The flight to Barcelona from Gatwick was all good (still business class) and we even got a different meal (afternoon tea – sandwiches) instead of salad nicoise. It was easy to get the bus from the airport to the centre of town and then a local bus to near our hotel. We did get a bit lost then but the hotel was right by Estancia Franca which was a handy landmark . For the first time I really saw the benefit of being somewhere warmer in just over 2 hours! This flight was a little longer but I had papers, magazines to distract me with and food and drink – it all takes time.
Over the few days we were there we went to (as in ate in) some great places. In no particular order:
El Jardi – Carrier de Hospital 56 eljardibarcelona.com- our fave place to have lunch, it’s a little cafe that’s mainly outside although has a sheltered bit and is in a little garden, food is great and it’s just a magical oasis.
Ciudad Condal – Rambla de Catalunya – this is a firm favourite for dinner and we went there for my birthday although had to wait an hour for a table (see the flight drama below). It’s always busy although this was exceptional. The score is that you push your way in and see the woman on the left who guards the restaurant and she’ll put your name down. Inside is more atmospheric than outside and you can eat at the bar if you don’t want to wait. It’s tapas and really fab.
Bormuth – Carrer del rec 31, Born bormuth.blogspot.com – new discovery, fun and buzzy bar on the outskirts of El Born, sells great vermouth and also tapas. Very friendly staff – we went there twice.
La Cereria – Baixada Saint Miguel, Barri Gothic we went to Vegetalia by accident looking for this place (Vegetalia is a chain of 3 veggie places in the old town that are all OK but no atmosphere). I made our excuses and left until we found Cereria, it’s quite tricky to find but persevere as the staff are lovely and the food is good – veggie and it’s a really quirky place. It’s a cooperative as well
Xampanet – we had a handwritten scribble from a woman in a shop to get to this place. It’s in El Born and the tapas are amazing. It’s a push your way in place but the staff are friendly and helpful if you have no idea what to do.
That’s enough about food.
We did have a drama in that ON MY BIRTHDAY BA cancelled our flight! I did feel very anxious and tearful as they had downgraded us to economy and re routed us to Heathrow on a later flight. When I looked at the trains onward to Brighton,the snow was predicted and they all looked dodgy and I had visions of being stuck at Heathrow.
It took an hour to get through to BA and by that time we were waiting at Ciudad in the street. As we had booked through a travel agent we needed our passports which were back at the hotel and no way of getting them before BA closed! I begged and pleaded but to no avail and they wouldn’t change our flight. They did tell me that they had 2 spaces left on an earlier flight but of course they would go. I asked them to just reserve them overnight and I would phone at 6am when they opened with the passport details but no.
So there was weeping and gnashing of teeth from the birthday girl on a bench while Maria waited for our table inside. But I pulled myself together and we had a lovely evening and then back at the hotel called the travel agent emergency line and they were amazing. It had to go to the day team but the next day they agreed that we shouldn’t have to go to the airport as we hadn’t accepted the flight (BA said we had) and that it was unreasonable to expect to be rerouted and downgraded. They booked us on two business class flights to Heathrow the next afternoon. We found a hotel near the airport bus (ours was full anyway) and had a nice evening with friends so that was a bonus. Poor Maria as we could have come to Gatwick on economy but I just wasn’t ready for it.
The flight back was all fine but I left my diary in the mesh bit in front of my seat. I am lost without it and theres nothing as simple as phoning up. I have to register it on a site and then if it is found they have to register it. No luck so far. The journey back from Heathrow takes ages so I’m not looking forward to it for April when we go to Warsaw.
I’ve applied for compensation for the hotel and for transport from Heathrow to Gatwick – modest sums I think! The pictures are mainly Ciudad Condal, Barcelonetta and the snow as we came in to LHR (the whole plane groaned)
Whats helping me now is if I feel anxious I just trust in the plan and know that it’s worked before. I also think of the option – not fly, and that makes me feel more anxious to put it off as I have started this adventure and want to carry on.