Barcelona 2006                                           
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Wee Jimmy had a couple of weeks off school for  "Teachers Rest" Easter break, so we'd booked ourselves on a Ryanair flight to Gerona in Spain and went off to visit our mates Jim & Dessi for a few days.  If you've seen the Andorra Album you'll know that they live over on the Costa Brava in a lovely mountain villa overlooking the Med.  Of course when they invited us to stay, the cases were packed quicker than a chav to the dole queue and we'd buggered off - Well, I'd be rude not to!  

Trying to find the cases when we arrived late at night at Gerona Airport was another matter, we're still in the bloody arrivals lounge over an hour after the plane has landed because nobody appears to want to load the luggage from our flight onto the conveyor belt.......  Maybe it's a Spanish thing.

By the time we arrive at the house after the 60 - 70 K run from the airport it's the early hours of the morning, so we sit and put a few beers and one or two fine single malts away before climbing into our pits pished at about 3 am.

The smell of a fine breakfast wakes us up to a beautiful bright sunny day, and after a leisurely hour or so spent on the balcony eating it we wander off down to the nearby old town of Mataro'  for a look around.


The view of the Catalonian hills across to the Mediterranean. Taken from our bedroom balcony at Jim & Dessi's house.
It sure kicks the shit out of the view from the bedroom of a semi detached in Wigan!! 

One of the Plane Tree lined avenues in Mataro' 
They'd been freshly lopped making them look a bit sparse, 
normally they'd offer some respite from the heat of the Spanish sun


The Basilica Santa Maria Mataro'


Jim offered to buy us a lunch at the Cafe Patanegra, if you ever in Mataro & want a ham sandwich then this is 
the place to go, all they do are ham based dishes and it's superb

I Haven't a clue what it means but it looks good.


The following day - it's 9-30 am and we're on a train to Barcelona,  rather than drive down there and get snarled up in the usual heavy traffic, we've  driven down to the station at Sant Pol de Mar and parked the car.  This is  an excellent train journey with some superb views as the rail track follows the Mediterranean coast all the way to Barcelona, by-passing towns and small communities before disappearing underground to enter the city   

Barcelona is huge, there's no way you could even scratch the surface of it in a day so we buy a ticket for the tour bus and manage just 2 of the 3 routes. I hate doing the organised tourist thing but if we're going to see anything of the city it's the only way we can do it.  Wee Jimmy and me are coming back here sometime in the future so now at least we know the layout of the place and what we want to go back and see in more detail.   

The few places we get to walk around are the Gothic Quarter of the city, and then a stroll along La Rambla where the flower sellers, people trading in livestock and the street entertainers fill almost every square foot of space.   





The Casso Battlo'  one of the few Gaudi designed buildings in Barcelona. The original building was to have been demolished in the early 1900s, but the  owner decided instead to have it restored and Gaudi was given the job.  Snuggled in between the surrounding buildings it's very easy to miss, but well worth taking the time to stop for a look. 

The Christopher Columbus monument near the harbour. A few cities lay claim to his birthplace but scholars generally agree that he was  born in Genoa Italy. After moving to Spain in 1485 he adopted the Spannish version of his name  -  Cristóbal Colón


The harbour area of the city................

...........Gets a wee bit busy at times


The  Gothic Quarter is a maze of little narrow streets such as these 

Unfortunately it has a lot of this as well, doesn't really add anything to the 
decor of the city. At least they left the old walls alone


We stopped for lunch at one of the many Tapas bars in the area - 
this was a particularly good one near the Cathedral

La Rambla

Most of the street entertainers on La Rambla do a human statue thing. 
Some are great, some are barmy - and others are just a bit shit really!

Another Antoni Gaudi designed building, This is Casa Mila, 
 more commonly known as "La Pedrera" the name  given to the building by 
the people of Barcelona. It means The quarry. 

Sagrada Familia.  Gaudi's, "Church of the Holy Family" dominates the Barcelona skyline in this area of the city.............

..........And the reason is it's massive! It's very difficult to photograph at close quaters. It remains unfinished
and work carries on long after Gaudi's death, financed mostly by public contribution for the building 
work to continue  


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