...Barcelona of course.
I am failing dismally in my attempts to stave off post trip depression. It doesn't help oh cold, rainy English climate that last Friday I was wafting around wearing just a cotton shirt (and jeans, shoes and underwear of course), and that on Sunday I could have (if I'd had my cossie) happily gone for a swim in the sea.
Straight back into mundanity today and no I cannot go out for dinner at midnight should I so desire. I cannot begin my evening's social activities at 1am, and the checkout girl at Tesco's today did not call me guapita or carinya (scuse the spelling?) And why does my train ticket home from Gatwick cost £7 for a single when the train into Barcelona from the airport costs 2.40 euros for a longer journey?
Yes it's my favourite comparison game. Poor England almost always loses.
Oh, but I did have a lovely time. It was too short really and I know I'll be back. So easy to pop over with sleazyjet for a weekend of partying. My hermit tendencies vanished as soon as I was able to stroll everywhere without being buffeted by wind and rain. We went out 'til the small hours every night. It took me roughly one day to acclimatise to having a relaxing 'early' evening drink/dinner at home, then going out at around 12. A nap the next afternoon and it seems you have double the time in each day.
I must say it was clever of my cous and her beau to find a flat bang slap in the heart of El Born (overlooking the Passeig del Born) where all the cool little bars and shops are and a mere three minutes walk from my other Barcelona friend Ester Pastel's flat. They may now be wishing they'd plumped for the suburbs as since they moved there six months ago they have had friends to stay every weekend, poor loves. But this also makes them expert hosts so really they are now doomed to my regular visits.
Now, about my usual diligent note taking and recommendations...
I bought a Moleskine Barcelona City Notebook and was all set to use it to create the ultimate guide to BCN. When I arrived shortly after midnight on Thursday evening we went out for drinks at various bars in the neighbourhood. My recollection of this, as faithfully recorded in the Bars, Wineries, Stories section of the city guide is as follows:
Glass goldfish bowls of cocktail mixes on bar, cosy, pint of armagnac, Passeig del Born. Also other on corner poss gay bar, bit Blue Oyster, Italian guy.
It could be like a game. You go to Barcelona and try every bar in El Born until you recognise those two from my description. Or even better - you could take me with you and I'd guide us there.
Same with the shops. There was a shop I absolutely loved called Zhu Zha (or maybe it was Zha Zhu) that had the most amazing clothes by young Catalan designers that were so well made, inside and out that I could almost justify the prices (not a penny less than you'd pay in London). I wanted to go back but it was always closed, as was pretty much every shop I liked the look of whenever I was passing. Zhu Zha was my favourite by far though, so here are my comprehensive directions:
Stand in the middle of the Passeig del Born with the Basilica on your right hand side. Go down one of the little side streets in front of you then turn left into the street parallel with the Passeig which I think might be called Carrer de l'Esparteria. It's on this street on the right hand side. No website, no linkage, can't remember any of the names of the designers either. Trust me, you'll love it!
At the end of this street in Carrer del Rec is this shop which sells chic vetements from the likes of Vanessa Bruno et al:
As if the bargain Manolos weren't enough to incite envy! I try to console myself with the fact that there is a brand of Spanish clementines called Lolita.