The boys started off the day with a little workout â€“ later in the trip we all adapted a fairly regular workout routine but I think the glass walls and the gym being exposed to all of Hello BCN kept me from working out and prompted me to mock the fellas from outside of their little enclosure.
We figured the first thing we should do on our first full day in the city is figure out how we were going to get out of it a few days later. We could take a train which would take forever and involve a bunch of transfers (bikes arenâ€™t allowed on high speed trains), fly with a cheap local airline but that would involve re-boxing our bikes and probably wouldnâ€™t end up being all that cheap or take a ferry from Barcelona to Genoa which was both pretty cheap and a little faster than the train (18 hours) and it was an over night ferry so weâ€™d sleep for a good amount of the trip anyway so we headed down to the port to make the arrangements.
While down there we spotted a cable car tower and couldnâ€™t resist so we locked up and decided to check â€˜er out. It was getting close to lunchtime (letâ€™s face it, itâ€™s always lunchtime in the land of The Rennick) so we figured weâ€™d hop on board and grab a bite at the top. While on the gondola we met some terrified German tourists (Sparky could relate, the poor guy soiled himself on the way up) and a nice gal named Andrena from Pittsburgh (currently living in Italy) and her cousin Salvo who didnâ€™t speak a word of English but seemed like a pretty sweet dude based on Andrenaâ€™s translations.
I also discovered that Spanish adolescents do the exact same naked lady, boner & turtle appreciation graffiti that beautifies truckstop bathrooms across the great continent of North America – call it a little slice of home away from home.
Once way made our way back down on the cable war (which in essence took us very near to where we’d ridden the night before) we decided to make our way along the waterfront to the beach. The waterfront is dotted with amazing views and beautiful architecture. At this point I should make mention of the Barcelona Bike Share program which seems to be pretty amazing. As mentioned, Barcelona is an incredibly bicycle friendly city and the little commuter bikes that are available readily and affordably seem to move a lot (I mean A LOT) of people around this city
We rolled up to the beach where I guess a local group of ladies and gents get together on the weekends to show off their low rider bicycles… Pretty dope.
This old fella knew what was up when he rolled by our bikes. An interesting observation about the old fellas in Europe and any sort of road bike; they love to stop and check your tire pressure. This guy was no exception.
After checkin’ out the local bike show we decided to get a little man tannin’ on and headed down to the grassy hill by the beach where the most amazing set of events began to unfold.
Soon after sitting down we noticed two young ladies sitting in front of us enjoying a beautiful Barca day at the beach. After a minute or two, two dudes roll up on these girls; one guy with kind of an American Pie college guy vibe and the other in a leather coat with a faux-hawk and some serious sideburns. Weâ€™ll call them American Pie and Douchehawk from here forth. Now, two guys approaching two girls isnâ€™t weird at all but when one guy (American Pie) walks up and introduces his friend (Douchehawk) as if he were a cheap used car and then walks away watching intently before disappearing behind some bushes, we begin to take notice. All the while a third guy, Baldy Blazer is standing near by and pretending to talk on his phone but is clearly paying attention to how this guy interacts with these girls. Douchehawk was promptly dismissed at which point he follows American Pie around the bushes with Baldy Blazer in close pursuit.
Sparkles caught on pretty much right away and followed them around the corner where he seems them all talking â€“ it was pretty evident that there was some serious dating coaching going on here so we each cracked a drink and settled in because we knew that it could only possibly get better from here. Soon enough they emerge and take a better position to scope out the action on the beach. Douchehawk makes another attempt at a different girl â€“ this time going without the introduction of his mentors. Again, heâ€™s sent packing and returns to the comforting arms of American Pie and Baldy Blazer. But whoâ€™s this? A second protÃ©gÃ©? What do you have in store for us my Striped friend?
Douchehawk has made his way across the hill and manages to strike up a conversation with a young lady that actually seems to be going somewhere so our attention is turned to Stripey who is about to make his first approach. He decides to talk to this hot young thang who is enjoying some light reading in the sun. Just look at this form! 6 feet away? Check! Hands in sleeves? Check! Useless question about what she’s reading followed up awkward silence, fake time checking and staring off aimlessly? Check! It didn’t take long before Stripey realized that he was horribly outmatched and returned, quite obviously, to his coaches. Not that the girl noticed; he’d lost her at hello.
Stripey tries the same approach a few minutes later but this time crouches down to talk to the girl but maintains his 6 foot buffer zone which yields predictable results. At this point, Douchehawk seems to have gotten himself a phone number!!! I’ll admit, we were all pretty proud of him at this point and so was American Pie who was literally hiding behind a tree (seriously) and watching his boys in action. Both protÃ©gÃ©s made a b-line for the tree and American Pie tried to look less obvious by walking away but there was no hiding it – these guys were coming straight for him and he was having none of it. I swear to god I thought he was going to break into a run.
The four gentlemen reconvened at the top of the hill to review the days successes and catastrophic failures – all the while Douchehawk giving Stripey a hearty pat on the back as if to tell him “you’ll get ‘em next time, tiger, just look at me! I got a phone number today! I know it’s probably not hers but it’s someone’s number so technically that counts, right?”
Now meet Sparkie’s dating coaches – the presidents of very exclusive the Silly Hats Only club.
We left the beach in search of the Barcelona Aquarium. It’s funny because just a few weeks prior my special lady friend and I were taking about aquariums and how I hadn’t been in a long, long time. Now being the vegan warrior that I am I have mixed feelings about aquariums, zoos, etc. but I’ve got to think that sometimes public education may be worth sacrifice in quality of life (or at least the sacrifice of a natural life) that some of the animals may have to endure – maybe not, but sharks are sweet and at the end of the day I want to see me some sharks, god damn it!
After all the excitement of the Aquarium we made our way back to the hostel for a little Siesta before heading out to what was one of the more spectacular meals of the trip at a little joint called Organic. The staff was super nice, the atmosphere was nice and the food was incredible – throw in a nice affordable yet surprisingly good bottle of house wine and the night just doesn’t get any better.
We decided after Organic to wander the streets a little into old Barcelona where we found the first of very few fixed gear bikes to be seen in our travels locked up near an empty bar that had the Iron Maiden a blastin’. Generally speaking an empty bar is a bad sign but when said bar has Manowar, Maiden & Beer Mosh (?!?!) posters lining the walls what choice does one have but to venture forward through those doors? Enter; Rocka Rolla
Back to the hostel for a little Connect 4 and seriously, life just doesn’t get better than this.