Monday, 29 October 2012

Visit Barcelona with The Dating Game

Hi everyone
First of all, most humble apologies. This post was meant to happen on Sat, but I had a few technical glitches over the weekend. So, this is The Dating Game launch week. Only 4 more days until the party begins!

So, I figured it was fitting to show a little insight into why I chose to set part of The Dating Game in Barcelona.

The first time I went to Barcelona, I moved there to teach English when I was straight out of university. I even learned a little bit of Catalan. Although I have a great love affair with Italy, my favourite European city is Barcelona. So it made sense to include this in my novel, and, of course, having lived there, gave me a little bit of a unique insight.

Today we will visit some of the locations in The Dating Game and I will tell you why I chose them

Parc Güell and more particularly Casa Gaudí.  I love architecture, more than art, possibly because I can't draw for toffee (not that I can build anything either). I lived in Barcelona for a few months and tried to find Parc Güell, but it's actually not the easiest to find. I had been back twice more to Barcelona and still never visited it. So, in 2011 I finally got to go to Casa Gaudí.  Ever since I moved to Barcelona in 1995, I had always wanted to go. I love that it looks like a sugar-topped candy house! Something of the Hansel and Gretel about it.

Another Gaudí building. There are so many in Barcelona. When I first moved there, I thought one of the buildings looked like a face! Gaudí is by far my favourite architect and one of Barcelona's most famous sons. 
A trip to Barcelona wouldn't be complete without a meander down the Ramblas, the main thoroughfare from the sea all the way up through the city centre. And some of these statues are pretty good! The café culture in Barcelona is fab, as you will see in The Dating Game. Locals don't tend to go on the Ramblas, where four years ago it was 12 euros for a copa de sangría! And although Barcelona is my favourite city, it has its drawbacks, particularly associated with the Ramblas. Lots of pickpockets and bag snatching, but despite that still my favourite city. You just need to keep your wits about you!
This building is the Ajuntament, or town hall. See the crowded square? This is typical of how sardine-like the crowds are at the events during the Mercé festival in Barcelona each September. I have been twice now, once by pure chance. The red and white against the building are actually people standing on each other's shoulders, in an event called Castellers - where they form a human pyramid! Bloomin' scary. That was as close as we could get to the action - not one to go to if, like me, you're a bit claustrophobic, but I still enjoyed it!
Also, I used to live on the other side of that square, about 50m down the street towards Placa Reial, the main square in Barcelona for people to have coffee or drinks.
and this fine chap is one of the dragons from the Mercé festival.

and these are the Gegants (giants) who parade during the Mercé - Catalunya really knows how to do festivals well! Every time I go, I discover a new festival, and I can say truthfully that it was always exciting living in Barcelona.

This is the Parc de la Ciutadella, where during the Mercé they have open air concerts (as they do in many venues in Barcelona, but this is by far the prettiest). Believe me, watching Swan Lake performed in the dark (but floodlit!) in this park, was one of the most memorable festival experiences.
If you haven't been to Barcelona, you don't know what you're  missing. And if you have been, but have missed the Mercé, or any of the items I've mentioned, get yourself back there!

And do you know what's brilliant about this architecture-rich and cultural city? It also has this:-

And no visit to Barcelona would be complete without seeing or visiting its most iconic structure - The Sagrada Família - Gaudí's unfinished masterpiece. Love it or hate it, you've got to admire it!
and a little peek at the interior, too!

it looks like honeycomb!

So to find out if Gill and her friends enjoyed visiting Barcelona as much as I did, and what were their favourite haunts out of those listed here and those not, tune in on Friday for the start of launch week and your first chance to purchase The Dating Game.

Failing any major catastrophes, there should be a final The Dating Game pre-launch post on Wednesday.

Hope you enjoyed our virtual tour of Barcelona and see you Wednesday. Have a great week, Sooz


  1. Amazing city! I know Italy well - especially Venice and Florence, but have NEVER visited Spain. How shameful is that. Thanks for showing me round your favourite city.

  2. Yes, love Venice. Spent my 33rd birthday there, alone (it wasn't the plan, but I had a great time). Also love Florence, but haven't been for years. I can't believe you have never been to Spain. You gotta go. And I highly recommend Seville as well as Barcelona. Seville is my 2nd favourite city. Thanks for commenting, Sooz x

  3. I really want to visit Barcelona now! And I'm very excited for The Dating Game to be launched.

    1. thanks Meredith. It's an incredible city. If you ever get the chance to visit Europe, make sure it's on your itinerary!