Sunday, January 14, 2007


I'm back! Actually, I've been back since January 3rd, but was busy for a few days then went down with the awful chesty cold and cough that is doing the rounds at the moment. Finally on the mend.

Spent 10 days in Barcelona over Christmas and New Year, visiting Nigel, my partner, who splits his time between Barcelona and London. Enjoyed the nice sunny weather, fresh sea air and cheap organic wine. It was the hottest December in Barcelona in 30 years, apparently, and while I was there temperatures averaged about 15 degrees Nice, but worrying. Also worrying that my non-frost hardy plants from the Scilly Isles that I forgot to cover with fleece/put in mini-greenhouse before I went away, I still fine as there has been little or no frost to speak of here.

Before I get bombarded with comments about my carbon emissions etc, I should add that I travelled there by train, which was remarkably easy and stress-free (Eurostar to Paris, then a sleeper train from Paris to Barcelona). It costs a bit more than the plane, but wouldn't do if the aviation industry was made to pay for the pollution it produces. Having read Friday's Metro, I can see I'm not the only one switching. Ute always gets the train when she goes home to Germany. Thankfully not everyone is following Blair's 'bury head in sand and fly as much as I like philosophy.'

Loads of cyclists, skateboarders, roller-bladers and pedestrians in Barcelona. They have the advantage of having wide roads and pavements, with plenty of space for cycle lanes on the pavement. The other thing I like is that there are lots of small independently-run shops - supermarkets don't seem to dominate. They also seem to be investing in markets - the local market was being rebuilt and enlarged and the new building had solar panels across the roof (see picture). Didn't see a huge number of solar panels, considering the potential, but there is a huge solar panel 'art installation' near the beach.
Eating out as a veggie can be a bit of a challenge in Barcelona, unless you go specifically to a vegetarian place, or you're happy to eat cheese baguettes, Spanish omelettes or chips all the time, but I would whole-heartedly recommend Juicy Jones for excellent juices and vegan snacks, Biocenter (amazing value veggie place) and Maoz falafel bars (apparently there are 2 of these in Soho now too).

OK, nuff said about hols, which already seem distant, back to business . . .

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