My Sunshiny Life

{May 6, 2009}   Sunshine, Sangria and Shopping

I spent the long weekend in Barcelona and loved every second – actually, not EVERY second.  Like when I ended up in one terminal and my bag was in the other and I couldn’t find it… well that bit sucked.  The rest was amazing though. 

I rambled down Las Ramblas, I meandered through cobbled lanes, I trekked up hills and skipped happily from shop to shop (not literally, that would be a little bit weird!).  I loved the shopping, in the little boutiques and in the markets.  The fruit in the market on Las Ramblas were like works of art.  Delicious plump fresh fruit arranged in stacks that seem to defy the laws of gravity. 

Fruit StacksStrawberry Bums








The other thing about Las Ramblas is the street performers.  The guys who stand still and only move when a coin drops into their container intrigue me.  I know I’d have an itchy nose, or I’d sneeze, or start watching someone in the crowd.  These guys are good, granted though some are better than others.  There was one guy feeding a bunny rabbit baby food – everyone clapped at the end like he’d just sung an opera.  Very strange.  I love this dog, he looks slightly bemused about being the centre of attention in such outlandish gear.

 Taking it in his stride!

My new boyfriend

Sunday arrived and as all the shops were shut so I thought I may as well see some sights.  I set off on my little red, open top tour bus to see some Gaudi architecture.  I didn’t go into the Sagrada Familia, the queue was too long and I couldn’t be arsed.  So I continued on my journey to Park Guell.  I loved it and wandered around for ages. 

Park Guell

Me in Park Guell

I was travelling alone and mastered the art of the self portrait (a long time ago), but struck up conversations with loads of people by asking them to take my photo.  I quite like the randomness of solo travel, people are so much friendlier to you when you’re on your own – or is it that you’re more open so they’re friendlier??  I also like doing exactly what I want, when I want to… although sometimes you wonder what someone else would want to do if they were with you, and if their idea would be better than yours.

I’d had enough of the park now so I set back off for the bus, except I couldn’t find it.   The bus stop had totally moved and the park had turned around.  I was officially lost.  I had the same feeling that I had at the airport the day before.  I decided to just be lost and enjoy it, for about 5 minutes but after trekking down a massive hill to an awful main road I decided to be pissed off again.  I got into a taxi and asked him to help me to find my bus.  Five euros down, with the meter ticking and his expression still blank, I got back out on the road.  I ended up geting a local bus down to the beach, aided by some very helpful locals.  The little red bus and me were all done and dusted.
You can’t go to Spain without drinking Sangria and I managed to drink quite a bit.  It was fabulous sitting in the sunshine (or sensible shade for me), glass of sangria in hand just watching the world go by. 


Little Miss Sangria
You also can’t go to Spain without shopping until your credit card bleeds, well not if you’re me anyway.  The jewellery at the markets was fabulous and it was so nice buying little items from the person who had crafted the piece.  Gorgeous clothes, handbags and shoes, what more could a girl want!  Although it’s a bit of a pain when the shops shut for siesta.  I was in shopping mode and the little boutiques were slamming down security grilles faster than you could say ‘Do you accept Mastercard’?
With my shopping curtailed, I hit the tourist track again and made my way to the Casa Batlo, a house designed by Gaudi in the early nineteenth century.  I loved it and spent quite a long time there, just soaking it all in.  Which is pretty bloody hard when there are a million other people trying to do the same thing, but I managed.  I think I’d like a house like that – why settle for straight lines when you can have interesting shapes and curves!  I imagine prohibitive cost is the first setback, but it’s a Euro Millions roll over this week so I’ll keep my brochures just in case I need to give them to an architect 😉
Casa Batlo
On the roof at Casa Batlo
I noticed a few things on my trip to Barcelona.  It is VERY hard to find a place to get a pedicure and after three days of constant walking that’s all I felt like.  I finally found a little place in Gracia, a lovely little suburb away from the hustle and bustle of the tourist areas.  Another thing I noticed were the amount of little fashion accessory dogs, but the relative lack of dog poop.  Unlike France which is gross on the dog poop stakes, Barcelona was ok.
I think I’d like to learn Spanish and go back to get a bit further under the skin of Barcelona.  This would also stand me in good stead to travel through South America, another target on my travel hit list.  I just need to work out how to speak as beautifully as the locals and try to erase that kiwi twang. 
I bid a fond and kinda sleepy farewell to Barcelona at 5.30 yesterday morning on my way to the airport.  To coin Arnie’s phrase, I’ll be BAAAAAAACK!

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