Wonderful gaudy Gaudi and a coke in the bollocks (bar) | Claire & Glyn

In a strange turn of events, no-one tried to pickpocket me today and, yes, we are still in Barcelona! After yesterday’s events I’ve been more than vigilant and Claire has put a padlock on the zip on her backpack. Thankfully though today has been crime free but I shall remain cautious….

So let’s move on to today which has mainly consisted of Gaudi. Jeez that guy had some strange things going on in his head but thankfully people here saw it as genius; and it is. Where the English would have laughed at him the Spanish gave him free reign and thank goodness they did. Barcelona is far from photogenic from up high but thankfully there are glorious gaudy Gaudi buildings throughout the city. (Incidentally, did our word gaudy come from Gaudi?) The first building, of course, the Sagrada Familia….or the Sangria Familiar as Claire calls it.

We got up at stupid o’clock and were half an hour early for our allotted time of 9am. This did give us chance to take photos without pesky tourists getting in the way and is well worth getting up early for. In expectation of our visit, giant condoms had been put over each of the four towers-gracias guys!

I expected scaffolding, after all it isn’t finished yet, but giant condoms kinda spoil the effect. The building is incredible though with a mish-mash of styles seemingly yet it does still appear to be following Gaudi’s original vision. What a glorious nutter!

Inside is amazing so do invest in going in. High ceilings that you can’t fail to be amazed by and also, boy did that guy love his spiral staircases! We took a lift up a tower and then walked down a number of spiral staircases to get back to ground level. Well worth it.

Our next stop was La Pedrera and they really had gone to town to hide this from us. I’m not kidding you when I tell you that they had covered every single bit of the apparently amazing frontage with a protective cover that even had an advert on it. Does someone warn the tourist attractions that we’re coming??

Thankfully the inside was not so hidden and more of the wonderful madness is evident, particularly in the bizarre creations on the roof. If they didn’t get the idea for the Cybermen in Doctor Who from some of the statues up there then I’m a Dutch monkey’s uncle!

And so to Casa Batllo which is like something out of a science fiction movie set underwater. Nothing is normal; things bend and undulate, banisters and door handles are ergonomic and odd shaped windows let in light to rooms that should be darker. You just don’t know what you’ll come across next! Two adjacent doors of different sizes, tiny balconies with room just for one and a veritable smorgasbord of other oddities and intricacies keep you on your toes all the way round.

And still we plundered on with Parc Guell next on our Gaudi hit list. We were given an entry time thirty minutes hence to Monuments Park and spent them climbing up a hill. At the top was the most bizarre busker I have ever seen. Singing in English, as most buskers here do, he grimaced his way through ‘songs’ based around See You Later Alligator whilst interacting with the crowd. He was wearing leopardskin trousers, a dodgy shirt, boots with bells on and sunglasses. We weren’t the only ones to give money to the spirit of Joey Ramone so well done him.

On the way down we got lost and were panicking that we wouldn’t make our 30 minute entrance window. I think Gaudi must have designed the paths in there as they went everywhere apart from where you wanted to go. Thankfully Gaudi didn’t want us to miss his little park though and we made it in with 10 minutes to spare.

If only the signs had been useful in that park….there were loads of them but none pointed to where we’d wanted to. We’d had a strange occurrence on the way here and thought that may continue inside. Yes, earlier, we’d actually come across signs telling us which way to go! This was the first time in Barcelona so obviously we hadn’t totally trusted then until we actually saw our destination. Even Stoke has tourist signs so come on Barcelona, buck your ideas up!

Inside Monuments park were….not surprisingly….monuments and it is worth paying the 8 euros to get in. People on Tripadvisor were saying that you can see things from outside but, well, you just can’t. You’re on holiday, get your Euros out! There were some apparently famous benches in various colours and tiled and curvy and covered in bloody tourists. Damn them!

The washerwoman carved in stone was worth a visit and then the monumental steps with a large statue of a lizard were also rather photogenic. Doric inspired columns stood both straight and angled and the most photogenic house was covered in a cloth hastily created to hide it from The Wades. Gits.

We were put off entering the house next door as a guide told us we’d be better off putting electrodes on our genitals and diving naked into the sea than going in. Or she may just have said that the hour long wait wasn’t worth it as it was mainly just photos inside? Not sure. Those two things sound the same to me.

And as the light faded we wended our weary way back to the tube station and headed for the Bollocks bar. Being punks we had to. We found it. It was shut. So we went for taps because, hooray, it was due to open in just one hour! I’m not sure tapas is traditional punk food but they didn’t have pizza or biscuit sandwiches so tapas it would have to be. And jolly spiffing they were too.

Never mind the bollocks I thought (sorry) but we did go back and were the first customers of the night. The place was more actually a rockers bar and playing Guns and bloody Roses won’t win any fans in our house! There was suitable graffiti though and I did see a picture of Johnny Rotten on the wall so it wasn’t too bad.

We didn’t feel encouraged to stay beyond me having been given one coke in the bollocks by Claire and we left despite being given salty popcorn to encourage us to drink more. It wasn’t quite what we’d hoped for which was a similar bar in Copenhagen where we were welcomed and made to feel at home.

On the tube station I saw an advert for ‘the best tapas restaurant in Barcelona’. Sounds good I thought but I didn’t like the sound of their claim that they have ‘fourteen young chefs waiting to surprise you’. I don’t fancy that at all. Do they jump out at you shouting BOO? Do they throw firecrackers under your chair? Or maybe the food explodes in your face? No thanks. And other than that it looked quite a posh place. Strange 😉

Before I go, can anyone tell me if Spanish entails being the first to race to the end of a sentence? A lot of it is garbled so fast I have no chance of understanding and I do try and speak the lingo when I can….until they reply in Spanish that is.

And so, a better day today after last night’s abhorrences. Barcelona, you are growing on me but Gaudi is a huge part of that. Let’s see what else you have to offer tomorrow.

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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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