Have you ever been to Barcelona? Oh, you should go! It’s such a vibrant and colorful city. There’s been some unpleasantries in the last couple of years where locals protest the number of tourists that flood the city every summer, but I have never experiences anything negative there myself. And the first time I went, I was pretty damned nervous!
You see, Barcelona has a reputation. If you’re going to get robbed anywhere in Europe, it will be in Barcelona, or so “they” say (I’ve never been clear on who “they” are, but I am inclined to blame the Freemasons).
I had just started my job as a Tour Leader (more on this later, I promise), and this was my very first trip, so not only was I going blind into a city, but I had to pretend to know what the hell I was doing since I was dragging a group of drunk tourists around with me.
It was pretty nerve-wrecking.
Here’s the thing about Barcelona (and many other places in Europe, now that I think about it): They free-pour alcohol when mixing drinks. That means that a cocktail can easily be twice as strong as what you might get back home. Or even stronger.
This had a bit of a strong effect on my young passengers. One girl in particular was so wasted that I couldn’t trust her to make her own way back to the hotel. It was only a 2km walk, but I couldn’t carry her that distance, and she literally couldn’t walk on her own.
Hell, walk? I would have settled for STAND, but I turned my back on her for a second to try and hail a cab, and when I turned back she was on the ground. And starting to vomit.
Guys, I am a sympathetic vomiter. If I see it, or worse, smell it, I start going. It’s reflex, I can’t help it! So this was a bad moment. I struggled to hold it together while picking her off the ground, aiming her head in the direction of a nearby rubbish bin while still trying to grab the attention of a taxi, but (surprise surprise) they didn’t seem too keen to pick up a girl throwing up all over the sidewalk.
That’s when a guy walked up to us. He was big, his muscles had muscles, and I was convinced that this was it, I was in the presence of my murderer.
We were on Las Ramblas, the most likely place for robberies and muggings in all of Barcelona, and I wasn’t exactly in a position to defend myself, I had my arms full of vomiting drunk girl!
So imagine my surprise when he said “Beautiful woman with the beautiful eyes! I want to be your “special” friend in Barcelona!”
Ummmm…what? Red-faced and sweating from the heat and carrying a drunken mess of Aussie, and he thought it was a good time to hit on me? It HAD to be a trick to rob and kill me!
I mean, any other time, yes please, worth the risk, but right there and then I kinda had my hands full, ya know?
So I politely thanked him for his interest but indicated that it wasn’t a convenient time, and I was quite relieved to see him walk away.
Except, he didn’t leave. He just ducked into a bar and grabbed water and paper towels from the bartender. Then he helped my Aussie passenger to clean up and drink until she could hold herself upright with the assistance of a wall.
Then he stepped out into the middle of the road, and with his sheer bulk (so many muscles!) forced a taxi to stop. And since he was fluent in Spanish, he was able to convince the driver to take us back to the hotel.
When my drunk girl was too gone to get in the car, he lifted her up and placed her into the backseat.
Then he spent the next few minutes kissing me. And you know what? I was okay with it. It was a fair trade.
I finally got in the car and we arrived at the hotel shortly after. I reached into my pocket for my wallet to pay…
And not only did I find my wallet still there, but also a piece of paper with his name and number on it!!!
Honestly, it was the smoothest move I have ever experienced. I didn’t return to Barcelona for a year after that, and by then I had lost the piece of paper, but I am convinced that fate will lead me back to those strong, strong arms. I mean, the rest of the guy too, but…muscles.
Have any good Barcelona-stories? Do tell!