Things to avoid on holiday in Barcelona:
1. If your wife is scared of heights, and yet willing to confront her fears on a wobbly cable car several hundred feet above Barcelona harbour, really think carefully about the ‘bargain’ return ticket.
2. If travelling to Montjuic, the steep hills overlooking the city to the east, be sure to read the guidebooks in advance. They will tell you where to get an escalator to the top of the hills, and avoid you having to climb 1 in 4 slopes on your hands and knees.
3. If ordering from a Tapas menu, don’t feel that you have to be adventurous. For example, if you see ‘Sepia’ on the menu, and work out that it’s Cuttlefish, then don’t assume that because Cuttlefish have ‘fish’ in their name, that they look or taste anything like a fish. However, do make sure that when what appears to be a grilled alien lifeform is delivered to your table, make appreciative noises and get stuck in. However, you may find that the ink sac that gives Cuttlefish its Sepia reference is quite easy to burst. Watch out if this happens, as the ink can go quite a long way in a crowded restaurant.
For future reference, this is what a Cuttlefish looks like:
and here’s someone who obviously ate at the same restaurant as us:
4. Remember the golden rules around your fellow humans in European/ Mediterranean cities:
4.1 Whilst the image of loveliness that typifies our notion of people living in Milan, Rome, Barcelona, Madrid etc, is of beautiful olive skin, flawless bone structure, elegant dress sense and shiny hair, the grim reality is that a large percentage of the population look like Wayne and Waynetta Slob dressed entirely from Millets c1976, and with skin applied with an artex trowel
4.2 In any given crowd, on the metro or in restaurants, the majority of people wearing black clothes will be local. ‘Colourful’ clothing tends to be brought to you by Americans and Northern Europeans, most noticeably the British. As if you needed any more signs as to who they were.
5. Meanwhile, back in the restaurant, try not to improvise your order. So if you see a delightful fruit salad being delivered to a table nearby, and then think you see it on the menu for a mere 1 euro, don’t be surprised if you get into a bizarre discussion where the waiter lists all the fruit he has available, you keep answering ‘Si’, and he starts getting slightly cross. In case you’d not guessed, one euro buys you one piece of fruit. Still the conversation will stay with me for some time to come:
‘Si’…and so on
Anyway, had a lovely time. Not as glad to be back as I’d like…