Within the team, we have a lot of experience of going to Formula One races. We know the tracks and the cities, but we want to know what you like too, so last week we launched our "Ask the GP nation" initiative. The idea is that the fans would be able to add to our knowledge of places to eat and drink, tell us about sights worth seeing, and more importantly be able to tell each other where the hot spots are.
This weekend we'll be in Barcelona for the Spanish Grand Prix, so here's a brief intro to what to see and do, both in the city and at the track.
If you've not been to Barcelona before you might not have heard of Antonio Gaudì, the city's most famous architect, whose style was individual to say the least. His magnum opus, La Sagrada Familia, is recommended by Rachel Clarke as being the one sight you simply must not miss. And we'd have to agree with her. Even though it's not finished, it's simply breathtaking and provides endless opportunities for artistic photos. Both @planetF1 and @duskyBlogF1 mention that his other works are spread around the city, Parc Guell and Casa Batlló would definitely rate a mention in our book.
For more lively sites, pretty much every guide book mentions the "Ramblas", which leads from Placa Catalunya down to the marina. There's a market on the right hand side, Boqueria, recommended by @ladyship_nicole. It's full of brightly coloured vegetable produce and a wide range of other foodstuffs.
If you are into Grand Prix history, you could do worse than try to trace the route of the old Montjuic circuit where the Spanish Grand Prix was held in the sixties and early seventies, but in any case Montjuic Park has some amazing delights to offer, not least the magic fountains that play to classical music in the evenings.
And finally, if you want to get an idea of the size of the city, take the blue tram from La Rotonda along the Avinguda del Tibidado, and then take the funicular to the amusement park and church at the top. There are some great places to stop and drink a coffee whilst looking out over the city and the sea.
Barcelona is a city where food is very important, and thanks to our fans we have a few recommendations for you:
Down near the marina, food options range from a simple sandwich at Lolita (thanks @sinanko) to a whole range of top-end restaurants. @StatusGrandPrix recommend a trip to La Barcelonetta - it's "a fantastic experience. A must for all seafood lovers!" but maybe you should also try "La paradetta" which serves "the best seafood in town" according to @sinanko. Let us know where you think is best!
If you're near the cathedral, @Lesmo6 suggests checking out Bilbao Berria - "Good tapas, good price" and closer to the Ramblas, you'll find Los Caracoroles, frequented by Spanish celebrities and reported by @Sheloulie. We were also glad to hear that @F1_updates confirmed our suggestion of Les 4 Gats, also nearby.
For Tapas, always a favourite in Spain, @Dan11234 likes a small cafe in Passieg de Gracia called BO, "best tapas and meals ever, and relatively cheap too". We like El Xampanyet near Poble Sec, small, but great fun, and over at Diagonal, Bar Morrison gets a good rating from @AustinF1Hotels: "Never tourists, some of the best market-fresh typical food, and priced well."
As you'd expect, different people favour different places to watch from. If you have a three-day ticket you could spend Friday walking round the circuit and choosing a spot for Qualifying and the Race. If you don't have time for that, @darrenjowens remembers watching his first ever live Grand Prix from the last corner, and that was obviously a good experience. @rachelclarkef1 is happy with Turn 1, as is @vlsf1, who suggests the inside of the circuit for both turns 1 and 2.
At the other end of the circuit, just between turns 12 and 13 was the favourite spot for @fofassociation during winter testing. Their comment? "Great view!" Which is pretty much what you'll be looking for, isn't it?
Photo of Barceloneta beachfront courtesy Christine Zenino