Today was another leisurely start with no firm plans for what to do. I was rather tired so this was fine by me. I gave me some much needed time to catch up with the diary and a chance to chat a little to Kirsty while she made her way into work. I decided after finishing half a day of writing that I would get ready to go out in case people decided to go somewhere. Just as I’d finished getting ready I noticed that the front door was open and the guys were all standing there about to leave. It turned out that they had been discussing in the living room while I was reading Goldenhand and thought that I’d heard it all.
So we went together, leaving Steph to recover after feeling a bit more ill. We took a metro to the Plaza España to walk up the hill and see the view across the city. It was rather hazy but you could really see all the landmarks that we had been walking past for the week. From the top we could also see the Olympic Stadium - the rings had no colour (either eroded or never did). As per any free attraction, street sellers and beer sellers lined the area. Chris accidentally turned and trod on one such display. He was very apologetic, thankfully nothing broke and they didn’t ask him for money.
I felt a couple of drops of rain as we descended the steps. There were actually some outdoor escalators, which I wondered how would fare in a deluge of rain. We had no waterproofs with us - much like the majority of locals. Thankfully the rain held off and we returned to the apartment to see Steph. We planned to get Paella with Tom the evening before, being a local dish. I was quite hungry at this point, and aware of the amount of beer in the fridge that would need using before we left. I helped myself to a can and some Doritos as I wasn’t sure how long it would be until we left to eat. It turned out not very long at all. I got through a couple of book Chapters, Chris also grabbed a beer. So we had to finish those quickly before heading off in the direction of a Paella restaurant, which happened to be next to one of Gaudi’s apartments. I took the group on what I called the ‘scenic route’ - that is to say that we needlessly cross the Diagonal Avenue and back again. I defended this detour by saying that we wouldn’t have seen the nicely architected building if we hadn’t!
The waiters in the restaurant all wore waistcoats. Being on my last few euros I began to wonder just how much it would come to here as we sat down. Especially given it’s proximity to such a popular and expensive attraction. At €14 it wasn’t cheap, given the poor exchange rate. I opted for water to drink. Chris and Alex shared a jug of Sangria. The food came out on their metal cooking pans. Chris’ was extremely hot to the touch, requiring extra precautions when he dug in!
Most of my mussel shells were cracked open. Despite this I saw that one would have originally been completely shut. Going by the golden rule of not eating it as it wasn’t openMyself. As did a couple of the others. Shellfish is a force to be reckoned with if it’s bad. The rest was nice, although I would say a touch overdone. The squid was particularly chewy but not unpleasant. One mouthful had the added shock of a broken shell - quite an unpleasant crunch!
We took a slightly different route back to the apartment by Gaudi’s other apartment, which Steph hadn’t seen yet. It was sad to see beggars outside shops for Louis Voutton, Georgio Armani, and Gucci. A stark contrast to different lifestyles. Back in the apartment I wrote some diary updates and dozed off a little, as did the others. But it was not long before we had to see Tom off on his journey home. It had rained a bit, so the streets were damp - Tom actually slipped over at one crossing. We walked past a bar where I saw a girl slumped in a chair with some sick on the pavement beneath while her friends continued laughing and chatting. I was concerned so made a note to check on the way back that she wasn’t still there, it was only 7pm.
Some of the landmarks were quite transformed in the night, but it was evident that not many people were out due to the rain. I noticed that far more smokers were out, though that may have been due to noticing it more easily in the cleaner air. I could still see the telltale signs of pollution, as with London, in my nose but not the same for the exposure.
When we got back Chris and I set about the task of making a carbonara with the market bought mushrooms. It was the first time I’d made one from scratch. I always seem to forget about creme frâiche as an ingredient. It turned out uite well. Steph and I polished off the last of the Gin we had bought on the first day with some added freshly squeezed lime. Then came the sad time of packing. <y socks were still wet from washing so I put them out to dry more. I left my Toothbrush on to charge so I wouldn’t have to when I got home. We all settled down to bed about midnight.