4th August 2017
Stunningly rich in historical architecture and breathtaking scenery, Barcelona awaited me. The city was alive with sun-drenched heat, splendid Sangria was ready to be drunk by a drunk, and playful palm trees swaying in the summer breeze.
After my horrendous time in Paris, I was long overdue a pleasant holiday experience. Sadly, this new experience would be birthed from everyone’ last favorite ivory labyrinth maze, Gatwick Airport, at 7 in the morning.
It was a Thursday night. Having worked all day in the fascinating world of administration, I boarded the bus at a yawn-inducing 00:40. It was a 3.5 hour journey to Gatwick, and my legs were all kinds of timey-wimey, squishy-squashy trying to fit in the coach seat. I’d have been more comfortable commuting in a medieval pillory.
I drifted off and began to dream about Paella, but the bumpy potholes of the M27 had other ideas, and I kept waking up in a half asleep haze wondering why I was not in my comfy bed.
We arrived at the airport at the ungodly time of 4am. I had to teach myself how to walk again after my legs had lost feeling.
The aeroplane split the 8 of us up across the cabin and we landed in Spain in the early sunny morning. It was a fairly quiet journey despite Stags, Hens and screaming babies.
We ventured forward until the great unknown of Barcelona. Unfortunately for us, tugging around our suitcases in the belting Spanish heat was fairly punishing. Our Air B’n’b wasn’t open until 3pm, so we had to drag our physical and emotional baggage across the marina.
Our toes fell into disrepair as we awkwardly wandered around aimlessly in search of salvation of water and ice cream. Sweat began to bead down on our pale English foreheads, our skin glistening. The Great British summer had lasted several days, and we were not used to the relentless humidity. We were about to reach breaking point until we stumbled upon a Tapas bar, inviting us in with the tantalizing scent of Cuttlefish, Patatas Bravas and Miniaturized Burgers.
Recharged, our next adventure was a food shopping trip. Sadly, fate had it in for us and the nearest Carrefour (the Spanish Asda) was an hour and 10 minutes walk, so we hopped onto the Metro instead to get some continental goodies for the next few days. We bought some chorizo, nectarines, cheeses, hams, bread and juice.
Our octogroup arrived at the house in a sweaty, hungry condition. With 8 mouths to feed, we devoured some snacks to keep our appetites at bay. We found cooking wasn’t easy- the main frying pan had the wrong coating and seemed to be kept purely for decoration, or simply to confuse hungry houseguests. We had a stove and a microwave, but no grill or oven. Luckily, we managed to create a yummy, scrummy chorizo, tomato and rice mix, using a large pot, that satisfied the bellowing rumbling inside our tummys.
Despite being up and awake for an incredible amount of hours, sleep wasn’t easy. The night-time humidity kept us up, and with no air conditioning, I feel like I was being ovencooked like a Sunday Roast. We came up with the cunning plan of pouring cold bottled water onto the bedsheets, then wiggling around in them to help cool us down.
5th August 2017
Refreshed, we set off to the Las Ramblas food market where I tried both ostrich and octopus. Despite the latter having spent it’s life ingesting more ink than a Biro, the octopus was surprisingly tasty.
Also guzzled down were freshly made fruit smoothies, cakes and rare Spanish pastries. Aware there was pickpockets, I put a padlock around my bag zips to prevent cheeky Spanish fingers stealing my possessions. Luckily, no one got anything pinched, despite a boy mischievously lurking around the market.
Refueled by tasty Spanish delicacies, we dabbled in some shopping and ventured toward the Sagrada Familia – an exquisite looking cathedral that is still being built 130 years in. Lazy builders huh?
Dying for water, we stumbled into the Picasso Cafe. Grabbing some drinks from the fridge and buying them at the counter, we sat down to rest. However, it turned out these drinks were takeaway prices and we couldn’t drink these in the cafe, so we got asked to leave. For workers who deal with confused tourists all day, they were quite rude and warranted a minus star on Trip Advisor. I went to purchase a couple of drinks but having seen my group be ushered out, I decided to put one back. The waitress barked at me and would only let me buy both. I stood my ground, and another waitress let me pay for the one I wanted.
As we stood in the queue for the Sagrada, bathing in the heat, I decided to buy some ice-cold bottle water from a guy who was chanting “1 Euro 1 Euro 1 Euro”. The bottle had so much ice that it could sink the Titanic, but I didn’t care as it cooled me down in the humid sun.
We then went into the Sagrada where we got our bags checked. One security guard got funny over my friend wearing a top that exposed to much shoulder, despite most other tourists wearing a lot less. I was tempted to rip my shirt off in protest and show a bit of nipple. We fathomed it was due to being respectful in a religious place, despite allowing food, drink, selfies and cleavage inside.
