Your regularly scheduled Set Meravelles entry this week is swapping places with Thursday’s entry (which may be up Friday instead of Thursday, busy week ahead!) to bring you an extra special crossing things off my bucket list report from this weekend.
Back in October, I had bought a Ryan Air flight to go to Belgium this weekend. However, that Spanish proverb is true. If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans. Due to a strike (huelga general) in Belgium on Dec. 15, transport is going to be screwy at best, so I decided to postpone the trip until my week off in February and take off to the city that is calling my name, Barcelona, to celebrate my 33rd birthday in style. (Good thing, as my flight from Santander got delayed several hours and the flight back is all together cancelled, which means I might get the money back. With Ryan Air, it’s always cheaper to just book a new flight than changing the dates. Keep your fingers crossed!)
This weekend was exactly what I needed. On Friday, I visited the Pont de Diable in Martorell, crossing it off my Set Meravelles de Barcelona Provincia to do list. The village was meh, but the bridge was incredible. I crossed it and had a café con leche at a bar that took me back to 1980s Almodóvar films, then recrossed it. The views are incredible, and I could feel the spirit of the cat who gave its soul for the bridge’s original construction in the Roman days. Poor cat, but I am a dog person.
Friday night, I went out to a great bar called “Museum” to celebrate the event. I so want to move to Barcelona even more now. Amazing ambiance.
Saturday I made a return to Sitges, which I fell in love with all over again. I took the time to pass its quaint streets and absorb the atmosphere. The gays, as usual, have good taste. (Sitges is a gay summer destination for those of you who weren’t aware, but it’s not just for the rainbow crowd. It attracts artists, creative types and tourists from all over.) It was a bit cool to enjoy the beach, but it was still much better weather than Bilbao is offering (at this rate, I think Noah and his arc would drown.)
I also made it the famous Santa Llucia Christmas market next to the Cathedral of Barcelona. I bought a special present for my uncle, a caganer of Obama. If you don’t know what a caganer is, it’s a Català tradition to include one in your nativity scene. A caganer is a Catalán figure of someone crouched down in the process of using the toilet (number 2). I just hope they don’t confiscate it from me next week when I travel back to the States for Christmas! The Catalans also have the figure of the Cagatío, who is figure made from wood with a Catalán red hat that “defecates” the presents placed inside him.
The thing about this weekend is it has rejuvenated me in a way I haven’t been rejuvenated by travels in a long time. I fell in love with Barcelona again. The city is magical at Christmas time, even with temperatures of 18ºC/upper 60s F.
Barcelona remains my dream. Maybe next year I’ll be celebrating my 34th from the Barri de Gracia…