Barcelona. Not at all impressed so far you city of crime you.

Before I’d even reached our hotel someone tried to pickpocket me. Not a good start. Luckily I wear combat trousers and my wallet was in the lower pocket but that was the pocket someone was tugging at as I was walking up an escalator that had mysteriously stopped as we were halfway up. He had just bumped into Claire so we both checked we had everything as he sloped out of sight with his just as dodgy looking mate. You just can’t believe what’s going on…and then they’re gone….fortunately with none of our belongings.

I have no idea what the next guy was trying to do. We’d finally booked into our hotel and were looking for La Rambla where there was a tapas bar recommended on Tripadvisor. After asking if we had a cigarette this guy then asked me where I was from and went for the high five which I politely accepted. Then he started rambling on about football, wrapped his leg round mine as if he was tackling me and put his other arm round my shoulders. And wouldn’t let go with hand,arm or leg. Claire was watching from the rear in case his mate was after my bag but this guy wouldn’t let go of me. I shouted at him but, in the end, I had to push him away quite hard to get him to let go. He retained his balance and then walked off not looking surprised and without looking at me again. And again we had to check we had all our belongings.

So, welcome to Barcelona!!

We’d flown from Liverpool John Lennon airport and been accompanied on our flight by the comatose crew-a group of lads so boring they could turn you to stone or have you begging to be put into a coma. Coupled with the gravel-voiced woman behind who was talking so loud the pilot kept answering her it was a miracle I got any reading done and, I think, even fell asleep at one point. This is unusual for me as planes aren’t made for comfort for anyone over 3′ 6″ and at the reverse of that it is never easy.

We were flying with Ryanair and I have no complaints apart from the volume of the chav hostess on the tannoy….ouch!! I understand they have to try and sell you the moon while you travel but does it have to be at a volume that God texted to ask them to turn it down? The flights had been £25 each and then £20 per bag so it was no wonder people were trying to squeeze all their worldly belongings into the overhead lockers. It’s not right though so anyone with a wheeled bag had it taken from them before they were allowed on the plane. Ha! Bet they didn’t get charged though;-(

We had expected to be eating out at 8 but after waiting ages for the train, which then kept stopping between stations, we were off to a poor start. And then the stations on the screen didn’t correspond with those on our maps. And then when we got off at a station, expecting to swap platforms to get on the Metro but we found ourselves topside with no signs to where the tube station was. I managed to get someone to point me in the right direction and we did eventually find the Metro station up the road which was the same name as the one we’d just left. You’d think once you’re in the station you’re almost there but no, you still have, literally, a 10 minute walk up stairs, downstairs, across a platform, up and down escalators, whilst evading pickpockets, before you finally get to your platform.

And then we went one stop.

Claire successfully navigated us on the walk to our hostel, Hostal Radio, and then it took about twenty minutes to check us in. Finally we got to our room which is fine apart from the dripping taps and the fact that you have to have your feet in the shower while sitting on the loo. I’ve stayed in far worse.

After the attempted mugging we did find the tapas bar and were served by a waiter who had actually been to Stoke-on-Trent in search of the roots of Slash and Lemmy. He summed Stoke up as there not being much to do but full of pubs and no-one seemed to know where Slash and Lemmy hung out. Stoke Council take note! Although now they’ll probably knock down anything to do with possibly attracting ‘rock’ tourists….

The tapas didn’t exactly start at 1 Euro as someone on Tripadvisor had stated but the food was good and not too expensive. So yes, I recommend Palosanto-just be careful getting there!

After avoiding dark alleyways and taking photos of a statue of a big fat cat we made it back to our hostel where the sound of taps dripping echoes through the room. Sadly, everyone looks dodgy in Barcelona now which isn’t a good start to a long weekend I’ve been looking forward to for a very long time.

Will tomorrow be better? It had better be!!

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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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