A last trip to Barcelona in 2015

A theme of 2015 has been traveling to Barcelona to visit my girlfriend M. there as often as possible and so it seemed like a great idea to end the year there as well. Having spent Christmas here in the Netherlands with the family, on December 27 I hurried off to Schiphol to visit Barcelona one more time in 2015 and end that wonderful year together with M.

The flight to Barcelona was pretty much boring. Not only clouds all along the flight, but the only window close to me was behind me and my view was blocked by the airplane’s engine.

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In Barcelona M. was waiting for me in the airport and we spent a wonderful afternoon and evening together. M. found a new venue where the Agustin Burriel Swing Quartet was paying homage to Frank Sinatra with a terrific concert. I love jazz (and even more that M. loves it too) and Barcelona is a great place for that with lots of locations for concerts.

(Agustin Burriel Swing Quartet, click image for full set)

Unfortunately M. could not take any more vacation days so in the daytime I had to make due on my own (lots of walking again ;) ) and once M. was home again we’d enjoy the rest of the days together again.

On Monday I planned to visit a market that turned out te be closed. Then off to the Palau de Musica for a tour (it’s supposed to be really beautiful in there), but I couldn’t get in because of a concert being held there. Not the best start of the day and to rethink my plans a bit I took some espressos in Nomad near the Arc de Triompf and after wandering around some more I ended up at the harbour and my eyes caught the cable car that passes over the harbour. I had wanted to do that back in 2014 at my first visit to Barcelona but never got round to actually take that ride, so now was a good time to make up on that promise.

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If you ever plan to do this too, take plenty of food&drink supplies as the line is long. And I mean loooooooong. It took me an hour and a half to get to the ticket-sales point (and that is out of the touristic season) and after that they let you in the elevator pretty quickly. Only to step into the next line… It took well over two hours in all but then I finally got in the little cable-car that was to take me to Montjuïc. That is a short ride, but the view makes it all worth it. A beautiful different view over the port and into Barcelona.

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From Montjuïc I wandered around a bit more and found myself in front of the Pavilion again and a little while later I made my way home again to spend the rest of the evening with M. We visited two excellent photo expositions. The first was “Cara a Cara” (Face to face)  by varios photographers in the Fundación Foto Colectania and the second called “ABSUMI. ABstracció, SUrrealisme, MInimalisme” by Albert Folch in Agrupació Fotográfica de Cataluña. That was a terrific experience. The photographer in question was there and spoke Catalan and Spanish with an odd English work here and there. I was so lucky to have M. with me otherwise I’m afraid I’d not have understood a word. But discussing styles and meaning of photos was a lovely way to spend the evening. Also the room had a huge collection of vintage cameras.

The next morning, as M. left for work, she suggested I take a walk along Diagonal with more modern architecture. It’s indeed a superb street with a lot of interesting buildings. Walking down the road I almost forgot the time and only just in time saw that it was high time to rush back as M. and I were to meet for a lunch.

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In the afternoon I visited yet another photo exposition in the Museu de Disseny (I read that as Disney first). This one about fashion photography in the past century. It’s odd seeing 90’s fashion photos using “tomorrow’s technology” such as ancient cell phones. Overall the exposition was again a great experience. Afterwards I wandered around the area a bit on search of more architecture and streetart.

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I ended the afternoon in the Parc de la Ciutadella where a woman was feeding birds. My God, there were a lot of birds. The people paddling in the pond must have felt like they were in a scene of Hitchcock’s Birds.

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In the evening M. took me to El Bunker. We have been there a few times before, but never when it’s dark. It’s fantastic at night seeing the lights and street-traffis like a lifeline of Barcelona. It’s really lovely there and getting more and more popular. It was nice sitting there for a while side by side as Barcelona rushes on…

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From there we went to dinner in El Nacional. It’s so, so great M. knows all these places. El Nacional is a huge restauran and the concept how it works is ever so good (waiters offering the prepared tapas in a singing voice instead of just ordering from a list). Can absolutely recommend it.

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The next morning I came with M. to see her off at her office so I now have an idea where she works too. She suggested I followed the main road that would eventually lead to Parc Guell but as usual in walking I strayed a bit. Following the road I got bored pretty quickly and I walked down a few sideroads only to find “The Challenge” of the day when I suddenly looked up at Tibidabo and decided to walk up there.

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At first this all went pretty easily, but soon the road became an unpaved footpath and that quickly ended too in a small path in the bushes. A few meters above I saw joggers passing and so I decided to climb the mountain a bit. Really daft idea, but I made it. From there the road up to Tibidabo was better. Still a long way, but well to do. At Tibidabo I shot some views with the amusement park and Barcelona, visited the church and the amusement park before heading back down into Barcelona again.

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I’m a bit proud of myself recognising the various bus and metro connections now, making my own way into Barcelona and taking the bike to go up (or down) a few streets and generally knowing where I am. The afternoon was spent in a vain search to find some vinyl-stores again (proving that I’m still far from all-knowing my stuff ;) ) and got a few nice photos here and there and simply enjoying the area.

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At long last it was December 31. The last day of the year and M. was free from work too. Sleeping in then? No, not for us. We planned on seeing the sun rise from the sea and therefor had to run in the morning to a lovely bit of beach that M. knows at Nova Mar Bella and as we ran onto the beach we saw we were just in time. The sun was due to rise. We actually almost missed it after all trying to get a good photo of the two of us with the sunrise in the background :D

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As the sun rose and it got a bit warmer it was really nice on the beach so we sat there for a while before heading to the nearby park and visiting an architectural area near the sea. A fantastic way to start the last day of the year together.

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The rest of the day was spent somewhat preparing for the evening. In the evening we visited friends of M. that live in an apartment with a huge and fantastic terras with beautiful views over Barcelona! Had a great time there before we went to the restaurant to end the year in style. A luxurious dinner for the two of us in a lovely restaurant: good music, romantic atmosphere. Couldn’t have been better and we danced into the early hours of 2016…

The next day was pretty much quiet. A slow day to recover from the blast that 2015 has been. We visited Jamboree in the evening for the very first concert of the year: the Jazzcare All Stars paying a set all about Louis Armstrong. Swinging into the new year with M. What more could I ask for?

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At the crack of dawn on January 2 we had to get up again (not much sleeping in this vacation) as I unfortunately had a plane to catch. The flight to the Netherlands had a better view this time, so there were also a few more images as I got back.


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I will plan a next trip to Barcelona soon. The weather in the Netherlands is too cold for me now :) Thank you M. for all those beautiful moments of 2015 with you besides me. Te amo!

All the Barcelona photos here
Agustin Burriel Swing Quartet here
Jazzcare All Stars here