Barcelona – my home away from home

As my love had visited me in May and we’re to go on vacation in September, the end of June was a good moment for a visit to Barcelona and see M. before my colleagues vacations start in July. And so Wednesday evening on the 24th I travelled to Barcelona once more to find M. waiting for me at the airport

On Thursday after a good breakfast and a splendid espresso (did I tell you I love espressos? And that there’s a lot of good locations for great espressos in Barcelona? There are!) we took a bus up the mountain to visit El Carmel area where “El Mirador del Turó De La Rovira” can be found. One of the best viewpoints over Barcelona. It’s quickly getting more popular as it’s been used as a scene in a Spanish movie (Tengo Ganas de Tí) and it shows as the roads leading to that viewpoint are currently being upgraded to accommodate much more traffic.

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The view there is incredible. We’ll have to go back there next time to see Barcelona from there as the evening sets in, the view with lights in Barcelona, the Torre Agbar and Sagrada Familia in lights… that must be an incredible view. But it’s simply amazing to see in daylight as well. Looking on the other side of the hill to see the rest of Barcelona only lets you feel the incredible size of the city.

We walked back down to the city -that is now clearly starting to fill with tourists- and treated ourselves to a cool, refreshing beer and walked in the Parc de la Ciutadella where in the warm sunny afternoon, boats were paddling in the water and there were lots of interesting activities. Huge soapy bubbles were drifting in the park with kids running and jumping after them. Simply a gorgeous afternoon.

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In the evening we went to see Dani Nel.lo, a terrific concert and you can read all about that over here.

Friday M. had to work until two in the afternoon and so I was left on my own for a while. Financially not a good plan I found out. I’d wanted to visit Casanova Foto for a while now as I’d seen on the Internet that they also had a selection of Leica gear and I really wanted to get one incredible lens for my M6 (and future M9?). So by the end of the morning I left the shop having sold off two of my old lenses and with one beauty of a Summicron-lens in my pocket. Went on for a bit of a walk visiting Café Ina and on to the beach a bit later.

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I was back in the apartment waiting for M. to return who had a huge surprise planned for me in the evening. Giving me clues about ‘a show, not a concert’, a female singer not Dutch, but speaking a bit of Dutch and not telling me where I had no idea. Not even as we walked past La Pedrera and she told me we had time for a quick view on the rooftop. That turned out the be where we were heading but I still had no idea who we’d see, still having a vivid image of a female jazz singer with a band in my mind and it was a bit of a shock (an incredibly good one) to see Benjamin Herman get on the stage at the rooftop op La Pedrera and I have to say it is the most beautiful location I have ever seen a concert being held at. My love knows me so well :)

On Saturday we took a train to Girona, a beautiful city that’s not to far away. The historical center of the town with the water streaming past the colorful houses is so beautiful to see. We also witnessed a wedding at the big church (and a photographer taking a photo with a breathtakingly lovely Horseman viewcamera) and took our lunch after a stroll over a small market. Our view was the historical pole with a lioness perched in it. The legend goes that to be a good Girona citizen you have to kiss the back of the lioness. We took our lunch with a view to this pole and though it’s really a lot of fun to see the numerous tourists kissing the back of that lioness, it’s that same view that made me less then enthusiastic to kiss the lioness myself. I’ve been sick enough this year thank you very much! We ended that afternoon with a walk along the ancient Girona city walls with a great view over Girona and then took a train back to Barcelona. But I can definitely see myself coming back to Girona for more exploring (and there appear to be a few more legends of the city).

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Spain (or at least Barcelona) loves celebrating their various saints and so in this weekend Sant Pere was honoured with festivities near El Born and also in Gracia other festivities were happening. In Gracia on Sunday we witnessed Castellers de la Vila de Gracia, and I’ve wnated to see Castellers for a long time so I was very excited to see that! It’s really impressive to see and very brave of the little kids that eventually have to climb the human tower and cross the top. Most of the human towers were constructed and undone without problems, but we also saw one tower tumbling down. I could see it falling apart. It’s a weird scene and the sound of the people falling on top of each other is eerie. Luckily no-one was seriously injured. In El Born we saw a huge traditional paella being made. After getting some good coffee from Satan (I did tell you I love espressos) we ended the day in the harbor looking at regatta boats sailing in and then went for a terrific dinner in El Velodrome, a Moritz-hosted restaurant.

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Monday was my last day of this trip. No plans just enjoying our last moments together till I’d have to leave for the airport in the end of the afternoon. That’s where it very nearly all fell apart. I left a little bit later then I should have, the bus to the airport took a bit longer than expected and the lines at the Vueling-gate were huge. I arrived even too late for the last-minute check in and had to run with all of my luggage all over the airport to the gate of the plane. Completely out of breath I arrived just in time. Five minutes after I sat down the plane started moving and it took another half hour for me to catch my breath again. Back in the Netherlands a long trip by train awaited me and luckily my parents were prepared to pick me up there so that just before midnight I was back home again. A crazy trip back home. It all worked out, but stress-levels were way too high.

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Feeling sad to leave my love behind again, but we had some fantastic days together again. Te amo mi amor!