Barcelona Photoblog: Astray Tourists: Directions in Barcelona

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Astray Tourists: Directions in Barcelona

Tourists: Directions in Barcelona, Spain [enlarge]

Finding directions can be tough, specially when you are not good at spacial orientation like me, you know. I am one of those that can't find the car in the parking lot or wouldn't tell right from left after turning myself around. So I understand that in spite of how well designed streets are in a given city, people get lost. Besides there's an extra difficulty, we get clumsy when we are taken out of context. It seems that besides our capacity to know where we are and to follow signs properly, besides our ability to interpret a map, we need a general view of the whole map in our minds. And that's when geography might help. There are cities in the middle of a prairie that if it weren't for the Sun or the stars do make it difficult to reach your destination. Should you get lost in Barcelona, something impossible in the Eixample quarter by the way, always remember that you have mountains around, streets have a certain slope and the sea is right there going down every road. Once you spot those, then think you have two rivers in the other axis. So, when you face the mountain side you've got Besós river to the right and Llobregat to the left (towards the airport). Of course, relevant buildings or streets also help particularly when no slope is visible as in the old part of town (that means you are near the sea!). In general, if you bear in mind that bird's eye view perspective you'll be on the right track. It's funny but this is the second photograph I take of several people around a map and both look like Japanese tourists to me. Is it a matter of idiosyncrasy?. Maybe Western people are more like: "Hey, I carry the map cause I'm good at it". I don't know. How is it in your city? Is it difficult to find directions?


  1. What great tips for navigating Barcelona! My daughter has difficulty with left/right and compass directionality and gets lost easily. She's taught herself some tricks over the years, but it will always be a weakness. She loves the GPS locater feature in her iPhone, and I have to say Google maps and the street view feature for major cities is amazing. Both Virginia and I shared stories of getting turned around in the Latin Quarter of Paris. . .my husband who is usually the one to get lost got us going in the right directions that time, but I'm usually the one who knows right where she is. The best map is the photo friend in the city we are visiting. Meet them at a cafe and take an orientation walk with them, snapping photos as you go. That's my fave way to go!

  2. This will be me in two months.

  3. Konnichiwa! I think that they are Japanese tourists! I would have walked up to them and spoke Japanese to them!

    Genki de ne, Carlos san!

  4. Anonymous12:52 AM

    Oh how i loved "getting lost" in Barcelona, meeting one of the most fine bodegas ever allowed to enter.

    With regard of searching the way over here in Athens, there are nearly always people around, most of the times even willing to explain and point direction. Whenever being in a foreign city, began to walk according to the colour of traffic lights, wherever it is green first is the direction I'll continue.

    A wonderful Friday for you.

  5. I've walked on that street so many times. It looks like the street I used to live on, but now I don't remember. I miss living in Barcelona.

  6. Hola Carlos,

    Recientemente la colega bloguera puertorriqueña Siluz, me honró con el Premio "Kreativ Blogger", entre los requisitos estaba contar 7 cosas sobre ti y entregarlo a otros 7 blogs que fueran merecedores del mismo. Así que fuiste uno de mis seleccionados. Gracias por tu trabajo.

  7. Gracias por pasarme el premio Borincano!


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