Shit Barcelona: A Guided Tour
From crap fashion to cheesy tourism, annoying stag nights and theft-related ethical dilemmas, here are just a few of the things that can burst the bubble of clemency in Barcelona...
1 'Woyoy!' The mating call of the inebriated stag-nighter. It's a primeval noise that can instantaneouly deflate even the most benign mood. But there's something particularly escalofriante about it reverberating through the handsome backstreets of the Casc Antic in full daylight. There's a much more appropriado destination for stag-night, woy-oy-yoy tourism: Benidorm.
2 The Proliferation of Football Shops around cultural monuments and in places of historical significance. Football is great. But being exposed to football tat every living second of the day is tiresome. What, for instance is a Real Madrid shop doing on one of El Born's most charismatic and historic streets (Argenteria)?
3 Desigual. Brain-meltingly awful pap cashing in on the BCN brand.
4 Bag-snatching. Living in the centre of BCN means being indirectly involved in at least 37 incidents of petty robbery a day. It's a part of the daily routine; the shriek of surprise and flutter of pigeons, followed by 'Oye!' A man comes running towards you carrying someone's purse or wallet; good taste and vanity demand you intervene - common sense implores you stay out of it. You'll have to face the thief and his mates on the streets the next day after all, and he's likely to remember you rugby tackling him.
5 Parc Guell. As Monty Python's King Arthur said to his knights, 'on second thoughts, let's not go to Camelot. 'Tis a silly place.'
6 Bootleggers Flogging Cans of Estrella... In Front of Bars. There are better places to sell beer.
7 The Sagrada Familia. The joy of visiting one of the world's most unusual feats of engineering is offset by having to worry about getting run over by a Bus Turístic while you're trying to take a photo, with queues that stretch all the way around the block under the scaffolding hemmed in by traffic, and the depressing proximity of corporate monotony - MacDs, Sbucks etc. - just a few steps away. Surely it needs its own substantial zona peatonal - a four-block buffer zone, where no traffic or dreary americana can penetrate.
8 Go Cars! It's difficult not to wince when one pops into view.
9 Chinese Tapas Bars. Generally pretty shit. Generally everywhere.
10 Pans & Company. Flaps of dry bread with a disappointing filling at ludicrous prices.
11 Las Ramblas. Because it combines most of the things listed above.