Saturday, 30 May 2015


I swear I will stop talking about The Shadow of the wind any day now but not today!! Ha ha so in December after literally years of talking about going to Barcelona, at 3 am I booked my flights to Barcelona, finally says everyone. A while back I asked on Facebook if anyone had any recommendations about where to stay over there and one of my friends suggested AirBnB, which I honestly never would have thought of myself so thanks friend! After looking through all the reviews I decided on This room because of the price was great and the location was near Playca Espanya, which had a metro stop I travelled up to Dublin Tuesday and stayed in (link) for the evening, a group of us got a taxi to the airport and I was checked in and sorted in no time. I slept through most of the flight (even through a passenger behind me whistling to his friend, 8 rows in front of him). I was a little confused about where to get the bus when I arrived but once I found that I was sorted. I met an American couple who had flown over on reserve (I only knew what that was because of an episode of the Simpsons) and had no place booked but were there anyway.
I wasn't able to check in to my room until 4 so the first thing I did once I arrived was take the bus tour, this one was particularly good because I saw some of gaudis work that I wouldn't see again on the rest of the trip and I was able to plan what I would do the following days better. At about 3:30 after a quick stop at the market off las rambles (which is utterly amazing for food and presents) I headed towards the apartment which was a small bit more difficult to find then I anticipated, only because my phone was dead and I had written the address badly on my boarding pass but it was worth it, really clean, use of the kitchen, grand shower, really nice owner, you couldn't fault the place. After a lovely siesta (when in Rome and all that) I headed back to las rambles for some tapas paella and sangria. You have to have paella when you're in Spain, try and not have chicken paella if you can help it.
I found the food on las rambles reasonable and there was loads of ice cream places and little shops and it seemed to be the place to start your evening, I left the place at about 9/10 and it was only really getting busy then. Somehow my housemate and his friend have slightly gotten me into soccer so I watched the last 15 minutes of the Real Madrid game in a pub that sells Guinness and Murphys...

It was recommended in a magazine to book the tickets to sangriada familia before you flew out there (proceeds from the tickets go to building the church which I thought was cool to be honest. I walked passed some of Gaudis buildings on the way there so i was sightseeing on the was to sightseeing ha. I chose to get the audio guide tour which I also recommend as you can wander around and still get educated on the doors and glass and the plans etc. I do love churches (Blame my father for this) and I really really enjoyed the views and the windows and the roof. I went up the nativity tower and got some lovely views of the city, walking down was interesting, particularly with a French man behind me with a fear of heights, but we made it anyway!! You need about 2 hours in the church but it's well worth it. After hearing about it on the bus tour the day before the next thing 

I planned to do was head to park de gaull but first I was famished and I knew I wouldn't get anything in the park so I stopped at a restaurant two or three blocks away on Carrer de la Marina which had tapas a main meal bread a dessert and a drink for 12, I ordered the soup and Iberian ham, before the soup arrived the waiter brought over three tapas, muscles with tomatoes, a type of coleslaw (well I'd describe it as a coleslaw) and a potato salad with fish. the soup followed it was a clear soup with chicken egg (yes egg) and some vegetables. I was disappointed with the ham, but it was more I didn't know what I was ordering. The ice-cream and espresso that followed was so nice after and the staff were lovely I was enthralled by the owner carving the iberian ham off the

I headed to the park then, an old man offered me directions OFFERED me, in all my years travelling this has never happened and people totally ignore you altogether! The park is a must see in my opinion, the views of the whole city are remarkable and some areas of the park look like backdrops of GoT, I walked around Gaudis House but didn't go in, and I also didn't pay the €8 into the paid part of the park which has different art that Gaudi made for the park

Friday I decided I wanted to see the football stadium. I had prebooked the tickets but these tickets are valid for whenever, no specific time or date which suited me fine my legs were becoming more and more tired so it was nice to have a sleep in that day. I am by no means a soccer fan, in the last year I've watched two and a half matches all Barcelona games actually. It was so interesting to learn about the history of the club and see the importance of the club to the Catalonian people. I held a champions league trophy I never thought I'd do that in all honesty. I couldn't leave without a memento, a pink Barcelona Jersey which I'll wear for the Barcelona juventus game Whooo sports.

After the Football Stadium I headed to The Picasso Museum, which had a Dahli/Picasso exhibition which showed the comparison work of the artists. Picassos work at 17 was just amazing and he got better with time

Three times I attempted to go into the cathedral which is a different church to sangriada familia. The first two times it was closed and the final time I wasn't allowed in as my knees were showing....,.
For some reason there's Dunkin donuts in Spain but they call it Dunkin coffee...literally makes no sense!! But of course I still went there and had a doughnut. I was heading back to the food market and I knew if I went in there hungry I would buy the whole market, instead of the sardine shaped Chocolates that came in sardine cans for my brothers and some chorizo and Iberian ham so I could have a Barcelona dinner with my friends at home. Iberian ham is sold in paper cones, the people walk around eating it. I bought a cone and some olive bread for my dinner that evening to have a relaxed dinner in the house. After dinner i had a sleep and considered spending the night in the house until I was woken up by a couple singing Beatles songs.. One I wasn't in the mood to listen to them and two they were having a good time so I should go and have a good time, it was my last night in the city and I hadn't gone out out while I was there

I walked down las rambles randomly and towards the end of the road I turned left and there was a tiny cocktail bar with a 25 person limit. I ordered a mojito and got talking to the 60 yr old woman beside me who was over with her husband rom Chicago and they were leaving the next morning we proceeded to do three shots (one to bb king who had just died). When they left for their flight I met a Scottish couple who accidentally booked 27 airbnbs, a Canadian and a French Canadian tourist, and Danish rocker with a fear and loathing in Las Vegas tattoo. I then headed to a sports bar that had €2 beers and chatted away to an English man (don't ask me what about as I had 8 mojitos in the cocktail bar) and then headed home

A fabulous last night; I was warned by everyone I told I was going to be robbed over there, I didn't bring my good camera, didn't bring my purse out, but really I had no problems of the sort, it took me two days to get brave enough to use the metro which is a really handy easy cheapish way to get around (very similar to the tube I found) I did meet people who had been robbed, but they said Barcelona was still their favourite place, so there is chance or luck involved too, try to be as vigilant as you can, bring the bare essentials out and don't make it easy for the pick pockets is my advice.

