Exciting times. I’ve just got back from a fab holiday – first time I’ve been abroad since my honeymoon almost 5 years ago. Barcelona. Barcelona is an amazing place. A place with which I now have some unfinished business, there was so much to do and so little time.
Before I go any further, I would just like to thank my mum and dad for letting us hi-jack their holiday – it was lovely to spend time with them both and my baby brother (he’s not a baby anymore, he’s 15!) who I don’t get to spend that much time with, so it was lovely to have some sibling bonding.
Barcelona is a truly enchanting city; bursting with life and colour and happiness and pride. I didn’t really know what to expect before we got there. I remember talking about it with a colleague at work and saying it would be good to just get away from work and spend some time on the beach – I thought this was going to be a beach holiday!! A couple of weeks before we went I did a bit of research, a glance here and there on trip advisor – just to get an idea of where I was going and soon realised it actually probably wouldn’t be much of a beach holiday at all, but maybe I would see the beach once or twice, so I thought.
One of the websites I came across when I was doing my research was that of Runner Bean Tours. They do free tours of Barcelona; you can do a Gaudi tour; visiting all the buildings by architect Antoni Gaudi or they do an Old City Tour where you get to explore the hidden streets of Barcelona; the back streets and the old buildings. On our final full day we chose the Old City Tour – our tour guide was Laura, and she was fabulous. She was packed with knowledge and stories to tell us as we marvelled at the stunning architecture around us. Dad was in his wheelchair, and Laura was brilliant about it; she stayed with dad when we went off into buildings that he couldn’t get into and she payed a genuine interest in us. In total the tour took 2 and a half hours, it was a lot of walking but at the time it didn’t feel like it, there was so much to learn, and Laura kept us interested. We certainly felt it in our feet when we got back to our apartment though.
I’ve already mentioned that Dad was in his wheelchair, this holiday really opened my eyes to the reality of day to day life for someone who is disabled, and by that I mean how difficult it can be to access places. I would say Barcelona was probably about 70% there, but there were some moments where we didn’t get to do things because there was simply no disabled access. I can understand in a way, with some of the really old historical buildings – maybe they don’t want to ‘ruin’ them by sticking a ramp onto them but for other things there is no excuse and should be an easier way. An example of this was during a bus tour we did on the third day of the holiday. We had bought tickets for the ‘Barcelona Bus Touristic’, the tickets were for 2 days and on those 2 days we could ‘hop on and hop off’ as many times as we liked. Well we didn’t exactly hop on and hop off, we did after all have a rather hefty wheelchair to disassemble and reassemble whenever we wanted to get off. We had already seen the Sagrada Familia – the famous cathedral by Gaudi (which was probably the most amazing building/piece of art I have ever seen) and our next stop was Parc Guell – another Gaudi area. I had heard many good things about Parc Guell and was really excited about seeing it, as were Mum and Dad. We ‘hopped’ off the bus and got ourselves together, then headed in the right direction as instructed by the bus tour. Then we came face to face with…a massive hill. The guy on the bus tour didn’t mention a hill – he said to turn right and carry on up the road – we didn’t know up meant this kind of up. It was an extremely steep hill and none of us would have been able to push Dad’s wheelchair up there. It was such a shame, I felt a little deflated after that – and I think everyone else did too. Following the Parc Guell incident we decided to hop back on the bus and continue the tour. The next stop was Tibidabo, with its beautiful views and cathedral – it meant getting a bus and the funicular up to the top and we were all a bit apprehensive about it just in case we came across another disabled access issue, but we decided to give it a go. So off the bus we got and headed to try and find another bus to get to Tibidabo. We saw a bus, but didn’t know if it was the right one, luckily a local came by and she obviously felt a little bit sorry for us tourists and pointed us in the right direction. On the bus we got, and soon after we got onto the funicular. The views from the top of Tibidabo are what I will remember the most. I will hold those memories with me forever, seriously the most amazing, fantastic, I can’t even put it into words views.
All in all the holiday was amazing. It was great to have some time off work and even better that it was in 28 degree heat – hotter than any of us expected it to be. And I got my day at the beach..sort of..well a stroll along the sea front but that’s close enough for me.
won’t babble about the holiday any longer, the pictures can do the talking for me.
So what’s next for Sammie? Well, there are a good couple of months coming up… my sister in law is planning the best wedding of all time, which I am honoured to be part of. It’s my birthday in a few weeks, not a biggy – but I’m always excited about my birthday. A couple of camping holidays too.
I’m looking at colleges to redo my science GCSE, I’ve found one with courses starting in September so will be calling them next week to try and enrol. I will also be starting as a volunteer for a local youth club next week. I’m so excited about that. There is a lot happening, and it’s good to stay busy, but before all that I have tomorrow..Sunday. I love Sunday. Sunday is the day I get to just sit, I watch TV, maybe do a bit of cleaning but generally just sit.
And Barcelona…I’ll be back for you..