Belated Postcard from Barcelona

Note: This entry has been restored from old archives.

We went to Barcelona a couple of weeks ago. As always I had big plans to write about this, but all I’ve really managed is to write about Barcelona’s excellent Mercat de la Boqueria (coming very soon.) In summary: it was an excellent trip. Kat and I went with my sister, and we met up with a couple of other Aussie friends over there.

(Shamelessly stealing my sister’s “postcard” approach.)

From the towers of Segrada Familia, through to sangria.

Segrada Famillia, Towers
Segrada Famillia, Spiral Stair

Day 2

Distant Segrada Famillia

First thing on the second day was a stroll up the hill behind the hotel, we had an hour or two to kill being earlier risers than our travelling companions. The Hotel Catalonia Park Putxet, where we stayed, was just fine as a sleeping venue, though perhaps a little noisy. The best thing about it was the location, close to Lesseps metro station (good for getting to most of the city), a stroll from Gaudi’s Parc Güell, and parc del Turó del Putget, just a block away, offers an excellent refreshing morning hill climb with wonderful views over Barcelona.

Above all, the second day was the day of The Picnic, and oh what a picnic it was. Jamón, cheese, chorizo, fruit, and bread from Mercat de la Boqueria plus wine we picked up along the way to our picnic site. We were going to catch the cable car up to Montjuïc, but the line thwarted us, so we walked. Inadvertently taking the back way through the service entrance of some hotel/restaurant at the other end of the cable car line.

Picnic Goodies

Once up there we found our spot: a bench with an excellent view over Barcelona’s coastline. We camped out here, good food and good company for several hours. Highlights include an apparent police chase (on foot), and a buck naked old man with budgie smugglers tattooed onto his arse… and a phenomenally large penis. Finally we wandered further up the hill, then caught the metro home (they have an interesting sloped metro line running up and down the hill.)

Picnic Spot

After a quick cleanup at the hotel we headed out again to visit the Picasso museum, then then ate a late night paella before returning “home” to sleep.

Day 3

The day of Parc Güell. First we quickly wandered through the park, then climbed a seemingly endless staircase before sitting down to enjoy the view and snack on melted coffee-bean chocolate, cherries, bread, and Roquefort cheese (well, I think I ate almost all of that!) We then continued on a circumnavigation of Parc Güell before re-entering the “highlight” area of the park and paying closer attention to said highlights.

View From Hill Bahind Parc Güell

We spent most of the rest of the day drinking German lager at some random pub in a hotel district, before eating “Tarantino” pizza, then finding a bar in the gothic quarter and drinking until the metro stopped (at which point some of us taxied home, while other silly people – me included – walked for about an hour to get to the hotel!

Simply Enjoying Some Beer

Day 4

Kat was ill this morning, which was somewhat of a blessing for her I think. The rest of us found our way to Barcelona’s modern art museum. In the end I think I’d have rather been sick. We wandered the whole museum, eternally hoping the next room would offer something worth the visit. But all we found were things like rooms full of TVs displaying “white noise” (bullcrap) with visible compression artefacts. The highlight of this museum was an OK, for Barcelona (i.e. excellent for England), espresso at their café. Sorry… but what a complete pile of bollocks.

Dried fruit and sweets, better than modern art
Cheese, infinitely better than modern art

Kathlene had recovered by this stage. We met up outside Mercat de la Boqueria, and bought some lunch in the market. Then meandered our way down to the beach where we enjoyed sunlight, sangria, and cocktails for much of the rest of the day. Finally heading back inland for dinner at a traditional Catalan restaurant (actually a small chain, offering quite decent food) and then home. In bed at 1AM, an early night!


Day 5

Really only half a day, since our flight departed at 14:30. We got up early and headed to the market, which I’ve written much about already and I’ll hopefully post that in the near future. We wandered down to the harbour, saw the modern swing-bridge open to let a small yacht out, then zigzagged back through gothic quarter streets (via lunch and icecream) to a metro station. Then train to the airport, then flight to Luton, bus to Hitchin, and early bed.

All in all it was an excellent, if tiring, holiday. I expect, and hope, to visit Barcelona again – if only for their brilliant market!

Market in the morning
Jamón! Jamón!