Barcelona feels like getting drunk. Everything is a spectacle, everything makes me gasp, everything is ancient and cobbled and winding and I’m spinning. I’ve started tripping over a lot again.
I’m staying with an old friend from high school, Ginny, who lives down a gated lane in the oldest part of the city – Barri Gòtic. Another old friend, Liv, has also joined us from her chilly home in Plymouth. It’s strange to suddenly be around two friends after travelling alone for three weeks.
Ginny takes us to a university party on our first night. In what Ginny is calling ‘Spain time’, we aim to get there by midnight and arrive just after 2am. In fact, Ginny’s answer to most things here (Why is this so slow? Why do we have to order that? Why is he doing that? Where are we going? Why doesn’t anyone know how to get there?) has been, “This is Spain.” And then she nods and looks very satisfied.
We began the night at Barceloneta beach where men are roaming with plastic bags of “sexy beer”. In Barcelona you cannot buy liquor (apart from in a bar or a restaurant) after 11pm so these guys are the cheap alternative. And yes, they really do call them sexy beers. Ginny tells me later, as she is conscientiously wiping the top of her beer can, that they are stored in the sewer to keep them cold. I tell her I don’t think her skirt will disinfect the can, but she keeps wiping.
There are a lot of German people doing the same course as Ginny and I end up talking to one of them on the beach. He turns to me suddenly and says in a very thick, fake accent, “Yes, we Germans are invading!” When prodded he admits he doesn’t think this kind of joke is OK yet. He would prefer I said his name was Michael…
After much loitering on the beach, the large group begins to head towards the nearest metro station which they claim is ‘really close’ and which we get to 20 minutes and many lost group members later. The trip on the metro is entertaining. We change lines twice and I’m pretty sure we go back through a station we already passed through.
The party is at a pool complex at the end of one of the lines and nobody knows how to get there when we first walk up the steps from the metro. Ginny continues to repeat, “This is Spain,” at regular intervals. We eventually (after more ‘loitering’) head off in a seemingly random direction and somehow end up at the desired party.
It is massive. The pool is blocked off, but there are quite a few people swimming by the end of the night. We dance. We pay 10€ for a drink which has got to be the most I’ve been charged for alcohol since I left Australia. We stay until the sky begins to lighten above us. And we leave just after 6am, so we won’t have to loiter at the metro station before the first train comes to take us home.
In bed by a respectable 7:45am. Welcome to Spain.