TTOT: Barcelona, Sangria and a whole bunch of bananas

It’s the 100 week party for TTOT, and I couldn’t not join in. I’ve also had a really long day, week, month and I’m not sure how much I can pour into posting tonight but I also don’t want to just throw out glib answers for such a special TTOT event.

So, hmm, what am I thankful for this week?

A friend of mine is currently travelling on an exciting and somewhat scary journey into the unknown, exploring her family history. While observing the discoveries she makes along the way, it occurs to me that I know very little about my own family history. I don’t mean a family tree as such – I have a tree going back several generations and can easily find out the name of my great, great, great granduncles wife.

But knowing who they were, their jobs, their efforts in the wars – that’s something I can only find out from talking to my parents, and sharing stories from their childhood. So, I am thankful that I can do that – that I can call up my mum and find out more about her father, who was a tailor and drove trucks in the war, or my nan, who drove forklifts in the war and never drove a vehicle again after it ended.

A few weeks ago we went to Barcelona for a long weekend, and to celebrate GMB’s 40th birthday. I’ve never been hugely into art, not enough to say that I love a particular artist or that I can see what thousands of people find so exciting about a painting of a nude cherub. Before we went I was told all about the Gaudi houses, the Sagrada Familia, and how I needed to see these wondrous things. Usually before we travel I work out all of the places I want to visit, but this time I was happy to leave the planning up to everyone else, because I really didn’t have a preference.

So, off we went with our friends, and during the course of our wandering I did see the Gaudi houses, all wibbly wobbly, and I gazed upon the Sagrada Familia, with its wandering walls and ridiculous spires and – was that a Christmas Tree on the front? Really?

However, then we saw the bunches of fruit on top of those ridiculous spires – and that really tickled me. I liked the fruit. What kind of mind thinks up fruit bowls for a church tower, and what type of people not only build his design, follow his plan – but carry on with the bizarre spectacle after his death – at the cost of millions of pounds.

Sagrada Familia - bunches of bananas, ridiculous spires and cranes! What more can you ask for in your church?

Sagrada Familia – bunches of bananas, ridiculous spires and cranes! What more can you ask for in your church?

Whether I like the fruit for their whole clownish, ludicrous irrelevance, or whether I like Gaudi for leading an entire city into his zany viewpoint, I don’t know. But like it I do.

And then we went to Park Guell and wandered along wobbly walls and sat in beautiful arcs of stone. Art – architecture – that embraces nature. Now that I get.

Park Guell - wibbly wobbly walls and wonderful natural architecture

Park Guell – wibbly wobbly walls and wonderful natural architecture

So many thankfuls in that one weekend. To be able to travel at will, and have the means to visit a city like Barcelona – that is a gift. To have family who are happy to care for the kids for a weekend, and who we trust implicitly, that is a privilege. To have an entire 4 days of time out with Mr G, just the two of us (well, and 7 other people in our group) but having the time to be us, a couple again, that was precious. To share in GMB’s 40th birthday – that was a treat. And to finally discover an area of art I get – that was a surprise.

AND I ate squid and snails. I'm so proud of me for trying them! I won't be eating them again though.

AND I ate squid and snails. I’m so proud of me for trying them! I won’t be eating them again though.

We got home at about 2am, which meant our kids were fast asleep in bed. So we tumbled into our own bed exhausted, and slept deeply, to be woken up by 2 small bodies bouncing in for cuddles and kisses and to welcome us home – and to ask for gifts, of course. Now there is Ten Things of Thankful all in one – and thousands more.

A bonus from our trip to Barcelona was that I tried sangria again. I’ve had it before and not liked it, but over the course of the weekend I tested a number of different mixes in various bars and one that was very delicious, sweet and refreshing. So I stalked the bar lady until she, without a word of English, and I with no understanding of Spanish or Chinese (seriously, a Chinese lady made the best Spanish sangria and Chinese duck in the whole of Barcelona, what a find) demonstrated her concoction. I took notes, searched out the ingredients, and have spent the 2 weeks since we got home practicing the recipe with help from my friends.

After extensive testing, GMB and I have concluded that we can drink plenty of sangria, get very giggly and happy with life and have no hangover the next day. How fantastic is that! So my final thankful for the week – I have a whole new drink to enjoy!

Mmm - sun loving sangria!

Mmm – sun loving sangria!


Bonus Thankful! 100 weeks of TTOT – how amazing is that. I’m truly thankful that Lizzi had that zap of inspiration that came up with such a great idea – and that I get to be part of it, and meet so many other lovely people as a result. How cool is that!

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