Tue 30 (5-18c)
Wake to a clear sunny day yet still a chilly 6c outside. Take in the amazing view from the comfort of a warm bed with BBC World. Mario arrives by motorbike to join me for breakfast extended to both of us courtesy of Regina at the Welcome Desk. A solid hour with Miguel for a thorough site inspection - fantastic suites have amazing terraces with jaw dropping sea views. Walk the seafront of Barceloneta and take a beer/coffee before Mario heads off to work. The line for the Port Aerial to Montjuic is about an hour wait so I ditch the plan to go to the Miro Museum. Instead I walk around Port Vell to Drassanes and take the metro to Passeig de Gracia to visit Casa Batlló. There is not much of a queue so I pay the hefty 28.50€ entry and finally visit this famous Gaudí House. Whilst the blue tiled light well is quite spectacular, I think I prefer the visitor experience at Casa Milà up the street. It’s after 5pm when I come out so I take some tapas at the Ciudad Condal on Rambla de Catalunya and then a bus to the W for my bag before another 2 buses home to Soweto. Roque arrives back from Granada tonight.
Wed 31 (11-18c)
Three of us up (reasonably) early to breakfast together before Roque heads to work. It’s very wet again so time outdoors will be limited - veg out this morning on the sofa with Mario, before brunch at the nearby Granja Elena on Passeig Zona Franca. Auto focus on my camera is not working and after some time I work out where it’s switched to ‘manual’ ... thankfully before I start my visit to Gaudi’s Bellesguard high above the city. This was the site for a castle of King Martin of Aragon from the late 14th century, and Gaudí honoured the medieval history when he built the house for the Figueres family at the beginning of the 20th century. Such a contrast to Casa Batlló as at this time I am the only visitor in the house. The exterior is a patchwork of stone. More heavy downpours so I head home from Tibidabo via Ferrocarrils and metro. I set the alarm off again !! Meeting Enric, the local Barcelona specialist from Rick Steves travel forum, for a late bite and a few drinks in Poble Nou. We eat charcuterie and cheeses with cava at Can Recasens, a sprawling restaurant occupying several shopfronts. On my way home I stop at Punto for a drink & Metro for a dance.
Thu 1 (9-18c)
It’s a late start and I stumble out of bed about 11am for breakfast. Pack my small bag and we set off in the Mini for l’Ametlla de Mar. Stop for a huge lunch at Canals & Munne (winemakers) in Sant Sadurni d’Anoia. Simple grilled vegetables w romesco, grilled mushrooms w garlic & parsley, mixed barbecued meats. Crema Catalana for dessert. Toasted Helen for her 56th birthday. Gorgeous drive through the vineyards with the setting sun. Yes, finally some sun again. It’s about a further hour in the car to l’Ametlla and I sleep in and off. The boys have done a great job on the house, opening up the living space and installing a new kitchen. The garden too is fantastic with new paths and tiling, plus plantings of acacia, magnolias, jacarandas and a feature olive tree. Will be good to see in the daylight - I crash out at 730pm.
Fri 2 (7-19c)
It’s cold, cloudy, and blustery outside.
Breakfast at the local bar where the fire is going. Hard in to town with Mario as he wants a haircut and we need some groceries, bread & Tanqueray for example!! Photos of the garden and I make pasta with cream & mushroom sauce for lunch. Another relaxing afternoon on the sofa. Drinks later with Bernard, the French man doing Mario’s building works, then I cook dinner - chicken legs with stir fried bean + mushrooms. So many gin tonics- altogether over the afternoon Mario and I polish off more than a bottle of Tanqueray.