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From Barça with love

It was 21 hours from the time the alarm went yesterday morning at 4.30am (after getting in bed at 1.30am), until I got home last night. Today I am shall we say, a little bit fuddled.

But it was all worth it to spend a weekend with a great set of lads and the groom, to whom I am deputy best man, a role I have yet to fully understand except I do have the (dis)pleasure of making a speech at the wedding in a months time.

I left Barcelona with a real positive feel about the Catalonian city. I didn’t get to see anywhere as much of the city as I would have liked, stag weekenders strangely are not always about flying around monuments and museums taking photographs, but those of us that did so on Saturday were joyfully rewarded by a city with spectacular architecture and a bewitching personality.

I am lucky to have been struck by awe a number of times by what has been stood in front of me. Saint Peter’s Basilica, the Grand Canyon, Iceland’s Þingvellir National Park and Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque in Muscat to name just a few, but Antoni Gaudí’s unfinished La Sagrada Família was a very high new entrant onto my list.

The groom in our party described the towering monolithic facades of Gaudi’s project as a huge dripping candle. Already over 100 years in construction, with no deadline for it to be finished, from afar the medieval cathedral resembled a building site but close up it inspired awe with its sheer verticality and striking decorative detail. We could not take our eyes of it and had lunch down the street so we could just stare at the Basílica.

Also on Saturday we attempted to tour Barcelona’s Camp Nou but as it was matchday the tour wasn’t available. Some friends went back yesterday and told me it was impressive. However despite not being able to go inside, this part of town with it’s very own church at it’s centre had a real vibrancy and it was fun to walk around soaking up the El Clasico matchday experience, although the Catalans did lose later in the evening to their rivals from the Spanish capital, dampening the spirits around town a little. 

Ours weren’t though. We were bloody champions after all! I’ll write a little more on Barcelona soon.

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