Barca, you got it going on
For the first time on our travels we are staying closest to Nath, Tara, Jess and Steve! The evening flight saw us land tired, weary (ha, the flight was only 30mins) but wide-eyed at the wonders of inner city Barcelona!
We’d already eaten dinner but arriving at our airbnb apartment to discover we were smack bang in the middle of hip tapas/vivacious?? (jonos word) cocktail bar wonderland aka the neighbourhood of Born, meant we’d be eating dinner all over again. We had a sneaky midnight rendezvous with Jess and Steve and found the most amazing ‘gastronomic space’ where the packed-with -locals dining nooks were filled with tapas from all around the world. Given my Spanish isn’t great, ok it’s non existent, food was chosen by the point and hope method and it was all delicious and fun!
I already love the atmosphere, energy and style of Barca!
The following day Jono had googled up us a wicked ‘free’ walking tour. We don’t normally go in for things like that but i thoroughly enjoyed it! We did the tour minus the presence of jared and chloe as they were playing the old ‘see how far back we can walk and still see everyone in a busy city’ game and lost. The guy was so full of interesting history about spain, catalonia and barcelona and being the nerd I am I soaked it all in.
He discussed the economic crisis Spain is struggling with and the incredibly high numbers of people being evicted from their homes and the youth and general unemployment. He said at the end of this summer he will be leaving spain as there is a great deal of tension brewing amongst the people over their ongoing discontentment with the government. I didn’t realise that so many barcelonian people want to become a separate nation from Spain once again. There were many Catalonian flags displayed from shops and balconies!
After a spot of clothes shopping in some gorgeous little boutiques we went to see the Boqueria markets with Jess and Steve. Beautiful crazy piles of bright fruit, delicious juices, stinking fish, thousands of nuts, dates, apricots, pastries and pastas, paella, wines and the incredibly amazing Pata Negra (amazing type of cured ham, from black pigs feed on acorns) made for one expensive and impressive market where I could have eaten at every stall (except the butchers with interval organs for sale).
Jono surprised me that Friday night by taking me to a paella and sangria cooking course!! I love doing cooking courses in foreign countries and i also love paella so what a recipe for happiness (get it)! The chef took us through the markets again and showed us all the meat products available (they seriously use the entire animal, penis included).
The others (less Jared and Chloe who still hadn’t managed to find anyone else) had gone to see a flamenco show near our apartment so we met up for coffee and a bite of dessert at our gastronomic space!
While matt, Jared and Chloe ventured off to do dangerous stunts with bulls in pamplona we were up and into it again as we embarked on Jess’ Gaudi Tour of very impressive and very wacky gaudi architecture. Wiki sums up nicely what the go is with the Sagrada Familia Church still being unfinished..
“Though construction of Sagrada Família had commenced in 1882, Gaudí became involved in 1883, taking over the project and transforming it with his architectural and engineering style—combining Gothic and curvilinear Art Nouveauforms. Gaudí devoted his last years to the project, and at the time of his death at age 73 in 1926, less than a quarter of the project was complete. Sagrada Família’s construction progressed slowly, as it relied on private donations and was interrupted by the Spanish Civil War—only to resume intermittent progress in the 1950s. Construction passed the midpoint in 2010 with some of the project’s greatest challenges remaining and an anticipated completion date of 2026—the centennial of Gaudí’s death.”
The boys watched cricket together for the arvo and that night we all met for drinks and dinner at cool tapas restaurant in our area. It was probably the most delicious tapas I’ve ever had and eating it with beautiful friends made it even better. After crossing the entire city of Barcelona to find a magic fountain we arrived to face defeat. The fountains had been turned off for the night… fail.
Back to Born and not wanting to say goodbye we had one last quick virgin cocktail with nath and tars. It was the best idea ever on a stinking hot night and we wouldn’t be surprised to see nath asking the dudley pub to start making them!
Another morning spent watching the cricket at a pub meant we were running a bit late to pick up Jem’s hire car. Happily he was giving us a lift to sitges but when we got to the car we realised there was a problem. There was nowhere to put the key in the drivers door to let us in!! It would be embarrassing to tell you how long we stood looking at the car before Heidi pointed out the steering wheel was on the left side of the car…
Leaving Barcelona meant saying goodbye to four more friends. Nath and Tara and Jess and Steve all left us for their own travels and we were super sad to see them go!! Can’t believe how quickly our time went while they were here! Can’t wait to see them all when we get back home! Thanks for an amazing holiday everyone!