simple opportunistic thefts to coordinated attacks. Be especially weary on the subway platforms at the Santos train station. A group of men will come out of seemingly nowhere while you attempt to enter a subway car and block your entrance AND exit in a coordinated manner, effectively pinning you against the doors as they attempt to close. They will act as if the car is just crowded and they are trying to get on as well, but in reality they have already gone through your pockets. These men are quite aggressive and will not hesitate to try and rip a backpack off of your back. Once items are taken, they quickly return to the platform and walk off in a calm manner while you are trapped within the departing subway as they be sure to exit just before the doors cannot be reopened.
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