When i woke up on my last day, it was the first time I ever wished I had more time in a place. I was able to keep my bag in the apartment so I was able to head to the beach without concern for it. Up until the last day I was very good with having good values food, but on the last day I was fairly hungover and ended up spending €25 on a sandwich a starter and a coke, the restaurant was right by the beach but was utterly over priced, I headed to the beach near (which is a topless beach btw). The water was amazing truly lovely I swam loads and getting dried by the sun. People walked around selling mojitos blankets, massages. There was volleyball nets and showers, this beach knew what it was doing. I stayed there all day, got quite burnt (my own fault as i wore no suncream....) I headed to the apartment to collect my things headed for the airport bus and was there in 15 minutes and was went through security in no time. I may or may not have bought some bourbon, rum and two giant toblerones.

I would highly Highly recommend to go to the city, if anything you need more than 4 days here, and I wouldn't say that about a lot of other places ha

Sunday, 24 May 2015

Lit Nit Wit: A Mix

You'd think in the six weeks I was off i would have read a load of books!! Not at all at all for some reason (Because of parks and recreation and the walking dead, not that I'm complaining).
Since I got back to work I've gone through a few books, and instead of doing individual Lit Nit Wits I thought I'd write one for all of them.
Photo taken from
The first book I completed was The Luminaries; I actually got this book in Dublin when my brother and I were traveling from dublin to cork after our holiday. This story is based in New Zealand where gold fields have been found and subsequently villages full of men out to get their fortune pop up. The story starts with the arrival of Walter Moody to Hokitika one of these new villages. On arrival to his guest house he stumbles onto a meeting of 12 men trying to figure out how each of them have become entangled in mysterious circumstances involving a dead man with a hidden fortune, the disappearance of a young man and the apparent suicide of a young prostitute. In a new small village it was easy to believe that all these men could be somehow linked and would remain so as the story unfolds. I am usually terrible with names and sometimes mix the characters up but these characters back stories were so intricate and detailed I could recall who was who with ease. I always take it as a good sign when about half the book is the back story of the events that led to the meeting of the men in the guesthouse we see in the first chapter.I thoroughly enjoyed this book, the characters were so well hashed out and the events so interesting and varied. At the start of each chapter was a synopsis/ tease of the entire chapter which I thought was an interesting idea, I don't think I've seen it before actually. throughout the story there were about three small but significant events that seemed to me to go unexplained and the final chapters were literally a page each, which kinda grated on my nerves a small bit, but I would 100% recommend this book to anyone who really wants to get into a long detailed book they can get enthralled in.
Anytime I see a book by Carlos Ruiz Zafron I immediately buy it, in fact I was in waterstones about to buy the book and the man in front of my saw said book and we had a fangirling moment, to the point where I gave him the book and went back to the stand and got a copy for myself. I think I loved Shadow of the Wind so much, it was the reason I went to Barcelona for my holidays this year (more on that later) that all subsequent books of his are kinda disappointing. Marina follows Oscar a student in Barcelona who liked to explore the long abandoned and almost forgotten houses of the Barcelona elite. He stumbles upon Marina house and quickly becomes fast friends with her and her sickly father. Marina shows Oscar a mysterious figure who visits a graveyard and leaves an emblem of a black butterfly regularly, who is this woman and why does she do it? Oscar and Marina pursue this mystery and become entangled in a story of deceit and betrayal and love and the strive to heal sickness at all and any cost. If you haven't read Carlos' before maybe I'd recommend this, because then you could read his other books and become more and more impressed but personally I think his original was the best and all of his subsequent stuff has been sub par in comparison.

The day I bought Marina I also bought the cult classic Lolita. I saw a big rant about the book covers for this boon which intrigued me further. This story follows Humbert Humbert a French writer who is also a pedophile I had an idea about what this book was about but felt like I really needed to read it to understand the cult classic status that follows this book. The book is in two parts and I have to say I preferred the first half. In the first half he is working towards getting a nymphet such as Lolita and in the second half he has her in his grasp, but it all falls apart as he runs off with her driving around the country with his precious Lolita. In his deluded mind some young girls are not children but nymphets, demons who were sent down to tempt poor men, the dehumanisation of these children for his own satisfaction was something I had not seen before in a book and I found it borderline profound, to get into the mind of someone like that, it was not something I had ever particularly wanted to do but here I was and I found it kind of fascinating. For me though, there was too much French in the book. I realise the character is French but having less than basic French (I did German in school) i enjoyed seeing so much of it in the book. Thankfully my French friend was my own personal google translate, but the French wasn't even significant to the story it was almost like filler! The author also seemed to jump from writing in the first to the third person and my poor brain had a bit of a tough time dealing with it on occasion. Throughout the book I asked myself repeatedly could a book honestly disturb and entertain me at the same time and the honest answer is yes in a strange way, books enable you to go to different places and view the world through different peoples eyes. Eyes you maybe didn't really want to look through but at the end you appreciate the fact you did