Team Spanish Holiday`s + Sitges Pride 2017
What follows is our review of our holiday to Spain including Sitges, Barcelona & Madrid. We had 10 nights which also included Gay Pride 2017 & a day trip to Barcelona. Now it should go without saying that you need more than a single day to enjoy Barcelona, in fact you`d be hard pushed to take everything in within a mouth, so our day trip from Sitges is just a snap shoot. Please add your comments below, have you been there?, what do you think?
Note that the Madid trip takes place later this year, a review will follow asap.
Departure [including flight & arrival at Barcelona]
Departure was at 06.40 which meant a book in time from 04.00 We had pre booked car parking at the airport. One thing that became apparent was that I had made a mistake with regard to my carryon bag, it was the right size but not the correct type as it was heavy to carry at 10kg.Birmingham airport was very busy and we was lucky to get a seat to have breakfast. Check in went fairly easy, none of the problems that we had expected with the medications etc. The flight departed late but made up time as we arrived at Barcelona a few minutes early. Going through customs was not a problem.
Getting The Train
There is quiet a walk to the station from the airport not helped by ongoing redevelopment works. Getting the train tickets was easy and also cheap at just over 2 euros. The train was packed and this is where we had our first cliché in that we had to change trains at the first station, however Mark managed to get of but John was a little slow and this meant that the train doors closed and so we missed getting of leaving Mark looking bemused. This meant we had to get of at the next station, which was almost deselected[name]cross over to the other side and back to where Mark was waiting. Now I would add that getting the train is all well and good if you are fit & well, and able to carry the luggage, otherwise its better to pre book transfers.
Arrival At Sitges
On arrival and entering the square it brought back great memories of our last time in Sitges but many years ago. It seemed that time had stood still, however we did not look round as we got a taxi to the Playa Golf Hotel to collect our keys for the apartments.
Collecting The Keys
This turned out to be a very long winded process, yes we were 2 hours ahead of time, or so we thought [we had assumed a booking in time of 14.00 but it turned out to be 16:00]. So we had a long wait. Hotel staff took care of our luggage while we waited. There was a restaurant open but after that we just sat in the reception area. Staff said that they would call us when the keys were ready, but this failed to happen. So after around 15:00 we began to see more people arriving to collect keys but no news on hours, so by around 15.45 we decided we had enough of waiting and then we were told the keys were now ready.
Others issues relating to the keys were that we were only to be given one set despite there being three of us. We had to pay deposits on the two extra sets at 30 euros each. Further to this was that we found that one set had an extra key, this turned out to be the safe key and had we not asked for the extra sets we would not have had the safe key at all. Then to round things of and having ordered the taxi the hotel porter could not be found and it took ages to get our luggage.
Apartment Location [General]
Ideal for those that like it quiet and relaxing as there is hardly any road noise while we were there.
Location To Town
By car less than 5 minute, walking around 15minutes for those who are fit.
Location To Beach
Around a couple of minutes by car, about 10 minutes for those fit guys.
Day 1 Overall Impressions
Starting with a 4am check in the day turned into a long one when taking the key collection into account, but overall it felt very good to be in Spain at last.
Sitges Town Impressions
Fantastic male art shop showing lots of expensive explicit on open show, something we doubt be allowed back in the UK. Great to see such openness.
It felt like stepping back into a time warp as it has hardly changed at all. The old town was as charming as ever and the gay village was as almost as we left it many years ago. Shop prices were not too bad however the drinks prices were a total rip of, all part of it being gay pride week.
Weather For Whole Stay
Day 1 was over cast but otherwise the temps were in the mid-30s so ideal for us.
Barcelona Day Trip [including cable car]
We set of late from Sitges due to 2 of our group getting up late due to being out late the night before. We arrived around 10am right outside the Gaudi temple to find the place packed out to the rim. Having found the entrance ticket office we were told that the place was sold out for that day, however after some discussion the staff stated that 2 of us could go in for free due to disability but the 3rd could not, so this would have meant that one would be alone for most of the day. We decided that this was unfair to him, despite him being the main cause of the delay getting to Barcelona.
We decided to take a tour bus ride across the city so that we could get to the cable car ride. We sat on the top of the bus and it was very windy almost freezing due to the day being overcast. When walking around it was much warmer!!
It took around 1½ hours to get to the coastal beach / port area. From where the bus dropped us of it was a long walk to get to the cable car. However we did get to see the harbour with all the big yachts etc. and it was really pleasant area with bars and shops.
The cable car ride cost 15 euros each for a return trip. The ride took us over the port area to the side of the mountain [can’t remember the name]. There were some really pleasant gardens and the views across the city were fantastic. There is another cable car that takes you up the mountain but as it was already tea time we decided to give it a miss. [Maybe next time?] We caught the bus back to the Gaudi temple [another 1½ hours] to the Gaudi temple in order to get the Metro and then the train back to Sitges. There is so much to see in this wonderful city that you need a good holiday in the city to enjoy it in the fullest extent.
Prices In General
Prices in Sitges for almost all foods and drinks were very expensive. We put this down to being high season along with also being pride week.
