30 May 2012



(Scene: Pedro and Fernando are sitting outside a bar somewhere in Andalucia happily sipping glasses of wine.)
          Pedro : This is the life, hombre. Nothing could make it better.
          Fernando : We could be in Catalonia.
          Pedro : Apart from that. Nothing could be better.
          Fernando : You say that but flies keep landing in my wine.
          Pedro : Drink faster.
          Fernando : What do you think I am? English? I like to savour my wine. But I want to savour it without flies.
          Pedro : Well, put a lid on it.
          Fernando : A lid. (picking up his glass) This is not one of those tupperware containers widely used in picnics. It is lidless.
          Pedro : Put a beer mat on it then. To act as a lid.
          (Fernando does so. There is a sudden breeze. The beer mat blows off. Another fly plops into Fernando’s wine. Fernando sighs the sigh of a man who has swallowed many flies.)
          Pedro : You need to put something on top of the mat. Waiter!
          (Twenty minutes pass. A waiter appears.)
          Pedro : Bring me a morsel of cheese.
          (The waiter leaves and an hour later returns with a morsel of cheese.)
          Pedro : Place the beer mat on top of the wine glass and the morsel of cheese on top of the beer mat to stop the wind blowing it off.
          (Fernando does as he is bid. The morsel of cheese holds the beer mat in place. The flies buzz around.)
          Pedro : Do you know what? I think I’ve invented a whole new cuisine which will one day sweep the world.
          Fernando : What?
          Pedro : When you’re feeling peckish you just eat the cheese. Who doesn’t like a morsel of cheese with their wine?
          (He reaches over and pops the cheese into his mouth. The breeze promptly blows the  beer mat off. Two fat flies plop into Fernando’s wine.)
          Fernando : We could have just gone inside.

And so tapas (which really does literally mean lid) was invented. But what began as a tempting morsel of cheese has mushroomed into all manner of foods of all manner of shapes and sizes (though surprisingly few of them feature actual mushrooms) many of which if nowadays placed on top of a wine glass would promptly shatter it to smithereens. So take care when trying to act overly authentic – there is nothing that spoils an authentic look more than soggy trousers.
          But through the myriad of dishes the BigBarcelonaBlog has ploughed to come up with a basic guide to what to order when confronted by that tapas menu. You are doubtless thinking about what a generous action that is on the part of the BigBarcelonaBlog. You are further thinking how indebted you feel to the Blog and wishing that you could do something to demonstrate your gratitude but "Alas!" you cry. "We are separated by oceans and time zones and I can think of nothing to do." Despair not! Simply take a moment to click on one of the adverts from the Blogs lovely sponsors and your debt is wiped away. If only it were that easy for Greece. Thank you.    
        Now back to tapas. Obviously you can just go with the original concept of tapas and have one as a nice snack. But the BigBarcelonaBlog believes that tapas is just too nice to be a snack. Especially when it could so easily be a large, tasty meal instead.

Compulsory Orders (Yes this is dictatorial but I’m afraid tapas is far to important to be left entirely to the whims of democracy) :

1)     Beer or wine. For while you read the menu.
2)     Pan con tomate. This is a baguette which has been rubbed with garlic and then spread with a crushed tomato and drizzled with olive oil. It is the basic building block of all tapas and is a mandatory selection. To leave it out would be akin to eating bacon and egg without bacon. Or egg.
Tapas No.1 :  Pan con tomate

3)     Patatas Bravas. This heavenly castillian dish fuses the best things about roast potatoes with the best things about chips and then serves them with garlic mayonnaise (all I oli) and spicy tomato sauce (the bravas sauce itself). It is done slightly differently in every single bar/restaurant in Spain. It is so important that it warrants a blog entry of its own which I will link to when I’ve…er…written it. To eat tapas without bravas is akin to eating bacon and egg without bacon. Or egg. Or a mouth!

Tapas No 2:  Pataas Bravas - better than Roast Potatoes!

4)     Pimientos del padron. These little green peppers deep fried and well salted are delicious and add an entirely deceptive healthy appearance to your meal.

          The above choices as I specified are mandatory and so not really choices at all. However, never let it be said that the BigBarcelonaBlog is not prepared to be flexible. I would suggest picking two or three from the following list to add depending on the size of your party and your stomach.

