Go to Barcelona, they said. It’ll be great, they said. Watch out for the pickpockets though, they said. I’ll tell you what, they weren’t wrong.
Me, the boss and daughters #1 and #2 spent nine sun-kissed days and balmy nights in Barcelona. On the Wednesday night we went to Camp Nou to watch FC Barcelona toy with and then destroy Sevilla in the second leg of the Spanish Super Cup - 3-0 on the night, 5-0 over two legs.
We saw little Lionel Messi move at twice the speed of everyone else then hang in the air like Denis Law as he planted a header in the far corner to send 71,000 Catalans berserk.
Even our kids loved it, and they hate football.I took the greatest photograph ever on my all-singing, all-dancing phone - a stunning panoramic view of Camp Nou with my suntanned wife and daughters grinning at the very edge.
That’ll hang on our wall for ever, or so I thought. The thing is, the game didn’t kick off til 11pm and the nimrods who run the Barcelona Metro shut it down at midnight on weekdays.
Cue mayhem on the final whistle as tens of thousands spilled on to the streets with no means of getting home. We walked the streets for two hours looking for a taxi, bus or tram.
Then as we tried to get on a bus in a crush like a 1980s football terrace, Barcelona’s other world-class team sprang into action and lifted my iPhone and 50 euros out of two separate pockets.
A quick call to EE and the phone was locked and blacklisted, “It’s a lump of metal now”, the nice Irish boy told me. The holiday insurance company was less helpful, a terse email containing their get-out clause.
Apart from that, the holiday was blissful. The kids had their own room (pricey but worth every penny), we spent our days lapping up the Spanish sun on the beach and on the 17th floor of our hotel’s pool terrace and nights in downtown Barcelona.
We saw all the sights on an open top bus tour and spent a morning in Gaudi’s stunning Park Guell.
And at no point in the whole nine days did anyone say, “I’m bored”. As family holidays with teenage kids go, that’s a result in my book.