And it was beautiful. I think I had too higher expectations of Barcelona, after being bowled over by the beauty of Malaga. Thing is, Barcelona is a huge and thriving wealthy city, and I’ve gotten so used to seeing cities packed with ancient relics and oddities in the past few weeks I wasn't as stunned as I could have been.
Some of the back alleys were truelly stunning, with huge old spanish appartments towering up like warm tombstones, little balconies on every floor with ornate iron railings running down to tiny shops, selling everything from phones to paintings to records. But mostly tourist tat.
I set out to look for Los Rambles as I new it was near. I found it. Having been promised street artists and performers, I was disappointed to walk up it and find it bare of anything but tourist stalls, flower stands and the like.
Just as I type we're in the middle of a massive storm. Waves are buffeting the ship and the whole cabin is shaking like a leaf. It's quite exciting. Every time a wave hits, the hull booms like a kettle drum somewhere out to my right. My cabin's one away from the wall of the ship, so it must be even worse for them. Oh my good lord! It's like being in the aluminium shell of the old caravan at home when some-one beats their palm on the side.
I head down a side street, nip in and out of a few shops, but everythings out of budget for me. Eventually I find the Barcelona museum of contemporary arts, and outside on the wall there is a girl playing ukelele! I really want to strike up a conversation, but as soon as I approach her friend starts shouting at her in Spanish. I decide to make an exit, but I wanted to have a bit of a multilingual skill-share. I also wanted to play her ukelele. This sucked.
The museum was closed, so I set in search of Gaudi's catherderal, and found my self back on Los Rambles (holy sugar this ship is shaking!) and outside the Museu De L'erotica. Well, I asked the entry and it was nine euro. I walked away, but felt guilty that I was opting to view relegious art over sexual art which is in every way more wholesome, so I went back and got in. It was undoubtedly worth the money to realise there was a women dressed as Marilyn Monroe stood in the window having her skirt blown up and waving at passers by. I wouldn't the museum was a massive eye-opener, but it was very interesting. It's somehow comforting to know that in this recent age of sexual repression and beating down of a very fine and beautiful natural impulse, that the same things have been drawn, etched and sculpted for thousands of years. It's not the decline of civilization, it's just rejoicing in nature. It was also apparent that artists of yesteryear saw no need to depict the body in the way we see it now. All shapes and sizes of women, labia, pubis all that jazz. That's how it should be in my book.
At the bottom of Los Rambles I finally saw the street artists, and the human statues. There was one women dressed as a scary green sort of witch queen, with ten inch fingernails, caressing those who sat on her lap. The sort of thing that terrifies children for a lifetime. So cool.
Back to the ship, for some very fine meatballs in the public diner. I prefer it to the crew mess just because the airs fresher and I can look out to see. Most people don't have this privilege.
I’ve had such a weird day today. I didn't feel quite right from the beginning but it was really this old guy that did it. Because I don't know so much piano instrumental music, I have to pad a little with improvisation between songs. Nobody really cares, because when I’m playing there's usually a really loud band playing next door so you can't hear me playing anyway. But this guy gave me a right dressing down. 'I spent seven years playing piano, and I can do that what your doing. I want to hear some melodies, some songs that we know!'. I told him I was sure he could play what I was playing, it sounds like he's a very accomplished pianist, and started to play some melodies, but with 1 hour fifty to fill with instrumentals, I was gonna be repeating. Just when I was starting to get really adept at playing the stuff, he just went and pissed on all my confidence.
But then in my first full vocal set, which is going really well, these young women in their late twenties start requesting songs, and getting really chatty with lots of eye contact. I presume this to be flirting. Snag is I’m not allowed to fraternise with the passangers. At least not in the good way, so I have to be careful. Still, felt good.
Weird thing is, Although I’m having the best time of my life, there's still a part of me that just wants to be home. When me and grace were making our scrapbook, we had a page in it that said 'by this time we should have been abroad at least twice'. How could we possibly now how it was going to turn out? I’ve been to more countries in a week than I have in my entire life. France tomorrow – Toulon. Where the heck is that?