5)     Chipirones/Pescaditos Fritos/Calamares a la Romana. Any of these will do as an excellent fish component. Chipirones are tiny fried squid. Pescaritos Fritos tiny fried fish and Calamares a la Romana are bigger squid fried in batter. You will notice from the preponderance of the word fried why the healthy sheen of the Pimientos del Padron is nothing but a veneer. I would rank the fish dishes in the order I have listed both for originality and for taste.

Tapas No.3 : Chipirones. Tastier than they look!

6)      Jamon. There is often a large ham on the bar from which you can watch your racion being carved (a racion is a normal portion). Order Jamon Iberico if you want the best stuff.
7)     Queso. You’ll get a plate of cheese. Often a delicious manchego – Spain’s best cheese and criminally underappreciated in a world where people chomp away on faux cheese monstrosities like gouda, edam and emmenthal. It is optional to place it on top of a beer mat on top of your wine to recreate the magical moment when tapas was invented and to draw confused looks from tourists and locals alike.
8)     Tortilla. The classic Spanish omelette will normally come as a substantial doorstep rather than a willowy pancake type thing. It is all the better for its solidity.
9)     Croquetas : Normally a mixture of béchamel and ham (though it can be spinach or mushroom or other stuff) fried (there’s that word again) in breadcrumbs.
10)Pulpo Gallego. This is octopus as cooked in Galicia. It sometimes comes with potatoes and sometimes doesn’t and is sometimes delicious and sometimes not so delicious. It is normally more expensive and often bigger than other tapas. So bear that all in mind. The BigBarcelonaBlog sometimes feels that the drawback with Pulpo Gallego takes up space that three other tapas could fit into instead. But it is certainly a classic tapas dish and if you’re feeling adventurous then why not?
11) Another glass of beer or wine because all that choosing and ordering has really taken it out of you.  

All you’ve got to do now is eat it. Oh, and know the best places to go. But that will be the next entry.

Useful Spanish Words/Phrases:

¿Hay tapas? – Do you serve tapas?
Una racion de…- A portion of (more commonly used than a tapas of…)
Quiero una caña/un vino tinto/blanco, please? – I’d like a beer/red wine/white wine, please.
La cuenta, por favor – The bill, please.

If you fancy chatting :

Las tapas se han cambiado mucho desde hace que eran solo las tapas – Tapas has come a long way since it was just lids. (Note: this may not make sense)
Camarero, hay una mosca en las bravas – Waiter! There’s a fly in my patatas bravas.
No grite, señor por si a caso todos quieren una – Don’t shout, sir then everyone will want one   

