When Tall’s mum came to England in June 2008, we decided we should all take a trip somewhere exciting. She expressed a desire to return to Barcelona, as did Tall’s sister, and as we hadn’t set foot in Spain yet, we jumped at the chance.
We arrived late on a Friday night and while Tall’s mum went straight to the hotel to sleep (with us wishing her good luck – we were staying on Las Ramblas, the main pedestrian area of the city, which stays alive until at least 4am), the rest of us headed out in search of paella and sangria. For those of you who’ve been to Barcelona, you’ll know we didn’t have to go far to find either. We found a little stall on Las Ramblas and sat watching the world go by, eating and drinking to our hearts’ content.
When we tired of people- and street-artist-watching (after a looooong time – Barcelona is such an interesting city!), we wandered down a little alley and found ourselves in a courtyard surrounded by bars. We ordered more sangria and ate the most amazing olives I have ever tasted, and absorbed the atmosphere and vibrancy around us.
The next day, we took a bus tour around the city which was a good way to spend a windy and cool afternoon. We could have walked to most of the main sights, but the bus tour was cheap, and easy.
La Sagrada Familia was quite fascinating (Gaudi‘s obsession with nature is obvious there), but the awesomeness of it was marred by the ever-present cranes and scaffolding. In 100 years, when it is finally completed, the first people to view it unencumbered will quite possibly be blown away.
The architecture of Barcelona is world-renowned, and for good reason. The buildings by Gaudi are quirkily beautiful, but there are many other striking buildings around the city as well. A highlight for Tall and his sister was seeing the site of the Olympic games, where their dad represented New Zealand in 1992. I was devastated when we arrived at the end of the tour and realised we’d missed stopping off at Park Guell, which is supposed to be amazing.
On the Sunday, collecting our rental car for the rest of the trip was a tragic affair. A mere five minutes after leaving the airport in our shiny black Alfa Romeo (aptly named Ronaldhino by my football mad man), someone drove into the back of us at a roundabout! Luckily he was a very nice gentleman who spoke perfect English, and we went back to the airport to swap Ronaldhino for a silver french number. Needless to say, we all held our breaths until we successful got through that first roundabout, and Fernando was christened. The moral of that story?? Always pay that little bit extra for insurance when renting a car!
We set off up the coast (heading towards France), to a little town called Roses. Roses is apparently a haven for holidaying English folk, but it was empty due to the less-than-ideal weather. More paella, serrano ham, olives and sangria went down a treat – plus mojitos that blew our socks off with their potency!
We’d planned on chilling on the beach for a day or so, but the inclement weather saw us climbing a hill towards a building that looked old and interesting instead. Unfortunately, when we reached the apex of the hill, we couldn’t go any further, and had to admire the old fort from afar.
Feeling a bit disappointed with not being able to do much in Roses, we decided to leave a day early and continued our drive up the coast.
Next stop: France!