It’s been a little while since our last blog and we’ve crammed an awful lot of fun into the last week. We left Carcassonne under yet more dark clouds and headed south towards the Spanish border.
Completely surprised by the lack of formalities of leaving one country and entering another, we breezed through Spain and continued down to Barcelona.
We have been using a campsite in Mataró as our base. Its about 45 mins north of Barcelona and on a lovely stretch of coast.
We wanted to arrive here a couple of days in advance of our flight to Ibiza to ensure that we could find a suitable place to store Harvey when away. This level of concern sounds unnecessary but the van is our only home and has all our possessions in it and Barcelona is renowned for petty crime. Campsites aren’t really a parking option and airport car parks don’t tend to have the space to accommodate motorhomes. After much internet searching, we found a place specialising in caravan and motorhome storage for 15 euros a night. Being natural born worriers, we made a dummy run to check the place out and ensure that the motorhome would be safe and secure. Absolutely no one on site spoke any English but with the help of Google translate and lots of gesticulating, Gary came to an agreement and was happy that the company was legit and secure.
We could then relax, with time to spend enjoying Mataró and it’s surrounding beaches.
We walked 5km along the coastal path, admiring the wonderfully swanky sailing boats in the harbour. We indulged in long, sangria filled lunches of tasty tapas and marvelled at Gary’s ability to select restaurants that are directly in front nudist beaches. It’s a talent that he has demonstrated at least twice.
On the 14th we left the campsite and dropped off the van at the storage place before boarding our flight to Ibiza. We were celebrating our good friend Richard’s 40th Birthday at a beautiful villa.
It was absolutely stunning, complete with a huge roof terrace and massive pool. Even our bathroom gave us more living space than the whole motorhome put together and it was great to spread out in a bit of luxury.
As our first evening drew in, more villa guests arrived until we had a full house.
We spent the next 5 days relaxing by the fabulous pool with our new friends, cooking up yummy lunches in the villa and exploring Ibiza.
On the Saturday we went for a lovely celebration lunch at a restaurant called El Chiringuitos. It was right on the beach overlooking azure waters.
This place really embodied my preconceptions of Ibiza style, all whites and woods and floaty material.
The food was stunning and provided much needed sustenance before the evening’s debauchery at one of the island’s mega clubs, Amnesia. I’ve never been to Ibiza before, and this was a full initiation. We arrived at the club at 1am, partied all night and stumbled out as the sun came up at 6.30am. These clubs are simply huge and packed with dancers and entertainment.
Every hour there would be a huge performance with props and costumes and guns shooting out unfathomable quantities of tickertape. What an experience.
After some much needed sleep on Sunday we headed to a beach bar overlooking Playa D’en Bossa which was great. I managed to watch my sweepstake favourite, Germany lose their match to Mexico in the World Cup before we drank mojitos and danced on the table.
We ended our trip in Ibiza with a wholesome day lounging by the pool and a dinner at the local beach.
It’s been really great to catch up with old friends, meet plenty of new ones and hopefully Rich thoroughly enjoyed his birthday celebrations.
We left one party and headed straight into another, albeit much more low-key. I turned 33 on Wednesday and Barcelona was the perfect destination for birthday fun. We treated ourselves and stayed in a hotel bordering the Gothic and El Born areas.
This is my favourite part of Barcelona for browsing around. There are so many lanes and narrow cobbled streets dappled in sunlight that open up into wonderful squares with fountains.
The buildings are tall and grand and decorated with the most ornate ironwork and gorgeous shutters. We meandered our way along Las Ramblas before ducking into the incredible La Boqueria food market.
Crammed with stalls selling the freshest ingredients from shellfish to fruit to spices to olives, this place is an attack on the senses. We found a place selling amazing Iberico ham which tasted incredible. In order to be classed as Iberico, the pig must be fed on acorn and reared according to specific guidelines. The fat melted away and the dark meat had such delicious flavour. Being somewhat obsessed with food, markets are easily my favourite place to while away an hour and find inspiration for cooking challenges.
We then headed towards to port and Barceloneta beach for yet more food and sangria before taking a cheeky dip in the sea. We strolled back in the early evening as the sun bathed everything in a beautiful golden colour.
We ate Tapas in an incredible restaurant in the El Born neighbourhood before returning to the hotel feeling very content, full and one year older.