Saturday, 27 September 2014

Barcelona - Things to See

Well it's high time I told you a little bit about Barcelona!
This will be a sort of 'Things to See' type post with the bigger stuff.
I'll do another 'Things to Do' post with a bit more detail and some other cool places to go I think! 

Seriously.... If you've never been to Barcelona, you need to go!
It is the most awesome city. I can't quite put my finger on quite why but it seems pretty laid back, they are welcoming and good fun. It feels like a safe place and the tube etc is easy to use and not as scary as London!
I love it and if I win the lottery, I'll be buying an apartment here so I can visit often!

We stayed in a rented apartment rather than a hotel which we think is much better for getting stuck right in.
We stayed in the old part of Barcelona called Born. I'd definitely recommend this area.
Our holiday was Sunday to Friday so we had plenty of time to see stuff (but it still doesn't seem long enough at all!) 

We had tapas, pintxos, beer (bleargh!) and ridiculous sunshine! It was soooo hot! I drank lots of water because I can't stand beer and they don't really have cider. Cola is more expensive than beer and you get a tiny glass bottle. Not worth it! 

The day after we arrived we bought tickets for the hop on, hop off tourist buses that run round the city. €35 each for a 2 day pass - better value and less rushing than a €27 one day pass.
This is a great way to see all the famous sites and you can get off and have a look round if you want.
You get given a set of headphones when you get on and you plug into the seat and select your language and listen to the commentary as you drive through the city.
We didn't get off at the Sagradia Familia because it is so busy.
My cousin has been inside and she said it's not worth the €20 entry. Once you've seen the inside of one church, they all look fairly similar.
I'm glad we took her advice and saved our money.
It is definitely stunning from the outside though.
Sagradia Familia
We did get off and go to Parc Guell and spent a couple of hours walking round there. That's worth doing for the stunning views across the city.
We discovered that you now have to pay to get into the famous area with the ceramic salamander and seating etc so we didn't do that. I think it is about €8.
We bought a few touristy nik naks from the illegal sellers who are all over the place (until the police turn up!)
The view from Parc Guell
We saw the Barcelona Football Club (yawn... ) needless to say, we didn't get off and have a look around haha!

On the second day we got off at the Olympic Stadium and wow.... Definitely my favourite bit!
You can imagine the excitement and atmosphere when the games were on in 1992 and the Olympic Park is just stunning. 
The Olympic Stadium

The Olympic Torch
High above the city, just a few people lolling about in the shade reading a book or having a picnic. It was absolutely blissful!
The Olympic Park
The telecommunications mas. I was trying to be arty!
Olympic Park
I'll definitely be going back there next time!
We then went to the national art gallery which is just down from the Olympic Stadium.
Here there are amazing views of the city from the other side to Parc Guell,
You can see the theme park on top of the mountain (sod that!) and it is just beautiful.

We pit stopped for a cold bevvy then hopped back on the bus for the rest of the tour.
In the evening, we took the bus along the sea front by the beaches but it didn't have that same awesomeness as the rest of the city.

On Catalonia's National Day (11th September) we visited the Parc de la Ciutadella. There is an enormous, very ornate fountain that is well worth looking at. You can go up the steps either side and walk behind it. 

Also, you must go to El Born CC which is a bit like the ruins at Bath but so different!
There was a market there originally and they wanted to do it up back in the 90s I think but when they took the floor up, they discovered this amazingly well preserved part of old Barcelona. They spent years restoring it and it opened to the public for the first time on 11th September 2013 so we were some of the very first people to see it when we were here last year.

El Born CC
Also well worth going to is the La Boqueria Market and you can feast your eyes on the stunning displays of produce. It is very touristy but well worth a visit!

So colourful! - La Boqueria Market
Don't get excited about La Rambla... It's a total waste of time! It's just a high street with touristy tat shops on it and high street shops you'll find in your local town. It is a pickpocketing hotspot and the restaurants try and lure you in with hideous photos of their food. Don't eat anywhere that has pictures of their food!
The only time you should come here is to get to La Boqueria which is just off La Rambla. 
I genuinely don't know why it is so popular with tourists and what the attraction is! 

I think this will do for a 'things to see' post and I'll do a 'things to do' post. I'm sure there'll be some overlap but it saves me writing it all in one post and it gives you a chance to rest your eyes and go and make another cuppa!


Wednesday, 17 September 2014

A snippet of Barcelona!

