22 November 2015
Day off. We leave the hotel in Zaragoza at 11am for our journey to Barcelona. We think it will be three-four hours with a stop. We arrive around 3.30pm and check into our hotel which will be home for the next couple of days.
Two days off in Barcelona… there are definitely worse places to spend 48 hours. Richard has decided he wants Tapas to eat this evening. Robert, our good friend and Spanish promoter is meeting up with us and joining us for dinner but I have my dinner date with Rich so I have to bail.
Rich and I decide we'll do a Tapas / Beer bar crawl… a pint and bowl of Tapas in each, that sounds good. Rich ideally wants local, non-tourist establishments. We head out around 5pm for a recce and find a couple of places that fit the bill. It's patatas bravas and a pint in one and meatballs with cuttlefish in the other. A rather good start to proceedings.
We return to the hotel for a wash and brush-up and meet in reception at 8pm for round two. We're staying in the harbour / port area so we decide to take a cab to the "Old Town". It proves to be a good shout. The area is full of bars, it's a fantastic spot. We hit various establishments sampling the beer and a variety of delicious dishes until we end up in a lovely, cosy, low-lit bar. Brandy and a coffee is on Rich's itinerary now. I'm not a fan of spirits so I stick with a pint of Estrella. Rich enjoyed his first so much he has a few more. To be sociable I keep going on the beer.
I have no idea what time we leave, we grab a taxi but it's probably between midnight and 1am. We arrive back at the hotel in a lovely chilled, alcoholic glow. A really enjoyable evening. Back in my room I turn on the TV and watch Sky News until sleep takes me…
23 November 2015
Another day off. We all meet in reception just before 11am to load our suitcases into the bus. The crew are driving today. We're flying out tomorrow morning so it's hand luggage only. It's a beautiful sunny morning and I decide to have a cultural day. I love all the Antoni Gaudí stuff so I have a look on Google Maps and see his famous, still unfinished Cathedral is just 30 minutes away on foot. With Google directing me I walk through the Gothic Quarter of Barcelona… and arrive at the wrong Cathedral. It's my fault… I'd foolishly tapped in Barcelona Cathedral not realising Gaudí's masterpiece is called La Sagrada Familia. You uneducated fool Jupp. It's another 30 minutes away but it will be worth the effort. So Google and I head off.
On the way I pass the Gaudí apartment block Casa Batlló. It's wonderful and I take some pictures. Finally I arrive at La Sagrada Família. I come in at the "new" side. For those of you who don't know the Gaudí story he was killed by a tram in 1926 while the Cathedral was under construction. It's still under construction today. Check out his work, it's mind-blowing. I walk around to the other side, the Gaudí side if you like, it's just breathtaking, so beautiful. I stand in awe and take pictures. I'm so glad I made the effort. I sit and have a coffee with the Cathedral as a backdrop. It doesn't get much better than this. I discover on the walk home it was literally turn right out of the hotel, one road all the way to La Sagrada Família, but it worked out great with the detour. An absolutely wonderful day in a wonderfully vibrant city.
I get back to the hotel just as the sun is setting. We need to check-in for our flight tomorrow. We're flying Vueling Airlines. I download their app and try to check-in. Our flight departs at 9.50am tomorrow morning. I'm having trouble… I keep getting told the flight left this morning. We have the booking confirmation and it's definitely for tomorrow the 24th. The app to be honest is rubbish so I call Val at our management office to see if she can shed any light using a computer not a phone. She gets back to me - "The flight left this morning. I cannot understand what's going on, there is no answer from the airline but don't you worry I'll get to the bottom of it". If you work for Vueling Airlines in customer service may I make a suggestion, take a sickie tomorrow because Val "The Rottweiler" will be after your blood. Val books us on an easyJet flight leaving at midday so we get another hour or so in bed. Always nice to get a positive from a negative.
After all that earlier culture I'm fairly tired but peckish. I find a local cafe and feast on pork chops, patatas bravas with salad and a couple of pints of Estrella. The bill comes to €12, a bargain.
I've had some new Steven Slate software for a month which I've not even had a chance
to look at so tonight I settle down and have a good play. Nice one Mr. Slate, it's
going to be great. I pack away all the computer paraphernalia and go get my head
down ready for tomorrow.