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Her Best Bets In Barcelona, Spain

Benefits of a private tour -- Last July I spent a fabulous week touring Barcelona. We had planned to spend one day using the services of Pepito Tours for an overall look at the city, but Jose Soler was such an excellent guide we engaged him for three more days. We saw more than we could ever have covered on our own, and all this with the comfort and convenience of a Mercedes limo and driver, English-fluent guide and never having to wait in lines at museums or sites (Jose is state-licensed). Jose is so informative; there seemed to be no question he was unable to answer. He was educated in the Boston area, and is extremely personable. He can be reached at:
Harriet, Newhall, USA

Love to read on holiday? -- I'm a solo traveller so I don't tend to go out that much at night. That has both its drawbacks and its benefits. What I may miss in nightlife, I gain in reading time (which I don't have scads of when I'm at home). I've just returned from Barcelona and while there, found a wonderful second-hand, English-language bookshop. It's called Hibernian Books and it has a great selection. They also have a 'buy back' policy so once I'd read them I returned them and bought more. Mind you, I didn't get much money back for the ones I returned but, frankly, I was happy to be able to keep replenishing my reading supply.
Sandra, Victoria, Canada

EDITOR'S NOTE: Hibernian's book catalogue is online, so you can browse all available titles before you stop by the shop. Also, many hotels and B&B's have a 'leave a book, take a book' library for their guests to use.

Picasso Museum -- The Picasso Museum is one of the must-see museums in Barcelona. There's normally an entrance fee of 11 euros per person but on the first Sunday of every month and after 3 p.m. on all Sundays it's free. The line-up moves quickly and our experience was that the museum stayed open and allowed more people in long after it was officially closed. Website:
Leigh, USA

For Chocoholics -- Two things not to miss for chocolate lovers: (1) A visit to the chocolate shop of Enric Rovira. He is a concept chocolatier, so all his chocolate is done in themes and is highly delicious. (2) A trip to Barcelona's Chocolate Museum, known locally as Museu de la Xocolata is really worth an hour of your time. The exhibits are colourful and interesting, and they have a chocolate tasting shop at the front as well.
Doreen Pendgracs, Matlock, Canada
Website: Twitter: @wizardofwords

Dim Sum and then some -- Our contact in Madrid says there's not much in the way of dim sum in Barcelona, but it is decent at Mosquito Dim Sum & Beer, on Calle Carders 46 in El Borne.
Hacienda Xcanatun, Mérida, Mexico

Staying safe in the subway -- The most crucial information regarding safety is avoiding very elaborate pick pockets. Subways are prime places where they work in 2-3's and will separate travel companions. So find ways to conceal your goods and avoid looking like a tourist. I have traveled in many out of the way places and never before encountered such sophisticated criminals. Now that is the ONLY bad thing that I could say about this tremendous city.
Grace, Toronto, Canada

Summer in the city -- It's hot, hot, hot in Barcelona in the summer. Unless you want to shout, "I'm a tourist", leave the shorts and athletic shoes at home. The women dress up more here. A good choice is a simple linen dress in a conservative color and something to cover your arms if your dress is sleeveless. You will not be allowed in some cathedrals in sleeveless clothing. Stick to comfortable sandals for your feet.
Mari, San Francisco, USA

EDITOR'S NOTE: Want more tips on how to dress like a Journeywoman in Spain? Just click here.

UNESCO World Heritage Site -- I remember sitting down over a lemony drink -- with my boots and socks off - and absolutely loving this spot. There's little indication that a few metres from the madding crowds of Barcelona is a bucolic oasis on the old hospital grounds of Hospital de La Santa Creu I Sant Pau. You'll find a secluded enclave of pavilions (16 in total), ornate buildings and gardens that recall the heyday and grandeur of Catalan modernist architecture. The UNESCO World Heritage site is just a stone's throw from Gaudi's Sagrada Familia. You can wander around on your own but I recall that a guided tour (which cost little) granted access to rooms otherwise closed to the public. If you're in search of architectural splendour - and a place to relax, put this on your To Do List.
Doug O'Neil, Canada
Blog: Twitter: @DougONeill

Female Mystery Writer in Barcelona...

Planning a trip to Spain? It might be fun to pick up a murder mystery written by Alicia Gimenez-Bartlett, an award winning author who lives in Barcelona and sets her novels there as well. It is worth noting that in 1997 Alicia was awarded the Feminino Lumen prize for the best female writer of the year. The detective she has created for her mystery series is a super smart woman called, Petra Delicado. These books will inevitable give you extra glimpses into the city of Barcelona and the cultural mores of the city.

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