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The rarely updated blog of Joel Dixon

Viewing blogs tagged Barcelona

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Barcelona, Spain - 2012

# Posted by Joel Dixon at 15/08/2012 08:57:40
Updated by Joel Dixon at 15/08/2012 09:24:24


In the past I have referred to a weekend or holiday as "crazy", generally to convey that a fun time was had. Four days of intense short-term friendships, incredible sights and unhealthy vodka consumption in the beautiful city of Barcelona has forced me to re-evaluate the scale for this designation. This weekend was closer to a literal definition of crazy, specifically bipolar (but with a second helping of mania in the place of depression). Correct chronology would be difficult, so I present this city's blog in an altered format.

The Sights


  • I've never been a massive fan of architecture, and Antoni Gaudi is not even somebody I had heard of a week ago, but the bike tour has inspired me to read every Gaudi-related article on Wikipedia when I get back home. Living in Barcelona most of his life, Gaudi's architecture has shaped the city giving life and colour. His magnum opus is the Sagrida Familia, a church (only recently attaining this designation when Pope Benedict XVI visited and consecrated it in 2010) with many unusual aspects being used to communicate the theme of the Holy Family. With eight 130 meter towers reaching up to the heavens, piles of fruit being offered to God and a huge Tree of Life on the Nativity Facade the church is such an amazing sight to behold. The landmark remains under construction following Gaudi's original vision (although his detailed plans were destroyed by Catalan anarchists in the 30s) and is scheduled to be completed in 2026 when it will have reached 170 meters high. If that ever happens (which isn't necessary a given) I will be back in Barcelona as soon as possible.


Sagrada
I'm not sure - but I guess Gaudi was a tad religious

Fruit
This fruit is apparently an offering to God. You'll notice that the offering contains no pineapple or mango. Gaudi was clever enough to not anger the lord by offering shitty fruits



Fountain
I never knew Barcelona was so beautiful. I also never knew what to do with my hands

  • Triumphal Arches are actually all around Europe, a practice that started in back in Rome. Barcelona's arc isn't necessarily that incredible - but it was really interesting to learn some of the history regarding similar structures.


Arc
Ricky Rubio was born in Barcelona - I am not sure whether this cardboard cut-out is to scale - but I am pretty sure the basketball to the right is

The Night Life

Alcohol
This stock photo needs to be used as I never took my camera out with me to the clubs - due to a possibly over active fear of it being stolen. Then after the first or second night one of our hostel mates had her iPhone removed from her closed back while she was at a bar!

  • Are you going to Barcelona? Do yourself a favour and book Sant Jordi Albert right now. I'll wait for you to return. From the moment I walked through the front door and was greeted by Matthew my perceptions of staying in a hostel changed dramatically. I'm sure a bunch of the enjoyment was caused by the specific people staying at the Sant Jordi the weekend I was there - but the hostel's cleanliness, security and laid-back staff is something that should never change. Plus, one of their staff members is such an amazing look-a-like for a bearded Woody Harrelson that it is probably lucky I never had my camera with me when he was around (as capturing and posting his image would probably destroy the internet).


  • I had suspected that Barcelona would get messy as I was meeting up with Dave, a mate that I have travelled with before (and introduced to Jameson and dry, one of my prouder moments). I ended going out partying each of the four nights I was there (I guess technically it was three nights - being that I didn't go to bed at all on the Saturday night owing to a late finish at the beach and an early picnic planned for Sunday). I am a little surprised that my body could handle such a huge and unjustified punishment (especially after the tiring travel I've already done the last few weeks). I guess it's all the vegetables I've been eating here (vodka is distilled potatoes isn't it?)


  • Our first night kicked off with some fun drinking games, moving on to a few good bars and then a club (getting home around 5 or 6 I think). I've been told I enjoyed myself on this night.


  • The second night started with a patriotic vodka race watching the Olympics and then out to bars and clubs again. Again - I have it on good authority that I enjoyed myself. Unfortunately Dave had a far later night than me - owing to a crazy (and probably drug-affected) Spainard that punched him in the face for no reason. I don't mean that this guy was over-reacting to something that Dave did - Dave literally did not speak to this guy whatsoever - he just looked up and saw some dude with the eyes in the back of his head shouting in Catalan before getting punched in the mouth. I wasn't with him at the time, so it made for a very interesting story the next day.


