Abroad

God I blink and I’ve missed a month. It has been a busy one to be fair. I spent most of it planning and executing yet another Harry Potter party which I might write up when I get the chance. The rest of it was spent eating copious amounts of birthday cake and then planning and going on holiday.

For the holiday we did a very brave thing by our standards and went to Barcelona for 5 nights. I’ve never been  a very confident traveller, compounded by the fact that whenever you say you are going somewhere people always like to scare you senseless. “Oh Barcelona – watch your handbag”, “loads of pickpockets”, “my uncle/grandad/wife had something stolen”. My OH didn’t help matters by googling the many ways thieves were likely to pick our pockets. This led us to think that unless we wore our credit cards in some kind of leg strap or down our socks we were fair game. It was disconcerting.

There was a lot of advice on the internet. My favourite was “try not to look like a tourist”. Obviously this worked well for a variety of reasons.

  1. We had children with us and Spanish children were all in school
  2. We dress like tourists. In fact we have no fashion sense whatsoever so the idea of me passing myself off as a bronzed Spanish beauty in a floaty skirt was highly unlikely.
  3. We sound like tourists. We can’t speak Spanish, but even if we could it would have been irrelevant. We were greeted with “Hello, how are you” in every single, shop, cafe and tourist attraction despite the fact that we hadn’t said a word. We may as well have worn badges.
  4. We are very pale and I am ginger. This meant I went bright red on day one, thus seamlessly blending in with the locals. We also wore hats. Barcelona locals don’t wear hats.
  5. We were on holiday, and therefore going to tourist places. I suppose you can pretend not to be a tourist in a launderette, but you’d be hard pushed to do so in Sagrada Familia or while queuing for the open topped bus.

Other internet advice included “don’t get your phone out” and “don’t look at a map in public”. Fortunately my OH has some kind of photographic memory otherwise we’d have spent the week going round in circles.

In addition some classic mistakes we made in Barcelona included:

  1. Putting salt in my coffee on day one.
  2. Ordering too much Tapas.
  3. Getting confused by which were exhibits and which were chairs in the art museum
  4. Forgetting that I’m ginger and therefore Factor 50 doesn’t cut it. I needed an all over body suit and a parasol.
  5. Buying drinks near Sagrada Familia. My coke should have had gold in it by rights.
  6. Flying Ryanair. That’s 5.5 hours of waiting in airports I’m never getting back. Swines.

Other than that though we did it and it worked brilliantly. We looked like tourists, occasionally looked at Google Maps and no-one got pick pocketed – most definitely a win.

Barcelona is incredible. I’ll do a lovely “how to take your family to Barcelona” post in a bit for your delectation but for now I’ll just leave you looking at this:

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