Friday, 17 April 2015

Travel Man: 48 Hours In Barcelona

He's pointing the wrong way!

Why do travel television programmes do this? By "this", I mean send someone off on a nice holiday who obviously doesn't want to go anywhere. All so that they can make snitty comments on our screen for half an hour about how crap everything is when they get there. Why waste all that money on someone who isn't going to enjoy it? Why not send someone who might actually appreciate a five-star boutique hotel at £399 a night instead? Like me, for example. Since £399 is pretty much our current entire annual holiday budget.

Richard Ayoade can be very funny, but Barcelona is wasted on him. Or so he wants us to believe, anyway. He has Kathy Burke with him for company, sniggering like a schoolgirl in their expensive hotel suite at the thought of them sharing a bed. (They aren't sharing a bed.) Throughout their efficient 48 hours in the city, they are only made to do activities that the pair of them are going to hate, whether they involve football, cava, heights or molecular gastronomy. This may make hilarious television in the producer's mind, but it actually makes Richard and Kathy look rather rude in front of their earnest and patient hosts. I may not get the finer subtleties of Miro either, but at least I wouldn't shout "Zippy from Rainbow!" that loudly in public.

On the roof at the Fundacio Joan Miro

But I would like to know how Ayoade got a £45 return airfare to Barcelona (in these days of extra charges on low-cost carriers) without riding cargo in his suitcase. Because Barcelona is fantastic and I would so very much love to go back.

Richard and Kathy missed so much out - the Ramblas, the Boqueria market, the houses designed by Gaudi, the Olympic stadium, the Ciutadella park, the Barri Gotic, much of Montjuic, the Palau de la Musica Catalana, the Museu Frederic Mares with its weird and wonderful collection of curiosities, to name but several. Just look at it all:

Parc Guell


Arc de Triomf

Museu d'Historia de Catalunya

Castell on the Ramblas

Placa Reial

Barri Gotic

Port Olimpic, with Frank Gehry's Whale Sculpture

Sagrada Familia

Casa Batllo



La Pedrera


Olympic Park

Now, I am lucky enough to have spent a whole week in Barcelona, and I realise that anyone with only 48 hours to spend there will inevitably have to miss things out. But given that Richard and Kathy hated pretty much everything they did, why not let them find their own positive? (Would Richard have found any?) And to be honest, we only "did" Barcelona intensively for 48 hours, as that's how long our tourists' transport and museum cards were valid. So you can see a lot of great stuff very quickly. And that we did. We were so exhausted afterwards that we spent the next two days lying on the beach at Sitges. And ate lunch next to Sandra Bullock while we were there. (Sticking to a menu del dia at lunchtime enables you to be able to afford better restaurants.) Sitges reinvigorated us enough to make an excursion further afield up to colourful, beautiful, medieval Girona (although this has always been what Ryanair call Barcelona) before - sniff! - having to fly home. So get me that genuinely cheap air fare, and I will be back there like a shot of Crema Catalana.

Sitges

Girona

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