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Wednesday 18 Jul
Barcelona, Spain

Hola Barcelona, Hola Michel & Mikel....

Hola Barcelona, Hola Michel & Mikel....

For our next adventure we headed over to Barcelona for five nights, primarily to meet up with Michel, an old college friend of Stu's and his partner Mikel. Stu & Michel met up in London way back in 1989 at SouthBank Poly and have kept in touch ever since, but with us now in NZ and Michel & Mikel now living in Barcelona meet ups are infrequent unfortunately.

Barcelona was a real surprise for us as it's full of interesting and historic buildings, Debbie was in her element with all of the fantastic Gaudi mosaic's around the city. We would recommend our hotel (Catalonia Princesa, Rec Comtal 16-18 Barcelona) as a great location only a 5 minute walk from the main tourist route of 'La Rambla' but far enough away to be really quiet, safe and close to the metro, don't be put off by the street the hotel is located in, it looks a bit dowdy but safe and the locals are friendly.

The highlight of our trip though was catching up with our friends Michel & Mikel on the Saturday of our trip. They played the parts of tourist guides superbly, we had a wonderful long lunch at a local cafe, taking us for an afternoon walk around various areas of Barcelona that the normal tourist probably wouldn't have visited, showing us the port and beaches, and gave us the opportunity to see the real Barcelona. We also visited their recently purchased apartment and had dinner at a deli come cafe well away from the tourist route - wonderful!! We all spent most of time together just laughing and catching up on old times. Thanks guys for a fantastic day and for taking us out to the restaurent on our final evening, Michel a tip for you - stick to the seafood......

It's a great city as it has a lot of history, fantastic and unusual buildings, sights and parks, and has great beaches just a short walk from the main centre. The food is wonderful and Stu was in his element trying various fish dishes, but we also tried paella, various tapas as well as some local dishes e.g. Catalan sausage, Catalan custard brulee etc...

We must have walked around most of Barcelona taking in the various Gaudi architecture sites etc.... but they also have a great metro system, a tip that Michel gave us is to buy a 'T10' metro ticket (cost 6.90 euros for 10 trips) and one ticket can be used for both of us you just put it through the machine twice. Also the train or bus to and from the airport are great value. Cheesy

One sour note of our trip was the return journey as Easyjet and Liverpool Airport conspired together to delay our trip home by leaving Bacelona late, only having one immigration office on to cope with 4 arriving flights and then putting our luggage on the wrong belt - thanks to both of them we didn't get home before 1am the following morning...Mad

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