26 May 2012

Norway 0 England 1 International Friendly Match Report

          You join me in Oslo (well, alright you actually join me in Scobie’s Irish Bar in Barcelona in front of the big screen with my laptop looking like a right twonk) where we are about to find out how England are going to play under new manager Roy Hodgson.
          The noises before the match had hardly been optimistic. Hodgson had claimed, “You’ve got to believe England have a future” which implies after the recent debacles the FA actually contemplated just jacking it in and stopping playing football altogether. Those of us who watched England’s performances in South Africa did fleetingly wonder if that had already happened. Steven Gerrard, the newly appointed captain, perhaps on the grounds that he has at least got his court case out of the way, admitted he’d heard whispers that people were saying this group of players was the weakest England had ever assembled. I don’t know what Gerrard’s definition of a whisper is because the things I’ve been hearing have been loud enough to start avalanches in the Austrian Tyrol.
          Not only that the team were below full strength with Rooney and the Chelsea players rested after efforts in the Champions League Final – what John Terry needed resting for remains a mystery – just how tiring can it be to put your shin pads on and shamelessly shove yourself in front of the cameras?
          Nevertheless there were causes for optimism. England always win the first game under a new manager. Obviously they only do this so they can let everybody down later but still. Furthermore, Norway were not the strongest opposition - unlike Spain and the like they can at least be relied upon to let England have a go of the ball every now and then. And last of all, in giving Stewart Downing a place in the squad, Hodgson had demonstrated he retains a sense of humour.
          The new manager had decided to go for a 4-4-1-1 system presumably to stop England getting overrun in midfield as has often happened in the past. But the risk was that alone up front the occasionally lumbering Carroll would get isolated and England would resort to hoofing aimless long balls up in his direction.
          In the run-up to the game Hodgson had stressed three things to his new charges – they should be difficult to beat, play at a fast tempo and keep possession better. The whistle blew and we were about to find out if they’d been listening.
          England started brightly. Inside five minutes no less a figure than Stewart Downing had created a very presentable chance for Andy Carroll. This will have come as some as a big surprise to all watching Liverpool  fans who didn't know he did stuff like that. Fortunately normality was restored when Carroll headed it decisively wide reassuring all watching Liverpool fans that the world hadn't gone totally crazy.
          However, a goal wasn't long in coming, The seemingly shambolic Norwegian defence allowed Ashley Young way too much space on the edge of the area. He feinted to shoot. Hangeland, the Norwegian centre half not only bought his dummy he bought the extended warranty as well.  Young was through on goal and he coolly slotted home.
          England had a platform to build on. Unsurprisingly they chose not to. Instead Norway nearly hit back direct from a corner striking a post with Rob Green hopelessly stranded in his six yard box.
          As the half developed most worrying for England was the performance of the central midfield partnership. Gerrard and Parker are both likely to be first choices and neither were particularly effective. It was Gerrard especially whose woeful performance most caught the eye – misplacing countless passes, miscontrolling balls and finally committing a foul that could well have got him sent off in a competitive game. England headed for the interval in the lead but they couldn't have been happy.
          Hodgson’s first team talk seemed to have an effect at the start of the second period. England forced a free kick on the edge of the penalty area from which Leighton Baines drew a sharp low save from the Norwegian goalkeeper. It proved to be a false dawn.
          Norway now took control of the game and though they lacked the cutting edge to fashion a clear goal-scoring opportunity they were clearly the better side throughout the second half. What was more worrying for England fans was that the Norwegians also seemed to have more desire even though they won’t be going to Poland or the Ukraine unless their travel agent messes up their holiday bookings. As the half wore on England just about held their shape but as so often they couldn’t hold on to the ball.
          An American in a loud shirt walking into the bar looked at the screen and claimed “This isn’t football!” He didn’t know how right he was.
          As so often with international friendlies the game had now become simply an opportunity for the man who holds substitutions board up to exercise his arm.
          However when Jordan Henderson was introduced it was hard not to suspect that Roy Hodgson was not now using the game as an opportunity for revenge on his previous employers in Liverpool by demonstrating to the world just how woeful his successor’s transfer market purchases have been. If Charlie Adam wasn’t Scottish I believe he’d have been on as well just to ram the point home.
          And so the game fizzled out to a 1-0 England win. And doubtless it will be claimed that it is “something to build on.” But it was awfully dispiriting to watch. England had yet again shown that magical ability to somehow make a victory feel like a defeat.

Atletico Madrid 0 FC Barcelona 3 Copa Del Rey Match Report

          You join the BigBarcelonaBlog live at the Vincente Calderon Stadium. Well, alright you join us live in front of the telly where the BigBarcelonaBlog attempts to do live football reporting for the first time. Expect typos. Expect grammatical errors. Do not expect the Spanish Inquisition. Unless obviously Barcelona lose in which case it will be the Spanish post-match inquisition with expert analysis from Torquemada Hansen and Torquemada Lawrenson..
          To set the scene. Barcelona might finish the season without winning a major domestic Spanish trophy. This is about as unthinkable as death in the mind of someone living. Atletico Bilbao might also finish the season without winning a major domestic trophy which is about as unthinkable as cheese on toast i.e. fairly thinkable as far as the BigBarcelonaBlog is concerned.
          The trophy up for grabs is the Copa Del Rey (obviously if you’ve been following Spanish news you’ll know that the trophy the king is most likely to provide would be a elephant’s foot or the skin of a hapless lion mercilessly shot on a swanky Botswana safari while his subjects deal with 50% youth unemployment and crushing austerity. Just saying.). Barca have been the all-conquering best team in the world over the last few years but Atletico Bilbao have an exciting young group of players that have thrilled neutrals as they swaggered to the final of the Europa league. Madrid have taken La liga from Barca. Could these young pretenders take the cup?
          The Vincente Calderon stadium was a passionate…er…cauldron (sorry couldn’t help it – what am I going to say frying pan?) as the two teams took to the field. This is unusual for Spain where large numbers fans from both teams being present is a bit of a rarity. The Atletico fans in particular took the opportunity to do a lot of singing.
          Then the whistle blew.
          But it could as easily have been a bell tolling.
          It didn’t take long for Barcleona to find their attacking rhythm, Messi almost from the kick off running dangerously at the defence and shooting just wide. Moments later they forced a corner. Unusually swung in long, it ricocheted loose in the box and Pedro pounced like a predatory panther in Paraguay (alright I’m gambling here for the sake of alliteration). 1-0 Barca! The firecrackers were going off outside the BigBarcelonaBlog’s flat. And back in the Basque country they were already starting to think that when Barcelona start scoring from scrappy set-pieces things could get really bad when they start with the tiki-taka.
          So it proved. Barcelona monopolised possession. Iniesta picked out a perfect through ball and Messi  from a narrow angle blasted the ball in to the top corner at the near post.
          A third goal was not long in arriving. Pique passed to Xavi on the edge of the area. He laid the ball back to Pedro who with perfect precision (look at this alliteration  go! It’s a good thing he’s not called Zedro that would be harder) curled it into the bottom left hand corner.
          The game essentially ended there. Atletico kept trying but the last time a team came back to beat Barcelona from 3-0 down the ref had received a menacing halftime phone call from General Franco. They mixed in their trying with some unpleasant fouls and the odd flailing elbow. Which was to be expected but was still disappointing. What was also to be expected but was the opposite of disappointing was that Messi would run through the entire Bilbao defence about four times - one mazy dribble from the halfway line saw him avoid at least two potentially leg-breaking challenges before pausing for a second, realizing his body was miraculously still intact, and then firing a low shot towards the far corner which the keeper did very well to keep out with his legs.
          The clock ran down. The whistle blew. The cup was Barca’s. It was a fitting way for Pep Guardiola to finish his final game. With Xavi and probably the greatest side to ever play football holding yet another trophy aloft.

