My time in Barcelona has been the opposite of the last time around. Whereas before I got the touristy shit out of the way the first two nights and spent much of the rest of the time incognito amongst the locals, we've spent our last days here being cheesedick tourists.
While Sarah and Spencer slept in, New Year's Day found myself, J and Elena taking the metro out to Gracia to check out Parc Güell. Apparently, everyone and their mother had the same idea. We made the hung over, uphill walk to the park gates, only to find that there were even more people mobbing the place than when I'd last been during the peak tourist season in July. Oh well, at least it wasn't 110 degrees and I was only sweating minimal booze.
Yesterday we got on the damn open top tour bus. It's damn slow, and it's full of damn tourists. I lost my damn ticket mid-circuit and had to spend another damn €19 on a second one. I don't know why I agreed to get on the damn thing. I've already seen every damn thing in the city from a tourist perspective, and it was damn cold up on the open deck. (Can you tell I wasn't exactly thrilled about doing this?).
The best part of the tour came when it dropped us off at Plaça Catalunya, and we stumbled upon Desigual's "sale" store, separate from their full-price flagship store. Discount prices on a unique Barcelona fashion label that you can't find in the States? Sign me up!
On the way home, I bought us a few slots for the evening's "Smashed Bar Crawl" from Travel Bar. Elena wasn't too enthused about this, knowing that it's going to be a cheesy, drunken pub crawl with a shitload of foreigners to a bunch of crappy bars, but I need my outlet. When I travel, I need to meet and get smashed with random people, not hole up with the same few people every night.
Unfortunately, the crawl was less what I'd experienced (scads of young, good-looking Europeans and Australians getting really drunk and rowdy) and more what Elena had feared (scads of not-so-good-looking Americans who showed up already drunk and obnoxious.) At least J had a nice Austrian girl to talk to and I occasionally had some cute British arm candy on and off through the night. Elena had done the smart thing and called it an early night after our third bar. We went on to the horrendous awfulness that is the Green Room at Maremganum, and the even more horrendous awfulness that is the nightclub in the same complex. It was even worse than I remembered.
At least by night's end, J and I both got some action. First, it was the ugly-ass hookers throwing themselves at us on the south end of the Ramblas as we were attempting to locate some drunk food. Bocadillos in hand and headed home, we were then attempted to be robbed by a couple of rank amateurs among the craggy streets of the Barri Gotíc. One came up to me, asking for money...
"¿Tiene dinero?" "No." Next thing you know, he's asking me for a light and making several botched attempts to blow out the lighter repeatedly while making a grab at my back pocket. Too bad my wallet was well out of reach, bitch.
Then they both were on J, humped up on either side of him. It wasn't even the artful robbery that Barcelona's known for at this point, but an act on the verge of mugging.
I started cursing in Spanish and English at full drunk volume. Which is LOUD. My gut instinct was to smack them on the head with my jamon serrano sandwich and start kicking them in the shins, but the yelling was enough to get them off and to make sure no one else on the street was fucked with. Being full of booze and having just gone on a lame pub crawl, J and I would have had no issues rumbling. But I have a feeling that getting into fist fights in the streets of Barcelona isn't the way to go on your last night in town.
Oh well. These guys were such amateurs that they're sure to get dropped or hospitalized by week's end. At least when I got my wallet lifted in Prague, I didn't see, hear, or feel a thing.
Off to Amsterdam today...