Thursday, September 23, 2010

Sunny Barcelona!


Sunny Barcelona!
Originally uploaded by goforchris.
This is where I've been for the past week - not stuck on the beach, natch, but indulging in various cultural pursuits and some less so, in the company of 52 other people. Think a school trip for adults and you'll get the flavour: a holiday where the individual participant only has to worry about being in the right place at the right time to catch the bus. You can find further information on the concept of the Fahrt (for this, Best Beloved, is its name) on Rev Ruth's blog, along with the actual diary of what we did; rather than reduplicate her work I shall allow myself the luxury of random comment.

There was something surreal in our swift transition from the rain and the dark of Linlithgow at 5am (for Fahrts are based in that august town), via the instant porridge that I ate at Prestwick Airport, to the warm sun and superb beach at Barcelona. I'd seen the forecast and was determined to swim in the sea - not something I've done so far this summer - and did just that, returning up the road to the hotel with the unmistakable holiday feeling of sand between the toes and salty skin.

Out hotel, the Villa Olympic, was one built for the Barcelona Olympics; Bruce our Obersturmbannf├╝hrer (love the wee dots; not so sure about the spelling) told us to expect quite a swish hotel in an area reminiscent of Leith before gentrification set in. It was noteable chiefly for the interesting layout of the rooms - the first thing you saw when you opened the door was the bath, and there was a great deal of glass, strategically frosted - and the unpredictability of the lifts. It was not uncommon to find frustrated Fahrters soaring from ground floor to sixth and back again when they really wanted floor 2, and you had to use your key to activate it unless you were going straight down and hadn't fouled everything up so that it ground to a halt. This was especially entertaining on the night of The Flood, when a sudden burst pipe in one of the group's rooms dripped down two floors into the foyer and along the corridor. Fiona was in the middle of a hysterical ride when I joined her in the lift and promptly jiggered it; I had a vision of us having to break out through the roof but survived.

By the time we went to bed on the first night a night club was throbbing incessantly a couple of streets away, and the second day saw most of us who had rear-facing rooms switching to the front of the hotel. It also saw us visit La Sagrada Familia - but that's another story for another day. The flooded Fahrters, by the way, were rehoused. In a suite. It's tough being a Fahrter.

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