Barcelona in Pictures

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As I’ve already told you a lot about my time in Barcelona I thought I’d just give you a quick look at the  places I visited and the things I saw:

I did a walking tour that took us to most of the Gaudi buildings in Barcelona. For those who don’t know, Gaudi is one of the most well-known architects in the world and is celebrated for his unique designs, taking many of his inspiration from nature. I thought most of his buildings were absolutely insane but definitely appreciated the individuality of all of them.

Sagrada Familia, the most famous of Gaudi’s buildings. Construction of The Church of the Holy Family commenced in 1882 and when Gaudi died it was only a quarter finished. It is still not complete and probably won’t be for quite a few years. It was one of the most spectacular (and craziest) buildings I’ve ever seen!

Upon completion there will be 18 spires on the church and three facades that all differ in design.

 

Casa Batllo

Casa Batllo, designed by Antoni Gaudi – it was right around the corner from the hostel close to the middle of town. You can take a look inside but the line was huuuuge when I was there and pretty pricey so I gave it a miss but might go next time. 

Casa Mila, another of Gaudi’s crazy designs, was built for a rich couple. Not sure what they put in a house this size…

Casa Mila with it’s weird ice cream cones on top

I also spent quite a lot of time by the water in Barcelona. It was just gorgeous…

The harbour in Barcelona. This would have to be one of my favourite photos I’ve ever taken on my travels

Sunset over the beautiful gothic buildings near the harbour

The beach. Even in late December it was about 22 degrees the day I was there. I was almost tempted to go in for a swim

Don’t usually go to the beach in jeans…

Placa Reial (Royal Plaza) is in the centre of town just off the main street Las Rambas and is surrounded by some amazing restaurants and nightclubs. This is where my Gaudi tour started

La Boqueria Market is just off Las Ramblas and sells the freshest of Barcelona food to the surrounding restaurants and hotels. The food looked amazing!!!!

Lollies!!!!

While  I was on my walking tour I met a lovely girl who invited me to the opera that night. The Liceu Opera House was absolutely stunning.

I spent most of my time there looking at the roof because it was much more interesting than the opera. The rest of the time I was asleep (I’m not lying! It went for 3.5 hours and was in Catalan, can you blame me?)

Anyway, a quick wrap-up for you of my time in Barcelona. As I said, I’m definitely going to go back, I didn’t get a chance to see everything I would’ve liked and didn’t get to check out the nightlife, something I really should do of course! Anyone got suggestions for where I need to go, eat, drink, stay etc…?

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A Christmas story: ‘Twas the night after Christmas when it all went to hell

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A bit of a personal story here for you rather than my usual ‘this is where I went, this is what I did’ bit. I love telling this story because, as most good travel stories are, its about being stuck in a terrible situation in a foreign country. Everyone knows how much I love a good story so I thought I had better share it with my followers on the blog. Anyway, enough with intro, let’s get down to the nasty business:

While I was travelling in Eastern Europe I started thinking about what I was going to do for Christmas, as it was only a few weeks away.  At this stage I didn’t know too many people in London and those  that I did know already had plans for trips away or visiting family. I started to panic! It was going to be my first Christmas away from home, what if I was alone in a hostel in a freezing country with no friends, no family, no presents and, worst of all, no Christmas food! And, to add to my state of despair, I realised I would be turning 25 on the 29th of December and would most likely me alone for this as well. Cue sad face 😦

Luckily, I was chatting to a friend of mine on Skype who I had met in Brazil (he was from France) who must’ve caught on that I was a bit worried about my lack of Christmas plans and kindly invited me to spend Christmas with him. I was so gracious and very relieved, I would have a friendly face to celebrate with and the chance to travel to France. Yes! I couldn’t believe my luck.

Over the next few days my friend and I kept chatting and put together some plans and decided we’d do some travel while we had the opportunity. This was the planned itinerary: On Christmas Day I would fly to Toulouse in France (where my friend was from), he’d pick me up from the airport and we’d drive a little further south to his family’s holiday house on the coast (his family were spending Christmas in Toulouse), spend the night there then the next morning drive to Barcelona and spend two days there, drive further south to the theme park Port Aventura and spend two days there, the second being my birthday, in the afternoon drive to Andorra, spend the night of my birthday in Andorra and then make our way back to Toulouse for New Year’s and I would fly back to London on the 1st January.

How awesome does that sound? Amazing right?

