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Barcelona!!!

I have had the most lovely October.
I was in Ireland two weeks ago where I got to see Edel for the first time in TWO YEARS.
I was so excited to see her, it is a true testament to our friendship that we don't see each other in so long but we pick up pretty much where we left off. The is no awkwardness or grumpiness at our lack of contact, just a 'hey, how are things? I have missed your face'. It was so good to catch up and find out what is happening in our very different worlds. I miss our chats.
Image result for trigeminal neuralgia trinity
I got to catch up with my friend Carol on the eve of a huge event she organised to highlight awareness for trigeminal neuralgia. A relatively unknown condition that she suffers from. Her excitement and her nerves (and her grumpiness at being locked out of her house) were intoxicating. Not only was the event a huge success, she was plastered across the press for it.


Then there was the wedding of Donagh and Maria that I mentioned in my previous blog. It was superb seeing everyone again, but I have covered it already.
Upon my return from the wedding I went to see Blue Rose Code play in Aberdeen. I adore this singer-songwriter. His voice is superb. His lyrics divine. Listening to him sing his song 'Edina' brought me to tears. I am so glad that I was able to attend the gig. It was quite an intimate evening and I ended up chatting to an Irish woman for about an hour afterwards! So random but so wonderful. He also played a song called 'Pokesdown Waltz'. I can firmly say that if you have ever had a relationship end you should listen to it. It is such beautiful song. So heartfelt and oh so true.

Last week was Barcelona week. I have not looked forward to a break as much in a while. Well, not since my voyage to Utah last February! I went with my Aunt Vera, and it was honestly an amazing trip. We were there for three full days, and the amount of stories that came out of those days was ridiculous. We met at the airport, our flights landed about twenty minutes apart. Vera had organised a shuttle service into Barcelona. It should have taken us about twenty minutes to get to our hotel. Two hours later we were dropped off. We had done so many circles around the city I had started to recognise places from when we had passed it before. The driver was very lucky that Vera didn't throttle him before he dropped us off!

Our first evening was eventful. Vera was dying to show me Las Ramblas, a boulevard in the centre of Barcelona which was quite close to where we were staying. The tree line street is full of tourists, mime artists, tourist shops and eateries. It was lovely. We walked the length of it, towards the marina. Along the way we side stepped into Mercat de La Boqueria, one of the most famous markets in Europe. A colleague of mine at work had been talking about it and I was itching for a look. It didn't disapppoint me, Vera however was gutted she couldn't find a pigs head to show me... I wasn't upset she couldn't if I am perfectly honest! 
Day two vs Day one. Quite a difference!
We got to the bottom of Las Ramblas and suddenly there was a slight rain. As Irish people, we were quite certain that we could survive a few wee drops of rain and continued on our sightseeing adventure. Within ten minutes we were hiding underneath a doorway to a bank with about twenty other people watching lightening flash a few metres before us and listening to thunder crashing overhead. After about thirty minutes we decided to make a run for it into a nearby shopping centre. Vera told me that we could get wine there. It was a cunning move on her part.
We got drenched. Positively drenched. The photos are hilarious!
There was also a distinct lack of wine in the shopping centre. Vera has since been forgiven for this oversight.
We made our way to a wee restaurant at the bottom of Las Ramblas where Vera discovered that when she ordered a vodka she was given a triple. That and some amazing tapas kept her quiet for a few hours until the lightening had stopped and she was willing to walk home!
She did manage to find herself a fine poncho on the way back just in case!

On day two we went for a lovely wee breakfast off Las Ramblas and then we took a tour bus around the east and north of the city. Barcelona is such a beautiful place. The architecture is superb, Gaudi's influence is evident all over the city. The Barcelona Olympics left behind wonderful buildings and sculptures that not only add a richness to the landscape but also to the culture of the Catalan community. We saw the Sagrada Familia, the infamous unfinished temple that was a brainchild of Gaudi. It has a looming presence over the city. A fabulous building which I plan to go back and explore in minute detail. After Sagrada Familia we came to Parc Guell. Vera has been talking about Parc Guell ever since we decided that we were going to go to Barcelona for a few days. It is the creation of Gaudi, an artist who is synonymous with Barcelona. We climbed to the top of the park, to a viewing point overlooking the city. The view was breathtaking. I noticed some people climbing a peak a bit further up. Vera told me to go if I wanted and I didn't wait for her to change her mind. In my dainty shoes and wee dress I scaled that hill. It reminded me of Bennachie a year ago though without the sense that i might die before I got to the top. The climb, as unconventional as it may have been was worth it. I stood at that peak and soaked in the sun and the scenery. My lungs were bursting and it was one of those moments when I was glad that I wasn't smoking.

That evening we went to see the fountains at Montjuic which was a highlight of the visit for sure. Vera has been so excited about these fountains. Seeing them was the one things she wanted to do. I don't think I have ever seen her so happy as she was when she saw them light up (and I was there when she was getting triple vodkas for single vodkas... I thought that was happiness). They were superb. I don't think any description I could give will do them justice. The fountains are at the Palau Nacional, a architectural marvel in the heart of the mountain. We must have gazed up at that building and watched the fountains for an hour and a half. The whole experience was mesmerizing.

Our last full day we returned to Montjuic. I wanted to visit a place called Poble Espanyol, a town created for the world expo held in Barcelona for an expo in 1929, which was recommended to me by my knowledge givers of all things Spanish, Kyle and Deirdre. Vera and I wandered around the mountain for a bit (there was a moment or two I thought I might kill her if I made her climb any more steps) we strolled around the Olympic village, down the mountain and towards the wee village. Poble Espanyol is made up of different types of architecture from the different parts of Spain. We spent three to four hours there. The food was fabulous. The buildings beautiful. We got to see some glass-blowing (and bought wee souvenirs). I even got to see a few Dali pieces in the little gallery there! If you ever make your way to Barcelona go see it. It is superb.

Our last evening was one filled with food, wine and a few cheeky cocktails. It was so lovely to relax with my aunt, to catch up and chat with her. Vera is one of the most important people in my life. Up there with Paddy, and she has been a huge presence since I was a teenager. She knows pretty much everything there is to know about me, and I trust her with it all. I knew that it would be a great trip. I never imagined it would be as great as it was! Until the next time Vera!!!

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