Category Archives: Barcelona

Scorpions and AC/DC in Spain, 1987 Hitch-hiking Lifts

I didn’t take any photos in Spain or collect any memorabilia, apart from a couple of pesetas; I probably would have in Barcelona, but as my diary extracts show, my lift took me straight past it. I kept a coin or two; or note if that’s all there was, as in some countries; from each country. Here’s a photo of the two peseta coins I kept:

Hitch-hiking in Northern Spain

As my diary extracts show, hitch-hiking in northern Spain (Basque region) was difficult, but the lifts were eventful when they happened. Some Germans lifted my mood playing the Scorpions, and a local put AC/DC on.

The German ‘Scorpions’ lift, walking above Zaragoza and arriving in Figueres (I found out while there it was Salvador Dali’s birthplace: the museum was closed as it was a Saturday!) all made it into my fantasy fiction travel around Europe to Google Maps original concept XaW Files: Beyond Humanity book; cross-referencing through time and writing genres, via the motorways and crossroads of my mind; neurons of memory and creativity perhaps travelling from different parts of my brain, and meeting at the greenYgreyesque corpus callosum.

The Zaragoza to Figueres lift started off a spaghetti western storyline in Chapter 6 Episode 18: ‘I had felt shimmering significance in Figueres, time distortion in Barcelona and at a crossroads in Zaragoza.’ I had made it to Barcelona in 2013.

The German Scorpions lift was referenced in a fantasy storyline with the real Scorpions singer Klaus Meine, twisting it around to him having read my memoir, which is of course separate to the greenYgrey trilogy: ‘Klaus was very understanding about it, and gave me a lift to Hannover, his home town, which was on my way west. He played the Scorpions’ Worldwide Live album on the way, which is one of my all-time favourites. I told him I’d referenced a couple of Scorpions songs in the opening paragraph, and he said that was a coincidence, because our drive reminded him of one in The Guns N’ Roses Worker Traveller.’

My 1987 Diary 

Here’s my diary recording my brief time in Spain. I had intended spending longer, but as I write in the diary, the hitching wasn’t very good.

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In 2005, after a decade in further education I became Dr. Marc Latham, the Chav Philosopher; possibly Blighty’s best value and poorest doctor of philosophy. My memoir, poetry and fiction books are available on Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Marc-Latham/e/B004SP40J0/

Antoni Gaudi Barcelona Sculpture Photos

On my last full day in Barcelona I visited the northern half of the city, having spent the  previous day in the southern half. It was my Antoni Gaudi day, as I first walked north to his Park Guell, on the advice of Hostel One, and then down to the centre for his unfinished masterpiece La Sagrada Familia. I then saw more of his work and that of other Modernisme period artists and sculptors in the city centre, where art and sculptures decorate walls and roofs.

Barcelona Parc Guell and Eixample Photos

At the end of the day I waited for the sun to go down on Placa Catalunya, which is considered the borderline between the Barri Gotic of my previous day and the Eixample area of Modernisme architecture I’d visited that afternoon. It was also my arrival point in Barcelona.

Sometimes as I returned to the hostel, the sun was at my side. Sometimes it was straight ahead. By the time I reached the hostel it was nowhere to be seen. It returned the next morning, shining brightly and warmly.

Looking Back at Summer

I wondered how much I’d see and feel the hot sun afterwards, after several disappointing summers in the U.K.

Although I think it is gone now, seven months later, it lived its 2013 life to the full.  It all started in Barcelona…

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There are more Marc Latham Barcelona photos on the Greenygrey blog (greenygrey.co.uk/blog). Just search Barcelona on there.

There’s a Marc Latham Barcelona article from the trip on TravelThruHistory (travelthruhistory.com/html/cities59.html).

There are also Marc Latham Barcelona photos on emorfes (emorfes.com/2013/04/06/greengray-barcelona-photography-by-marc-latham/).

Marc Latham’s central site is the Greenygrey (http://www.greenygrey.co.uk), and he has books available on Smashwords and Amazon (http://www.amazon.com/author/marclatham).

Barcelona City Centre Attractions Photos

After leaving Montjuic Park I headed down to the centre of Barcelona to see more of the city’s history and culture from the marina to Barcelona’s cathedral via La Rambla and the Gothic Quarter.

Barcelona City Centre Attractions

At the lower end of La Rambla is the Columbus tower, guarded by lions and decorated by angels. Below the tower is the Marina Port Vell, with lots of shops and restaurants. La Rambla is a nice street with quaint and designer shops, street entertainers and lots of tourists.

The Barri Gotic (Gothic Quarter) has more quaint and designer shops, narrow alleys, Roman ruins and leads to the official Barcelona cathedral.

There, the sun set, and a long day of sightseeing ended the way it started: with a stroll through Barcelona.

Here’s some photos:

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Marc Latham’s central site is the Greenygrey (http://www.greenygrey.co.uk), and he has books available on Smashwords and Amazon (http://www.amazon.com/author/marclatham).

 

Barcelona Montjuic Park and Castle Photos

Looking through the Barcelona photos for today’s blog reminded me that I walked up through the majestic green area of Montjuic park and around the cliff-face to the castle before returning to the Olympic Stadium and finding the entrance.

Barcelona Montjuic Park and Castle Photos

Outside the Olympic Stadium entrance I saw the bell tower and got a photo of it with the Telefonica tower in the background.

