I’m actually getting to like Barcelona, despite a waiter threatening to slit my throat today. Two days without anyone attempting to pickpocket me can do that to a man.

Today began with a trek to a mountain top via two tube lines, a bus and a funicular railway. There was an expensive tram available in place of the bus but at 4 euros up against a free bus (with a Barcelona card) it was a no brainer. It’s not like we’ve never been on a tram before. We arrived an hour before the funicular opened (typical!) and so had sandwiches the size of Chicago and drinks while we waited.

At the top of Mount Tibidado is an amusement park and a medway with ancient rides all topped off by an enormous church with a Christ the Redeemer type statue on top. We decided to go on a 50 metre high revolving ride that had been built in 1921 and crammed into a standing basket with some noisy Spanish teenagers. It was a bit shaky and very windy up there but Claire coped admirably despite being tall enough to see over the top of the basket.

The next ride, a pathetic looking aeroplane thing, closed before we got there due to the windy conditions so we joined the queue for the big wheel instead. By now I’d actually put my coat on for the first time this holiday as the wind up there was quite biting. Kids were running everywhere in the queue and I wasn’t sure whose kids were whose-I think I had a couple at one point. A picnic then appeared and the family in front settled down to scoff a full meal….in a queue….I suppose that was nothing to one guy who just LOVED queuing. He didn’t move the whole time we were in the queue, just sat on a platform that formed part of the queue line. I wonder if he’s still there?

To get on the ride there was a turnstile with a light on top. It flashed green for go and red to stop. Clever yes, foolproof, sadly no. I shook my head with disdain. Luckily we were better than that and made it onto the ride without anyone silently mocking us and we again gained a good view of the unphotogenic city below.

We then nipped off to see Jesus atop the church and found the lift to near the top was only 2.5 Euros-a bargain! A few steps further up and we could almost shake Jesus’s hand as we found ourselves very high up and being chilled by the wind again. Well worth it though.

A quick walk revealed nothing very exciting so we headed back down, this time substituting the expensive tram with walking. We walked through a park and past some fantastic looking houses which were quite a contrast to the dodgy alleyways back in the city. I bet there are putpockets here as opposed to pickpockets!

And so to Barceloneta which is the seafront area with supposed back streets that are reminiscent of how the city used to be 150 years ago. The purported old people still dragging their chairs out to chat and watch the world go by failed to materialise and the back streets just looked like dodgy alleyways. I wasn’t impressed.

The beach was okay, though it was strange seeing beach goers curled up in full clothing. It was hot for me and that damned coat had gone by now but too cold for the locals….and Claire… She did venture into the sea for a paddle though before we walked along a bit to see some amazing sand art-dragons with actual fire in their mouths and castles with working water spouts for example. Very impressive!

And so to find somewhere to eat and we decided to trust our guide book and headed to the one that sounded the most appealing. We walked in and the outside bit had a number of empty tables but the waiter turned to us and made a slitting motion across his throat. Now, there are empty tables in the sort of restaurant that doesn’t take reservations and a waiter makes that action at you….what are you supposed to think?

I picked up the wooden menu board and smashed it over his head, Claire grabbed a jug of sangria from a nearby table and tipped it over him as he fell. The two tablecloths he grabbed as he was falling were like a slow motion magic trick as all the crockery and utensils remained on the table. As other diners applauded we ran out as fast as we could, performing somersaults as we went. Or we might just have walked out.

You decide.

We ate somewhere else instead. I had paella for the second night running. It was fine.

We then wandered along the sea front, past Columbus’ column and then up La Rambla which is awash with colour and activity…and people. It was quite nice walking up there though and there were some interesting stalls. We veered off to find the Nevermind bar which we meant to visit before the Bollocks bar but we went to the latter last night.

This was a similar sort of establishment but with better decor and music. I nearly walked out as they were playing Bryan Adams when we walked in but I needed to poo too badly so we took a risk and hung in there. Things improved (and what isn’t an improvement after Bryan Adams?) with songs from Rage Against the Machine, NOFX and The Misfits so we felt a bit more at home. We stayed a bit longer than we did in the Bollocks bar and watched skateboarding videos and read the walls and ceilings. One piece of graffiti decor did give me cause for concern: it said ‘live your life with your arms wide open’.

How would you go to the toilet? I wasn’t even sure I would be able to get out of the bar nevermind (did you see what I did there?) eat or sleep. And what happens when you walk down the street, especially in the narrow alleyways of Barcelona? Clothes lining people doesn’t seem a very sociable thing to do. And it would leave me even more susceptible to pickpockets. So I decided against it. People should think before they write these things.

Apart from that foolishness and the cutthroat waiter it wasn’t a bad day and yes, this city is growing on me after an appalling start. Incidentally, after one of the attempted pickpocket ins the other day Claire advised me to tell people that I don’t like football so I don’t get dragged into a conversation that may lead to me being ‘tackled’ while they attempt to rob me.

So tonight a guy tried to sell me a spinny, light up thing and I said to him ‘no….and I don’t like football’. Apparently, she tells me now, I should wait until someone actually asks if I like football. And before you think I’m making this up and will then say I didn’t really do that…I did…..the guy looked quite confused, but Claire laughed, so that’s okay.

Let’s see if the Internet here will let me add some pictures tonight….

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About the author

Fresh from failing to be an actor, a singer and retaining a full head of hair Glyn is now attempting to be a photographer and a novelist. He has taken more pictures today than he has written words of his novel in the last six months. Some of them he regards as okay..

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