Eat. Nap. Drink. Repeat.

23:21 Paul Robinson 1 Comments

Spain is a bit like Breaking Bad for me. Most people love it but it just didn't really appeal to me. That's why it's taken me 30 years to get round to visiting everybody's favourite city; Barcelona.

I was travelling with my mate Ting, who was a bit nervous about the game I like to play at airports. I like to leave everything to the last possible moment so you don't have to wait around. I can be a little impatient. And wouldn't you know it, with hardly a moment's wait, we won the game and we were off on our journey.

After becoming a convert to AirBnb in Scotland, Ting and I decided to hire ourselves a whole apartment in the Gothic Quarter in central Barcelona. It was a sweet apartment in the perfect location. We had lunch in the boqueria Market. The market is overflowing with fresh fish, meat and vegetables. We sat down for seafood tapas. The food was absolutely gorgeous and I was all over the clams and the prawns.

Afterward, we visited a few sights and returned to the apartment for a siesta. That evening we had some Catalan paella - basically seafood and spaghetti. I think paella is a bit crap if I'm honest. It reminds me of the difference between how Americans and Canadian's see their own countries. American's see the States as a 'melting pot' where everything becomes the same colour and flavour; whilst Canadian see their country as a 'tossed salad' where the individual components keep their character. Paella is too much like America - overcooked, bland and indistinct. We spent the rest of the evening on a bit of a pub crawl.

The next day, Over breakfast on our balcony, Ting and I discussed my blog. I  was telling Ting how I'd like to write about our Spanish trip but I didn't really have anything interesting to say - apart from not liking paella. Little did I know we'd be in for a crazy 24 hours.

First up was a kayak and snorkelling tour in Santa Clara, an hours drive from Barcelona. We got ourselves kitted up and jumped into our kayak. Ting isn't a confident swimmer and hadn't been in a kayak before. He was nervous and I could tell. Every time a wave hit us he tensed up and fought against the wave. Eventually, he began to relax and enjoy himself. At a little cove, our tour group all dived into the water and did some snorkelling. I thought it was okay, nothing special. Ting was loving it though. He was challenging himself in the water, pushing his limits and learning something new.

We all began to climb the cliffs around us and did some cliff diving. This got my heart racing and now I was loving it. Most off the group dived of the smaller walls but only a few of the braver ones jumped from the high wall. It was exhilarating.

Somehow Ting had cut his leg open and my feet we all torn up. Bloodied but undefeated, we continued along. We kayaked into caves, through choppy seas and occasionally got smashed against rocks. It was really good fun. One particularly large wave hit us on the side and Ting tensed up. It was inevitable that the kayak was going to topple. While Ting did his best to hold on, I had a few seconds to grab hold of my camera and then... splash! we were dunked into the sea. Amazingly, I resurfaced with my sunglasses still on my head. Ting was a few metres away and flapping. I should have been a good friend and helped him, but I was too busy laughing. I tried to explain to Ting that we needed to turn to kayak back over but I literally couldn't speak because I was laughing so much.

After a siesta. We hit the town for dinner at a somewhat continental time of 10pm. We were both hungry and impatient; I don't know how Europeans manage to eat this late every day. We ate a burger and instantly felt better. By now, we'd found ourselves a favourite bar (Sugar on Carrer d'en Rauric) and I introduced Ting to the delights of Absinthe. We were in for a big night. We were going to see one of my favourite bands/DJs - Hot Chip. The venue was a beautiful old theatre and we danced into the early hours. The perfect end to a great day.

...Or so we thought. We were walking home around 5am and literally just a few metres from our apartment we were robbed. It was all over in a few seconds. I thought someone had walked into me, then I realised I felt a bit weird because there was a hand in my pocket. The two kids scarpered down the street and we chased them, but we couldn't find them in the mazy streets of the Gothic Quarter. Gutted.

The following morning was a bit crappy as we wasted our time trying to report the stolen phones. Afterward, we looked in a few shops and stopped for some more paella (could this day get any worse??) I was in a bit of a pissy mood but Ting took it all in his stride. I was glad to have him there to drag me out of my mood. After yet another nap, we wandered the streets and enjoyed the Merce Festival. The streets were filled with free music and there was a real buzz about the place. The day was fun again. My favourite was the Opera in a random back alley. Some random audience member decided to join in and he belted out the best opera singing I'd ever heard. To be fair, this was my first ever experience of opera, and it was in a back alley, but I was impressed!

On Sunday, we failed at being tourists. We arrived at the Sagrada Familia only to be told tickets had sold out for the day. We made our way to the Guell Gaudi park and were told the same thing. Finally, we went to the Picasso museum, and found the queue was around the block.  Fail, fail, fail.

In the evening, we decided to do something completely different. Not really. We went for seafood and some beers. We had salad, snails, calamari, langoustines and sea bass. It was all delicious, except for the snails. After the food, we went to the Camp Nou to watch Barcelona defeat Levante. The stadium is magnificent but the home support was a bit flat. There was a small singing section, but the crowd only really made themselves heard when they whistled at the referee. Having all those tourists, like me, in the stadium didn't really help the atmosphere. It was great to see Messi though, the dribbles past the opposing professional footballers like they are children.

Back in town, we found enough time for a couple of beers and for some guy to chat us up. I reckon he liked Ting's hair.

On the return journey home, we played it safe and made it to the airport with a couple of hours to spare. I sat down and read my book, while Ting wandered off with his remaining Euros burning a hole in his pocket. An hour later, Ting stumbled back, struggling to string a sentence together.  He'd been sampling the duty-free alcohol and had about 10 shots of neat gin, vodka and tequila. Ting was a little bit smashed. It was 11am. What a good trip!

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1 comment:

  1. Good blog mate. Even after my trip I still love Barcelona!