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I celebrated my 18th birthday in Barcelona with a herd of architecture student. We wandered the rambles, hooting, munching on paella and visiting every Gaudi on the map.

So relentless were we in making it down the list, those phenomenal buildings became lost in the ether.

I've spent the years since then perfecting my archi-white-noise-cancelling capabilities. By rolling my eyes, Archispeak Soundwaves are knocked loose from the environment. Even the most potent chat can be minimised to the faintest of rear-brain niggles.

Every nook is completely overrun with tourist ants, busily getting in the way of everything. A best approach is to stand at a backwards angle, always looking upwards. The action is all up there anyway.

The tour of the upper reaches tries to make you avoid it by slapping an extra tax and a complicated queuing system. Ignore them. Do it.

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