The answers you’ll want to have in Barcelona
After working as a tourguide for over 13 years, I’ve identified a few questions that I get asked all the time. So I thought, why don’t I share the answers with my readers? After all, you will be making the same questions when you get in town.
So today is the day! Here are my answers to satisfy your curiosity, entertain you and help you getting by in town.
Barcelona’s 5 top faq’s:
When will the Sagrada Familia be finished? For many years, we thought it would never be finished, isn’t it? (or at least, not within our lifetimes!) However, things have changed a lot this last years: the number of visitors has grown exponentially after the 1992 Olympics, and with that, the available budget to build the church has also rocketed. Nowadays, they aim at finishing Gaudi’s masterpiece by 2026, to celebrate the 100 years anniversary of Gaudi death. Don’t miss it!
What does “Vale” mean? You will be hearing that all over Barcelona: people say that to each other, they might even say that to you. But what does it mean? It means “okay”! isn’t it also worth you say all the time in your own language?
Where are the street signs? A really important question if you don’t want to get lost! And the answer is so easy as to look for marble plates with the street names hanging above your head in the corner of the blocks. If you’re driving, in the Eixample district that are also post with the names of the streets at every corner near the street light, indicating the direction of the street and the first street numbers that you’ll be passing.
Do the shops close for siesta? Well… if you ask that to a local, they are likely to get offended: even if small businesses might close from 2 to 4 or 5 PM, in Barcelona no one closes “for siesta”. In neighborhoods where locals live, at 2 o’clock everyone is eating lunch, and since kids don’t come out of school until 5 PM, there aren’t that many customers back in the streets until that time more or less. Shop owners don’t want to be working for more than 8 hours, this is why they close during the low business hours, and then stay open until late ( many shops close around 8 PM). But guess are in short, in the main streets where large stores are, pretty much everything stays open.
Do they take American Express? Nope. Most businesses in Barcelona only take either Visa or MasterCard, as American Express charges them too high fees. Of course, you can still try and eventually at some restaurant or shop they will take it, but I recommend that you have other credit cards ready in case they don’t.
AND BONUS There’s one more question you’ll ask:
Where can I buy stamps? Although you can obviously buy stamps in Post Offices (make sure to check out the inside of the main one in Via Laietana: it’s gorgeous!), if there isn’t any nearby you can also buy them in tobacco shops (called “Estanco”). By the way, our mail boxes are yellow.