And we touch down in Barcelona, our flip-flops land on a baking airport runway. Cardiff to Catalonia in just two hours.We are ready for our mini adventure. Airbnb house in the hills booked. Hire car claimed. First time in Catalonia and definitely a first time set to drive a car on foreign soil.
Ok we drove in Cyprus but that was left-hand drive and English signs. Too easy!
So I took the reigns, or rather the steering wheel as we headed north from the airport to Castellbell just south from the jaw dropping shapely beauty of Montserrat. A piece of Catalonia that juts its smooth face up and out in beautiful defiance.Our awesome hosts explain the high pointed needles of Montserrat were sculpted into their lovely smoothness while the towering beauty was just rocks below the ocean.
Standing from our position now meant we would be soggy back then!
Our hilltop residence is just the ticket for total relaxation. While Tina is a dog walker and well deserves a break we find three awesome dogs. Truffle Domingo and Leika all of who remind tee of why she walks dogs. They are totally welcoming and beautiful nature.We are only having a five-day break and with so much to cram in we head off early to enjoy the sights of Manresa, Vic and Girona.
Manresa is proud of their Catalan heritage. Our tour guide at one museum was friendly vocal. Taxes. Spain taxes us but not themselves. Something our hosts were quick to agree with when we brought up the conversation later.
Manresa is a lovely little visit. It was a Sunday when we visited so it was mostly closed but the church up high on the hill was beautiful with its tall imposing stained glass windows and gargoyle protectors.Vic where the townspeople made their own version of a beach in a centre square. Sand, hose water and watery inflatable bouncy slides. And there was an awesome street where locals made toys for the kids to play with. Vic just felt homely and family fun focused.
Girona was falesly disappointing. It seemed flat and closed. We nearly left but then we came across the old city with the beautiful church, cobblestoned streets and its wonderful people. I made a slight error of judgement and ended up driving through what was a strict no-go area. I ended up at what I thought was a no exit.
The tourists were baffled, the locals animated with arm waving defence of their Girona.
But fortunately a local guided us to a safe area. I still don’t know how I got through such a tight gap.
And I’m waiting for a penalty fine to come through the door too!We found one of the Game of Thrones scenes filmed but after an hour of searching we gave up on the others – naughty google maps!Our evening with the beautiful trio and amazing views see cava and tapas enthusiastically consumed while the sun slowly sets over the ocean dry Montserrat.Monday presents us a closer look at Montserrat. The towering beauty hosting tempting hikes and home to a Benedictine Abbey founded in the 11th century and rebuilt between 19th and 20th centuries.And the logistics of getting all the material up that mountain is impressive. They didn’t have the cable car or the convenient uphill train that carried us up to that beautiful location back then.We tickle the edge of Barcelona with a visit to Tibidabo a bonkers theme park on the edge of a steep hill. The Ferris wheel takes you over the edge. As if they aren’t scary enough. But if you have a head for heights pay a few euros and head up the neighbouring Temple Expiatori del Sagrat Cor for breathtaking 360 degree view of city and countryside cwtching beautiful Barcelona.Tuesday takes us to the surrealist Dalí as we visit his museum in Figueres and his home town of Cadaqués. The museum is definitely worth a visit.And while his house was sold out we still enjoyed the beautiful coastal port of Cadaqués.With Wednesday we say goodbye to our hosts and their beautiful pets and head to Barcelona to grab as much of this awesome city as a day and a half will allow. And that is not much.The magic fountain is a must, lots of visitors and beer selling locals so get there early. The la Sagrada Familia stands tall and proud and is just beautiful. Standing at its base I felt it was poking the sky demanding attention.Driving in Barcelona was interesting with the moped wasps defying death to get to their destination. But what a city. We only saw a fraction. Park Güell gardens were fabulous and for those with a head for heights Tibidabo is a must!Gaudi art is everywhere and while I no nothing about art assume he got some inspiration from the smooth curves beauty of Montserrat.We managed to get some time at the beach we enjoyed paella and just mooching around the city. Cocktails and pigeons, street performers and Goudi. Barcelona has it all but it doesn’t have Truffle Domingo and Leika.What a lovely way to spend five days.
Bye Barcelona but we will always have lots of memories