Hola mi amigos y familia!! After the dreadful Perpignan, we crossed the border into lovely, beautiful Spain. Learning a lesson from our French disaster we pre-planned Spain a little while we were holed up in our hotel room so we weren’t as stressed out trying to find accommodation. We knew we wanted to go to Barcelona and also Madrid but hadn’t planned anything in between and had originally decided on just driving through and stopping where we thought best. But being so over the driving factor we decided on Valencia and only due to a lack of accommodation in Madrid we also decided on Toledo, but more on that later.
First stop was Barcelona, a place C had been previously but I hadn’t. It is an awesome place and it was nice to be back on the beach after a bit of a country detour in France, and to see the sun, after about 5 days solid of rain. It was REALLY warm in Spain, a noticeable shift now we’d travelled further south. And oh how I love Spain, the people are so nice, and so fashionably dressed (yet without that pretentiousness you get so many other European countries), the architecture is beautiful, the streets are clean, the food is amazing, the beer is cold and the sun shines.
My only bugbear in Barcelona was having people trying to sell you stuff literally every 30 seconds while you’re on the beach. It was relentless, and even more irritating when (if you’re like me) you feel that a beach is one of those sacred places where you should never be hassled… it is quite clear you are there to relax so, no ‘I do not want another pair of (crappy, cheap) sunglasses and a sarong, I quite clearly have that covered!!!’
Moving on, so the first thing we did in Barcelona was head down to the beach via Las Ramblas and the Marina. We stopped at the beach for a beer and then headed to see the Sagrada Familia, a neo-gothic church, designed by Antoni Gaudi which began construction in 1882 and has still not finished being built and some of the original is now being restored! It is incredible… unfortunately a lot of it was covered up because of the construction and restoration but incredible none-the-less. Anyone who knows me knows I love a bit of gothic/neo-gothic architecture (in this case it was neo-gothic) and C for one was a little over looking at buildings (it’s not the only architectural style I like). On a bit of a Gaudi roll, we decided then to go to the Gaudi Park as C likes to call it, real name: Park Güell. Again, incredible!! This place was like walking through a fairy tale. It was so whimsical and lovely. We stopped and had a jug of Sangria and looked out at some of the Gaudi art/architecture and watched the people go by. Afterwards I was so taken by one of the buildings in the park that looked like a gingerbread house that I walked right into a (parked) Vespa, and straight after that as C was lecturing me about looking where I was going he hit his head on the top of a doorway haha … I promise we only had one jug of Sangria!!! The night ended with tapas, beer, more tapas, more beer and then cocktails! We found this cool underground bar in a dark alley way that was offering cheap cocktails. We were initially the first ones there (the Spanish sleep late, eat late and party late) but it ended up getting packed. I don’t remember getting home, I don’t really remember much of the end of the night either but we both made it home safely and woke up feeling suitably rotten!
The next day, after a slow start we went to the big market off Las Ramblas. Although huge food markets like this are found all over Europe, I have still never seen anything quite so jaw-droppingly, mouth-wateringly good nor a market so beautifully displayed. It was like heaven and hell at the same time… exactly how you imagine heaven would be like (from a food-lover’s perspective) with anything you want under the same roof seemingly as far as the eye can see, but hell because we knew we wanted everything but couldn’t have it all – how cruel! We settled with enough food for breakfast and lunch and a bunch of pics and good memories and headed to the beach for a lazy day soaking up the sun and salt water (and curing our epic hangovers).
We then decided to get more beers (while on the beach, who can resist?) and then we headed back via the market, picked up a kilo of fresh prawns, some baguettes and some Duff beer, yes that’s right, Duff beer as in The Simpsons, and went home and sat on our balcony which overlooked the busy streets of Barcelona and made our bellies full. It was divine. Simple, fresh, delicious, cheap, a private balcony dining setting for two, the best company and one of the best meals we’d had. AMAZING!