Connectivity out here in Barcelona is always part of our planning when we do these trips. A local SIM came to our rescue this time, but there’s also the option of unlimited roaming data packages from the odd UK network provider.
What has surprised me, as someone who normally uses the Tube in London, is how well covered the metro network is here in Barcelona. Sure, it’s not quite as deep or as old as the Underground (which started life in 1863) but seeing locals holding full conversations all the way through the tunnels and beyond did fill me with some envy. Yes, in London you can now get WiFi on the platform, but there’s no chance of sending a tweet when you’re heading through those tunnels.
Alas, my joy at having a full 3G phone signal throughout my underground journey ends when I reach the shared apartment. The WiFi is about as reliable and speedy as a one-legged man with narcolepsy. Sometimes I get 2Mb/s, sometimes nothing. Back home I’m used to something a little more reliable and a lot faster, but I must confess to shopping round (I might go for the BT offering and you can learn more about it here). Being connected, reliably, constantly and speedily, is still a privilege in some places, but it’s almost an expectation for most.
Then we get to the airport. Suddenly, a WiFi hotspot appears. You connect in but the cost to browse for just an hour is about the same as three coffees. Oh and believe me, the coffee is expensive. Hotels do the same trick, but if you’re lucky you might find the odd one that offers free WiFi. Whether it’s fast and reliable well, that’s another matter.