Okay, well I'm just about awake (luckily I had the foresight to book today off work too as the flight back last night was fairly late in) so time to update.
Barcelona was fantastic. Absolutely brilliant. In fact, I may like it better than Paris in terms of cities. I said I may - haven't decided yet! The weather was unbelievably good - over thirty degrees and sunny every day we were there, barely a cloud in the sky and it didn't rain once. Incredible. We all know how much I love the sunshine. Unfortunately my friend refused to come to the beach with me (well, strictly speaking, she said of course she would come to the beach but she didn't like sunbathing so . . . ) and hadn't brought any beachwear with her for me to drag her along (she actually just wore her jeans the whole time, which I couldn't have done - I did it yesterday and couldn't cope with them sticking to my legs).
However, I got my sunshine fix from two days touring on the open top bus (which is a great bargain - a two day pass for 26 euros and you can get on and off as much as you want and go on three different routes - man, I sound like an advert for it!) AND, and this was one of my favourite things about the holiday, WE HAD A BALCONY. The sun shone on it late afternoon to evening and there was just enough space for me to stretch out and relax on it with a glass or two of rose cava bought for two euros from the supermarket in the Placa de la Catalunya. Sheer bliss.
Despite going around on the bus, we didn't really explore anything apart from Las Ramblas. We couldn't actually be bothered getting OFF the bus, you see. Every time we got to a stop for one of the attractions, the little automated tour guide thingummy we were listening to would say something like "the attraction is just a ten minute walk away." Me and my friend would look at one another, appalled. Walk? In this heat? Were they mental? "Will we just stay on the bus?" I would ask my friend, clearly as she was about to ask me the same question. We'd both nod in relief and slump down in our seats again.
Nightimes were spent in some of the restaurants on the main streets around Las Ramblas. We had a problem finding pubs and bars, despite being told there was a whole plethora of them around, so tended to go to a restaurant and take our time with our meal and drinks then head to our tiny hotel bar later on. I introduced my friend to sangria - she liked the cava version but the night we got the normal stuff she wasn't too enthralled with it, and I had to drink the whole jug myself - the hardship!!! I also had the best carbonara I have ever tasted in a restaurant called Navarra - instead of ham it used Iberian sausage, I suppose in an attempt to make it more spanish than italian. It was absolutely gorgeous. Oooh, and I got to wear my pretty new dress - isn't it amazing how wearing something beautiful can increase your pleasure on a night out? Never underestimate the power of new clothes!
There were a few downsides to the holiday - not enough to ruin it but just enough to put a slight pall on it. The first was that my friend managed to forget her money!!! She thought she'd put in it her suitcase but when she unpacked it, it wasn't there. And her bank card didn't work abroad so I had to get her money out. If i hadn't had money or if my bank card hadn't worked, we'd have been screwed! Also, she had told me she would bring her straighteners and an adaptor - she even bought me an adaptor specially so we each had one. Turned out she had bought adaptors for the U.S. etc so I had to suffer with frizzy hair for most of the holiday. We would see people with straight hair and gawp jealously at them wondering how they were able to keep their hair straight in the immense heat, even WITH the help of straighteners.
The only other thing was that I had to do everything - if we had any queries with the hotel, I had to deal with them, and I had to always decide where we would go at night. I had a feeling that might happen, but it was a bit draining at times. Oh well. I had fun anyway, and it probably helped my own confidence. I'm just glad everyone I had to speak to was able to understand me. Ironically, the person who DIDN'T understand me was an Irish girl who served us in the Irish pub we managed to find (with the aid of a map on a flyer) yesterday when we couldn't handle walking about any longer. I asked if they had wine and she didn't have the foggiest what I was saying, which seemed strange given that all the non-native-English speakers seemed to have no problem comprehending me.
Oh, and I wasn't robbed, thankfully. Didn't even see any SIGN of anyone else being robbed. I was very careful though so perhaps the fact I knew about the potential for crime in the first place made me better prepared. I was just worried that someone would try the whole throw-weird-liquid-on-me-pretending-its-birdshit-then-steal-from-me-while-pretending-to-help-clean-it tactic - which would have really peed me off if they'd ruined one of my outfits!!!
Anyway, I would definitely recommend Barcelona, it's such a beautiful place and the Gaudi architecture too is just incredible. People said to me beforehand about the architecture and I rolled my eyes and thought "really not interested in that" but one look at the Sagrada Familia, and me and my friend just were astounded. We actually were looking back at the pictures we'd taken on our camera later that day, staring at them and oohing and aahing over it like some pair of architecture geeks. How embarrassing . . .
Anyway, don't won't to forget about Cheer-me-up-Tuesday so here's one of my favourite "Friends" clips . . .