Midday Saturday but it felt a lot earlier. Awake barely an hour and there we were, back in Las Ramblas, reconvening for nourishment and recollection of last night’s exploits. The sun baked down upon fuzzy heads; eighteen in the party and a stag in natty pink Lycra shorts, pink t-shirt and novelty dummy. It could so easily have been worse.
We arrived on Friday, heading into Barcelona International on the EasyJet express, dumped bags, took on some amber refreshment in the hotel bar and headed down to the clubs of Port Olimpic. It all went a bit hazy after that.
The night passed, the morning arrived as we made our way back to the hotel like Shaun of the Dead rejects. But now we were back, quietly reflective in the lunchtime sun; trying to piece together broken thoughts and ponder upon plans for the day. The Beach? Maybe some Gothic Gaudi architecture? There was really only one choice. We took the cultural option and decided on a tour of the Nou Camp.
But first, a little ‘livener’.
As Samuel L Jackson once said, burgers are the cornerstone of any nutritional breakfast and if it’s good enough for him it was good enough for us.
I don’t recall him saying much about red wine, however.
Best man called it: rioja all round. Stag pondered a protest but thought better of it; keeping schtum, sucking on his dummy.
The first glass was an effort, small sips punctuated by mouthfuls of burger, heavily salted chips. The second was easier. By the end of the bottle we were getting the hang of it.
And then, decision time on a Saturday in Barcelona
We were getting settled, finding our form. Did we really want to depart, take the Nou Camp tour when there was sun and wine and women and wine? It was a divisive issue. Some of us made the effort; others reclined in their seats, demanded in their best Withnail & I impression to be served more alcohol, and settled in for the day.
Of course, the Nou Camp was epic, once we finally got there, another bottle later. Ignoring issues of the bladder a group of stag do splitters wandered the iconic stadium, the steep stands and the hallowed turf. Through the hazy wine-induced fug we took pictures in the museum; the Champions League trophy, the photos of Messi. By late afternoon we were all toured out and the faint call of the impending Saturday night festivities was growing louder.
Phone-calls and texts put us on track to meet up with the rest, patently aware that we were now in full catch-up mode. They were over in Barcaloneta, carping some serious diem at the CLDC. The wine had taken its toll and the evening was only just upon us. Stag was hanging in there, just. Best man was flying but for some, it was clear they’d peaked too early. There would be shameful early retirement within the group. So much for Saturday in Barcelona.
The booze continued to arrive at the table, the music played and the beautiful Barcelona scene unfolded around us and in spite of us. The party starts late and lasts all night – a challenge to the stamina to which not all would rise.
Stag, now suitably attired to the surroundings, drifted in and out of the scene, intoxicating all with his intoxication, dancing like no-one was watching, even though everyone was.
At some point we moved on, a blast of warm air and the endless buzz in the ear between clubs.
Along the beachfront, more bars, more booze, ever decreasing levels of cohesion. We found Catwalk, felt its pulse from outside. We’d been told to go here, to groove all night and sample the essence of the Barcelona scene.
And I would have done. If I’d managed to stay awake.