Sunday, 16 September 2007

Beer in the Bidet and other such tales...

Hmm so to pick up where we were left last time. I'd love to say that we really immersed ourselves in the history and culture of Barca and came away as truly enlightened travellers. Shamefully; this was not the case. As it turns out, Barcelona is situated on an exceptionally beautiful stretch of the Spanish coastline, making the beach fairly irresistible. Whilst we may not have quite matched the locals in the leathery skin stakes, we were amongst the surprising minority who actually swam. Turns out the Catalunyans just like to sit around all topless and beautiful and what not. Strange.

Anyway, another contributor to our inactiveness was the fact our decent 2star accommodation happened to be right in the middle of Las Ramblas, Barcelona's most happening and touristy street. A very brief walk from our room would find you amongst numerous bottle-o's, Western bars and pubs, prostitutes, pimps, Micky D's and KFC's. Indeed to quote my "let's Go Europe" book; "Las Ramblas, while lively, becomes a bit questionable late at night, with whores replacing families." A plus about the area though was that it housed the budget-minded Traveller's Bar which served up 1euro (free with a YHA card (which we each posses)) meals every night of the week. Whilst it is admittedly the same vedgy pasta slop Mon-Sun, free is cheap and very hard to turn down. Eyebrows were soon raised however after our second night there in a row and we opted against going for the treble.
A quite night in...

Whilst across the board everything was pleasantly cheaper than Paris, bar prices were still generally high so alternate measures were sort to stay well refreshed. As the bidet is one aspect of European culture all of us are yet to adopt; we felt relatively comfortable and hygienic using it as an ad-hock bar fridge. Dodge perhaps, but undeniably effective.

Rory getting into the local produce. That's Sangria. Isn't he pretty...

To increase our culture-vulture credentials somewhat we headed down to la Sagrada Familia; Antoni Gaudi's unfinished masterpiece. It was pretty incredible to see a Church whose development began almost 20 years before our own country achieved federation, still looking only partially completed and almost entirely covered in scaffolding. A completion date has been set for 2020 but it was the theory of Team Travel that construction is deliberately travelling at a snail's pace as progress would soon see the end of the pricey admission cost's which are surely a tidy earner for the local government.

la Sagrada Familia

Otherwise not a whole lot more to mention from Barca other than the fact we met up again with an English amigo named Barry. He's a top bloke we were first introduced to playing football in London who offered us to crash at his place in Malaga for a few nights. Well as it turned out he and his wife Rachel were two of the nicest people we've met on our travels. They took all four of us in and, even though we incessantly tried to intervene, unconditionally fed us, drove us in to town and generally took care of us. They basically attributed their exceptional generosity to the fact they did a lot of backpacking/hitchhiking in the past and were often themselves the benefactors of random acts of kindness. Still, pretty incredible considering we'd only known Barry for an hour before setting foot in his house almost a month later.

So Malaga was nice enough without being overly stunning. Lot's of development's going up around the place but thankfully far enough away from the Costa Del Sol to avoid mass amounts of English expats and dodgy ex-Spanish mafioso's. Highlight was the two-hour trip out to Cordoba. Spent a night there staying right in the heart of the Jewish quarter only metres from the historic Mezquita. For those who aren't familiar with it (and I was one before I visited there), the Mezquita is essentially a Mosque built on the foundations of a Church which then was overthrown and subsequently had a cathedral constructed within the site of the Mosque itself. In any case; it's a remarkably beautiful landmark steeped in history. The whole city of Cordoba in fact was gorgeous and was exactly the type of Spain I'd been hoping to see.

Inside the Mezquita

Now we find ourselves in Sevilla which has been somewhat of a pleasant surprise. Though none of us had any major desire to come here, the winding streets and local architecture certainly suits our habit of mapless walking.

Sevillian St Shot. Had to be done

Next up is Portugal and Lagos which will probably see us revert to more beachy and bar ways. Should be alright though.
Umm have been trying to get more photo's up (especially from Paris) but Internet cafes to date have been decisively unreliable.
Oh I shaved my head yesterday (well, Barry did). It is unimpressive (I likened myself to G.I. Jane) but as I said to a blonde friend of mine, a shaggy mop is not exactly compatible with the Spanish sun.
Outside Barry's with him (left) and Rachel (right)

Till next time,


Song's I'm listening to at the moment: Un Simple Histoire Thievery Corporation, Death at the Chapel- The Horrors


Tash said...

just a quick hi from the tash that isnt your sister...hi.
*sigh* all the sea, sun and mass amounts of alcohol sound like excellent fun. as much as i enjoy reading these (which is a lot) i get extremely jealous of your year 12-free existence (only 9 weeks 'til its all over though, YAY). having a rather large aversion to anything involving history or geography (purely science girl here - now who's a nerd!) im not particularly familiar with many of these places you're all visiting, but they sound very...historical and lovely.

hmm, found myself alone in the lift at the childrens hospital on the way to visit james looked so much like a lift in scrubs that i couldnt help but break out into "everybody was kung-fu fighting..." JD-style. it was fairly awesome.

missing you terribly (you know, just for a change)

Tash said...

ps. very disappointed that the ast picture doesnt do that click-bigger thingy...i want to see this GI jane sure its at the very least a more androgynous GI jamie or something...

Your Mum Karen said...

Hey boy-oh
what's with the shaved head thing-y??? Were you drunk or is this a rite of passage thing! Last time you did that you were aged four on the Great Victorian Bike Ride with your Dad - scary really to think about!!!
Life here is geat, exciting, stimulating and it's now Spring!! So I have just done your job for you ie the MOWING!!!! I guess with what you owe me for the bedroom clean-up ($cleaner's rates at $26 per hour) and the mowing I'll be looking pretty good for a big pay-out when you get back!!

Love ya