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08 Apr 2014 | Estimated reading time: 5 minutes |
Dark Barcelona

The Dark Side of Barcelona - Part One

The Dark Side of Barcelona - Part One

Take a leap through the Bleak Face of Barcelona

Barcelona. The capital of colour, sunshine, and smiles. A cheerful world where citizens lead a laid-back lifestyle, socializing and celebrating their existence. Beyond this hazy veil and laying in wait amongst the shadows, is another Barcelona... Will you dare to step into the darkness and venture into the real struggles of Barcelona that the tourism board never wanted you to see? Well if that's so, brave traveller... Then read on...

The Pristine Coastline!

Beach after a party
"Collatoral Damage" after the San Juan Celebrations

"(...) he knew no man was ever alone on the sea." - Ernest Hemingway 'The Old Man and the Sea'

Being on the coastline and a tourist hotspot, it's only natural that the influx of tourists want to sample the golden sands of Barcelona. One of the most popular beaches is Barceloneta. Even with the constant stream of tourists, it's a struggle to keep the area clean.

So imagine then, how the beach looks after the festival of Sant Juan, where hundreds, if not thousands flock to the beach at night, drinking the evening away, and leaving their dirty litter as evidence. The day after beach looks like a bomb has gone off, but with trash instead of ash raining down on the remnants of what was once a respectable coastline... This year it's on the 23rd - 24th... So if you want to enjoy the beach then, well... Good luck!

A City of Theives

Pickpocket in Barcelona
Pickpocket in Barcelona

The amazing sights like Las Ramblas, the Sagrada Familia, Casa Batlló, and many more, are all stunning eye candy, but while your eyes are fixated on these precious landmarks, your belongings may be going on a journey of their own... Into the pocket of a thief. The city has thieves on all corners, if you think you're safe because you're away from the city centre, then you would be sorely mistaken. It's important to always demonstrate that you're aware of your surroundings and belongings. Thieves operating in Barcelona want the easiest target possible, so make sure that it's not you. If you want some tips on how to avoid being pickpocketed and know what to do if you get robbed in Barcelona then take a look at this article.

It has to be said though, that over the last year or two, the city has improved drastically in this regard, however, the laws on robberies are still outdated. For example, the police cannot really do much if a certain threshold of value isn't surpassed (roughly €400), so robbers can simply discard some of the goods after taking them and walk away scot-free if they eventually get caught. Not pleasant to know that, right?

If anyone gets into your personal space, whether it's on the Metro, bumping into you, asking you for directions, or pretty much anything else, then enter into a state of awareness for your belongings first, make sure they're safe, and only after attend to the situation.

Where is Greenpeace?

Barcelona Pollution
Barcelona Pollution

Unfortunately, according to some statistics, Barcelona comes out as one the worst cities for pollution, and pollution level alerts in the city aren't completely uncommon. This is due to the fact that the mountains surrounding the city trap the pollution allowing it to build up to levels that some sources report to be worse than London. Forty percent of this pollution is caused by a high density of vehicles.

If you're worried about your impact on the environment, well the public transport network is good enough that you won't have to.

Thankfully, the City Council isn't ignoring the problem and has limited the number of vehicles that a person can own. Surely whether someone owns one or two cars doesn't make a difference to how much they will drive... But the intention is there... Some more useful tactics include increasing pedestrianized zones (about 130 hectares have been added) and promoting more eco-friendly forms of transport such as the Bicing bike rental scheme and hybrid electric/natural gas buses.

That's it for today, but tune in next time for some more dark secrets... covering themes such as trigger-happy fines, accidents, and creepy crawlies...

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Guest Writer

Yuliya Kravchenko Yuliya Kravchenko Website
Her aim is to help the tourists travel to Spain. Discover the main places of interest, the best restaurants in the city and other useful information on her web site.

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