Classic City Break
Trip Start Aug 01, 2003
66Trip End Sep 20, 2004
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An Easyjet flight from Liverpool for £120 and you're away, who needs to pre-book accomodation? We learnt that if your flight gets into an airport an hour and a half outside a busy city it is a good idea.
On the flight we chanced upon a South African work colleague, Jaco, who happened to be a very seasoned traveller. We had an opportunity to catch up on the flight but as we landed we made our apologies and rushed off explaining that we needed to get into town before the tourist information closed at 10pm and book a room. He had wisely arranged some well-recommeded digs for himself and merely smiled sympathetically as he stayed to calmly wait for his bags.
Sweating and breathless we met him at the train station 30 minutes later, we had got lost and the bugger beat us there, sitting perusing his guide book as we careered onto the platform. Luckily we got to the tourist info with 5 minutes to spare and did get a place to stay.
Early next morning we were walking past Barcelona's beautiful old apartment buildings on the way to see Gaudi's masterpieces of architecture. They appear suddenly inbetween traditionally reserved offices and are truly marvelous Hansel and Grettel houses.
The Picasso museum was enlightening; during his student days he demonstrated what a fantastic artist he was with some classically beautiful art. Something must have happened to him in his later years, he turned into a depraved monster with his renowned, seedy, squiggly drawings (most of females in compromising positions). The Miro gallery was more to my taste - fun, colourful and very Spanish. It stands on a hill called Montjeu with an expansive view of the city. The Olympic stadium is also up there and we walked through some pretty gardens before coming down the steps of a majestic palace onto a huge roundabout with the bull ring and Miro park in the distance.
We had walked so far at this point that my feet no longer fit insode my shoes. Due to hypoglycaemia and fatigue I managed to fit in a miny sulk about something or other. In the pleasant sunshine we took a break and watched families playing in the park.
Rested we made a call to Jaco and met him on La Rambla. This is a promenade that leads from the town centre, through the old quarter to the port. Everyone was out talking and chatting with statue people, mime artists and toy sellers all adding to the atmosphere. Generously we decided to treat Jaco to a meal and brazenly led him off down a maze of side streets into the bowels of the dodgy district. Gangs of skateboarders and street toughs stood in the doorways pciking the dirt out of their nails with oversized knives. Happy to get off the alley we entered the first ye back street taverna we espied.
Ahhhh the culinary delights that followed - foul, the most disgusting fodder. It was partly our fault, hushing Jaco into silence as it was our shout and with limited Spanish we ordered little fish with their heads still on, raw eggs and the worst excuse for an omellette I have ever witnessed.The head waiter was manic 'You English? I am Tony Blair' than he would stand to attention before descending into a fit of giggles. At the next table'You American? I am Bill Clinton!' again he stood to attention, this tim saluting, 'You German?... I am Chancellor Kohl...'. I suppose you get the picture, I am a patient man but this guy really got on my tits. Poor Jaco just sat there in a state of shock clutching his guidebook.
In March 2005 I returned to Barcelona on business, what a gorgeous place. J came to join me and we reminisced with a sojourn along La Rambla. Happy memories. The next day we took a bus to Girona and stayed there for four days in the heart of the old walled city. Very pretty and the walk along the wall was good. A weekend would have been enough time to see the sites in Girona and we were itching to get into the surrounding countryside after a few days.