Thursday, November 24, 2011

You Wouldn't Read About It

We have seen a vehicle almost as odd as ours!! If not odder… We’ve met a lovely Dutch couple who have a converted 1970 red Mercedes fire engine. And you thought we were mad!

We are back from our sojourn in Barcelona after spending 3 nights in a lovely hotel on La Rambla. Being off-season, there are some real bargains to be had.

The city is as fabulous as I had remembered and read about. Lawrence was here 4 years ago, but my last visit was 1978 (I was only 3), so things have moved on a bit.  We found lovely tapas bars with charismatic waiters and fab food. Treated ourselves to a long late lunch where I ate so much Paella I could not eat for nearly 24 hours afterwards. We became quite Spanish (sort of) having late breakfast, so we could have late lunch, and late dinner. Late dinner for us was 8.30 – 9pm tapas; we could never make real grown-ups dinner at 11pm, apart from anything else we’d be pissed by then.

Architecturally, the place is amazing, from the maze of streets in the Barri Gotic to Gaudi’s absurd buildings. I am completely in love with Gaudi and everything he did. The man was truly a genius and is now at the top of my list of “people you would love to invite to dinner”. 

The ceiling in the nave
The Sagrada Familia is the most beautiful and fantastical building I’ve ever seen. It is simply stunning – words cannot describe it. Started in 1882, the nave is now complete and was consecrated by Il Papa last year, and it is the one building I could imagine myself sitting through a Catholic mass and not being irritated and bored. They have achieved quite a lot since Sandie and I were here 33 years ago. It is all privately funded, with not a cent from the Catholic Church or Spanish/Catalan govt.

Part of the Nativity facade - don't you love the dog?
 The other Gaudi building I fell in love with is ‘La Pedrera’, one of his apartment buildings. The actual apartment that you can walk through is so beautiful that you just want to move in and start making Gin & Tonics.

Of course we drank some lovely wine and even had a few glasses of Cava. Cava has come a long way since the 1970s, and is quite a pleasant aperitif. We also drank some great Rioja and some very decent Rosada. We have been very impressed with lovely the rosés all across southern France and now Spain.

The market ‘La Boqueria’ behind our hotel, is Spain’s best market (allegedly) and we spent time wandering through drooling at the produce. We bought a bag of mixed mushrooms that Lawrence cooked simply in butter and garlic tonight – delicious.

The weather in Barcelona was not so great – but not bad enough to dampen our spirits. Really had only one late afternoon and evening where it really rained. Now the sun has come out again, and we managed to sit in the outdoor bar of our caravan park and have a beer in the sun this afternoon. I can understand why so many Dutch, Danish and English spend the winter here.  This place is so enormous, that we went for a 40 min walk this afternoon and didn’t see all of it – you really can’t imagine how big it is. There must be at least 10,000 people here in the summer.
Parc Guell - by Gaudi of course

It has though, put us off spending any further time near the coast. The whole coastal area near here is quite hideous; loads of bad 60’s development compounded by bad 80’s development. We are heading inland tomorrow towards Madrid.

And furthermore: I’m loving all the comments on the blog – making me laugh, keep them coming.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Kate, Hi Lawrence,
    I am very happy with your way of reporting on Van Jaun's adventures. Go on with the good work! But our van is absolutely not madder than your van. We think your van is madder, but we coud settle on 'as mad'...
    George an Marianne


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