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Published: July 25th 2009
Thursday 23rd July - Barcelona
It had definitely been a wise move to give up pontificating what next and just get a hotel. I felt infinitely better this morning. There was however no solution to the Morocco problem - even with a clear and air conditioned head. Still at least now I could reason that quite quickly. I had up to 7 days left and I estimated that 4 days of that would be flat out riding in elevated temperatures. All for 3 days in Morocco - it was a crazy notion and I quickly abandoned it. After the initial pangs of disappointment (this trip was supposed to be about finally getting, safely, to North Africa after all) I was philosophical and unusually rational. I would just enjoy Spain instead. The first step to that was to extend my stay an extra night in this rather comfortable and, for its standard of accommodation, cheap hotel. That would allow me to take in some of Barcelona itself.
Barcelona had an edge to it and I decided I liked the place. It was far more gritty than I expected which for some reason, as long as it does not become too obtrusive,
I kind of like. There was hustle here - “geezers” trying to sell you Charlie (quite why I'd want a woman's perfume I don't know) and a range of the usual sort of hassles. Theft was endemic, apparently, so unless you wanted to wear a “Rob me I am a green tourist muppet” sign around your neck you didn't carry valuables when strolling La Rambla at night. Well I didn't anyway (preferring the "I couldn't catch a ferry if it was in my bath" one instead...)
Before shutting down for a marathon kip last night I had dined at Los Caracoles - which I think is quite a well known restaurant (Bruce?) Amazing place, but mainly for the decor, I thought the food was OK, but not spectacular. Anyway there's not much nosebag I don't like but there was Bob and No Hope of me ordering snails, their signature dish (unsurprisingly given the name) - I hate the things. Anyway, I think El Bulli can rest easy. I do seem to have developed a rather worrying tendency for ordering bottles of Rose though - well noncy. Maybe it's the heat...
So tourist overload today and hence not much
news. I strolled (or rather limped given the state of my blistered feet) round the old town, which was a warren of tight alleyways. Saw Le Catedral and other sights before taking a breather from the heat for a couple of hours at the Museo de Picasso which I thought was amazing. Later I took in La Sagrade Familia and some of Gaudi's other “masterpieces” such as Le Perderba and other modernista buildings.
I spent the night, till 1.30 am, planning the rest of the trip. I got as far as tomorrow, which sounds (and I suppose is) pathetic, but it is a step in the right direction. Anyway the plan is to head into central Catalonia, after first looking at Parc Guell (at the northern outskirts of the city.) I want to go to Montserrat and then ride onto Olot, which is in a volcanic national park. There is a good camping ground there - so I shall try and enjoy my large double bed tonight before becoming reacquainted with my roll mat tomorrow.
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