Lifestyle - September 12, 2017

A Long Weekend In Barcelona

barcelona city break

I could just cut to the chase and tell you we bumbled around Barcelona for three days, hoovering up pizza, doughnuts, tapas and gelato like Hansel and Gretel on roids but I know I need to give you more than that.

But you should know,  I will have to pause for typing breaths here and there along the way because I’m pretty sure I’m still digesting the calamari.

Good ol’ Barca, it’ll have you busting out of your triangle bikini pants. Who knew your labia could put on weight, eh?

The food is good guys. No, scrap that, it’s blinding, so blinding in fact that it’ll make you do a double take and walk straight into an iron bollard.

I use that anecdote there because it actually happened to me. I was so busy dribbling over a burger joint that I tried to feed my kneecap to a very small lamppost but the pleasure was all mine.

City breaks on a time limit are hard.

I had the whole, ‘now I think we should go easy on this trip’ talk with Joe before we went away, knowing full well that my itinerary’s itinerary even had an itinerary but you know, I did try to make a conscious effort to just let our feet wander the rustic streets and see where they took us. It’s just, contrary to what some may say, I’ve hardly ever just stumbled across something great.

It’s almost always recommended, researched and then found.

Oh god I’ve just remembered something I need to laugh at, with you.

So, this trip was Joe’s loving birthday present from me to him, so I did everything in my power to make sure it ran smoothly. I pre-selected extra leg room seats (we’re both packing rugby thighs mmmk), checked us in online and printed paper boarding passes too, ya know, in case a giant owl flew out of the south terminal and went swooping back to its nest with our phones.  I even booked taxis to take us to and from the airport, something I have never done before and won’t be doing again in a hurry.

I was weirdly excited about hunting down a man with a sheet of A4 with my name on it – probably something to do with never having anything personalised when I was little – but Houdini the invisible taxi man was nowhere to be seen.

We must have marched up and down that line about 15 times and every time a new driver turned up, we were onto him like a primary school kid with throat sweets in his pocket.

Didn’t that happen at every school? Everyone would suddenly get a miraculous little tickle in their throat every time someone spotted the Soothers doing the rounds. Oh, the Peach & Raspberry flavour JESUS. I’d happily let my throat dry out for them bad boys.

But back to Houdini. I said to Joe, ‘that’s it then, he’s not coming, I’ve done everything to make this trip perfect and they just take my…’ and the rest is just a blurry mess. I felt my eyes well up and I couldn’t control my chin anymore. I was bawling my eyes out at El Prat airport, while also managing to look like a giant prat. Bon voyage mother f*ckers, bon voyage.

It was like a scene out of Bridget Jones and I can’t be sure, but I think every one of the drivers thought I had left my child on the plane or something.

It was also thundering when we arrived, so as you can probably gather, everything was off o a flying start. Lol.

Naturally we thought, let’s discover the city on foot and walk a solid marathon in a day, shall we? In the pouring rain. Hello rubbing Converse hell, not to mention chub rub.

We actually had to stop at a pharmacy on day two to pick up some less than kinky thigh emollient – try explaining that with just a rusty old Spanish A-level for backup and a terrible accent that turns into a lisp.

I think I got as far as, ‘do you have cream for your’ then attempted to say legs but actually said minced veal.

But anyway, with a little hand gesture and a lot of me standing in the middle of the shop stroking my thighs, we got the cream and all inner thigh peace was restored.

Ah, yuck. Soz. I have to stop for a second – I’m getting train motion sickness. My brain thinks I’m on a ride going backwards and people are eating around me again, which is making me mad and my spine is sweating.

This guy’s eating his Graze box so loud, I think I might actually be in his mouth. I must be. Sorry, don’t mean to shame people eating on public transport but, from one hungry foodie to another, you can wait until you’ve alighted, son.

Ok, rapido Lareese, rapido. Give the people what they want.

Fast forward three hours and the month’s worth of rain that fell as soon as we arrived, finally decided to stop. At long last, it was time to have some gelato with Gaudi.

We were staying at the Ohla hotel in the gothic quarter and I have to say for a 5 star hotel, it wasn’t smack you in the face fantastic.

I mean, the location couldn’t have been better – you’re right in the heart of Barcelona’s laundry-lined streets there, which I loved. But, beautiful rooftop complete with city skyline views, the comfiest bed I’ve ever stayed in (I slept incredibly well every night, which is a rarity for me) and a very nice bath tub aside, it was pretty average.

I think I got as far as, ‘do you have cream for your’ then attempted to say legs but actually said minced veal.

I didn’t poke my bottom lip out when we left the room like I normally would. Maybe it’s because the reception staff were not overly warm or maybe I’m just jaded because they forgot the bottle of Cava they promised us. It’s attention to detail you pay for when you go five star hotel, right? If my room doesn’t have two spa robes and two pairs of slippers in it, that’s gonna affect me.

And also, when you can’t find the toilet in your room because it’s camouflaged inside a very black wall, that also affects you. Especially when you inserted a suppository half an hour before. Moving. ON.

I’d stay there again purely for the rooftop, the location and that bed. Joe would stay there for the mini breakfast doughnuts. That’s his input.

To save on words, I’ll include a photo diary below but here’s my top 10 things to see, do and eat! Love you, adios.

barcelona city break

1. Take a cable car from the port up to Bunker del Carmel viewing point – don’t make the mistake we did and walk up there and then get the cable car back down. Lol.

2. Go to brunch and cake – it’s situated in a pretty neighbourhood square, it will be busy so be prepared to wait if you want a table outside. The veggie burgers are incredible, the portions are big and, as healthy, Instagram-worthy eateries go, it’s reasonably priced. If you have time go to El Nacional and Flax & Kale too

3. Rooftop – Ohla hotel is a good spot to sit and enjoy views of the cathedral and sink a few drinks before heading out for dinner, you can even see the cable cars zipping to and from the port

4. Sagrada Familia – have you even been to Barcelona if you haven’t taken a photo of your head with some Gaudi? Do it. The sheer scale of this cathedral is quite something, and it’s finally nearing completion after 133 years of construction

5. Parking pizza – a lovely, small pizza joint a bit further out but very ‘roll your sleeves up’  kinda cool. I basically had an entire pizza made almost entirely of cheese, so it was safe to say I was over the airport taxi saga

6. La boqueria – their world-famous market, not to be missed

7. Take the walk from the gothic quarter down to la rambla and the beach, it’s a great way to find your bearings

8. Go to Chok – they do the lightest, airiest doughnuts I’ve ever had

9. Visit the Palau de la Música Catalana – Its stain glass windows are just beautiful

10. Go and see the Barcelona cathedral in the gothic quarter then walk to the Picasso museum (do it on Sunday, it’s free then)

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September 12, 2017

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