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August 23rd 2010
Published: August 23rd 2010EDIT THIS ENTRY

My journey from Marrakech to Madrid to Barcelona took me about twelve hours so I was very tired when I arrived at the station. My cousin Gemma was there to greet me, excitedly running up to me and giving me a huge hug! She and her friend Ed had driven from England, got the ferry to Santander and drove to Mequenenza, about two hours from Barcelona, where their friends live. They stayed there a few nights then drove, with one of their friends Jen, to Barcelona to meet me. We stayed in a lovely campsite near a beach and about half an hour from Barcelona on the bus. That evening we just chilled out a bit and went to bed pretty early.

I was woken up the next morning to the smell of a proper English breakfast being cooked by Ed outside the tent. What a welcome meal! Afterwards we all went to the beach and stayed there most of the day, swimming in the sea with its huge waves and sunbathing in the hot sun. We got a bit puckish so went back to the tent for some lunch, then Ed and Jen said goodbye, got in the van and went back to Mequenenza.

When I was in Dicomano in Italy (near Florence), my couchsurfing host, Maurizio, gave me the contact details of his ex-boyfriend who lives in Barcelona. His name is German and we arranged to meet up for a quick drink, as he was working most of the time. I had a note to give him from Maurizio so really wanted to meet him. So Gemma and I went to get on the bus to meet him by the train station in Barcelona. Once on the bus I realized I didn’t have my phone, but I had it at the bus stop so I must have dropped it! We were debating whether to go back and get my phone but thought if I had lost it there would be no way of contacting German again so decided to go and meet him, then quickly go back. Unfortunately we were ten minutes late to the station and no sign of him! So I was thinking, oh he is probably calling me and thinking we won’t turn up! We were just about to give up and leave when along comes German - thank god! And the first thing he said was ‘’I know where your phone is, let’s go and get it’’!!! A Spanish guy had picked up my phone and answered when German called it, so they arranged to meet at a metro station. It was so amazing, two complete strangers helped me, and I got my phone back! German was really lovely so it was a shame we didn’t have too much time to chat to him.

Back at the camp site Gemma and I cooked some dinner and went for a walk on the beach in the dark. On the way back we were greeted by a guy with huge muscles who invited us to a gathering on the beach. He told us he was from Luxembourg and was called Bad! We thought he was a bit weird but went along anyway! There were loads of people to chat to on the beach, a load of people from Australia and New Zealand on a gap year, working in the UK and on a holiday in Europe for a month. They were really fun, and there were French people too, and the Luxembourg guy was good to talk to, and his brother, although it turned out they were actually Moroccan. And someone else thought they were from Brazil so it was a bit confusing! Anyway one New Zealand guy had Sangria and so we stayed on the beach until about 4am. Bad worked at the campsite as some kind of exercise class leader, and the next day we was doing a salsa class in the bar so we agreed to go.

In the morning Gemma and I headed into Barcelona to see the sights. First stop was Casa Batllo, we only saw it from the outside but it was still absolutely stunning. It is a building based on George and the Dragon; along the top of the building it looks like a dragon’s spine, the whole front is decorated with blue scales, and the windows looked like skulls. A few other buildings along that street were really pretty too.

Next we walked along Las Ramblas, with all the tourists and the people dressed in costumes standing still as statues, and stalls selling tacky souvenirs. But the street itself has a great atmosphere, beautiful buildings, and many interesting things to look at. We had a wander and got lost down some side streets, taking any street we fancied that looked interesting. At the end of La Rambla is a grassy area where we had a rest and some lunch, then we went to look at the port. There was a market there when Gemma went a few days before and she was hoping it would be there again, but it was gone. So we got an ice cream and wandered down some more little streets. We found the Cathedral but couldn’t go inside because we had bare shoulders, but sat in the little house opposite with a fountain in the middle and lots of climbing plants. That was a cool respite from the hot day, just what we needed. We did some shopping and decided to get the metro to Sagrada Familia. What an impressive building, we were there for ages, walking all the way around to get the view of every feature. I liked the snails and lizards climbing up the sides!

After our busy day we were glad to get back to the campsite, we cooked and met up with some people who were staying in a tent opposite. They were two guys from Nottingham, and a guy and a girl from Ireland. One of the Nottingham guys, Nick, had a weird thing that morning, he woke up to find little black hairs sticking out of his neck, and when he tried to pull them out they went inside his neck! And the same thing happened on his mouth, the hairs went inside his mouth and he was spitting them out! No idea what it was, some kind of insect we guessed; it was so strange. I actually called up German that day because he is a doctor and I wanted to ask his advice, but he said he had no idea either without seeing it. So Nick was worried about it, and while we were at the pub he got something in his eye, which of course panicked him because he thought it was one of the hairs, but it wasn’t. We all went to the pub together and also one Australian guy called Jim. Bad was doing his salsa dancing but it wasn’t really dancing, more like an exercise class! So I didn’t join in but I did teach Jim the steps outside so we had a dance. Again we were chatting to people until late at night, and they all came back to our tent for a cup of tea!

Next morning we didn’t get going until quite late, we had a lazy morning. Then we headed to Park Guell, a place designed to be a residential area for rich people, designed by Gaudi and Guell, but never finished so left as a public park. Some of the features were so beautiful, the courtyard with the wiggling wall all around, the columned ‘’market place’’ underneath, the steps down with water features all along it, where the famous salamander statue is, and at the bottom two fantastic buildings. We went inside the one that looks like a gingerbread house, as it had a lot of interpretation about the park and about Gaudi, it was really well done. We had a drink in the café then walked up into a different part of the park. There were several viaducts, all of different architecture but all beautiful, one of which had a tree growing as part of the architecture. Up the hill was a great view over Barcelona towards the sea, where a group of musicians were playing funky but chilled music, so we stayed a while to listen. On the way back we started talking to a guy from South America who was selling jewelley. Gemma brought a ring and then he made us both a ring out of wire that looked like shooting stars, it was amazing how he did it!

We ate a falafel kebab for dinner and went back to the campsite. We had a bit of a chat to the English and Irish again, but decided to stay at the tent and have a chat just me and Gemma, as it was our last night together. We were chatting until about 3 in the morning, and I had to get up to get the train at 6! I couldn’t believe how little sleep I had in Barcelona, I am not used to it! So I was glad to go to stay in Provence again with my friends Sue and John, for a bit of a rest! But I was so sad to say goodbye to Gemma, we had a great time together!

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