Then I thought I’d take one with the Telefonica within the bell tower’s frame. After a few shots I took the feature photo for this blog, and the photo in full to end it.

As well as seeing the Telefonica clearly within the bell tower’s frame the sun shines through the tower while merging with the cloud above, and a bird soars between foliage below.

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Marc Latham’s central site is the Greenygrey (http://www.greenygrey.co.uk), and he has books available on Smashwords and Amazon (http://www.amazon.com/author/marclatham).

Barcelona Olympics 1992 Stadium Photos

On my penultimate day of Barcelona sightseeing I first headed for the Olympic Stadium, which is in Montjuic behind the National Arts Museum.

Barcelona Olympics 1992

I mostly remembered the 1992 Olympics it held for the dramatic opening ceremony, when it looked like an archer lit the flame, but apparently the arrow missed and it was done by remote control. I later researched it, and saw that Linford Christie and Sally Gunnell won athletics gold medals for Team GB in the stadium.

The yellow towers in the photos were flame holders.

Barcelona Olympic Stadium Photos

In the fifth photo below I saw the two clouds above two trees having very similar shapes, as if synchronised.

I wasn’t so sharp with the stadium, not knowing if it was open as I walked right around it. After taking a few photos through gaps in the walls I reached its front to find the gates wide open, and free to enter.

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Marc Latham’s central site is the Greenygrey (http://www.greenygrey.co.uk), and he has books available on Smashwords and Amazon (http://www.amazon.com/author/marclatham).

 

Montserrat Monastery Barcelona Photos

The Montserrat monastery provides views of all Catalonia on a clear day, and it was certainly nice when I reached it. The sun was warm, but away from the sun it was cool.

Montserrat Monastery Sunset

Montserrat is Catalonia’s most important religious retreat, and it was easy to see why when I turned the corner to see the actual monastery.

Hidden away from faraway view, the monastery is exquisitely crafted, and impressive both as an engineering feat and visual spectacle 1200 metres (4000 feet) above the Catalonian lowlands.

Then the sun set, looking like a glass ball in upright claw feet, as it seemed to sit upon the mountain, before disappearing into the west.

I walked back down in the shade.

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Marc Latham’s central site is the Greenygrey (http://www.greenygrey.co.uk), and he has books available on Smashwords and Amazon (http://www.amazon.com/author/marclatham).

Hiking to Montserrat Monastery from Monistrol

Having completed my marathon I had three days to Barcelona sightsee properly. When I reached Catalunya Square I decided to take the train out to Montserrat Monastery, as the sun shone brightly, and warmer than the previous few days.

Montserrat Monastery Hike

My train ticket only took me to Monistrol de Montserrat, so I walked 9km (6 miles) up to the monastery on the path. I hadn’t desired a long hike, but enjoyed it. The path was just dirt track most of the way, and there were few people around on that Montserrat Monday.

The road and path took me on an upward semi-circular walk up to the monastery, which is nestled under the high rocks on the left of the photo as you look at it.

The monastery is visible from the Barcelona-Monistrol train, and looked like something out of the old war movie Where Eagles Dare. It looked just as awesome up close.

Here’s some photos of the hike up to Monsterrat Monastery from Monistrol:

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Marc Latham’s central site is the Greenygrey (http://www.greenygrey.co.uk), and he has books available on Smashwords and Amazon (http://www.amazon.com/author/marclatham).

Barcelona Marathon, Magic Fountain, Football

On the Saturday night I returned to Montjuic for the Magic Fountain show, on the advice of Hostel One, and it was a fun spectacular. The next morning I ran my marathon, enjoying the run seeing many of Barcelona’s landmarks for the first time. That night I went to see Barcelona beat Rayo Vallecano 3-1, with Messi scoring two and Villa one.

Barcelona Marathon and Football

I watched from the top of the stadium, with sore legs from the marathon and Camp Nou climb. I felt like I’d climbed two mountains that day, but in reality, I had climbed none.

I think I achieved something though. The green field below, and the cool air above, felt like they were my reward.

Barcelona Magic Fountain and Camp Nou

Here’s some photos from the Magic Fountain and Camp Nou. There are photos from my marathon at the Marathon Photos website:

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Marc Latham’s central site is the Greenygrey (http://www.greenygrey.co.uk), and he has books available on Smashwords and Amazon (http://www.amazon.com/author/marclatham).

Barcelona Flight, Placa Espanya and Montjuic

My summer started in mid-March, now six months ago, and it has been a good one in the U.K., so autumn is more welcome this year than in most years. However, my spring/summer season started not in the U.K., but in sunny Spain. It was sunny in Barcelona for most of the time I spent there, while the U.K. was suffering a cold snowy spell at the time.

Arriving in Barcelona

Most of England and France was covered in snow as I flew over from Leeds, and then the Pyrenees were too. It wasn’t hot in Barcelona, but it was warm and sunny: mostly nice spring days.

After getting the bus into the centre I walked out to Hostel One, Sants, which took longer than I wanted with my marathon three days away, but it was nice when I got there.

I just relaxed near the hostel for the next couple of days, before going to Montjuic Park via the Espanya Plaza to collect my marathon number, chip and goodie bag on the Saturday.

It was exciting to receive the last pieces of the marathon jigsaw started six months previously. I had a free pre-race pasta meal and drink, before walking up to the National Art Museum at the top of the steps and fountains. Here’s some photos:

Barcelona Flight, Catalunya and Montjuic Photos

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