22.04.2016 - 23.04.2016
Our Friday morning challenge was The Metro - after some careful research from Simon, it wasn't so hard. We found our way to La Rambla with time for a proper breakfast (muesli and yoghurt in a cocktail glass, plus fresh orange juice and a banana) before our walking tour of the old city. Miguel was our tour guide, and he was incredibly patient with the group, which consisted of 21 Americans aged over 60, one 13 year old American, one mid-twenties Malaysian and us. There were a lot of questions, there was a lot of repeating the guide, but there was not so much listening. It was interesting to see the previous walled city of Barcino, and we even managed to take a selfie with the saint who was taking a selfie atop the cathedral. Winning.
We did some self-guided wandering after that, to Parc de la Ciutadella (the place to be for exercise), Arc de Triumf (less triumphant than the one in Paris) and the port area. A Slovakian man asked us if we were interested in joining his association for people who smoke weed, but we politely declined. We enjoyed some excellent people watching by the port - teenage girls + blanket salesmen + handbags = hours of free entertainment.
Churros was our next menu item - sooooooooooo good. The chocolate was less sweet and thicker than the chocolate dipping sauce I have encountered in Australia. Essentially you are given a cup of hot, moderately thick chocolate and a couple of doughnuts to go with it. Spain's cuisine wins again.
We went back to our flat after that, and finally met Eduardo, our Mexican flatmate who had eluded us until then. After a siesta/Nintendo 64 Goldeneye session it was back on the metro and into the city to see the Magic Fountain of Montjuic do its thing. We shared the experience with a gazillion of our closest friends, as well as four thousand people selling selfie sticks. The area we chose to stand in was the area that the water spray fell on after being projected into the air in beautiful formations, so it wasn't long before we were feeling much less crowded. We had come prepared in our raincoats though - we couldn't be put off by a little mist here and there. Plus, if Barcelona was going to go to all that effort of arranging a farewell water show for us, we didn't want to seem ungrateful.
Being a Friday night (and the eve of Sant Jordi day), our Mexican restaurant was packed, so we just had a kebab, watched some futbol and went to bed.
Our Saturday morning challenge involved Getting To The Airport, and I'm pleased to report that we completed that challenge with 20 minutes to spare. The Spanish certainly haven't mastered the Art of the Queue quite like the English, but we all made it through in the end. I scored the random security check from the English-speaking security guard whose most probing question was "what is Lady Buccas?" and I was obviously much less of a security threat than the American girl trying to cross the border with 500ml of handcream in her cabin bag. Tsk tsk.
Duty free was the highlight of the day - not for the shopping, but because San Cisco were playing throughout the store. Strayan music for the win!
The flight was a little delayed leaving, and I was serenaded by a screaming child called Alex all the way back to Manchester. When Alex wasn't screaming, he took to kicking my seat in happiness. Not sure which I preferred. We landed without any fanfare - apparently Ryanair only play that when they land on time. We were merely five minutes late, but late is late is late, no triumphant trumpets to be had. And when going through security, the customs officer decided that my profession was suspicious. Obviously 'speech pathologist' cannot be real if HE'S never heard of it. From now on, I will be writing 'unemployed' on all landing cards.
We had time for the English answer to menu del dia (sandwich + crisps + drink for £3.50) before training it to Leeds and Menston, and being reunited with Team Thornshire yet again. We had an amazing dinner with Sarah and Leif, courtesy of the Moussaka Man, and discovered the joy of Badger beers while plotting how to save the world from hipsters, olive blight and moles (using a combination of trebuchets and space stations, of course). Ah England... It might be cold, but it's good to be back.