Tuesday May 21st; Barcelona
Up quite early, around 7:45, and went out for a long walk from our Hotel in Provenza, down the Rambla de Catalunya, into Ramblas and eventually to the waterfront. The day looks as though it'll turn out fine….at least it's not raining. The street-sweepers and cleaners are out in force, preparing the city for another day. I'm quite surprised at how clean this city is, hardly any graffiti, very little litter, clean pavements…. such a change from Athens!
After walking for about an hour and half, we head back to our hotel for breakfast, before a planned shopping expedition later in the morning. Our good friends from home, PM and GP, the ones now living in the South of France, were in Bilbao visiting the Guggenheim Museum there, and are driving to Barcelona today to meet us for lunch. They have planned to stay at same hotel as us, and at 1:30 they arrive…. we havent seen them since last December so have lots of news to catch up on.
After a few drinks in our Hotel lounge, we gave the keys to the receptionist, and we headed out to look for somewhere good for a light lunch. I take them around the corner to a small outdoor cafe in the middle of Rambas de Catalunya, but dont stay very long. The waiter is quite offhand, even rude, so instead of staying for lunch we have one drink and move on. I suggest we go to the same restaurant that YM, BL and I ate at on our first night in Barcelona, Costa Gallega at 71 Gracia Street. ( tip for GJ, you ought to try the Jamon here, but choose the best quality one, it's sensational!!! )
The service at Costa Gallega was first class, and the food delicious. (The wine was pretty damn good too!).
After an hour or so of eating and drinking it looked like were in for a long session, and so a quick phone call to my old mate BL, and he came and joined us.
As the long lunch extended into a very noisy dinner we all had a great time with lots of laughs….especially when a handwritten note appeared on the table, written by one of the (handsome?) Spanish waiters. It appeared he was enamoured of GP, as you can see from the note below….
She was ecstatic that she had a secret admirer, who wouldn't be….although the 'old bloke' on her left, BL, wasn't so pleased to be described as such. An argument then developed as to who the note was actually meant for… with BL claiming that the waiter really meant him for him, as the 'guy' to his left was me…the oldest person in our group!
Well we eventually staggered out of the Restaurant around 10:30pm…. quite a Lonnnggg lunch…and the two 'girls' disappeared…. we just lost them, but presumed they'd headed back to the hotel. The three of us 'boys' then had to stop for a nightcap or two at the little basement wine bar on the corner of our street. It must have been about 11:30 or so when we left the bar, and weaved our way back to our Hotel. We stood outside, and then realised that neither of us had brought a key with us, and the massive front doors were locked. ( the hotel was on the 1st floor of a large old apartment building) When we'd left the hotel earlier that afternoon and handed our keys in, the receptionist had warned us that if we were expecting to be out later than 11pm (as that was the time he locked up the front doors and went home) we should take our keys with us…. ' No way, we said, we will only be gone a few hours'. So there we both were, wondering how to get in….neither of us had a phone on us either… As luck would have it, both of our balcony rooms were at the front of the building, on the 1st floor, and PM and I discussed the possibility of climbing up onto the balcony somehow…possibly by shinning up one of the street trees…. or climbing up a drainpipe. Just then, a light appeared in one of our rooms, so we began shouting out our wives names…we certainly gained the attention of other residents, but certainly not the two our calls for help were intended for… after more shouting and calling out, at last a figure ( in a glamourous nightie) appeared on the balcony ..” what the hell are you two doing down there” she wanted to know…. after a short discussion about keys etc, GP told us to wait a minute….and sure enough, a few minutes later she arrived to unbolt the massive front doors to the apartment building…. I could have kissed her…indeed I may have…I can't remember! I'd had visions of PM and I spending the night on a park bench… or else going back to BL's hotel and sleeping in his room…..Mmmmm, I think the park bench would be a better option!
PS: The next morning over breakfast the four of us discussed the previous days events, and all agreed we'd had lots of laughs, though maybe overdone it a bit! GP was still very excited about her note from the waiter of course, and told us she was going to have it framed!!! I rang BL at his hotel to find out if he'd got home safely, to be told that he'd arrived safely at someones home anyway, and by the look of it this morning they were probably Germans…” Why's that?” I asked….” Coz it looks like it's been bombed” says BL..( Witty Bastard!)
I then told him about GP bragging about her note from the waiter, and that we were arguing over whether or not it had been meant for GP or him… ” Just a sec” says BL, ” I'll wake him up and ask him!!!!!”