Sunday, 23 December 2012


 I went to Barcelona with my sister this summer.  What an amazing city.  I can't believe I've spent all that time travelling to far flung corners of the world and never been to Barcelona before when it's only 2 hours away.  This is a city with everything.  It gets quite hot in the afternoons so we generally spent our days exploring in the morning and then having a bit of down time in the afternoon, often by the pool or the beach.  The Gaudi architecture and sculptures are really quite lovely, dotted around the city.  This lizard is in Parc Guell (although we also saw a replica lizard in the Chocolate Museum).  The photo I worked from to do this painting had a small child picking her nose in the background so I opted to replace her with mosaic instead - I'm sure that's what Gaudi would have done...

One of the things I like about Spain is the food.  There's something quite relaxing about spending your evenings wandering from one tapas bar to the next, sampling the dishes they have on offer.  This picture is actually an amalgamation of several tapas bars.  One place we went back to a couple of times was tucked away in a little courtyard and has provided the setting for this little scene.  The lamppost is from the fort at the top of Mont Juic.  We spent a lovely evening up there at a blue festival which we just happened to stumble across unexpectedly one day.  We'd been up to the fort during the day and noticed they were setting up some stages.  We looked it up when we got back to the hotel and found that Mont Juic by Night was starting that evening.  We headed back up there and sat watching the sun set over Barcelona with a couple of beers and thinking life doesn't get much better than this.  You might get a picture of that one day but my first attempt didn't come out quite right so you'll have to wait.  Once it was completely dark, we wandered inside the fort and watched Dani Perez.  I'd never heard of him before but he's an amazing saxophonist.  I bought both his albums when I got home and I'm listening to one of them now while writing this.

Of course no visit to Barcelona would be complete without sampling a glass or two of Cava.  We took a trip out of the city one day to the Freixenet winery.  What a surreal place that is!  I've done similar tours of breweries and distilleries in the past so I've got to admit, I thought I knew what to expect but it soon became clear that I was wrong on that point.  Our tour started out the usual explanation of how wine is made and what is special about Cava.  We then boarded the Cava train.  We've all seen those little trains trundling around seaside resorts but I've never been one one that trundles around a factory before playing a happy little tune as we stop to watch the slightly embarrassed factory workers packing bottles into boxes and operating a robot which I'm not entirely sure had a purpose.  But by far my favourite part of the place (aside from the tasting of course) was this car parked outside the building.  It was accompanied by two cava bottle motorbikes and a champagne cork truck.  Now my friend Sonya likes a glass or two of bubbly and if she ever gets married I think this would be the perfect wedding car for her so Sonya, this picture's for you.