May - June 2019
  • Day8

    3 seasons in 1 day.

    June 5, 2019 in Spain ⋅ ☀️ 24 °C

    The plan was to spend a little time at Valencia beach before making our way to Barcelona for the flight. While it wasn't a huge hike to the beach, it was in the right direction so decided to drive & have a leisurely walk when we got there. That was the plan... Struggled to find parking & when we did they were being patrolled by chancers trying to get payment. Pushed on a little further with eventual success. Once out of the car, we discovered the true extent of the wind - a bit blowy is an understatement. Wandered down the boardwalk to the sea, found a quiet spot away from the teenies & tried to settle but we were being inundated with sand & it was sticking to the sun cream - nice sandpaper effect. Quick swim & I was ok. Liz not so happy. Called it a day & walked along the front for a while longer. Eventually pushed, aiming to stop around half way for a break. Except as we approached half way it became apparent that a storm was looming - black clouds looked bad. A break in torrential rain didn't appeal so pushed on. Predicted rain came & it was horrendous. Picked up some snacks a little later when the weather permitted. Pushed on to Sitges, a coastal resort 20 miles south of the airport. Got there to find it was Gay pride week (well 10 days) While it is a gay friendly resort, this week was obviously a little more OTT. It was a pleasant place - the sun had madecan appearance & the wind had eased - a nice little walk. Airport next & for the 1st time Google let us down - asked for Hertz & it spat out T1/T2 Hertz, which to me meant it served both terminals. Not the case, so we were left with a bus ride & a fair walk. That said we were early so it didn't really matter. Security guy congratulated me after frisking me & to top it we were boarding at gate 6. In Madrid we won it 6 times. 😃Read more

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  • Day7

    Liz loving the Lizarran

    June 4, 2019 in Spain ⋅ ☀️ 24 °C

    Having had a lazy day, a little exploration was in order. To that end, somewhere new but also relatively accessible so as not to stress Liz's dodgy ankle. Opted for a walk along the river bed park to the old town. Ankle dependent, posdibly head up the cathedral tower. The great thing about Valencia is the vast amounts of shade & quiet walking routes there. From the hotel - straight down to the Science musuem & the Hemispheric - which offered a cool route to the river park. Lots of cyclists, a bubble guy & a noisy playground moddled on a giant gulliver. From there took in the bull ring, the palatial town hall & finally the cathedral. 8 euros to go in was a bit steep, thankfully noticed the much smaller queue was for the tower. 2 euros & the most bored cashier in the world. In theory there was a traffic light system for going up & coming down. He couldn't be arsed monitoring it & had opted for green lights both ways & chaos half way up. Bit tight @ the top & hard work for Liz's ankle but some great views of the city. Nice ice cream as a reward at the bottom. Headed back for a relax & swim depending on your viewpoint. Pre-dinner explore of Oceanographique area turned into a park walk - cost & was closing. Opted for a tapas bar called Lizarran - waiter was very helpful. Help yourself & the bill was based on the number of Pincho skewers on your plate. Back to base for a replay of the Final - just to make sure it really happened. It did!Read more

  • Day6

    Echoes of the past.

    June 3, 2019 in Spain ⋅ ☀️ 24 °C

    Back to morning runs & free breakies. At least this time there is a clean pool to look forward to - the brown water yesterday didn't inspire despite the heat. Can't say the Valencia version was a heated though despite some woman in it claiming it wasn't cold. No great urgency - Liz was needing recovery time so a relaxed morning, picnic in the park. Much amusement was had at the expense of a preening couple flouncing around videoing each other in various staged situations, all for the benefit of their followers. Modern world! Sat & moaned & ate sarnies.
    At this point Liz located her book. I located the Mestalla stadium, which had been closed last time I was here, so had to be visited. Liz declined on the grounds that football this trip should be just about Liverpool. This, however was - Valencia was Rafa's patch - the greatest Liverpool manager I've seen as a season ticket holder until a couple of days ago. Sorry Rafa. Pay my respects & have a look around. Impressive stadium - bit quirky. Had to wear colours - as did a few spurs fans. Bit us when we shown the press room. Guide wanted to set up a fictional press conference & being topical chose 2 fans from the weekends game who were in colours. Ooops. Not hp. Interesting tour - wanted to get a shirt but bizarrely they didn't have any in. No old ones and the new ones weren't in til July. Headed back through the park in time for a thai(ish) tea and a nice sunset walk.
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  • Day5

    Look who we found...

