What a wonderful world of travel has unfolded before me.
My wonderful world is the world that the online communities and user generated journalism provide to me, to us.
My latest trip included Barcelona. There wasn't much preparation to find the accommodation. Still in Australia, with some months before travelling, I went straight to the TripAdvisor website and picked the top of their list: all 5 star ratings, all excellent comments. And, I was not disappointed. This information was from a trusted source. It was not from the advertisements, sponsored links or hotel listings. My selection was from the ratings of my fellow travellers, from their reviews. Destination BCN was top of the list, and did not disappoint on arrival.
Closer to the time of my holiday, I used the Internet to research what to see and do in Barcelona. Of course I'd heard of Gaudi. I did not however know much about him, and used the time of mounting excitement, to research, read, learn. I stood before Sagrada Familia. I embraced Gaudi's dream. When I finally arrived at Casa Bastlo I was entranced. No photo could do this amazing beauty justice. It was the embodiment of all that appeals to me. (A metamorphisis of my favourite Belle Epoque or Arts & Crafts periods, with a rawer edge, and yet in the same breath more refined). A later visit to Casa Misa and I learnt more about all of Gaudi's work at the attic museum. A note to self (for later uploading to TripAdvisor): advise fellow travellers to start the Gaudi tour of Barcelona at Casa Misa. All will be more greatly appreciated in this order. I'd spent the best part of half a day at each of these masterpieces and now, at home in Australia, and a few months on, I am still warmed through to my heart by the beauty of his work and the inspiration he took from nature.
I used the old-fashioned trust source, advice from food friends, to learn of the market. La Boqueria was definitely on my agenda, as was within the market, the DO Jamon Iberico. The other food star of Barcelona was another Internet find. This time found through Google. I found a fantastic cooking course.
http://www.cookandtaste.net/ I checked the options, the photos, the recipes. This looked of quality. The Destination BCN people concurred. I checked the reviews on TripAdvisor. Yes all good reviews, and so I booked online.
The cooking course had the option to go to the market beforehand, to shop for the class. The tour was hosted by a local, and the market was more greatly appreciated.
Thank you my fellow travellers for your honest advice and for creating our online community. Of course karmic law requires reciprocation. I posted a couple of reviews on TripAdvisor after my holiday. Honest reviews with the kind of advice I'd like to receive next time I travel.
And, now my fellow travellers post questions to me on TripAdvisor on what to do and see before their trips to Barcelona.