Travel Planning (Spanish edition):
- Make a schedule for when you want to go where.
- Sit quietly for a few moments to prepare yourself for the coming disappointment.
- Sharpen your #2 pencil.
- Begin the math section.
First, you’ll have to account for the nine hour time difference and resulting dose of jet lag, so you have to make a cut at the beginning of the day to account for the time it will take you to wake up, realize how completely exhausted you still are, berate yourself for not feeling fit and getting up early on vacation so you can go do exciting things, and then stumble about looking for caffeine. (This step can be skipped if you are a naturally laid back person or have an inexplicably sunny disposition. For some reason, on this trip, for the first time, I was also able to skip this step, but it’s best to plan it into the schedule, just in case.)
Second, check the day of the week. If you are planning on going to any museums, they are usually closed on Mondays. Except when they’re closed on Tuesdays. Or Sundays. If they do open on Sunday, chances are they will close again by 2:30 which should be right about the time you’ve sorted out the jet lag/caffeine step and gotten some morning ham into you.
If you’re planning on doing any shopping, similar – but different – rules apply. Most small stores are closed on Sundays. Unless they’re not. In which case, they might take Monday off.
Third, remember that sometimes places are open late on a specific day. But since you don’t speak the language, you will not be able to tell which day that is ahead of time. If you are me (and do speak the language, but let’s keep that quiet for now), you see “21:30” listed as the closing time on Thursday and, in a feat of delusional optimism, believe that the Fundacio Miro closes at 21:30 every day. This will cause you to save up your visit for the end of the last day of the trip (a Tuesday), cycle to the funicular up Montjuic to arrive at the museum at 18:57 and be told by the Lurch-like guard that they actually close at 19:00. I recommend against this approach.
Let’s pause here while you reconfigure your entire schedule around days of the week and closing hours.
Go get your eraser and some comfortable walking shoes.
Even though you know about it and maybe even have envied it from afar as you droop forward over your keyboard every afternoon around 1:00PM, you have forgotten to factor in siesta. Depending on the store, museum, person or activity, siesta will extend for a few hours anytime between 1:00 and 5:30. It’s a safe bet that it will be at least 2:00 – 4:30.
Reconcile yourself to the fact that, despite your misconception that you have planned carefully, you will often arrive at your destination on the correct day, before evening closing time, and face a shuttered edifice. This will be because the nice people have gone home to take a nap. You should probably go and do the same. If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.
This page has links to the access hours for some of major attractions in Barcelona. Good luck!