  • The third night was probably my favourite (but perhaps that is only because it is the night that I can remember in its entirety). We started with some drinks at a shot bar with all kinds of gaudy fire shots. As they ran out of marshmallows we were reduced to cooking lolly bananas on our fire shots - which I think was actually better. After a jug of sangria at the second bar, we moved on to yet another club near the beach. We didn't spend too much time in the club before we rolled out onto the beach for banter galore, in-depth teachings of the intricacies of Manchester accents, massage conga lines and an amazing beach vista juxtaposed with least two couples rutting on the beach about a hundred meters away from us. After watching the sun rise over the water (and the open air rooters), we made it back to the hostel by around 8 am. Due to a irresponsibly-planned 11 am picnic, Allen and I decided to stay up and kept the banter going until others started waking.


  • Night 4 was my least favourite of the weekend, perhaps because I knew it was more last or perhaps because it was going to be tough to compete with the night before (or maybe because I hadn't slept for 30 or so hours). The pre-drinks drinking game got enjoyably indecorous with "The Teacher" from New York shocking more than a few of us Another beach bar, another beach club, more vodka - but at least it finished with sleep


Cuisine
  • Barcelona was more about partying than eating - but I did have a great meal with Dave at a local Tapas place - Maitea. With Basque tapas (or Pincho) you get to pick which items you want from a selection of 20+ hold and cold tapas options. All cost the same price (1.6 Euro each I think) and all of them were delicious. So much cheese, fish and edible magic. I even had (and enjoyed) one with a sardine on it.


Tapas
At the end of your evening they count up the number of tooth-picks you have to determine how much you pay. It's lucky Dave told me this at the start so I could suppress my usual habit of eating the tooth-picks as well as the tapas

  • While the tapas was pretty delicious, my favourite Barcelona meal was one that was cooked from scratch by my hostel house mates with the ingredients that were bought at La Boqueria a local food market. Nothing too fancy, just a great tasting home-cooked meal with friends - right now I am thinking it would win "meal of the trip" for EuroJoel 2012.


Summary

I am exhausted and sitting in my Naples hotel a little deflated and missing Barcelona. As everyone came from different parts of the world - I know it is highly unlikely I'll see many of my new friends again. I wish there was some magic city where we could all live - perhaps we could even wear pyjamas all the time. I'd like to be the mayor of that ville


This is the 5th in the EuroJoel - 2012 series
City 1 - Lisbon, Portugal - 2012City 2 - Porto, Portugal - 2012City 3 - Madrid and Toledo, Spain - 2012City 4 - Valencia, Spain - 2012City 5 - Barcelona, Spain - 2012City 6 - Naples, Italy - 2012City 7 - Rome and Vatican City, Italy - 2012City 8 - Florence and Pisa, Italy - 2012City 9 - Milan and Bologna, Italy - 2012City 10 - Venice, Italy - 2012City 11 - Prague, Czech Republic - 2012City 12 - Dresden, Germany - 2012City 13 - Berlin, Germany - 2012City 14 - Legoland, Denmark, 2012City 15 - Edinburgh, Scotland - 2012City 16 - Nice and Monte Carlo, France - 2012City 17 - Lyon, France - 2012City 18 - Dijon, France - 2012City 19 - Provins, France - 2012City 20 - Paris, France - 2012City 21 - Ireland - 2012City 22 - London, England - 2012City 23 - Killarney - Ireland, 2012City 24 - Amsterdam, Netherlands - 2012City 25 - Brussels and Bruges, Belgium - 2012City 26 - Warsaw, Poland - 2012City 27 - Krakow, Poland - 2012City 28 - Vienna, Austria - 2012City 29 - Budapest, Hungary - 2012City 30 - Bucharest, Romania - 2012City 31 - Nile Cruise, Egypt - 2012City 32 - Cairo, Egypt - 2012
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