    June 2, 2019 in Spain ⋅ ☀️ 26 °C

    Woke up ridiculously early considering. Lots bouncing around in my head so resigned to the inevitable & rather than disturbing the other 2 decided to go for a run. At least get to see the village we were staying in. Wasn't the longest of runs. When, eventually the irons twosome had woken we braved the bar for breakie - acceptable if expensive - had juice instead of coffee & charged us for toast and coffee & also juice not instead of coffee hmmm!
    Had to head back into Madrid so Gareth could get his train (that he hadn't booked...) to Malaga so decided to head back to the stadium so Liz could witness the majesty of the setting. Quite happy to go back anyway - happy memories. Parked up in Liverpool Street, just across from the stadium - no kidding - fate etc. Had a little wander & a few photos. Some other reds had found a cardboard cut out of the great leader that had been left. Had to be done. As we were leaving the soundtrack to last night was being played over the sound system - as if someone was watching the match again. The cheers for the goal raised more than a smile. Headed over to the nearby shopping centre for some lunch, guided Gareth to the metro & headed off to Valencia. Fairly long journey & by half way was getting a little weary so a caffeine stop was required. Just as we were leaving Liz clocked, Jose Enrique, a Spanish former player. Greetings and smiles exchanged. He'd clearly just been to a game somewhere & was on his way home. Can't think what match... Didn't want to hassle him too much as he is still recovering from a brain tumour. Highs to the lows - Liz proceeded to break a filling on some haribo. Then received a text from Gareth saying all trains to Malaga were full. Muchos worry. Were over 100 miles away & was of no help. Eventually got into Valencia, more free parking & checked with a helpful receptionist tutoring me with my Spanish. Turns out Gareth managed to find a hostel & booked a train the next day. Lots of video watching, reading & blogging about being CHAMPIONS OF EUROPE!
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  • Day4

    If Carlsberg did holidays...

    June 1, 2019 in Spain ⋅ 🌙 28 °C

    Spent an hour or so outside the ground with Caroline's husband - beer, bit to eat, footie chat & pondering how fat Maradonna is. Getting inside the ground proved relatively easy - didn't like the deodorant so the sweaty effects of the train journey were doomed to afflict those around me. Astounded how few of the cockneys made the effort to get in the ground early for the atmosphere - they seem to think doling out thousands of plastic flags does this. It does not. All you got was the same old songs & the same old St Georges flags - boring. Our end was bouncing early on & it was clear we were outnumbering them. Bodes well. Lots of UEFA twaddle to start with - fireworks & crappy Spanish pop. Doesn't go down well with fans stung for criminally limited tickets. Then to the main event & the nerves. 22s in & a penalty. Calms but also means a case of defending what you have & banking we'll get another. 88 min was painfully long but at the right and joyfully chaotic - hugging complete strangers. Cue party time. Players & fans together having a ball. Didn't want to leave but the car park was 40 mins away, getting out could be challenging & it was 12ish. Not much leeway @ the car park. Lots of singing in the streets later, made it with 20 mins to spare. Then the small matter of driving into the city centre to pick up Liz. Only stalled a couple of times - not used to this clutch lark. Thankfully easy to locate her & then the small matter if another 1 driving back to the hotel.Read more

  • Day4

    Worries & more worries...

    June 1, 2019 in Spain ⋅ ☀️ 32 °C

    Breakie was curtailed somewhat by a jumbo geriatric coach party descended enmasse. Massive queues meant a couple of bowls of coco pops & croissant would have to suffice. Packed up & headed out for the dash to Madrid for 'THE FINAL' Had to check in @ the hotel first which meant a dog-log route into Madrid - nice easy motorway was replaced with a windy mountain road. Far more interesting for the driver, not so good for Liz's stomach. Plenty of pre-match build up had been downloaded to get us in the mood but as a by product caused stress - when will get there, where to park, how to arrange to meet up with people. So much to fret over you could almost forget about the match. Found the hotel & checked in at the nearby bar. Thankfully they had a room available early so we on the road before the official check in time. Tight wad managed to find free parking near the ground - catch being it closed @ 1am - fine if the game didn't go to pens. Gambled it wouldn't. Made sense - avoid metro afterwards. Into Madrid - ticket guy sorted us & off to the madness of the fan park. A euphemism - not a blade of grass in sight & as the lift ascended the massed singing could be heard. Never have I seen so many carrier bags stuffed with tinnies. Had a little explore but either too old or too sober. As it transpired I couldn't escape. 1st priority was to locate Caroline - Liz's match buddy for the night. Texted that we were outside the 'El corte Ingles entrance' Liz's phone promptly ran out of credit. Then discovered there were in fact 5 entrances. To add to the woes Gareth was struggling with the heat & wouldn't be able to make it to the fan park. All seemed to be going tit's up. Thankfully nothing quite so dramatic. Located Caroline & family. Liz sorted for watching the match @ bar with company so off to the stadium. Avoided the fan park metro & thus the crowds. All well & good but they crowded on @ the next stop anyway. Sardines doesn't come close. Surprised the train didn't bounce all the way there.Read more