Before I get round to writing a proper holiday catch up post... I am stalling for time again as I'm still crazy busy.
Here's a few piccies from my phone....
Cathedral - Santa Maria Del Mar

Inside Santa Maria Del Mar

Sagradia Familia

The view across the city from Parc Guell

My fan (essential in the boiling heat!) and a rose (that fell apart within 10 minutes!)

The Olympic Stadium!

The Olympic Park

Arty shot of the telecommunications mast

Casa Gispert and their fresh roasted nuts and coffee... 

La Boqueria market - a feast for your eyes!

typical narrow street

Catalonia's National Day

Flaming torch procession

a bit close for comfort!

Human Tower

Fountain in Parc De La Cituadella

Stunning macaroons and chocolates

El Born CC


Back in Blighty

Saturday, 13 September 2014

Taking Stock

So until I get 5 seconds to sit down and write something for you... here's a little post that does the rounds every now and again!

Making : lovely mugs of tea to warm me up on an Autumnal day!
Cooking : I think I might cook a casserole for a change... maybe sausage casserole.
Drinking : Cider! Cornish Rattler to be precise...
Reading: Tales from the Tail End. I've sniggered a few times!
Wanting: to be able to stay in Barcelona longer!
Looking: At the photos from Barcelona
Playing: with the doggies now they're home from their holidays as well
Deciding: what to write for this...
Wishing: I could win the lottery!
Enjoying: being home with all my animals again
Waiting: for the doggies to do their night time wee so we can all go to bed!
Liking: The new Maroon 5 album
Wondering: Where I'm going to stay next weekend when I go to Northampton!
Loving: Galloping on my horse in the stubble fields. Bliss!
Pondering: not sure....
Considering: going to bed in a minute!
Watching: I need to catch up with GBBO and Paul O'Grady.
Hoping: The poorly sheep survives the night and gets better.
Marvelling: at the amazing city of Barcelona! (is there a theme running through this post?)
Needing: a new car.
Smelling: a little horsey and sweaty... a normal scent for me of a weekend!
Wearing: Breeches and a dirty t-shirt and clean jumper...
Following: lovely bloggy people.
Noticing: that my poor blog has suffered in the last month due to work and life in general!
Knowing: it's nearly the end of wedding season!! 
Thinking: I need to re-design my blog and make it pretty.
Feeling: tired and not ready to go back to work just yet!
Admiring: My lovely friend Louise and all the things she crams into her life and still has time for her husband and daughter.
Sorting: my desk out. You can't see it at the moment.
Buying: Horse food - getting a bit low on pony nuts!
Getting: excited to see my Northampton friends Hannah and Louise next week and having a proper catch up!
Bookmarking: more blogs to read regularly.
Disliking: The prospect of tidying up my inbox next week when I go back to work!
Opening: mail that I only end up chucking in the bin anyway.
Giggling: at my animals and their crazy antics. Never a dull moment!
Feeling: quite content with my life for a moment. This post has made me realise it's not all bad!

Thursday, 11 September 2014

Holiday time!

OlĂ !
I'm currently in Barcelona on holiday!
I've had an amazing time so far and today is our last day unfortunately. I want to spend lots more time in this amazing city!
Today also happens to be a huge national holiday in Catalonia (this area of Spain)
It is the 300 year anniversary of a revolution and Catalonia want to be independent from Spain (ring any bells?? Scotland??)
They have just been refused a referendum so there could be big trouble but we're hoping/expecting it will be peaceful.
Last night there were flaming torches, drums, chanting, singing, dancing and so many people wearing the Catalan flag!

It was so exciting!
I'll hopefully be able to do a couple of posts when I get home with some pictures of our holiday.


Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Late Summer Pub Ride

So last night, we stopped at the pub on our way home from our ride!

We've been saying all summer we should do this and have even checked out which pubs would be feasible to take horses to (there's only one within about 10 miles!) 

We'd imagined sitting in the sunshine sipping an ice cold cider with the horses standing lazily under a tree.

Reality... Sitting on benches in the car park whilst BH tries to drink S's cider and when she wouldn't let him, he resorted to trying to eat her boots and have a scratch, accost every passer by and be a total fidgety pain in the bum!

Fern on the other hand was a total doll as usual and stood nice and still, having a little snooze and swishing her tail. 

A man came over with his little girl to say hello so they stood and stroked Fern for a while and the little girl was asking millions of questions. Her father looked a little worried that she might get into horses and end up costing him a fortune!

The ride home was a little fizzy because we'd had to drink our cider quicker than we'd have liked to but it was great fun and we're already planning the next one. A pub further away and we might even attempt some food as well as a drink!