Well, let’s just say things didn’t quite turn out as planned…

All was going well until we arrived in Barcelona on Boxing Day (26th December). We spent the afternoon wandering around Las Ramblas, the main street of Barcelona, marvelling at Gaudi’s buildings in the centre of town and strolling along the pier looking at the ritzy yachts. In the evening we went back to our hostel to rest before heading out for a late dinner. It was when we were getting ready to go out for dinner that my friend (to be henceforth known as The Grinch) realised that he didn’t have his credit card. The Grinch worked himself into an extreme state of agitation as he ordered me to search everywhere in the room, the bathrooms and the common areas. The meltdown continued when it wasn’t found and it became apparent that it had either been dropped outside or had become the victim of one of the sneaky pick-pockets on Las Ramblas (the latter being likeliest if you ask me). It was when this realisation hit The Grinch that the rage really came to the fore. After calling the pick-pockets every four letter word under the sun (his grasp of curse words in French, English and Spanish was quite impressive!) he calmed down enough to call his bank and cancel his card. It was at this point that I told him not to worry about it, these things happen all the time, and I had plenty of money to pay for the rest of our trip and he could just pay me back when we got to Toulouse. But, unfortunately The Grinch had fallen into such a catatonic state of grumpiness that my offer went unheard but mostly just unappreciated.

I knew that it must be a terrible predicament to find yourself in so I kept reassuring him that all would be well and suggested we head out for dinner, surely tapas and sangria would cheer him up right? Wrong! He sulked the entire way through dinner and completely ignored my attempts to make light of the situation and my continual assurances that I would be fine to pay and the trip could carry on as planned. By the end of the meal it was starting to get a bit old and I started to feel a little frustrated that he was still acting like a petulant child despite the fact that his card had been cancelled, no harm had been done and the trip could carry on. So, I quietly asked, ‘Look, I just wanted to ask if you planned on being like this for the rest of our trip or if you are going to cheer up and enjoy it?’ Perhaps not the most tactful thing I’ve ever said, but boy did it pull him out of his sulk…

‘You are not being supportive enough of me!’ he roared, ‘You don’t understand how this feels!’

He continued to bellow at me about how horrible it was that this had happened to him despite my interruptions to say that the situation couldn’t be improved by worrying and being upset about it. I thought it best we leave the restaurant as we were starting to cause a scene and we walked back to the hostel in complete silence. The silence continued once we made it back to the hostel room and it was after about half an hour of ignoring each other that I finally decided that this was ridiculous and someone needed to say something. ‘Look, I’m really sorry about what happened and I think we can still have a great holiday if we just try to be a bit nicer to each other.’ I expected for him to have calmed down and for him to agree with me. I even half expected an apology. However, I did not expect him to stoically say, ‘No, I’ve decided that this isn’t going to work and I’m going to go back to France tomorrow.’

Confused silence, ‘………….what?’ I asked incredulously. I did not see that coming…

F**k!

24 hours into a 7-day trip and all our well-laid plans were disintegrating. It was the day after Christmas, I hadn’t had a real Christmas because I’ been travelling and my travel companion was deserting me in a foreign country. Excellent!

‘So, you’re 100% sure about this? You don’t want to talk about it? Right, ok’. Shit!

It’s fair to say, I started to panic a little. What should I do now? Should I continue with the planned trip by myself, should I make new plans or should I just go home? A million things were running through my head, I needed to talk this through with someone and sort myself out.

‘Excuse me a moment’, I said, trying to keep my composure, ‘I’m just going to call my mum.’

I walked out into the hallway telling myself to keep thinking positive as it’s the only way positive things will happen, something that funnily enough I had said to The Grinch in passing earlier in the day. I spoke to mum, decided to sleep on it and make a decision in the morning.

When I walked back into the room, clearly upset, The Grinch, with an evil little glint in his eye said to me:

‘So, where’s your positivity now?

I stood there dumbstruck for a moment before my fury finally made its way from the pit of my stomach to my mouth and I spurted my blind hatred at this cruel little man, ‘Well Grinch, obviously you suck the positivity out of everything and everyone around you, so go f**k yourself,’ I spat, shaking with anger. And that was pretty much the last things we said to each other.

I could barely sleep as my rage continued to burn but in the morning I decided I wouldn’t give this jerk the satisfaction of knowing how much he’d thrown me so I pretended that everything was under control and I knew exactly what I was going to do. He packed up his things and, here’s the kicker, I gave him €100 in order to pay for parking and petrol home and then he left. Most people exclaim ‘what the hell did you give him money for?’ when they hear that part of the story but by this stage I wanted this guy gone, out of my life, and I would’ve done anything to make that happen.

In the end I decided to stay for another two days in Barcelona and then changed my flight so I could fly back to London in time to have my birthday at home. Despite all the drama I really liked Barcelona and I will definitely go back one day, most likely by myself.

So there you go, probably the worst experience I’ve ever had while travelling, but, like most bad experiences it makes for a good story.

I hope that nothing like this has never happened to you but would love to hear any horror travel companion stories you have.

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