Barcelona – Pre-race

It’s safe to say that I’d been very much looking forward to going to Barcelona. Not only did I get to spend a little time with my wife on Valentine’s weekend but I was also going to fit in the Barcelona half marathon.

So, after a heavy night shift at work (heavy, like in Back to the Future);

I was dismayed to get up on the morning to see this tweet from Virgin Trains.

virgintrains2

ABANDON ALL TRAVEL.

I needed clarification on this…ALL TRAVEL? In essence they were saying that the storms had absolutely goosed the UK. Luckily though trains were beginning to run again by the time I arose from my slumber. But all tickets were unrestricted. As it was I had just enough time to create a meme before we decided what we were doing in regards to which train to get.

virgintrains
I know, childish huh, but it made me chuckle when all around me were losing their heads.

So it looked like the train we were booked on was going to be uber late. But what’s this? A train has appeared on the system from out of nowhere starting at Carlisle and going to Manchester Airport but it leaves in ten minutes. Even on a good day there is no way to get from our house to the railway station in ten minutes. But we must try dammit…our holiday was in jeopardy.

So we piled into the back of my wife’s fathers car and we were off. We’d left a shed load of stuff on a table that we were meant to take with us but we had passports, money and clothes. That’s all we needed.

Imagine the scene in Home Alone where they’re all running for the plane. They know they’ve forgotten something and they start listing things off until they finally realise they’ve left Kevin. Bad parents huh? Well in our case it was the charger for the iphone and the charger for the GPS watch. But that was a bit of a mouthful to shout out once I’d realised so I just said “shit”.

The lights were against us all the way and there were a lot of Sunday drivers about even though it was Thursday. But by hook or by crook we arrived at the station at 13:29. We ran, well I ran…Mrs C kind of imitated running to a point. Much like Bruce Willis in Die Hard I grabbed Mrs C’s hand and we flew through the air and landed on the train just as the doors were closing. (Honest!!! This is exactly what happened).

Yippee Ki Yay!!!

So we were on our way. But not for long. It all seemed t0o good to be true until we rolled into Preston and were informed that they couldn’t find another driver and the service was cancelled. Dammit.

We stood at Preston for a good half hour before the same train that we had just been on was moved to another track and we got on it again. Pointless. We were off again. Until we rolled into Manchester Piccadilly and the service was cancelled. Dammit. We were just one stop away from the aiport as well. So close yet so far. Never mind, 20 minutes later we were on yet another train and finally the airport was in sight.

A short stay in a hotel and we were finally on our way to Barcelona. Providing we got through passport control first. I was submitted to the usual ‘random’ check. When it happens every time it fails to be classed as random in my opinion.

An hour later we were sitting on the plane awaiting to take off and I had a nosebleed. Not a normal nosebleed though…this one decided to go the other way and right down the back off my throat. As I was retching away there were a lot of nervous passengers around me.  Luckily it subsided and we took off without a hitch.

Two hours later we landed and the race was on to be one of the first into passport control and to get the luggage. Luckily I’m pretty fast so we were in and out of the airport in no time.

Once we arrived at the hotel, which was located just next to La Sagrada Familia, Mrs C decided to have a lie down while I went to pick up my race pack.

The view from the hotel room
The view from the hotel room

I did get a little lost initially. But once I worked out where I was going it took me about fifteen minutes to get to the registration area. I was about to find out if I’d filled the details in properly when I booked the race. I was unsure as to whether I’d ticked the right box to say I needed a chip or not. It turns out I had though. I was told to pick up a t-shirt but I wasn’t allowed to try it on or touch it (weird!!) so I picked a medium…it was a little on the tight side but apparently I wasn’t allowed to swap it now that I had picked. I couldn’t be bothered to argue, I’ll just have to lose a little weight.

Once I’d got back to the hotel and picked Mrs C up we decided to have a lovely Valentine’s day meal in a restaurant called Apat.

http://www.apat.es/eng/restaurante.php

The next day consisted of tourist buses (following both routes), a visit to the olympic museum, a lovely, albeit messy, lunch at Bacoa (http://bacoa.es/), a little walk taking in some sites and then an evening meal at a pizza restaurant.

Just one of the clear sky views we saw in Barcelona
Just one of the clear sky views we saw in Barcelona

It was time to get my race head on though. The half marathon was the next day and it would be an early start for me. Luckily the bed in the hotel was fantastic and I was soon fast asleep and dreaming.

You may have noticed a few film references in this blog. I bet a friend that I could shoe-horn my three favourite films into a blog post and make it relevant. I think I managed it…I won’t tell if you don’t.

Dream, believe, train, achieve

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