25 May 2012

Barceloneta and The Beach

Barceloneta and The Beach

           There comes a time in Barcelona, especially when the temperature creeps above 35 degrees, when you think enough!  Enough of fighting the crowds to see one more example of Gaudi’s genius. Enough of revelling in the flamboyance of yet more breathtaking modernist architecture. Enough of fruitlessly trying to relate the title of one of Joan Miro’s paintings to the seemingly random scribbles he stuck on the canvas in front of you. Enough!
          There is a time when all of us crave simpler, less taxing pleasures.
          This is the time for the Barceloneta and the beach.
          Barceloneta is partly interesting simply by its relative ordinariness which is a stark contrast to the rest of the city. It stands on a little isthmus of land no more than twenty five minute walk from Plaza Catalunya (or a five minute metro journey – Yellow line, Barceloneta) but feels like an entirely different place to the rest of the city. Apparently it was once where the fisherman lived and it still retains a distinctly maritime character – it is here where the majority of the seafood specialising restaurants are). The blocks of flats are lower, the streets are narrower, often smelly and lined with overhanging washing. Believe it or not, the washing is a big deal in Barcelona where it is against a civic order to hang washing in the street (honestly I’ve checked this) and it is only in the poorer areas of the city where it is tolerated. But the vast majority of visitors who go to Barceloneta don’t see any of this. And I can see you looking at your computer screen thinking why should I want to? Low, narrow, smelly plus dirty washing. You’re not exactly selling it, here, hombre.
          You make a fair point (although to be strictly honest I made it for you so don’t go round getting all smug). And it is possible to avoid the “real” Barceloneta entirely because if you walk down the main street Passaig de Joan Borbo from Barceloneta Metro directly to the sea which almost everybody does you will have the marina on your right full of posh yachts and on your left plenty of restaurants with waiters outside exhorting you to come in. You can follow it all the way to the beach.
          But it is so much more interesting to turn to the left off and wander through the narrow streets. I’ve never been anywhere where within fifty metres from a place that absolutely throngs with tourists suddenly there are virtually no tourists at all. Just go where you fancy – you’ll end up at the beach sooner or later. There are some funky, cool bars doing great tapas on occasional corners and there are lots more basic spit and sawdust bars where old ladies take their pet ferrets for a walk (I am not making this up). I’m not saying you should spend more than twenty minutes or so but it is worth a little detour before you eventually emerge at the beach.
          Do not expect much of Barcelona beach. It was artificially built for the Barcelona Olympics and it’s been having sand shovelled from lorries ever since. Paradise it is not.
          But it has got the sea and the BigBarcelonaBlog is very fond of the sea. It’s clean enough that you can swim – it shelves pretty rapidly so once you’ve taken more than three or four steps in you won’t really have much of a choice. Around there is always plenty going on. Joggers, cyclists, fisherman, masseurs, people hawking beer, sun-worshippers and some of the most violent games of dominoes that I’ve ever witnessed. There are heavyweight title fights that have had less aggression than that which old Catalan men bring to their dominoes. And there are pleasant enough bars all along the seafront where you can retire for a cerveza or two when the sun gets too fierce.
          While you are enjoying that virtual beer you are doubtless in a generous mood. The sort of mood in which one finds oneself hoping one can do a good turn for another person. What luck! Just click on an advert and you’ve done it. I bet that virtual beer tastes even better now. 
          The beach is at fullest on the night of San Juan when extraordinarily loud fireworks explode all over the city doing nothing for the BigBarcelonaBlog’s nerves.  It is said that it is traditional for Catalans to gather on the beach. This used to puzzle one of my many long-suffering Spanish teachers who pointed out that as the beach has only been there since 1992 so how much of a tradition can it be really? He maintained that it was just a myth put round to fool gullible young Italians. If that is so the myth has worked because it’s jam-packed.
          You can probably tell from the tone of this piece that I am not completely sold on the beach. If you came to Barcelona and missed it you wouldn’t need to kick yourself too hard (in fact I would advise you not to kick yourself at all – it’s much more difficult than it sounds). Nevertheless there are times and more importantly temperatures when only a beach and the sea will do. Those times and temperatures crop up frequently in the summer and then quibbles about artificial sand can all go out the window. I’m following the crowds to the sea.

