SHOCK BREAKING NEWS: Davy Craig has an (almost) incident free holiday in Barcelona! 😮 x
Dumped gear in hotel and had a quick, cold shower then headed to Clot metro station around the corner. The metro system there is superb. Most stations have lifts from street level that take you where you need to go and the trains come every 5 minutes. It’s just so simple and they employ enough staff and drivers to make it work! Much better than anything over here! The sad thing is that there were no incidents to report, apart from running over a lass’s foot when she didn’t move to let me off. Headphones and phones close off the whole world around and can lead to serious damage, especially to your sandalled toes! 😮
Anyway, we headed from Passeig de Gracia (i before e doesn’t work here, either!), through Placa de Catalunya and down Las Ramblas, to meet me fatha, who was over from Sydney, Australia for a couple of weeks. I didn’t see him in Tyneside, not being very well, but it was pure coincidence that he’s booked to go to Barcelona to stay, with a friend, for a week, at the same time as Evan and I. He said to meet at the Christopher Columbus statue for 6pm. We got there at 5:45, looked around and waited at the shaded part, out of the sun, texting him to make him aware of our arrival. 6:15pm – no sign. Then a text asking where we were! Apparently we should have known that he was in a bar off Las Ramblas instead of where we’d agreed to meet! Anyway, we had a nice evening and said good bye until next time!
We slept in the next day and headed back to Placa de Catalunya to catch the tourist bus. On the way down the wide boulevard Passeig de Gracia, which was slightly downhill, three people, two lads and a lass, walked straight in front of me and forced me to stop, burning my hands on the hot rims of my wheels. I shouted “Whoooaahhh!” as they ambled, not looking into my path. The third of the three, a squat body builder in vest and cap, showing his muscles off, turned round and in a pathetic cockney accent, slyly remarked “Ahhh faahhck orf!” I hadn’t been going fast, Evan was walking, spritely, next to me and these three had wandered into my path, despite me being in the middle of a wide boulevard and this prick had decided to have a go at me, so in my roughest, natural, instinctive Geordie accent I proceeded to show him how to say “fuck off” properly and gave him a piece of my mind. He got a bit of a shock, when I barked at him. He wasn’t much bigger than me, sat in my w/c (that’s wheelchair – I don’t go around in a portable netty), so I was ready for the twat. He walked off, a bit shocked and called me a “mouthy cant” and tried to still look tough, in front of his shocked friends. I remembered that Evan was next to me, so didn’t take it any further and we headed off to the Nou Camp for a cracking day.
After a quick trip to the hotel to leave our spoils of the day and a quick cold shower, it was sweltering, we headed back out to the Gothic quarter. We rambled along the back streets and then stumbled onto a lovely restaurant I’d been to before. We weren’t really dressed for such an elegant place, but the staff of El Gran Cafe were superb. I didn’t meet the gran, but the five course meal we had was brilliant, with three entrees, two starters, fish on buckwheat, Creme Catalan and coffees with biscuits and a bottle of wine. Evan had his first wine, I just chose a merlot Rose and his first coffee! He thought the wine was nice, but very bitter and loved the coffee! A great day and night topped off by a wander up Las Ramblas again.
The next day was a tourist bus affair again, with a trip up to Montjuic, Mountain of the Jews, because of the mass of graves on the south side of the mountain. We stopped off and had most of the day at Poble Espanyol, which was built for the 1929 Exhibition and has numerous little streets and squares, with each building representing a time and place in Spain. It’s beautiful and quiet. Evan loved it. I got in free, as they said it wasn’t accessible for wheelchairs. It wasn’t, but I managed to get up the steep banks and didn’t need to use any steps. Good exercise!
We got the bus further up the mountain and I’d psyched myself up to go on the cable car that takes you up to the top of Montjuic, then off into the void above the city and down to the port. I was trying to suppress a panic, but felt ok. I was two feet from the cable car, when I found out that you have to swap cable cars at the top and you look out over the precipice, before being hurled into the sky at the mercy of the gods of the air. I panicked and the thought of doing that was just too much. I get dizzy going up to the top deck of a bus! I bottled and we got back on the bus. Evan was fine about it.
We headed to Port Olympic and wandered back along the coast to the Columbus monument, jumped back on the bus to El Barri Gotic and had another amble around, after managing to get up the very steep Carrer del Bisbe, with a threat that I was going to freewheel back down from the top and see how many tourists I could dodge. I didn’t!
Not really knowing where we were heading we eventually stumbled across a beautiful senorita on Carrer de Josep Anselm Clavé, adjacent to the coast road, not far from Las Ramblas, asking if we’d like to come into the restaurant. She ran across the road to show us the menu and I saw that it was a Basque restaurant, called Txikiteo, so we agreed to enter. It was the best decision of the whole holiday. Everything about this place was just perfect and we both agreed, by the end of the night, that we’d had fabulous service and some of the best food we’d ever tasted. It was amazingly good.
After another slow stroll up Las Ramblas, we headed back to our hotel, slept in after a long day, had some food and our transfer was waiting to take us to the airport. At the airport a lady came up to me and asked if I was going to Newcastle. She was worried that she’d get on the wrong flight. I told her to keep an eye out for me and she’d be ok. Later on I saw the same lass come towards Evan and I and she pointed at Gate 6. I said that it was the right place, but she then proceeded to joing the queue for the London flight. “Oh dear, damsel about to be in distress”, I thought, so I booled up and explained where she needed to be. We decided to start the queue and stood at the gate together and had a chat. Lynda, as she’s called, was visiting her 19 year old son, who lives in Barcelona and is a model. He was spotted on Oxford Street when he was 16 and it started from there. She told me that it’s hard to do and a very ruthless business, run by a bunch of uncaring twats. No surprise there! Nothing of any consequence happened, apart from when we got onto the plane. We nearly didn’t. A disabled fella came out of the right door, onto the portable lift, but the flight attendants didn’t see me and shut the door. We waited a while, then saw all of the passengers get onto the flight and still nothing. We waved at the pilot and the Spanish attendant decided to bang on the door, which he did a number of times. The pilot noticed us as he turned around and waved back. Almost immediately the door was opened and Evan and I were welcomed onto the flight. Phew! Serious comedy moment just avoided! We finally sat down, delaying the flight and, who should be sat directly in front of me: Lynda! I joked that she’d specifically asked to sit in front of us, but then left her alone as I didn’t want to add another to my list of victims, who’ve been subjected to my life story, when all they want to do is sleep on the plane! Guns and nooses are available!
All in all it was a fantastic short break. I’d saved up for ages to bestow this treat on Evan, as a reward for his hard work throughout his time at school and, especially, for his GCSE’s. He deserves to do well. We bonded brilliantly, had such a good laugh and enjoyed relaxing together without phones, computers or TV. He was a joy to be with. He’s starting his “A” Levels in September and is doing History, Sport, Biology and Physics and is hoping to get into Loughborough to do sports science, or something similar. He’s also got his music behind him and I’m sure he’ll do well, whatever he chooses to do. The bottom line is that he’s happy and that’s the most important thing for me. Always will be! 🙂 x