Mad Aunt on the Rampage.

September 26, 2012

Having escaped the clutches of Tossa de Mar (for some unknown reason our mature, grown-up daughter Polly was in tucks  of laughter about this place,) we made Badalona on 8 September with no real hassle and were promptly sent back to the same berth we had vacated a few weeks before.  This time the internet connection worked so we were able to make sure that my sister Susie (aka the Mad Aunt or MA) understood the instructions for meeting us in Barcelona before she set out to join us.


Badalona is an old industrial suburb lying on the coast to the north of Barcelona proper.  It’s not pretty but the marina is good and inexpensive plus there are excellent train and metro links into the city.  Accordingly on the morning of the 10 September we caught a train to Placa Catalunya to meet up with MA.  We had, however, forgotten that the airport train stops at Passeig De Gracia NOT at Placa Catalunya, where we had told her to meet us.  It didn’t help matters that I’d succeeded in turning my mobile to silent so we missed several vital text messages…..  Ah well, we met up in the end and made our way back to “Rampage” by way of a beach bar in Badalona.  (It should just be mentioned here that Susie had probably the heaviest bag of all time – without wheels – having gamely agreed to bring out all sorts of bits and pieces for us ranging from teabags to a new custom-built shelf for our barograph, courtesy of Pam Lynch.  Our sincere thanks to both ladies!) That evening as we were finishing supper we started to hear fireworks and hurried out on deck to watch a truly spectacular show – it was a great welcome for the Mad Aunt.

A welcome beer after an epic game of ‘Hunt the Mad Aunt’ in central Barcelona!


After a day to relax and go to the beach, J and she spent the following two days ‘doing’ Barcelona, the winds being no good for sailing, while I tackled a few jobs on “Rampage” before we left the port.  On the Wednesday they spent the morning visiting Casa Batllo – one of the most remarkable of all the buildings designed by Antoni Gaudi. 

A beautiful doorway in Casa Batllo – one of just so many incredible features – a definite Must for anyone visiting Barcelona.

It was one of the sites J and I never visited during our winter in Barcelona 3 years ago and they were both utterly captivated by it and took any number of photos.  They then spent the afternoon pottering about the Gothic area and Las Ramblas, stopping off to see Placa Reial and the main covered market of La Boqueria. 


In La Boqueria – the famous covered market on Las Ramblas.

On Thursday J sent MA off alone to visit the Sagrada Familia, having already been there herself a number of times, but she joined Susie afterwards and took her up to Parc Guell – yet another Gaudi creation.    Back in town, they had supper at the Hard Rock Café, ostensibly because the Mad Aunt is collecting their glasses, although methinks the burgers and Long Island Iced Tea (a deadly mix of vodka, tequila, rum, gin, triple sec, sweet and sour mix and Coca-Cola) were the real attraction.  Feeling by all accounts relaxed and mellow, they then made their way to Placa Espanya to watch the music and light show at the fountains before eventually making it back on board around midnight.


Long Island Iced Tea and an enormous burger at the Hard Rock Cafe, Barcelona

On Wednesday evening, with the weather set fair for a few days from Friday, we’d had a route planning conference.  MA wanted to go to a ‘pretty anchorage’ and after much discussion and study of the winds, we decided that the best bet was to go to Mallorca.  Thus middle day on Friday, off we set and immediately picked up a westerly wind (force 4 – 5) which was great for a close hauled sail.  We were headed for Mallorca, but then the wind changed a bit, so we shifted our destination to Fornells in Menorca;  early on Saturday morning the wind changed again so we reverted to Plan A and headed for Pollenca in Mallorca.  Flexible or what? 


MA however, played no part in these discussions, as despite copious quantities of Stugeron she was laid low by mal de mare.  Although she didn’t actually feed the fishes, she spent most of the time in the cockpit in a horizontal position.   This was particularly sad because Friday just happened to be the Mad Aunt’s birthday and all she was capable of eating for supper was a bit of dried bread, apparently smelling & tasting distinctly of soap.  I should explain that we don’t always serve our bread thus scented but J had just washed the bread bag and it had transferred the perfume of the washing powder straight to the bread!  Yum!


Watching out for rays in Pollenca bay!

We arrived in Pollenca in the early morning of Saturday and I dropped anchor single handed leaving the watch below to slumber on.   (It should be pointed out here that a couple of times the skipper sloped off an hour early from his watch so fair’s fair!  J)   Anyway, Susie recovered well from the trip and was delighted with Pollenca and the next 3 days were spent at anchor there.  I had a bout of man flu whilst we were there and spent much of the time in bed whilst the girls frolicked about and enjoyed themselves.  It was very hot and sunny so most of the time was spent in and out of the water; they were particularly thrilled and delighted to see quite a number of dinner-plate sized rays while snorkling.  On our final evening there we had a meal ashore: paella, which for once was nicely cooked with lots of sea food.  (All too often in our experience, ordering paella in a Spanish restaurant leads to disappointment.)


A glass of sangria on our last night in Pollenca

We crossed back to Badalona, leaving on Monday evening and arriving about middle day on Tuesday.  The trip was made on the motor as there was no wind worth mentioning, although we did pick up a current which gave us about an extra knot over the ground, cutting a couple of hours of the journey time.    This time, without the waves, MA travelled much better and was able to admire the scenery, and in due course the stars.  Indeed she took the helm for the first couple of hours of the trip.  Once again, on reaching Badalona, the marina put us back on the same berth! 


Leaving Mallorca as the light faded.

On Wednesday we all went into Barcelona and visited another of the Gaudi houses, La Pedrera.  I find Guadi’s take on things quite remarkable if a little pretentious.  However, for me what is remarkable is the very advanced building techniques he used which meant that the structural strength of his buildings lay in the internal steel and stone work rather than in the walls.  This meant he could shape the external walls as he saw fit to achieve decorative effects rather than having to shape them as load bearing structures.  Brilliant idea and it lies very much at the heart of many major modern buildings like the Gherkin and the Shard. 


We had a very late lunch back at the Hard Rock Café, after which Susie presented both J and me with a commemorative glass which we will treasure carefully.  Finally we took Susie to see the outside of the beautiful Palau de Musica and urged her to try and visit it if she gets the chance when she returns to Barcelona on business next February.  Returning to the boat that evening, where we realised we didn’t need to eat again as the portion sizes at the Hard Rock had rendered any further food redundant!


Thoroughly Gaudi-ed out, MA was loaded onto her flight the following afternoon; J and I took her to the airport to ensure she didn’t escape and try to re-board “Rampage”.



  1. Good to see you are still having fun. I can’t believe it is 2 1/2 years since we visited in Barcelona. We’re still having fun with volcanoes though! Bron & Meg xxx

  2. I think MA looks like a lot of fun! T x

  3. Thank you so much for a wonderful holiday!! Looking forward to being able to return the compliment when you are back visiting UK at the end of Oct. Lots of Love MA xxx

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