Summer of 2022.
Part 4: Barcelona.

July 4, 2022. Granada to Barcelona Spain.

Granada’s airport was very efficient, as was the disembarkation from our Vueling flight in Barcelona. 

It was done five rows at a time, which stopped the mad panic that you usually get. 

Why don’t more airlines adopt this approach?


El Gato de Botero in Rambla del Raval

July 5, 2022. Barcelona Spain.

We were staying in Rambla del Raval, at the Abba Rambla Hotel, where we have stayed before.

It’s a great area just off the Rambla, the iconic walking street in Barcelona.

Thea’s health wasn’t improving, so we decided to get a doctor to assess her.

The hotel was fantastic and had an English speaking doctor come to visit us in just under two hours.

The doctor suggested that Thea go straight to the hospital for tests.

She was admitted into the Hospital HM Nou Delfos and after an initial consultation, told she would be there for a few days while more tests were carried out.

This particular hospital had an English speaking ward, with both doctors and nurses being able to communicate with Thea.

This was certainly a help.

The hospital was in Gràcia and about 25 minutes by taxi from our hotel in Rambla del Raval.

This was a real change in our plans and meant that, unfortunately, we would no longer be going to Rome for the wedding.

July 6, 2022. Barcelona Spain.

As we had the Abba Rambla Hotel booked and paid for two nights, we decided that I would stay there and get a taxi to be with Thea during the day.

Then I would find a hotel that was close to the hospital and move there.

So it was another day in the hospital again, while we tried to rearrange our plans.

In the evening, after returning to my hotel from the hospital, I had a guilty pint at OLDGOD. This is  a craft beer bar, just near the Rambla del Raval and has 20 beers on tap.

I had a Freddy Fox West Coast IPA, it was excellent and brewed, right there, in Barcelona. 

What a strange name for a Spanish beer.

At €7 (A$11.50) for 500ml it wasn’t cheap but then good craft beer never is. 

While having dinner, which was in Parc Infantil, the square in front of the restaurant, I was warned by a local not to leave my bag on the ground, as it might get stolen. 

Luckily we have learned to strap them to the chair, and the table, so it was pretty safe.

We think we have a diverse culture in Australia. However looking around at the faces in Raval, we have nothing like that at home. 

Obviously there are Europeans, from all countries, but also African, Asians, Indians, Pakistanis, Central Asians, North and South Americans, and of course the odd Australian. 

July 7, 2022. Barcelona Spain.

Thea was still in the Hospital HM Nou Delfos and undergoing numerous tests.

I moved to a new hotel, Catalonia Park Güell, near the Gràcia area, that was walking distance from the hospital.

It was a very quiet area with not a lot of eating options.

That night I finished up dining at Lascaleta, a restaurant that was just over the road from the hospital. 

I got a feeling that they might get to know me there. 


Tibidabo at sunset

July 8, 2022. Barcelona Spain.

Thea was still in the Hospital HM Nou Delfos and waiting to get the full analysis of all the tests she had undergone.

These should come though on Saturday. 

As expected I returned to Lascaleta, the restaurant over the road, for breakfast. The service was excruciatingly slow and I missed seeing Thea’s doctor. 

Today is Brianna’s third birthday and it’s such a shame that we can’t celebrate the event with the rest of the family in Italy. 

Now was the time we were meant to be in Lake Bracciano, north of Rome, for Cam and Fran’s wedding. 

An event that we started to plan for in 2019. 

Then due to COVID it was cancelled in 2020 and here we are, missing it again. 

July 9, 2022. Barcelona Spain.

Thea was discharged from hospital, now it’s a matter of what we do next and how do we recover the expenses. 

This hasn’t been a cheap experience and we have had to move money around in order to pay the hospital bills. 

This was made more difficult by the 8 hour time difference between Barcelona and Melbourne.

And, to make it all the more complicated, Thea was discharged on a weekend, so everything was shut, both in Spain and Australia. 

My afternoon task was to find a pharmacy that was open and get Thea’s medication. 

Apart from the anxiety and worry of Thea’s hospitalisation, significant world events happened over the time of her stay. 

In Britain, Boris Johnston resigned as Prime Minister and in Japan, former Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe was assassinated. 

What an eventful time this is.


Hospital HM Nou Delfos from the roof of the hotel

July 10, 2022. Barcelona Spain.

We are in the Catalonia Park Güell Hotel now and, fortunately, back together again. 

Thea is still taking it slow and will be for some time.

I think the rest of our trip will be done as ‘Slow Travel’ which is the way I like it anyway. 

But not under these circumstances. 

We did a bit of a casual meander around the Gràcia area and enjoyed some of the local architecture.

Especially the Art deco buildings.

Afterwards we had an ‘accidental lunch’ at Askadinya a Mediterranean, Palestinian, fusion restaurant in Gràcia.

These accidental meals pop up from time to time and are mainly due to circumstances changing.

This one, like so many we have had, turn out to be a pleasant surprise.


The beach at Badalona

July 11, 2022. Barcelona Spain.

After breakfast, again at Lascaleta, we crossed the road to the hospital and settled the bill. 

Hopefully this is the last time we have to go there. 

This has been a very expensive exercise and now we have to go through the laborious task of claiming it all on the travel insurance. 

This won’t be easy, as most insurance companies are very reluctant to honour their commitments. 

We then caught the underground to Badalona, one of our favourite spots from the time we lived there in 2012.

Lunch was on the waterfront, next to the train line.

We then walked up and down Carrer de La Mar, the main shopping strip in Badalona and eventually caught the overground back to our hotel.

That night we discovered the fresh fruit platter at the hotel, was a great dish to end the day, especially after a long Spanish lunch.

Interestingly the medication Thea was on meant that she had developed a voracious appetite.

There was no way I could keep up with her.

July 12, 2022. Barcelona Spain.

It was a slow and quiet day in the city, then another long Spanish lunch.

Unfortunately there was no siesta to follow. 

After a drink and nibbles back at the hotel, we returned to our room to pack. 

Tomorrow was going to be an early start and a long day.

We had talked my mate Denis into letting us stay at his place in Arnex-Sur-Orb in Switzerland.

After everything we had been through, a few restful days in the Swiss countryside would do us all good.

Denis was due to be in Rome for the wedding as well but unfortunately he also had to miss out, as he can no longer tolerate the heat.

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