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Friday 10th - Sunday 12th September 2004. A weekend trip to Barcelona.


19:20:04 This is just after we got off the bus from the airport, I don't even know what this building is particularly, but I just wanted to take something to mark the fact we were now in Barcelona.

21:02:04 A train timetable...! Chie wanted me to take this to refer back to later, but we ended up finding a more conventional paper version, so this turned out not to be necessary.

21:49:44 We decided we out to make a night of it on our first evening. This was the first little bar we popped into, on a street called Mercaders in the old town (I think). Don't remember the name of the place.

21:50:04 It was a really lovely little bar, and given that it was still far too early in the evening for Barcelonians, we were the only two in there when we arrived.

22:24:48 This is now in the restaurant where we went for dinner - El Arcano - I'd heard about it on the web, listed in the vegetarian restaurants section of Yahoo Travel, or something like that. Actually it wasn't totally vegetarian, but there was at least one overtly vegetarian main course on the menu, which was good enough for me.

22:25:00 Me and a nice shot of the restaurant behind me, which looked a bit like a wine cellar or something.

22:25:58 Chie's starter, some kind of chilli peppers.

22:26:13 Over there you can see my starter - a tortilla espanola, which was very nice.

22:37:03 Some empty plates.

22:38:48 Me again.

22:38:57 Another empty plate.

23:02:29 Ah, main courses. Chie had a rather bizarre dish of some kind of seafood (whelks?), whereas I had this rather grandiose vegetarian moussaka. This was in fact a tad bland, but I was so pleased that a vegetarian option even existed in Spain, that I didn't want to complain.

23:02:46 Our main courses the other way round.

23:23:38 Our wine for the evening, which I drank most of, partly explaining the hangover I had the next morning.

23:51:42 After El Arcano, we felt like we were on a roll, and so wandered into another bar, this time one with live music thrown in.

23:51:59 Yes, lots of guitars everywhere.

01:36:48 Back in the hotel now, we were both pretty knackered.

01:56:50 A bizarre hazy photo of the pictures on our wall, which I probably took just before passing out.


10:56:39 The next morning, a rather blue-ish picture of our hotel (I think I'd left the camera on the wrong setting from the night before).

10:59:58 Frustratingly, our local shopping centre was all closed, as today was a national (well Catalonian) holiday.

11:31:06 We decided to walk some of the way into the centre, and soon found out this would take a lot longer than we had originally anticipated...

11:31:26 A pleasingly Japanese picture.

11:54:37 Being a little hungover and not trusting the tap water, my first mission of the day was to find a shop that was actually open, and selling water. Clearly we got there eventually.

12:00:00 I think this is Plaza Espanya, our nearest station on the actual metro line (rather than the FGC, or whatever you call it).

12:00:09 ...Plaza Espanya again.

12:34:52 Our plan for the day was to visit the Forum 2004 exposition thingie. This proved quite hard to get to! En route I observed that these bloody gherkin things seem to be popping up everywhere.

13:31:30 A funny thing happened on the way to the forum... Well, not really, we just decided to stop off for some lunch, at this place near the sea.

13:35:20 Yes, this place was a creperie - more Breton than Catalan, but nice nonetheless.

13:35:35 Me, with my Gallette, as I think it is technically called.

14:03:57 Whilst by the sea it seemed necessary for at least one of us to dip our feet in. Chie seemed to think it was still a bit too cold to swim, which I found baffling, as the air temperature was about 30 degrees at this point...

14:44:16 Chie waiting to buy tickets for Forum 2004.

14:59:57 Inside the Forum now. These shade things reminded me of Glastonbury a bit, and thus warranted a picture.

15:13:32 A great big solar panel. Lovely.

15:16:58 A dragon thing, made partly from old CDs (including, I noticed somewhat nerdily, a number of copies of Nero).

15:39:52 Chie wanted to have a go at mosaic making, so here she is smashing up some otherwise perfectly good tiles.

15:50:59 Chie looking like she's really enjoying herself.

15:58:25 ...the fruits of our labour...

15:58:42 Despite a certain amount of reluctance initially, I have to admit this was actually quite fun. Sometimes mindless tasks like this can be very relaxing.

16:00:52 There was an area consisting of instruments made out of ordinary household objects, which was quite interesting for a few minutes.

16:01:54 A kind of spanner xylophone.

16:02:16 A sort of toilet diggery doo.

16:02:29 Typical picture of English holidaymaker in Spain with head in a toilet.

16:05:50 That solar panel again.

16:06:47 Chie dipping her feet in the sea (which was surprisingly full of fish) again.

16:13:31 A kind of weird mechanical monster contraption, which again reminded me of Glastonbury.

16:14:16 The mechanised dinasour thingy from the side.

16:20:53 I'm sure this game has a name...

16:32:39 As I was getting a tad peckish, we thought it prudent to sit down for a quick snack - another tortilla espanola, with some nice tomatoey bread (apparently a Catalan speciality).

16:53:17 The view from beneath the big solar panel.

16:56:12 The guilty pleasure of being able to see a puppet show from above, rather than from the other side of the black screen.

17:04:27 Having mistakenly sat down on some recently watered grass, I had a wet behind for a while.

17:04:38 Me, on a bridge.

17:22:44 The main attraction of the Forum was the Warriors of Xi'an exhibition. Unfortunately, there was a very, very long queue.

17:53:18 Unusually though, this didn't deter us, especially as there were beer stops along the way.

17:54:48 Chie not so sure if she's enjoying the beer.

18:22:15 Still in the queue, but here there was an optional sitting down queueing system, which was much appreciated.