Talking of which, the interior boasted some great looking emblematic design and technicolor windows, but I felt a bit dismayed we couldn’t explore any of the other levels. We also went to peruse the flea market, dodging confusing Spanish drivers on the way as we braved crossing the manic roads.
In the evening, a group of rowdy Spaniards boarded the Metro with us. Whoever decided on selling them a megaphone? I wondered.
In addition, a drunk man with his glasses hanging off his face staggered about attempting to fight and/or grope people. These attractions hadn’t been advertised on the ‘Top 10 things to Discover in Barcelona’ article I had read, so they were an unwelcome surprise.
As we survived our Metro experience, we indulged in Spain’s most well know dish – Paella! I ordered the Meat Metze, that involved chewy chicken, oysters, prawns and calamari. Those bits were great, but the rice itself wasn’t too yummy.
We then discovered our new vice – Sangria. After one sip, we were all hooked. From that point, we became Sangriaholics. The fruity zest of the red wine entwinned with delicious fruit sent my tastebuds into overdrive. It was cool, refreshing and for the first time in a while – I had found a drink that I can enjoy and get drunk on.
Many Sangrias and drunk Austin Powers impressions later, we headed off into the night to find the elusive Razmatazz nightclub, but upon entry, we found it was a cheeky €17 for entry. We were too exhausted to go elsewhere after a 40 minute trot, so we settled back to the house for the night.
6th August 2017
We kick-started this morning with sausages, bacon and egg, munching them down at the rooftop terrace. Our next destination was the free Picasso Museum.
Sadly, this venue only allowed a certain amount of visitors each day, so we missed out on a creative dabbling in classic artistic culture. Instead, we traversed off to the Montjuïc cable car.
A kind icecream vendor pointed us in the direction of it’s entrance. Half an hour walk away, we discovered that she had successfully pointed us in the opposite direction. With our feet still stinging after 2 days of bumbling around Barcelona, this was not good news for our toes.
Weary and grumpy, we split into two groups. Our group deciding to give Paddle-boarding a go, but we were put off by the cheeky €50 deposit pricetag. Instead, we ventured off to a cafe for more Sangria and tapas, followed by a trip to the beach. What was intriguing was that Barcelona beach was man-made for the Olympics, and didn’t exist until 1992.
Trying to change into trunks on the beach, without displaying a bit of nudity, isn’t the easiest idea, and involved a lot of awkwardness towel wiggling. Sam, cocooned in a giant fabric towel, did so, and was greeted by a group of Germans.
“Hey Naked Boy! You want to come party with us tonight?” They shouted at him as he awkwardly squirmed around.
As we finally managed to trunk up, we went into the cool Spanish sea. Standing on the shore, the waves ambushed us and we went flying over each other when the water smacked us. It was quite an exhilarating experience. The waves were so strong, we’d collide into the sand and often end up submerged. The current then dragged us back in, facing us with another killer wave. My body was destroyed and soaked by the water, the taste of salt swashing around my mouth, but I gleefully kept going back in. It was the most fun I had in ages.
The beach was comprised of stones, so my swim shorts ingested about 50kg of small little pebbles. My pockets became laden with the buggers, and each time I walked, a short stream of little stones would tumble down my legs.
Spotting some amazing towel fabrics being sold across the beach, I thought I’d buy one to hang up in my bedroom. There were salesmen everywhere these, and others selling Mohitos, water and temporary tattoo’s. Knowing Sam got his fabric for €20, I was determined to find a bargain.
I asked if they were €10, and the men said there were €15. I said how about €12? They agreed. When I looked in my wallet, I grimaced, then said I only had €10, whilst I pretended to walk away in sadness. This technique let me get one for half the price at €10 as they called after me.
We arrived home so late that dinner – Bolognese Columbo – was served in midnight. We played Irish Snap, and Bullshit, followed by some homemade Sangria.
7th August 2017
It was waterpark day! We were very much looking forward to this after three days of toe bashing walking around Barcelona!
Sadly the queue system to the park proved immensely difficult. There was a queue to get your ticket signed, another to get your ticket stamped, and another to get into the park. It was frustratingly bizarre, and I felt the Chuckle Brothers may have had a hand in it’s design.
After making it through the entrance, a group of people were trying to sell us hula necklaces!
We then crammed 8 people’s worth of stuff into one locker, and went to enjoy the flumes and slides. One particular one was a long yellow slope, which would spurt water into your face and eyes as you tumble down – great for contact lens wearers. It would often pull you to one side, and you’d fly down at an awkward angle and end up hip first into the water below.
We really enjoyed the bucket. A giant bucket would slowly fill up with water. After a few minutes of tense building, it would tip over and splash everyone who stood underneath it. Despite getting absolutely pelted by cool water, it was quite fun!