Useful Spanish Words/Phrases

El mar – the sea
La playa – the beach
La arena – the sand
Hace muchísimo calor – It is really hot
Dos cañas, por favour – Two beers, please.

If you fancy chatting :

Mira! El camión que lleva la playa – Look! The lorry that brings the beach!
¡Que artificial la playa! – How artificial the beach is!
Cariño, hay un hurón a la mesa de al lado – Darling there’s a ferret at the next table.
Cuidado con las fichas de dominó, hombre – Careful with the domino tiles, tiger.

23 May 2012



          To the west, high above the city stands the peak of Tibidabo. Tibidabo literally meansTo you I give- the BigBarcelonaBlog's numerous Latin scholars were doubtless ahead of me there. It is rumoured to be the place where, during Jesus' forty days and forty nights in the desert, the Devil offered him the world if only he would kneel down and worship him. How Jesus got to the top of a hill outside Barcelona from Israel is not recorded but do remember he could walk on water so please keep an open mind.  Fortunately Jesus did not keep an open mind when it came to accepting the devil's offer - either that or he was a Real Madrid fan (note the all-white strip he wore and his habit of referring to himself asA Special One.” – Im just saying). Anyway, whatever the reason he turned the devil down and Barcelona was left with the problem of what to do with a location that if left unattended might attract untold numbers of Satanists waving their tridents and looking for traces of Beelezebub. It's just not the group a modern forward-looking city with tourists to attract and a cool image to maintain wants coming. I mean they've already got English hen parties to deal with.
          There was only one thing for it. They turned it into a theme park. And the theme park is the reason that you want to get on a bus and go. Theres a church there too which looks amazing from the down in the city but is in fact just big and ugly up close. The theme park is what makes it worth the visit,  Now there are a number of ways to get to Tibidabo but in keeping with the undemocratic ethos of this blog I'm not going to tell you about more than one. Go to Plaza Catalunya by the bottom of La Rambla de Catalunya and you will find a bus stop. Within twenty minutes a T1 bus will appear. Get on it. And go.

