October 2008, by Tom
What a surprise it was that on the morning of my 29th birthday, Gini gave me the gift of new travels! A beautifully crafted birthday card outlining a long weekend away and tickets for two to Barcelona! So the following weekend, with bags packed, we took off to Stanstead airport and hopped on our easy jet flight bound for Spain - a country unseen by us both.
Barcelona is an amazing city. We easily slotted into the local timetable of late starts and late finishes - with breakfast of a coffee and a pastry from our local cafe not before 10am and dinner not before 9pm. With every turn another photo opportunity, we were snapping like crazy for three days - as you will see from the gallery.
One doesn't visit Barcelona without noticing the unique architecture and the massive influence Gaudi has had on the city. His work was everywhere - from the top of Parc Guell, with its mosaic seats and over sized lizard, to the apartment buildings, gutted, and redesigned in their entirety. To say that we'd love to incorporate some of his ideas in our own house one day is an understatement! We also visited Sagrada Familia - a massive undertaking by Gaudi who spent the last 40 years of his life overseeing it's construction. Construction continues to this day with an expected completion date of 2026 - to coincide with the 100th anniversary of Gaudi's death.
The food lived up to our expectations - with most meals consisting of "tapas" or small dishes including calamari, fried potato with spicy sauce, Serrano ham (my favourite), Spanish omelette and tomato bread to name a few. Washed down with a jug or two of sangria and a swig of san miguel and we were in 7th heaven.
After racing round the city for two days trying to see as much as possible, by the third day we felt like a relax, so Monday was spent wandering around the beach and having a picnic on the sand. If we had taken our togs, we would have gone for a swim - it was so incredibly warm. After the beach, and with a few hours to spare before having to train to the airport, we found a lovely little restaurant overlooking the sea with massive cushions you can lounge on and chowed down on cocktails and the most amazing chicken wrap we've ever eaten.
A city which is definitely up there on my list of favourites and one I would love to visit again some day.