  • Day3

    Stupidity accepted

    May 31, 2019 in Spain ⋅ ☀️ 30 °C

    Air con caused some dehydration issues - nothing that a face filling breakie couldn't solve. Bit more chaotic today. Liz a little delicate - sun burn still causing issues. Accepted that it was her own fault for not putting on sun block initially - silly girl. Packed up & hit the road - well walked to the car hire place. Unfortunately got an upgrade. Picked it up @ an upscale hotel so a small car to a rich bugger is not what I class as small. Driving round Madrid & its compact car parks is going to be challenging. What was also challenging was linking my phone & navigating round Barcelona & listening to LFC related podcasts all at the same time. Didn't crash... somehow. Small matter of 200 miles passed easily - listening to the King pontificate on the final. Checked in to find the pool wasn't open - too cold!!! How hot do they need it. Decided to check out Zaragoza after Liz had washed her hair. Some mad roundabouts later we found ourselves admiring the cathedral. You know it's a big church when it can accomodate mass & a wedding seperately. Snuck in to find the tower - just in time. Great views & then back for a bargain tea.Read more

  • Day2

    Red all over.

    May 30, 2019 in Spain ⋅ ☀️ 21 °C

    Clearly the sun was a little more intense than it seemed - Liz, unsurprisingly, ended up red all over - well 1 of her legs. So we adjourned to the cool before heading upto Park Guell. Upon investigating, it became apparent that it is a ticketed entry system & all was fully booked. There was, however a free portion of the park which offered fine views of the city. Once cooled, decided to take the metro up to investigate. Hindsight is a wonderful thing but it's obvious really that a great view necessitates a lot of climbing. Muchos steps. Was a great view but by now 1 red leg had become 2. Headed back via Lidl to get copious amounts of aftersun & cherries.Read more

  • Day2

    Sunshine + swim = holiday

    May 30, 2019 in Spain ⋅ ☀️ 20 °C

    Funny how a decent climate encourages a more active lifestyle or maybe it's just an excuse for those that live in rainy places. Anyway, the sun was out & Liz was still sleepy so off for a run along the beach. All very quiet - out & indeed at the breakfast pig out - dedpite being peak time. Having been to Barcelona a fair few times, decided against rushing around ticking boxes. Enjoy the sun, walk along the beach to the harbour & maybe get a swim in at some point. Closer to Barceloneta things got a bit busier so headed to the pier - bit out on a limb so quiet. Took in a few shady spots & a water tower (possibly) Hit the beach - water a bit chilly but refreshing. Not as hot here as Madrid will be so cooling not as urgent.Read more

  • Day1

    Keeping covered up.

    May 29, 2019 in Spain ⋅ 🌙 17 °C

    Kicking heels for most of the day. Makes a change from stupid o'clock. Bit of gardening, bit of packing. Nice to be going from Liverpool - far less hectic & busy than the wrong side of the east lancs. Avoided the worst of the rain - dropped off nice & handy. Sailed through a very thorough security - just a touch of jealousy in his voice when the final destination came up. Fair play to the airport everywhere was well decorated - lots of luck heading in the direction of the lads in red! Bite to eat & the standard fare it seemed was posh burger - Burger King aside the price was £15, which seemed steep. Opted for a pasta place which was kicking against the tide though they still did burgers - hedging their bets. Nice enough & passed the time. Boarded pretty much as we finished & handily ended up with emergency exit seats. Flight passed - saw the snow capped Pyrenees. Automatic passport control failed or I cocked it up - not sure which. Finding the train also proved more challenging then we remembered. Found it but probably by a very circuitous route. One change @ P de Gracia - v long walk. Decided to keep my fleece on - not sure the locals would be to happy with Liverpool fans after their humilation. 5 stops on the metro - a happy arsenal fan led us to believe they'd won the UEFA cup. They hadn't. Very short walk from the metro & bed.Read more