Barcelona with a toddler
Will be in Barcelona for a week in December with our toddler. We're looking for some good but relaxed places where we won't feel like we're ruining other people's experiences (although our daughter is actually great in restaurants). Any suggestions would be appreciated. We're staying near the waterfront but plan on exploring the whole city.
You shouldn't have any problems at any restaurant or bar in Barcelona (except, perhaps, for a few snooty hotel restaurants). You'll find most people here, including restaurant staff, are very family friendly. You may encounter bars where the staff will want to 'borrow' your child and indulge them with snacks. In our local bar, for example, the owner keeps a stash of Chupa-Chup lollipops to give to the youngsters while moms and dads enjoy their drink. Many restaurants will have highchairs (and even kid-sized plates and cutlery). You'll possibly see kids as young as four out on the street, or in a bar or restaurant with parents or grandparents as late as 10:30pm, and much later during the summer. You very rarely see toddlers here having temper tantrums, or needing to be chided by their carers - occasionally, sure, but it's not common by any means. And, now, a question of mine. A Catalan, Spanish, English and French speaking friend of ours (he's 20 years old with quite a bit of experience of looking after youngsters) is thinking of setting up a babysitting service for visitors from English speaking countries. The idea being to book ahead on the internet and he'll liaise with the hotel or apartment rental company and bring along English language (and Spanish/Catalan language) DVDs, books and games. This would give couples with young children at least one night 'off' during their visit. Suggested price at this time is between 10-15 euros an hour, including travel. As a traveller with a toddler - in theory - would you use such a service? Obviously they would make themselves known to hotel staff etc and provide English references. An honest response would be much appreciated. I know the lad well, and with the 'creesis' , and current youth unemployment levels (nearing 40%) I admire his entrepreneuralism and want to encourage him. I think he could be onto a winner, and help cushion his ride through university. Many thanks, and enjoy your visit to our beautiful 'city of marvels'.
Thanks very much for the reply! We've heard great things about how much of a family friendly culture there is in Barcelona - and Spain in general.
As for your question, it's definitely a service that we would consider. We know a lot of parents who use babysitting services recommended by hotels and resorts in order to get a night or two out when they're on a trip. The idea of making the service somewhat "educational" would be a major appeal to lots of American parents who are looking to encourage their little ones to become multilingual. The key is going to be in the quality of the people the service provides and the references they have. The pricing is very much in line with babysitting here in the US, but it's still a high-end service your friend is interested in, and the parents who would use it are going to do a lot of due diligence to make sure they are leaving their kids with someone responsible. To that end, providing reliable contact information and background info in advance on the specific person in the service that will be doing the babysitting would be good ideas. Maybe even having the sitters be CPR certified, which is something a lot of people look for. In any event, sounds like a terrific idea that could be a winner, as you say.
Thanks again, and looking forward to being in Barcelona soon!