We crossed the border from France to Spain on the day of the transport workers strike in Barcelona. This strike followed the earlier vote for Catalonian independence and meant that tourist sites were closed, including the Sagrada Familiara for which we had booked tickets. Never mind I got to see it from the outside.
The mood in Barcelona was joyful and fun. People walked the streets with flags draped over their shoulders and everywhere flags were displayed in windows and flying from balconies.
That night in a little kerbside restaurant one of my friends ordered churros after dinner. The owner / waiter growled and glared, shook his head, said ” no no no” and wandered off. Some minutes later he walked back to our table bringing a Creme Catalana and plonked it defiantly in front of her. “Creme Catalana” he announced, and walked off. Then he snuck back with an almost sly look and left half a bottle of free wine in the table. We left a good tip. As we left he was standing smoking on the kerb with a friend. He came over and offered to shake my hand. I obliged and said “Viva la Catalonia!” and he almost smiled.
Creme Catalana is a traditional dish of Catalonia. A bit like the argument between the Aussies and Kiwis about who created pavlova, a similar debate exists in this border area about who first created the dish known as Creme Brûlée to the French, and Creme Catalana to the Spanish. I am happy to eat one of each.
Next day we passed mounted police on beautiful Andalusian horses. One of the horses had just relieved itself on the street and the policeman had hopped off with a little shovel and a large plastic bag to remove the evidence, just like dog owners have to do !
Many of you have travelled to Montserrat. It is a site of epic proportions. If you haven’t been there (yet) I will let the photos give you an appetiser but then you must look on google images for more professional shots because it is worth it.
Sadly we were not allocated much time in Montserrat, only two hours, whereas to see everything comfortably it needs to be at least a day trip. Apprently you can stay there and one of my friends and I are keen to do that in future so that we can absorb everything properly.
For some reason I felt so proud that I had made it there.
There is something about that Madonna that feels familiar