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UK 2002/03

Spain |

After a somewhat stressful start and almost missing the flight, we made the best of flying BA with lots of free alcohol, and when we arrived at the airport in Barcelona it almost felt as if we were in the tropics – the air was warm, there were palm trees everywhere and we just immediately felt like we were on holiday. We waited ages for the train into the city, though, and as a result couldn’t connect to the metro we needed to get to our hotel – and had to hail a taxi and try to explain in Spanish where we wanted to go! We’d booked at this rather dodgy-looking hotel called the Hotel Del Mar that’s just near the port – and I was really worried about it – but it actually turned out to be pretty cool. No doubt it was dodgy, but it really had character – big full length windows that opened up with a (sideways) view to the sea, billowing curtains, balmy air and a squeaky bed! It really had it’s own kind of charm.

We ventured out into the night at about midnight and how wonderful that everything’s still open! I’ve got so used to London closing down early (apart for the clubs, obviously!) and everyone going home that it’s quite a sensation to find that the Spanish don’t eat until at least nine – and wouldn’t consider going out on the town until midnight. We ventured a walk around the port and then found a great tapas bar and had calamari, churizo, and assorted others. Yummy!

We landed up spending three days in Barcelona itself, exploring all the ins and outs – saw the sights, including La Rambla, Casa Mila, and of course Sagrada Familia. It’s such a weird thing being able to see the construction of a cathedral in person. You tour around Europe and see these beautiful cathedrals that took hundreds of years to build – and today are just not feasible. But here’s one that’s still in the making, and has been for more than a hundred years (the first brick was laid in 1882) – and it’s awesome! I mean, it’s probably going to be as ugly as hell by the time they’re done with it (gaudy doesn’t derive from Gaudi for nothing!) but pretty cool to see it none the less. We also spent an afternoon at Parc Guell, which really is an experience. It’s great to walk down the fantastical walkways, and see the bright mosaics and I got a great pic of the dragon at the entrance!

We then got the train out to Sitges for two days and stayed in a lovely hotel called La Sainta Maria which is right on the waterfront of the most gorgeous beach. It’s really cool as all the hotels are all above these fantastic seafood restaurants – which I of course made the most of! I can’t actually believe how much I’ve missed the sea – we couldn’t get rid of our bags fast enough to get on the beach, and once there I couldn’t even sit still for one minute before feeling compelled to rush into the water – and it was gorgeous – absolute bliss! And when you’re in there you turn around and look back at this fabulous beach, with palm trees and the restaurants and hotels behind it and you’re just like “Wow! What are we living in London for!?!” So, after dragging ourselves out of the water and some time on the beach it was time for a little siesta, and then we went looking for some entertainment. I think it’s fair to say we explored a fair few of Sitges’ bars, lots of cocktails and beer and then had a great seafood paella before making our way out again. I love holidays… and now that I’m back I just need to plan my next trip to Spain!

Locations Visited: Barcelona

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