18:42:15 Almost in now, but predictably cameras were not allowed in the exhibit itself, so this is the closest you're going to get in these pictures I'm afraid!

19:37:56 After seeing the warriors, we felt it necessary to get another snack. Here some patatas bravas (which in Barcelona seems to mean spicy mayonnaise rather than straight forward chilli sauce) and, amazingly, a kind of tofu kebab.

20:02:27 Last picture in the Forum before we headed off back to our hotel.

21:22:30 Both feeling pretty knackered, we decided to be lazy and just get pizza for dinner, from a Pizzeria next door to our hotel.

21:37:13 We were both somewhat baffled by the necessity of all the cleavage on the pizza box. Still, the pizza was good nonetheless.


11:36:38 Sunday I decided we ought to go and do the touristy things around Barcelona, so here we are on a five minute visit to the Sagrada Familia.

11:36:52 It sort of looks like they made a regular building, and then it melted.

11:37:21 Clearly some rennovation work being undertaken here.

11:37:38 That's the new extension, probably where they'll put the washing machine and tumble dryer, to free up a bit of space in the kitchen.

11:37:53 Me, looking touristy.

11:54:09 Chie wanted me to take this picture, of her looking like she's trapped by the metro's exit gates. Whatever floats your boat, sweetheart.

11:58:20 A wander down the Passeig de Gracia... Don't go expecting any insightful architectural commentary, as I really don't know anything about architecture. So, this is some building or other by that bloke Gaudi.

12:08:15 Chie eating a very over priced snack from a badly chosen bakery in a very touristy area. You live and learn.

12:20:01 More Gaudi buildings.

12:20:11 Chie took this one. Very arty.

12:20:24 That same Gaudi building again, for no apparent reason.

12:22:52 Inside the (breathe in) building next to the building that was one of the buildings that Gaudi built (breathe out). Which was nice.

12:23:52 A light in, er, that building, which I liked.

12:39:44 Hard Rock Cafe, where we would have stayed had we been able to go on the originally planned trip with Mark and Jarvis.

13:58:06 We decided it might be nice to get out of the overcrowded touristy bits in the centre to go and visit some slightly less overcrowded touristy bits further out - Parc Guell.

14:04:16 we stopped for a picnic with some bread we'd bought on our way there.

14:05:02 ...and som Damm good beer! Get it, *Damm* good...? Jeesh, tough crowd.

14:41:10 A badly taken picture of Chie having dozed off.

14:56:02 Elsewhere in Parc Guell, a spot where you could sort of see some of Barcelona through the trees.

14:56:24 Now that big church thing looks "Familia"... hahahahaha. Ok, I'll stop there.

15:00:35 A view out over Barcelona...

15:01:32 Chie between some thingies which had cactuses in them, on a bridge.

15:01:51 Me, with Barcelona behind me. Nice.

15:06:59 Randomly, a dog was scampering about underneath the bridge.

15:07:20 Err, those big stone cactus holders. I bet there is a technical architectural term for these, like "Bisorthogonally Disfrecated Cactal Plynths", or something.

15:24:39 Me, peeking from behind a column.

15:28:26 Quite literally, the cat amongst the pigeons.

15:28:36 Another cat amongst some other pigeons, this time with some old ladies too.

15:29:21 Chie, and some, err, landscape.

15:32:49 This is the entrance to Parc Guell, which as you can see, is pretty popular with tourists.

15:33:08 Me, and a pleasingly touristy picture in front of the entrance thingy.

15:33:15 Good sense of shape in this one, well done Chie.

15:37:59 In the kind of courtyard bit above the entrance to Parc Guell.

16:05:09 Chie, and some columns, and some other people.

16:05:57 The kind of gatehouse at the entrance to Parc Guell.

16:06:28 That gatehouse again, framed a bit better.

16:55:31 After leaving Parc Guell, we headed back to our hotel for a nap. Pleasingly, we found the "Cleavage Pizza Company" from the previous evening had a delivery van parked outside.

19:36:04 This beginning-of-a-sunset picture was taken after having our late afternoon nap. Not sure when a siesta should officially take place, but presumably this was something like it.

19:46:52 After leaving the hotel to head out for the evening, we were intrigued to see quite a lot of people milling about around our nearby shopping centre. On closer inspection, we learned that, seemingly, most Catalonians go to the cinema on a Sunday evening.

19:47:07 Pleasingly Doraemon seems to be very popular in Spain (or maybe just Barcelona).

20:33:06 We decided we would start our evening's stroll at the Arc De Triomf. So here it is then.

20:50:21 Following on from that we wandered past the cathedral...

21:08:38 ...and then into our first bar of the evening - a Tapas bar called Irati.

21:09:04 This was everything I'd hoped for in a Tapas bar. All the food was laid out on plates, each with a little stick in. You just keep the sticks on your plate, and at the end they kept your sticks to work out your bill. Marvellous.

21:35:02 A blurry picture of the entrance to Irati.

21:35:06 ...and again, with me in it.

22:08:04 Still a little peckish after our initial round of Tapas we continued on to another Tapas place, which was a lot quieter and more of a sit-down affair.

22:08:36 Slightly moronic picture of me. I don't recall the name of this place... maybe something beginning with X...?

22:11:20 Pleasingly, as ever, they hadd Damm good beer.

22:11:24 ...Chie was clearly very keen to get this picture right...

22:11:34 ...and the end result here is pretty pleasing!

22:29:19 A couple of the dishes we ordered. In the foreground is a kind of patatas bravas, again with spicy mayonnaise. In the background some sauteed wild mushrooms. Lovely. A strange picture to finish on, but there you go!