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Published: November 21st 2006
It'll be nice when it's finished.
Well, that’s it, the end of the 2006 travel season for me. No more holidays this year, but the fact that there is only about 6 weeks left of the year, I’ve not done too badly I guess. I dread to think what my carbon footprint for the year’s air travel has been, it’s probably more on the Bigfoot end of the scale rather than my usual size 4s.
The grand finale was a quick trip over to one of the few European countries that have thus far eluded me, Spain. At last all those Ricky Martin songs I’ve learnt will finally be of some use, I'm always livin’ la vida loca.
Three days in Barcelona was to be my introduction to the Iberian way of life, or maybe I should specify the Catalan way of life. But like the tapas, a small taste of something can often leave you wanting more.
Leaving a cold and wet London, we landed lunchtime in Barcelona where it was not cold, but still wet. At least it was an improvement on London, and of course I wasn’t in work, so anything is a bonus. A quick trip in to town via
Show some back bone
Inside the Sagrada Familia, reminds me of a skeleton.
a very nicely air-conditioned tube (are you listening Ken?) and the 3 amigos (Sarah, Linda and I) headed in to town
Basically, I knew nothing about Barcelona and hadn’t read my hastily bought guidebook either. So I the history lesson began on the plane when my friend Sarah told me the Sagrada Familia is not the main cathedral in Barcelona, and even more weirdly, it's not even finished. Having been the only thing I would have been able to identify from the city, I was a bit surprised. But hey, even I don't know everything, even though I'm quite close to it.
So after dumping the luggage around the corner at our hotel, we proceeded to Guadi’s building site. Two of the three decided we’d ascend one of the towers to get the views of the city and of course a close up of the scaffolding. Going up was fine, however walking down was a bit hairy especially as it was close to dusk and the light was fading. Spiral staircases in the dark, I felt a bit queasy at the end, I can tell you.
Evening and it was time to sample one of the local
One of these spires is not like the others..
over 100 years to finish, lets hope they don't take over the contract for Wembly
tipples, Cava. I’ve always liked the fizzy stuff but sadly I don’t have the means to support such a lifestyle, so cava is a great substitute. I shall be including it more in my lifestyle I think, after all you can get a bottle for a fiver at the supermarket these days.
Day 2 and we head down in to town to Barcelonetta and the seaside. We are doing rather well as the ever unreliable BBC weather site predicted rain, but the sun is shining and the temperature hits 24C. Not bad for November. More and more impressive architecture, lots of modernist and medieval buildings. And then all the modern shops and restaurants at the port. Now I see why everyone raves about the city.
Well, lots of sights seen and it was time to shop. I’m not much of a shopper on holiday, but Barcelona very conducive to shopping. Perhaps the fact the all the Zaras and Hennes were quite empty as opposed to the usual bun fight of the London stores. And don't get me started on the largest Sephora I've ever seen...
We then headed off to La Ramblas, the main tourist street. Not
my favourite place as it was full of ‘street artists’ of the style who frequent Covent Garden. I can never understand why anyone thinks painting themselves up in one colour and standing still is entertainment. It’s not. It’s crap!
One thing to watch for though, we made the mistake of eating on there, the price of the food was fine but 10 Euros for a pint of coke, ouch! Don’t do it kids!
Avid readers of my previous entries (there's at least 5 of you!) will remember the trouble I’ve experienced in the past with scaffolding and historic sites, it seems the authorities in Barcelona caught wind of this and decided to erect some in my honour around the main cathedral. Yet again my photos are tainted with metal pipes, or perhaps I’ve just missed some new fad of building art and I’m just not getting it.
The medieval part of the town was a good contrast to the modernist and Guadi buildings (another one of which we went to look at was also in scaffolding), it even has some Roman remains. Is there anything this city can’t do?
A final lunch at the key in
Barcelonetta and time for some Paella and Cava (well, not me, it was a Sunday after all), 26C now, some how I wasn’t looking forward to going back to cold London.
I enjoyed watching some Spanish TV, it was all a bit like the Fast Show sketches and the highlight had to be watching Little Britain with Spanish subtitles, Vicky Pollard’s translation amused me a lot, can you guess what it says? “Pero si, pero no, pero si, pero no, pero si, pero no, pero si, pero no, pero si, pero no”.
The day before I went out to Barcelona I caught a report on TV about if you want to see how being awarded the Olympics can improve a city, go to Barcelona. If London getting the Olympics means they can bring sunshine, beaches, wide boulevards, no congestion, air conditioned metros and Guadi architecture, then I’m all for them.
Adios Amigos, until next year.
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