Food In General [eating out]
Compared to the UK these were very expensive. What could be considered fast food is normally Hamburgers and most café type shops sold these along with some restaurant’s which price items individually which made eating out expensive. A chicken meal started at around 8 euros for half a chicken then you add items such as chips, breads, drinks etc, so to expect to pay from 17-22 euros.
A standalone hamburger started at around 5 euros upwards.
Food Self Catering
Various supermarkets including an English one dotted around town and the likes of Aldi & Lidl on the outskirts for which you need a car. That is also where you can find MacDonald’s. General prices are a little higher for tourist, cheaper for locals outside main town area. Overall not to bad but worked out more expensive than hotels.
If you are fit then these steep stairs are not a problem other than having to carry heavy luggage up & down as there are no lifts. They appeared to be in the style of a very old Spanish house.
We could just about see the pool overlooking a roof from our room. People stated that it was not clean, but this may have been due to the windy weather on the day we arrived. There are no beds other than those in ground floor apartments.
Both had air con [which was very good] & access to their own bathrooms, along with basic storage.
Bed linen was provided despite the website saying it was not.
Each had wash basin with mirror, bath, over bath shower, toilet, bieday. There was no safety equipment provided which for me had issues using the shower. Some towels & toilet rolls were provided.
Table chairs coffee table fold out settee bed TV & cupboard for cups and plates etc. Air conditioning.
This was well equipped & included a washing machine, large fridge freezer, microwave, kettle, toaster & loads of storage with basic pots & pans. There was also a two burner hob. The supplied cutlery was basic but with the smallest cups you could find anywhere. An iron & ironing board also provided.
Located in one of the bedrooms. We were lucky in getting a key for this, see above.
Table & chairs, cloths dryer. Basic overlooking tree tops towards coast.
This was one of the best points of the apartments as each room had their own and all worked perfectly.
There was free Wi-Fi provided and although a little slow it did do the job and hence save money with not using mobile date.
This took place on a blazing hot sunny afternoon. The people involved with some of the costumes must have been sweating like pigs! We had a great viewing point to see & film as the procession passed. All the floats were pulled by small tractors. Lasted around 2 hours and it was all free. Felt that it may have more of an impact had it took place later in the evening, plus you may have had more people viewing. Not many locals apparent which is a shame.
We only got to see a couple of shows including the opening show by Lady diamond. She had to work the audience hard as not too many there plus it started in the afternoon around 2ish which of course meant it was the hottest part of the day. Overall thou very good effort by all those involved. Again not many locals appeared interested.
Bars & Clubs
One of the oldest bars in Sitges appeared not to have changed that much since our last visit some 8 years ago.
Again another of the older bars. They say it has been taken over by a local business man who also owns may other gay bars in the town. Has a small dark room. Mainly 80s music.
Another free bar to enter, as are most of them, but you must buy a drink. A coke was an average 3e. Small dark rooms not very busy at all.
Old established bar many drink on the street outside. No dark room.
Dark room club. Average 12e entrance. Very busy. Had security issues with many complain of pick pockets money and phones being stolen. Bar staff & managers not interested. Some say local police also not interested. Should be avoided.
Small club with upstairs dark rooms. Better laid out than most others but tended not to be busy, free entrance but buy drink on way in.
One of may drag bars dotted around the back street. Small cramped mainly locals which was good.
Overall many places to try out but it soon became apparent that there were not that many locals about. Maybe due to work or school etc. Everything was geared to the tourist. Maybe this was due to being pride week?
Final Day Including:
Taxi To Airport:
We decided to pre book a taxi back to Barcelona due in part to making sure we arrived on time but also because one of our suitcases was damaged and not easy to man hover around. 68euros. All went to plan.
Barcelona Airport In General:
Very large airport no problems multi passport check in`s. Food shops poor.
On time no issues. Long walk to departure gate.
Half empty food a real disaster otherwise ok until landing.
Coming into land was at first doing ok, but just as the wheel were about to touch we took of again as the captain aborted. This sent a shock wave down to all passengers and it’s the first time it has happened to us. Apparently this was due to a gust of wind. Second attempt was ok but made us late.
Automatic passport checks did not work for me, had to have manual but this also affected many others.
Anything Else About The Holiday:
Overall a fantastic holiday, no major issues [just a few ingles]. All 3 of us got on very well together for the 10 days. We all agreed that although the apartments meet our needs in almost all aspects, that we would not stay there again mainly due to the location and the hassle of collecting keys from right the other end of the resort, plus for me there was the issue of that stair case.
Would I do Sitges again then 100% yes but I don’t think I do pride mainly for the reason above. Overall a great beach holiday destination, with the gay scene, and if you are happy for a little travel then to explore places such as Barcelona or maybe further down the coast would be fantastic.
Was very good for the time of year but this may be due to out of town location.
Was extremely poor. Had almost no replies to e mails and one of our team had to make phone calls to sort some minor issues out.
If you want it cheap and are happy to accept poor customer services then this maybe for you. The good thing about them is price, but then again you get want you pay for.
More To Follow: