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Archive for February, 2011

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A Lack of Sunshine

Saturday, February 26th, 2011

Gaudi evening

For the past six weeks I have hardly paid any attention to this most unique of cities. In fact at street level Barcelona reminds me of my old home town. I think it’s the scale, and the shops. Barcelona has a far more European feel than any city in the UK and there are none of the chain outlets that disgrace every British high street.

But whenever I look up—that is once I stop running for the traffic lights and am forced to pause—I realise with a sudden jolt that I am somewhere else. Somewhere unique and decidedly Mediterranean. Not that I could tell from the weather. When the sun comes out there is no doubt about it: John says that in the UK we get winter days even in the summer, but in Barcelona we get summer days even in the winter. But, true to form, the sun disappeared once the pressure was off and it takes the odd near-collision with a palm tree to remind myself where I am.

The palm trees give me another jolt every time I see them. The current weather makes this place seem like an odd, twisted version of home—it’s as if I’m walking through a dream.

In an attempt to get to grips with reality—and to realise why I’m hard at work learning Spanish even though I’m speaking English all day at school—I’m going to spend the next week exploring Barcelona. I’m going to walk down the length of Las Ramblas, criss-cross the Barri Gòtic, revisit Park Güell and take a tour around Montjuïc.

Today I started with the university but it was closed and the area was oddly impersonal and devoid of students. I was reminded of melancholic weekends at Oxford. It’s been a while since I’ve contrasted weekends and work days and found the former boring. Maybe it’s time to start writing another novel.

Or to resume blogging.

The end of 6 years of BNA Blogging…

Saturday, February 12th, 2011

This blog no longer provides me with the necessary options—such as a decent post interface or the facility to pre-/postdate my entries—so from now on in you’ll find me over at my LJ.

BTW, LJ also links to Facebook!

[EDIT] OK I’ll cross-post when I get the chance. This blog contains all my travel stuff. But it’s no longer my main blog.

Tasca i Vin

Sunday, February 6th, 2011

It’s all over, but during the past two weeks we’ve barely had time to eat. So on this last day I went back to our old haunt: Tasca i Vins near the school where you can get a 3-course lunch with water, wine and bread for € 7.60.

My course mates weren’t there, but that didn’t matter. It’s common to lunch on your own on weekdays in Barca and I had my trusty dictionary in my pocket.

For starters I decided on something light. baby courgettes stuffed with Bacalhau perhaps?
Stuffed courgettes with Bacalhau

If these were ‘baby’ cougettes, I don’t know what they consider the adult version to be. Full-grown marrows perhaps. They arrived in a pool of guey white sauce, crusted with cheese.

Now you have to eat up, or the kitchen staff will be offended!

To follow, I had decided on something richer, namely Ossobuco—marrow bone and all.

This had to be followed by a postre, the lightest of which were pears in red wine. Seeing that I’d already had a quarter litre of red table wine with my lunch, I decided on an icecream which was swimming in a puddle of whisky 😉

I hope I can meet some of my friends there next week in a final attempt to re-live past times, but a lot of them have already left. Suddenly I find myself alone in Barcelona, at the start of a new career (or not, as it may be).

It is daunting and my ties to London remain strong. I must find a way to go back.