Barcelona 

We awoke to our AirBnB host, Mario, making us breakfast in the kitchen, croissants, cake and toast galore. Sweet touch. The girls set off on a walking tour I had also planned to go on but I’d really gone downhill over night and was ready to get some antibiotics and rest. Best laid plans always go astray! 

Turns out the pharmacies (which are everywhere) don’t sell antibiotics over the counter. Dammit. They recommended a doctors and I jumped in a cab as I was feeling pretty fragile. 

As it turned out the docs was the public hospital. And it was full. I took my ticket number and awaited my turn, trying to understand some of the Spanish. It was full of your usual public hospital characters… 

Anyway my ticket comes up and the man says that as I’m kiwi I have to pay…. At another area. Following the yellow line I go, a man yells at me in Spanish, which I didn’t realise was at me, then came out to see why I hadn’t answered. 
€65 later and I was up to the sixth floor to see the doc. I needed to blow my nose and noticed a lack of soap and hand towels in the bathroom, along with no toilet paper. I had a sudden wave of gratefulness wash over me, realising once again how lucky I am to live where I do. 

Finally I’m called in and a jovial young male doc and his younger female apprentice (I think?) examined me thoroughly. Two stethoscopes on my chest, my back, two looks in my mouth, two blood pressure readings and much discussion between them. I was quite amused and they were engrossed with me. 
The male doc explained through broken English that I had a chest infection (no surprises) and he would issue me with antibiotics. He confirmed my fear that I couldn’t drink. Dammit! In Spain, the land of sangria and wine and I can’t taste the local offerings. 
Three hours later, and none of sleep which I had intended to do, I arrived back at the apartment to climb the stairs to relax. 

The girls had messaged where to meet them for lunch and after finishing my consulting I was straight over to meet them. 
La Paradeta is one of the best places I have eaten so far. A seafood restaurant favoured by locals (recommended by a guide), you go in and choose your fresh seafood and how you want it cooked. They weigh it and send it off to the kitchen in front of you. The seafood varieties were wide and I could barely choose! The lobsters were still alive, it was all so fresh and I was really excited to try it. We choose the prawns in garlic, baby octopus grilled, mussels in marinara, fried calamari and some raw oysters for a grand total of €40, including wine for the girls! One of our cheaper meals and one of the most fresh and delicious. 

We savoured the food (oh and get the garlic sauce) and I sipped my sparkling water, smashing antibiotics, trying to feel better in time for Sagrada Familia, the famed Gaudi cathedral. 

The cathedral itself is just breathtaking from the outside and even more so inside. I could talk for a long time on the meanings and learnings, but know this, if you’re in Spain, go there. It’s spectacular and one of the best things we did on the trip hands down. I was absolutely awestruck by Gaudi’s brilliant mind, the intricacies of the design and the sheer scale of the cathedral. 

We did a tour up the top tower for some extra views around Barcelona before coming back down the stairs. It’s a freaking long way. So many stairs everywhere in Europe! 

We went to Gaudi’s Park next but there was a 2.5hr wait and the walk up there (stairs, so many more) had exhausted me so I left the girls and went back to rest. 

Thought I’d try find a massage first though… What a mess! Couldn’t find any so kept venturing further. Found a lady on the street with a massage sign, she took me up many sets of stairs where a man told me (surround by men in the waiting room) that there was only a ‘couples massage for 45 mins left’ when I was obviously alone. Yup, I had sure as hell walked into a men’s only massage parlour. The next one I saw was no different and I was quite far away and tried to wing the back roads home… Bla bla… Made it home with only half an hour to rest before I met the girls. Again, best laid plans always go astray! 

I met the girls downstairs from the apartment and took them back to where I’d wandered through trying to get back. It was quite a cool area and we choose a restaurant for tapas and paella. Unfortunately we were seated next to some young Aussies who talked in what I would call, bogan accents about their latest conquests and who was ‘slaying’ who. They tried briefly to engage us but that was never going to happen. 

Home to bed around midnight ready for our flights the next day, Asti to Singapore and Gem and I to Portugal.


Croatia to Barcelona

We left the boat early in the morning, everyone feeling pretty average. Asti has booked a hotel the night before to try sleep off her illness in comfort, the rest of us were a pack of coughing, hungover humans quite happy to be getting off the rocking boat. 
We took the bus straight to the airport. Packed in like sardines, we had to stand up in the alley and the motion sickness combined with my hangover had me repeating ‘you will not spew on the bus’ over and over. I made it there, and made it through check in… But then ran to the bathroom and spewed my guts out. Felt heaps better after that! 

In Barcelona we found our AirBnB apartment with ease and Mario, was the ever enthusiastic host. He carried my bag up the ‘four’ flights (read six) of stairs to his apartment where the three of us were uber excited to have real beds and showers and space after the boat. 

By this time my cough and sweats had set in and he also translated the instructions for the medication I had picked up. 

We explored Las Ramblas where we were staying (awesome place to be based), grabbed a snack and set out across the city. We walked to the waterfront, the gothic quarter and Arc De Triomf before returning to Las Ramblas for dinner. Big mistake. Do not eat on Las Ramblas! Staff couldn’t give a flying f*ck, prices were inflated and well, the staff really made it a terrible experience. We couldn’t even leave for ages because he wouldn’t get us the bill. 

I was beginning to feel really unwell and Asti was still recovering so we had an early night in. 


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