Posted by: Team McSlade | April 15, 2010

…à la fin. Vol. 2

Now that your back with a fresh pot of oolong tea and an angel cake iced with caviar (as this is a Surrealist theatre, we are sure they are sold at the concession stand) Vol. 2 can now proceed.

Leaving Snr Dalí to rest, we headed for Lloret de Mar for our own tranquillity. Again, with no map in hand, we peeled into town thinking we could find our hotel – at least we found the tourist info centre and a corker of a park on the beach front.
As I (Ryan) have issues with reading some Spanish, tow zone signs do fall into this category and it appeared that 24 minutes would need to transpire before El Grau would not get the hot tip to tow some other idiot’s hire car. Jo was put on Mediterranean/park-of-danger viewing detail and Zach and I headed for a map and directions.
Jess performed gymnastic endeavours (cartwheels & handstands) and tested the temperature of the sea.

With directions and a decent feed at an ‘English pub’ (Jo wanted fish and chips); we found our hotel and had a great view of the beach, breakfast provided the following morn and enough distance between the main drag of commercialism and us to actually enjoy this part of Spain – very similar to Hawaii and its quieter areas.

We split fairly early the following day for Barça, after gorging ourselves at breakfast. While churros and nutella, donuts and cakes are not part of your everyday breakfast, they seem to make the list for Spanish Buffet Breakfasts and the waste that others left was appalling. Plates with 3 or 4 donuts untouched, full bowls of cereal and tubs of chocolate were strewn through the dining area. At least pigs at a trough finish their meal; these swine did the pork fraternity no favours.

Back in the car and on the road to Barcelona, again without map (when will we learn?) and the signs were better, but not brilliant. A few tunnels and heart palpitations led us to losing the scent of downtown Barcelona. So a blind tack and we were heading down hill to the Mediterranean with Jo asking did I know where Sagrada Família was?
Yes. Look a street over, there it is.
Good old dumb luck had us out the front of Gaudí’s cathedral – a lazy 128 years in the making. A few laps of the block found a dicey park; procrastination led to another geezer leaving an authorized park and a rude reversing manoeuvre had us legally parked and heading to this work-in-progress.

This is my third visit to this church, slowly things have progressed. The interior is now complete (albeit for the removal of scaffolding and a clean) and eight spires are complete. The main spire of 130m is under construction and elevators of safety (read ‘revenue-raising’) have been added to traverse the completed bell towers. Previously you could walk up the 65 metres into these towers, take happy snaps, enjoy the view and cruise down. Now you line up for 30 minutes or more and pay an extra 2.50€ for a ride in a Glass Elevator. Still, Zach and I took the hit to the pocket and viewed the cathedral and Barcelona from on high.

Jo and Jess read the finer points of the pamphlet and having our fill of this magnificent construction site we wandered off for lunch. It was in the shadows of Subway that I received my first complement on my Spanish. Jess performed cartwheels, (but that’s because she does that as her daily routine) and I felt like doing them. I ordered entirely in Spanish, the sandwich artista used English, I crashed through with more Spanish and he obviously felt over-confident in my abilities as he asked something I had no idea on. Returning to English he asked I was dining in; ‘No, para llevar.’ It was after this Spanish command of ‘take away’ that he uttered some Spanish along the lines of my Spanish was quite good. Cool. At least I wasn’t the torrid woman in front of me asking repeatedly and loudly for ‘Turkey, No TurKEY, TUR-KEEEYYY.’ Urrrghgghh.

Parc Güell, Casa Battló (where Jo and I procured a piece of Guadí’s paving in 2004 from under a bush, it was ‘rubble’) and Passeig de Gràcia, all received the Midas touch from Guadí and got a visit from Team McSlade. I do feel that without Gaudí, Barcelona would be just another city and if Gaudí had not accidently walked in front of a tram in 1926, who knows what other marvels he could have bestowed on the world.
Parc Güell was chaotic, that’s what you get on a Sunday in decent weather. Trying to get a picture of a mosaic lizard has never been fraught with more danger. Jess was ready to punch some Italian tourists and as Jo and I had seen the Parc under more serene conditions, she was over it.

A kip, a feed and a few more Euros drained on toll roads (4hrs vs. 6hrs) and we were home. I took the auto back up to Valencia, dumped the keys in the slot and caught the train back to Gandia; ‘woodpeckering’ the whole trip (think sleep/awake/sleep/awake on a train seat).

Boom, there’s two weeks wrapped up and a fine trip it was.
Roll credits, exit stage left.

P.S. Congratulations to Sylas Zephyr 7lbs 6oz. being born into the family of Ryan and Amanda Hales.
Happy crabbing, young man (choice choice, hey bro!).



  1. Didn’t mum spot the Sagrada Familia?

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