Tibidabo No.1 : Classic Rides

          The bus soon leaves Barcelona behind and then spends the next twenty minutes negotiating increasingly tight hairpin bends as it rises towards the summit. If the bus is full and the driver is in a bad mood you will probably be thrown around a bit. If you suffer from travel sickness this would be a good time to curse me.  However, I would remind you that you are travelling to a theme park and as I understand it theme park rides are basically elaborate attempts to make people with travel sickness issue vomit. So you might as well get it out of the way now because its coming up anyway.
          Anyway, nauseous or not, twenty minutes later you will find yourself dropped at the top of Tibidabo. You thought the view of Barcelona was good from the park bench on Park Guell (see my entry here). From Tibidabo its outstanding. The whole city is laid out below you surrounded by mountains on three sides and the Mediterranean on the other. To the South is Montjuic which looks huge from inside the city but is now nothing more than a puny tussock. You can just about pick out the spires of La Sagrada Familia. Depending on the depth of your religious belief you could choose to take a moment to give the devil some creditI mean if you were going to tempt somebody with the world this would be the place to do it. You may consider that should the devil have decided upon a different career path he could have made it as an estate agent. You may think back on the first house you bought and wonder if he did.
          Having admired and photographed the view more times than is probably strictly necessary, it's time to head into the theme park (I will allow you in a rare example of hippydippyness to do this in reverse order if you like). There are various types of ticket you can buy. There is the ticket where you get all the rides. There is the ticket where you only get the old classic rides and there is the ticket where you walk around holding the coats while everybody else goes on rides (otherwise known as the Mum's ticket). Here at the BigBarcelonaBlog we do not believe in half-measures so we recommend getting the full ticket.
           We also recommend exercising your fingers at regular intervals to prevent them atrophying. An excellent way to do this is to choose an advert or two and click on them. Thank you. Normal service will now be resumed.
          The eagle-eyed among you will however have spotted something in the last but one paragraph (other than the overuse of parentheses). You will have spotted the reference to classic old rides. And this is what makes Tibidabo such a special theme park. Many of the rides date from the nineteen twenties. To go to Tibidabo is to take a partial step back in time. To when fun was slower. And creakier.
Tibidabo No 2 : Slow and creaky
          The most famous of all the rides in Tibidabo is the red plane. It is one of the most non-famous famous things about Barcelona. There will be a queue for it. However, if you go on a weekday (highly recommended, though it's only open weekdays in the summer) the queue shouldn't be too long. The plane can only fit about ten people so it takes a bit of time to get through but it's worth it.  Why? Because the detail and décor of the plane are so impressive and the ride itself is so...er..,not impressive. It's a red plane on a crane arm that goes round and round. It doesn't suddenly turn upside down, nor does it crazily plummet a hundred metresit simply continues for a bit at a stately pace and then stops and you all get out again. Its magnificent in its dullness. Should you have children they will be dumbfounded by how little happens. They may demand a refund.  And that's why you should make them go on it. Just like once in a while you should make them walk all the way to the TV to change the channel. So they know how lucky they are next time they get on The Pulverizering Nemesis or whatever the latest ride is at AllfunDrizzlyCastleWorld is.

Tibidabo No 3 : It's the plane boss!

          Do not fear however because mixed among the classic old rides are more modern ones. Log flues and roller coasters and the like. True they arent going to compete with The Pulverising Nemesis but they do enough to get the heart well and truly racing. But what is so charming about Tibidabo is the mixture and the contrast of the rides and other attractionsdont miss the haunted house. And they all happen with the backdrop of the wonderful view of Barcelona.
          However, that is not to say that the classic rides cant turn up the terror level if they want to. First there is the thought at the back of the mind that these things were built out of wood in the nineteen twenties when Health and Safety Standards were considered euphemisms for communism. And second there is the rawness of some of the rides. The most non-thrillingly thrilling of these in a sort of existential way is The Bucket of Doom. Is it obvious that I made up the name? The Bucket of Doom is pretty much what it says - a big bucket that about ten people can stand in. As soon as they are standing in it the bucket is raised thirty metres into the sky. And then it hangs there for a while. There is no music. There are no flashing lights. There are no canned cackles of demonic laughter. Just you, a bucket and the occasional buffets of the wind. It scared the pants off me.
Tibidabo No 4 : The ugly church and to the left a bit of The Bucket of Doom
          Now, in fairness, the BigBarcelonaBlog has to admit that the years have taken their toll on his nerve, but Im not blaming myself entirely. Jesus may have turned the devil down up here but though the devil failed maybe he didnt go back to Hades without leaving a little souvenir behind him. Perhaps here, high up in Tibidabo. the slightest whiff of sulphur still lingers.

Useful Spanish Words or Phrases:

¿Es la parada para el autobus de Tibidabo?Is this the Tibidabo bus stop?
Un billete para Tibidabo, por favorA (bus) ticket for Tibidabo, please.
Una entrada para el parque de attraciones, por favourA ticket for the theme park, please.
¡Qué buena la vista!What a wonderful view!
¿Esta es la cola para el avion rojo?Is this the queue for the red plane?

If you fancy chatting:

Otra curva muy cerradaAnother hairpin bend.
Carino, estás muy verdeDarling, youve gone quite green.
Soy demasiado viejo para estoIm too old for this.
Velaré por los abrigosIll look after the coats.
Carino, ¿te acuerdas cuando he dicho que estabas verde? Pues, ahora estás superverdeDarling, you remember when I said youd gone green? Well, now youre really green.