Another ride we tackled was an inflatable double ring down a flume, though we had to queue up at the end then carry the ring the hill to have a go! Why they didn’t have a conveyor belt, taking the rings back up the hill, is beyond me. The walkways themselves were relentless underfoot – often slippy or stony, which would make walking around the park more terrifying than the rides themselves.
We all loved the wave machine, which lasted 5 minutes. After it finished, everyone would boo the staff dramatically, but they would just sit and smile. They were the Gods of the tides. We later played tag, sharks ‘n’ seaweed and did piggyback rides. I tried to do an underwater handstand, which proved quite difficult, so I ended up consuming chlorine and disenchantment.
My shoulders, despite 2 helpings of suntan lotion, developed a crispy red complexion due to the Barcelona heat. Despite the heat being double the temperature of Britain-Land, I failed to gain a tan, and merely came back with Lobster shoulders. After the park, we ascended an incredibly steep hill to enjoy the Gaudi architecture of the serene Park Guell.
A range of architecture awaited, we explored column pillars, towers, fairtytale houses and a multicolored mosaic salamander.
We discovered a few offensive messages, including ‘Tourists go home, ‘You are my misery,’ which were ultimately directed at us, although we were probably the most well-behaved tourist group I’ve ever known. The locals were fed up of overcrowding and crazy party goers, so in retaliation they were inflicting petty crimes against tourists. Such madness includedglueing locks and slashing tyres of travel coaches. Considering Spanish employment is incredibly low, and that tourism brings a much needed cash-injection to the Barcelona economy, it seemed quite controversial.
We had planned a Sangria- filled fiesta after out trip to Guell, but we decided after such an epic day, we retired to charge up for a last day in Spain!
8th August 2017
So this was it. The last day. How is it that office life drags, yeah holidays fade in a second?
We spent the morning being domestic goddesses, cleaning up the Casa and doing the washing up.
What followed was clothes shopping, where I got to discover the latest Spanish fashion. This wasn’t exactly trendy nor wearable- some men’s jumpers were covered in straps, which was far too bondage-y for my liking. We begrudgingly went to a trip to Barcelona’s finest make-up store. Which would have been a breeze if (a) I was a woman (b) I was a drag queen. Instead, me and my other bored compadre, Cameron, sat on a chair and read Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. S
Surprisingly, to get into the store, there was a slide which descended into the entrance! How fantastic – this should be made mandatory in all stores, oh, how I would love to helter-skelter down into Holland and Barrett.
Famished by shopping, we gorged on some tasty pastries… only to find a cheaper, tastier patisserie 3 minutes down the road.
With our bags repacked, we waltzed to the airport, after wishing a tearful ‘adious’ to our Barcelona house. Security checks were a disaster – someone had planted a water bottle in Sam’s bag, Cerys had to take off her shoes multiple times, and I got my bottle opener taken away.
To get over my loss, I bit down into a tasty McDonald’s near the Duty Free. As usual, I was probably the only person in the establishment to order a salad. My theory is that if I pour the salad into the burger, making it bulge with greeny goodness, than the fatty badness will be neutered slightly. Or something. Well my stomach was convinced anyway!
The flight back was fairly smooth, thought it was slightly delayed. Our bus back was at 22:15, and we touched down in England at 21:35. Plenty of time right?
Oh no. We were running out of time and fast.
The walkway from the plane to the exit of Gatwick was a never ending labyrinth vortex of horror. After every corner, there was another corridor. As time ticked down, I grabbed my suitcase and ran down the travelators, terminals and check ins.
We then got to passport control. On the right was UK/EU passports, the other side said UK border all passports. I wasn’t sure which one to go in, but my friend confirmed it was the left hand one.
Oh how wrong she was!
20 minutes in the queue, I stood there looking gormless. Our other friends – who had left the plane much later than us – were casually strolling into the other queue, which turned out to be the right one. I was in the queue for Americans and Russians. ублюдок.
I flipped into the right queue, only for the passport reader not to register with my brand spanking new passport (my old one had got lost in the post on the way to the Passport Office…)
At 22:08, the minutes were ticking away! I was ushered to another check-in desk, got through, rushed up to the next corridor, turned left, ran up the stairs, went out the arrivals area, turned right, went down in the lift and finally got to the coach with a couple of minutes to spare!
The journey back was a mere 3.5 hours, where I attempted to watch EastEnders (you’re not my mother…yes I am!) on my phone, but National Express Wi-Fi was temperamental at best!
The Worst Job Ever
The Craziest Valentines Ever
How I Got Catfished By My Best Friend
How I Got Evicted
How To Break Your Heart.
How To Save Money
How To Tackle Depression
Who Wet My Bed?
I’m now on Youtube !
I’m raising money for charity and achieving goals at http://rupertsresolutions.tumblr.com