Wednesday, October 5, 2011

All Over - Back Home

Wrote this headed home, after a few sleepless nights as we tried to soak up as much of Barcelona as humanly possible.

Ok after 8 days of Trade show and then 3 days of unwinding in Barcelona its time to head home.
Hard leaving days of +26c and wonderful cool nights to be back in Canada at 10c – yippee
The show itself was the usual array of big machinery, lights, sounds , big money spent dazzling potential customers to drop that next $500k on the latest and greatest textile machine.

Every morning for the 8 days , the people were lined up waiting to get access. The show started everyday at 10am and ended around 19:00 (well at least for us)

Just an example, of one of the booths. This particular booth was made up of a wire frame with a nylon covering so they can get that nice shape. This all to show off the latest and greatest machine they were offering up to potential clientele.

Right next to us was an Italian company showing off a Stenter Frame all painted up like some Ferrari.

The stenter is used to set the width of a piece of fabric by slowy stretching it width wise and then heat setting.
The cool stuff are the advancements made on computer control , like this extra large embroidery machine, that also does sequin application.

Rope braiding machine, the rope being braided was about 3” thick when all done , I had to hold the camera up high over the edge of the barrier to get this shot. Just massic and real cool to see in action.
The rope wound up on a 6ft spool at the end of it all.

First hotel was Tryp Aureoporta Barcelona, nice looking hotel , efficient but really not the greatest, water temperature was always an issue and the internet was so bad we never bothered using it again. Oh and that internet cost 8euro/24hrs .

  Every morning we took the same bus at the same time, eventually you start to stop looking at scenery and get closer looks at things you pass on the road. Like the large billboards advertising a local Escort Service.

The Bar worked, so a few nights were spent sitting in the main area, waiting for tomorrow.
Then show was over and we were headed into the center of the city. Our Hotel of choice being the Hotel Gran Via. Not overly expensive, fast internet (a requirement) hot shower, ok beds, and walking distance from everything. 
ok so we are sandwiched between a costume store and a Bingo Hall, but its home for a few nights.
This is a view up the main staircase.

And we walked  !!!! Our estimate is that we walked over 20kms for our times in the city, we walked to the beach when we did and back home. The fun part is you see things that you don't normally see on the bus or in a taxi. Like this appliance/electronics store selling the SMEG brand of fridges. 

Another thing about walking is having that time to watch people. One thing i noticed here were the couples , young and old, out walking, holding hands, sitting on benches. Caught these two while taking the long way home along the beach area in Barcolenta. Light was fading fast so B/W worked best.

Every where you turn here there is some building that you go oohh aahh over, every corner and you spot something different. 

One thing is obvious, where very other city out there has torn down old to make new and shiny, Barcelona has managed to fit it all in. Original facades remain while windows and doors have been made to fit. So the comforts of modern life have been adapted into this city.
Easy to find some modern high tech building sandwiched between the old, because as we know space in large cities is at a premium so you build where you can.
Our first night out after the show ended (Thursday) was our blow out. Great diner at the Salamanca Restaurant, down by the water, near the marina. Awesome place, busy, hectic, great service awesome food.  We got home at 7am the next morning ! sorry cant show pictures from that night haha. 
Hey we are on free days now , after being woken up by house keeping at 9am, few Tylenol, shower and we were out the door. No time for sleep when your in one of the cool cities of the world.
First stop was a trip to the beach to relax after a night out nuttiness.  
Beaches here and this one on the south side of the city are clothing optional, yes that’s right you can hang it out for the world to see if you so desire. As did “naked man” (as we called him) older guy , well tanned , wearing a smile, sandals and his morning paper on his arm , looking for a place to sit and read his paper. Sorry no pics, have to have some sense of privacy on the beach haha. Though yes if you were wondering he was circumcised haha.
Lots of topless, lots of bum.
After a day on the beach and some recovery , it was out for another great meal, more wine (imagine)

One thing you notice here, people enjoy good food and good wine. Restaurants are busy. On most streets you could find a few café’s , restaurants, place for a coffee and some tapas (Scooby snacks) or a full blow meal. There are a few ‘chain’ restaurants but really why bother when there is so much to offer out on the street. Tourism is big here so lots of support for that sort of thing.
Next day out again
Ok some fun, we happened to be at Starbucks getting our fix, and from the second level and through the windows and banister there was this girl with her friends, obviously well dressed, quite stunning. Reminds me of someone I know in PA.  So took a few pics, why not.

