After the first proper lie I got in Barcelona, and we didn’t have to trek to Montmelo! With only two proper days left and dangerously low funds we decided to do the cheapest touristy thing to see as much as possible… a bus tour! Also Barcelona has two bus tour routes so we took advantage that!
It was a lovely sunny day and the open top bus gave a nice breeze, so I just enjoyed taking in as much as possible.
The first place we got of to wander around was Parc Guell and it was really good! It was crawling with tourists but it was ok and what added to it were a few buskers floating about who were really good. This was common throughout Barcelona, especially in the Metro where there is a scheme for “official metro” buskers (I think there is a similar one in London), some of which were really good!
Due to lack of funds we didn’t get to do the Camp Nou tour (the choice was do the tour.. or eat!), which was a shame but I’m sure I’ll get another opportunity. Who knows I could have played some keepy uppy outside, got scouted and signed as the token crap player.. A Bébé if you will. I was also annoyed as I heard on Football Weekly on the flight home that Sid Lowe was there on that day. We did go to the Olympic Stadium though (free!).. but Espanyol don’t even play there any more!
Went down la Rambla to buy some more souvenir tat for the family. I got my da a Barcelona helmet bottle opening fridge magnet (not FOM approved) – he’s always looking a bottle opener. I got my ma the “where I have been” mug I seem to get her now on every holiday I’m on. I got my sister some scarf or something. I got my granny a little glass Sagrada Familia, she likes mass related things. Got my granda sweets, he’s a big child!
Went back to the hostel to freshen up and used the Wi-Fi (to download some podcasts for the flight) and read about an impending ash cloud. Oh dear!
We went for some food that evening in the graffiti pizza place for a calzone which was quite tasty and a few €2 San Maguels and then around the corner for a few €1.60 (!) San Maguels and Leona had some €3.50 cocktails. I also think they undercharged us.
After a few beers and feeling peckish we got some chips (€1!) and hung out at the contempory art museum and watch the skateboarders dick about.
Choosing to save our money for food (or beer) we spent most of our last day at the beach. To my folly I put on sun lotion but as I was still wearing shoes, hence none on my feet. At the beach I wipped my top off (despite the fatness.. there was worse there!) and I didn’t manage to get all my back with sun lotion. I enjoyed just doing nothing in the sun and even messed about in the water for a bit. The boob novelty from the first day had worn off as it wasn’t just the attractive ladies going topless but also the elderly ones. One guy was running about with his lad out too. With that in mind I closed my eyes and drifted off for a nap. Felt like I was only asleep for two minutes but it was something like forty, and as I was lying on my side my exposed back and ankles got a bit “warm” from the hot sun! it was now half 2 or three so we walked over to the Moll d’Espanya to get some lunch. We then walked trough all the narrow alleys and streets to get back to the hostel (not until after a nice ice cream).
Went back to the hostel to shower all the sand and saltwater off me but I noticed my bright red ankles and bright red back. Had no moisturiser so just stuck some more sun cream to cool it down.
That evening we took one last walk around Pl. Universitat, La Rambla, Passeig de Gracia and aswell Pl. Catalunya where the #spanishrevolution camp out was still happening. We had been down a few times over the week to see what was happening and each time it was busier. It was great though, the cops weren’t about (that I could see) so there was no volatile atmosphere that you would get at protests over here. In fact there was more of a carnival atmosphere with people singing, banging drums and tambourines, seen a guy playing a ukulele (I should have played him my RATM cover ), there was stands to design your own banners.
That evening we spent the rest of our money drinking beer and cocktails in the cheap (but quite fancy) pub from the night before then had a few chips. We went to bed quite early, about 11 or so, as we had to get up at 6am to get to the airport.Had to sleep one side and couldn’t move much due to the sunburn. It wasn’t going to be a good sleep.
The next morning I woke up and freaked out. When I stood up I couldn’t put pressure on my left ankle, due to sun burn, so I thought I wouldn’t be able to walk. After a while I realised my ankle would be fine as long as I kept moving and didn’t stand on it for too long.
Checked the internet on the ash cloud situation and to my joy Aer Lingus were flying as normal!
Walked around Pl.Catalunya to get to our bus (not through it as protesters were still sleeping/waking up and the smell of stale piss and weed was too much).
On the flight home I caught up with a few podcasts (Football Weekly & Sidepodcast) and landed in cold rainy Belfast. Got bus back to Great Victoria street and walked to the nearest bank to get my last tenner out (minus my card). We were starving so opted for a Maggie May’s, sadly it was bunged so we got some sausages, bacon and potato bread, caught a taxi home and had a nice fry and a big pot of tea!
Not really a conclusion. Just some random thoughts.
It was my first time at a Grand Prix and I’ll definitely do it again. A few things I would do different.
- Try and not do it on the cheap. Though I still insist the grandstand seats were a bargin! I mean food and hotel wise.
- Bring a radio.. or something!
- Avoid a commute! Maybe go camping on site. Or at least stay in a hotel close to the circuit. Also, It is probably cheaper than going to a music festival like Oxegen.
- Both Silverstone and Spa were an option I considered, but I was dubious because of the rain. Barcelona has reminded me that I am not good with warm weather
- Silverstone and Spa are also options as I could drive there (via ferry) and bring a tent!
- The dream is still Monza!
- I will bring my own beer. And a big cooler box.
Who knows, maybe next year! Anyway, if you want to read a good blog about how to go to Grand Prix properly, read this , because that is how you really should do it!