After what felt like the longest travel day we’d ever done, we finally arrived in Barcelona, two hours and fifty-nine minutes after it was scheduled to arrive, and I’m not even joking, airline rules state that you can apply for compensation if you are more than three hours late to your destination, and according to the flight scheduling we arrived exactly one minute short of the three hours, the pilot must have put his foot down to get us there for that time.
We got off the plane, waited for immigration, waited another hour for the bags, then got to the train station and the ticket machine froze up for the final minute the train was in the station ready to leave, so we missed that and had to wait another half an hour for the next train.
By the time we got to the city center at 8pm, we had been travelling to here since 6pm the previous day, but the flight is only supposed to take seven-and-a-half hours.
Within ten minutes of being out in the city, we’d obviously forgotten all about the numerous delays and the fact we’d been awake for thirty-six hours already, we were throwing Cava back like we’d just discovered Barcelona for the first time all over again.
I’m not sure what it is about this city that we love so much, the people, the culture, the food, the language, they’re all special, but it’s mostly just how we feel every time we arrive. The familiarity that comes from visiting a place numerous times, knowing how it works and how to enjoy it, but then comes that excited feeling like you’re just discovering a place that you already love, it’s special, and even now Stac still says it’s her favourite place she’s ever been.
We came to Barcelona with different intentions to usual, we would normally hop around from restaurant to bar to restaurant, eating amazing food, chatting with locals, and drinking far more than your doctor would advise. But this time was different, we were still travelling, and we wanted to see those places that we’d never got round to seeing in the past, the famous Parc Guell, which somehow we had managed to avoid so far, the magic fountains of Montjuic, and maybe even a trip out in to the wine region of Penedes were all on the agenda.
We failed to see or do any of these plans, partly due to the jet lag mixed with staying up too late in bars, but partly because we remembered why we come here, and that’s for a good time. There’s nowhere better on earth for us to have a good time than here, the thoughts of returning back to work and the trip coming to an end all faded away whilst we did exactly what we always do, eat and drink our way around this spectacular Catalan city.
The next day after we arrived was Saturday morning, so we headed off to the Poble Sec district to do the Pintxo / Montadito trail in the bars around there. Each place we stopped for a small drink and a snack before moving on to the next one, it was delicious.
We returned to see some old friends in our favourite bar, which I’m not going to tell you what it’s called, because Stac tells me its a secret, and instantly felt at home again, surrounded by people passionately Catalan but as friendly to the tourists as you could ever wish. We still tend to judge every place we go by how the people there judge us, Barcelona hasn’t changed for that, the locals are still as friendly and kind as we remembered.
The Sunday came, and we had booked tickets for the football, a La Liga game against Deportivo, we went down to the Barceloneta district in the afternoon for the traditional Sunday lunch, before heading on over to the ground in the evening and stopping by in one of the local bars for a beer or two before the game.
Barça won 4-0, and we went out to celebrate, that is still only twice we have been to the Camp Nou, but Barça have won both games and scored four goals each time, so we definitely need to go more often.
Each time we come, the food scene seems to be the same but subtly different, we try new places, find new favourites and disregard old restaurants each year, this time we found a couple of places for some lunchtime ‘Menu Del Dia’ and had some simply stunning Catalan food; Goat’s cheese salads, beef and lentil stews, handmade pasta, Sea Bass, pears in red wine, and so much more. a typical three course lunch, with wine, water, bread, and sometimes coffee can be enjoyed in fantastic restaurants in Barcelona for less than 15 euros each. People say Europe is expensive, we once spent £15 on a fantastically terrible McDonald’s in Chile.
We spent the rest of the week walking around the city, getting some Christmas presents and drinking good wine. Unfortunately, it was time to bring this trip to and end. We were excited to be going home and seeing family and friends, but the feeling of dread that this dream was coming to an end, and we didn’t have a plan of what was coming next, was starting to set in.
For now we were focusing on the fact that we would be going back to spend Christmas with people that we hadn’t seen for a long time, it had been eight months since our Nieces left from our holiday in Thailand, our other family we hadn’t seen for a whole year, and our best friends now have a six-month-old baby Amber who we hadn’t even met yet, so it was the right time to return to the U.K, even if it didn’t really feel like it.
Of course, that’s just because we were sad to be finishing this trip, and what is coming next for us; we’re really not sure yet. But one thing is for sure, the people we have met and the friends we have made in this year around the world mean an incredible amount to us. We appreciate every bit of help we’ve had along the way, and for any friends that have invited us over to their homes, we will be there as soon as we can, and for anybody that would like to come and visit us here, we’ll always have a bed for you here.
On to 2018, let’s see what that brings…