Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Barcelona - June 2014

We were really looking forward to Uppinder and Sangeeta spending some time with us here in Spain, however what started as a substantial stay in Spain, got trimmed down to a bare minimum by the time the Aussies actually made their way to Spain.
On  the Wednesday, the day they were expected, we received a phone call.
" We have had to return to Paris..the car hit the kerb in Versaille and one of the tyres burst. Would you believe it, there was no spare tyre!"..they had lost a day and would acquire a new car back in Paris and start over again.
The prank with the car further reduced the stay in Spain and they only had one clear day to see the whole of Cantabria. Not recommended.
Anyway we finally met U and S in Bilbao as they made their way westwards and had a look at the Guggenheim, and catching up with Jose Luis and Pablo, who they knew from meetings in India. The next day we had to cram as much as possible into the short time in Laredo.
 The beach at Laredo
 Cantabrian hills at the La Aparecida
Many of the group who were in Delhi in 2008
There was just enough time to reunite many of the group who had gone to India for my birthday in 2008 and met Uppinder, and to take another group photo for old times sake!
The next day we headed for the beautiful area of the Rioja to take in Laguardia, Haro and the Marques de Riscal before staying the night in Zaragoza.

 Gehry's building at Marques de Riscal

 With Uppinder at Zaragoza

In the morning  I spotted a Sikh man in the Cathedral plaza. I ran after him and when he turned around I was amazed to find that we had met a year or two before in a quiet street in Madrid, I remembered the Bhangra dance teacher from Phagwara in deep Punjab!
Later we drove as fast as possible to Barcelona and a reunion with Guddi and Birinder who were on their way from New Jersey!
 Gaudi's Batllo building on Paseig de Gracia in Barcelona
 In front of the Sagrada Familia
Inside of Sagrada Familia
Inside of Sagrada Familia
 Guell Park

 Inside one of the towers of the Sagrada Familia

Our ladies at the Montjuic Fort
 View from the Fort
 Around Barcelona
 Remains of the columns of Temple of Augustus from 1st Century!
 Birinder and Guddi at the Olympic Port

There followed 3 days of relentless sightseeing, Gaudi's cathedral, Parque Guell, the Gaudi buildings in Paseig de Gracia, Rambla, Cathedral and all the barrio Gotico not to mention all the walking eating and drinking.
We had rented an apartment so every evening we would flop out on the sofas resting our weary legs and catchup on the news, revisit all the family stories and remember old times in all continents.
There was the curious case of this bar in Santander which had a nice trick up its sleeve. As we waited to be seated we ordered drinks and as is usual in Spain, a waiter brought us some tapas. Thinking that these came with the drinks as in many parts of Spain, we dug in, even if some of them were less than appetising to look at. Later when we came to order what we wanted to eat, we were told that we would be charged by the little sticks we collected from all the tapas (including the ones we had already eaten). Naturally we complained..the waiters said we should have asked first. So we said they should have told us as we had quite conveniently thrown away the sticks from before! After a heated debate we came to an acceptable compromise, but not before Uppinder and I had given them a bad review on Foursquare.

Exhibit at one of the Barcelona exhibitions

Finally the time came to start saying our goodbyes. First Uppinder and Sangeeta then Guddi and Birinder departed in their respective directions. We stayed on for another day to catchup on art and exhibitions followed by the flight home which flew us past Laredo!
So nice to get together with Sis, Birinder (their first time in Barcelona) and Sangeeta, Uppinder (their first time in Spain), and many thanks to them for coming to visit us...