Speaking of Starbucks, the series, Where is Josh and Starbucks pic of the day.
So we wandered down the streets of Barcelona, headed to the beach area once again, and while going thru the back alleys of older Barcelona, we happened upon a church. Wedding party out front, and the ceremony just wrapping up inside. So in the doors we went. Crazy awesome old church.

Closer shot of the alter area . You can actually see the couple up there finishing the ceremony.

And who do we spot outside !!  Well the well dressed girl from Starbucks earlier on.

Took me 5 minutes to get that, shot as I was continually blocked by one person or another.
The beach area itself has some great buildings, of course modern from what you usually see up in the city.

Back end of the Casino and the what looks like a giant fish all done in a bronze material.

And if your feeling a little tight from the stress of life or whatever your doing, 5euro gets you a “massagy” on the beach from one of the asian girls (I  say girls loosely) they spent the whole time asking “massagy, senor massage”

Ok a day of bake under the sun complete, another great meal in the planning.
So we decided why not and headed back to our favourite restaurant the Salamanca for another couple of hours of wine and food.
This time we were actually sat near the entrance off the covered walkway, watching tourists come in to see the fresh fish and shellfish layed out.

When ever English speaking people came to view the menu and the big guy tried to talk them in , I turned and added my two cents. This turned into the fun, finally getting up and talking with people and getting them in the door ! That was worth two bottles of Grand Torres wine on the table.
My biggest accomplishment was getting four ladies from Leeds in the UK to take a table. We ended up at their table and then going out to the bars close by. 

All part of what we do here at Dunline, "People Helping People" haha

They flew down for the weekend , a 2 hour flight from home. This seems to be a pretty common thing here in Europe , people head out for the weekend on a cheap short flight. A few nights ago we had a couple from Copenhagen join for the festivities, was the same for them. Most have been here a few times, come down for sun, food and fun.
Of course there are always Girls With Camera’s out and about.

Morning came quick when we got back to our hotel at 6am for some sleep !!
Last day out for touring !
No visit to Barcelona is complete without a visit to Gaudi’s Apartment building the  Casa Batllo

Quite the place, you get to go in for a few dollars, enter through the center courtyard 
Then take an elevator up to the top , for a view of his design and the city around you.

A look down the centre courtyard from above.

Of course lots of tourists up there taking pics, like the Japanese School girls, who then proceeded to hand over Iphones and camera's to get their picture taken.

When you exit you go down some stairs into the museum part of the building, this is where you learn how he made his designs, using shapes and structures from nature to guide him. He was also a great ergonomist, his designs for chairs and simple handles shown in how they fit the human form and hand.
Then off for some Scooby snacks and relaxing.
Of course more pictures of girls with Camera’s. this particular area is home to a lot of famous shops,Cartier, Luois Vitton etc so you can imagine most of the photographies here were women haha

Back to hotel to freshen up and then out for diner and a night visit to La Sangria Familia.
First the older side

You don’t realize the difference between old stone work and new cast concrete buiding style being used on the nwer side of the building till you see it lit up at night.

Back to the hotel !! All done, tired , overfed ready to head home.
I would recommend Barcelona to anyone, lots to see, lots of ways to relax and enjoy the city. People are friendly (love the tourists) life is pretty calm here. The only stumbling block is the cost ! Life is expensive here, a bottle of good wine is around  15-20euro – that’s $20 - $28 canadian. A simple Scooby snack and some Coke Zero’s will run you $40-$60ca Though life is slower more relaxed, people go out late at night here. Where in London,Ontario most people have eaten by 9 , Barcelona life is just starting. Restaurants were packed at 10:30pm. Bars don’t open till 11pm and close at 4am on weekdays. 7 Mojitos with lots of Rum will run you $70ca But then cab fair home is cheap and only one cab service here so price is standard across the city.
There also plenty of bike stands to rent a bycicle or a scooter and for something different a Go Car - good for two people, has GPS to guide you to historic sites and when you arrive, plays some audio description.

Worse part was getting to the airport to realize there is nothing to see at the gates for Air Canada ! We could only look below us to see all the great Duty Free Shops and food places. Disappointing but our very last meal in Barcelona was at MacDonalds – yikes
This place is definitely worth another visit just to get to the places there was no time for.

OK back to reality of the office, the desk, timetable, clean the apartment , get groceries and await the arrival of The Bing from China.

No comments:

Post a Comment