Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Fernando Alonso…eat your heart out!

The Mile Highlight club had assembled in Row 18; Sexy Esme, Dizzy Rachael and the rest of the Barcelona Hen Night(mare) 2006. Blonde streaks bobbed up and down as they squealed, contorted, kicked and generally got high on celebrity gossip mags. With a bit of luck thought TJ, a visit to Jean Leon’s winery just outside Barcelona was not on their schedule. The hens clucked as the lady across the aisle slept mouth agape, catching the sky. Had I looked like that a few moments earlier?...Surely not.

The sun quite literally beat down like a big stick on the beautiful Jean Leon vineyards and winery in Penedes. I was able to honestly tell my host, Anna, that it was 35 degrees in London that day. Raised eyebrows and polite smiles…she clearly thought me quite loopy…poor boy, all that cold and rain has gone to his head. The wines were delightful. And the new Zemis 2003? “Juice of the Gods”, chimed in Mario hopefully.

Lunch at Mas Rabell, Torres’ private dining restaurant was spectacular (Miguel Torres was a pal of Jean Leon. Not surprisingly, he liked the wines so much he bought the company). I suggest you try to get in there, though you can’t book or pay. Your best shot is to propose some business to Torres or Jean Leon, get invited, eat quickly and then scarper before the game’s up. Piece of pastel.

Then to business in the sprawling offices of Torres town but that’s all a bit dull compared to the car trip after that back to Barcelona. With Iain at the wheel and TJ on map duty (with Goonie Map: Part 2 – what is it with winemakers and indecipherable treasure maps?) we sped through traffic and made great time, getting to within 10 metres of the destination. “Is this it? No it can’t be”…wrong move partner. Wow, you only get one shot at it in Barcelona and you don’t want to miss it. In an attempt to loop round we took off gamely down what looked like a road…until it became a path, then a pedestrian area…then a square. A beautiful square, lovely buildings, a fountain; no roads mind but that didn’t worry David Coulthard behind the wheel as we weaved through groups of tourists. Then a path again and more people. Commotion on our right as people crowded round the car pointing. Our chief of security fortunately locked all the doors in a flash (well our doors anyway – sorry Iain!) as we survived our first hijacking attempt. We drove round in a few more circles before eventually threading our way back to our start/destination 30 minutes later. Fernando Alonso…eat your heart out!


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