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Moresby Meanders Observations From an Ongoing Journey

Sitges, Michel, Michel, and Bar La Locacola

SPAIN | Wednesday, 7 May 2014 | Views [594] | Comments [1]

As we sat in the police station waiting to file a report we reflected on the week that had been. Despite it being the middle of spring we had been treated to nothing but rain. The hours of queuing for over-priced attractions were wearing thin, and as indicated by the line ahead of us at the station, we, along with half of the other tourists in the city, had managed to get robbed… It was time to get out of Barcelona.

Hoping for a bit of local insight we decided to have a chat with the man working the desk at our hostel about a good destination for a daytrip.

“Sitges” he replied immediately. “It is a beautiful sea side town, only 40 minutes on the train. You will not be disappointed”

Sitges it was. The sun, which had decided to show its face for the first time in days, glistened off the sea as the train coasted along the Mediterranean. We gazed out the window, passing quaint villas and seaside towns. Finally, the sultry female voice on the trains PA announced our arrival. “etsa estación es Sitges”.

The sun was warm and the narrows streets were filled with smiling faces as we made our way south from the station towards the beachfront. Bars, restaurants, and a few curious boutiques lined the streets. According to my research, Sitges was a hot spot for the rich and famous to make a getaway from the big city. Emerging on the beachfront I could see why.  With the pristine sands, blue water, and beautiful sandstone architecture of the Church of Sant Bartomeu I Santa tecla perched on the promontory above, it was prefect. Sitges was also renowned, I had found, for its annual Film Festival, Carnival, gay pride march, and being one of the most gay-friendly destinations in the world.

Having taken a brief stroll along the beachfront, my wife and I had already decided we loved the place. It was decided, we must find a hotel and make this day trip into a two-day trip. But first things first, we needed to eat.

A couple of streets back from the beachfront we found a small French restaurant with an appealing menu. A group of French people sat outside eating. We figured this was a good sign and pulled up a seat. Our waiter, a friendly young Frenchman, took our order and we began to search for an available room for the night. As it turned out, there was next to nothing left in town in our price range... Perhaps our friendly waiter might know of a place, I suggested. As he waved goodbye to the French-speaking customers and began to clear their plates, I beckoned him over.

“Err, excuse me. We have decided that we like it here very much and we want to spend another day here before heading back to Barcelona, but there doesn’t seem to be much vacant in the way of hotels that we can afford. Do you know any cheap places that might have a room? I plied.

“Well, yes, in fact my friend who was just here owns a hotel around the corner. I will call him and find out if he has a room.”

Dashing off for a moment, he soon returned.

“I am afraid he has none of the regular rooms left.”

Our hearts sank.

“But, he tells me he has one room that he does not usually rent out, that if you want, you could stay in.”

He quoted a price and it sounded more than fair. We finished our meal, tipped well, and made our way down to the hotel. Inside, one of the French men who had sat across from us at the restaurant, sat at the hotel desk. He smiled with recognition and introduced himself as Michel. Taking us up to the top level he opened an unmarked door and showed us in. The room was a little peculiar. The walls were lined with religious iconography and it smelt a little musty, but otherwise it was comfortable enough and we agreed to take it for the night. It was a strike of luck and we thanked him for the opportunity to extend our visit.

Dropping our bags we made our way back to the beachfront, bought a couple of towels, had a quick swim and reclined in the sun. I grinned as we lay back on the sand and looked over at my wife who grinned back.

Later in the evening after dinner, it was time to head out for a drink. After passing a series of particularly average looking watering holes along the esplanade populated solely by wealthy looking, leathery skinned middle aged couples, further pickling themselves over another bottle of Airén, we decided we would have to try a little harder to find something to our taste. Something less pretentious… We needed to find a gay bar.

Wandering north back up the hill, away from the beach along a quiet street we noticed a pink glow emanating from a window ahead. The sound of Abba, drifted from the open doorway as we approached, followed by a flamboyant cackle, the clinking of glasses, and the deep voice of a rather tall and broad shouldered lady with a five O’clock shadow calling after her boyfriend as she stepped out for a smoke. The couple giggled mischievously and fondled each other by the doorstep as we stepped inside.

Inside, the bright pink and yellow walls sparkled as a disco ball rotated overhead. Colourful posters and pictures of semi naked men dotted the walls. We were greeted by a cheeky looking older barman. He was particularly friendly. We struck up a conversation and ordered a couple of gin and tonics. There were two seats at the bar sandwiched between a row of chattering patrons. I asked the man to my right if he minded if I sat next to him.

“Of course not. You are the Australian no?” He replied. A little taken aback I looked around at him again. “And your wife, where was she from?” What the hell? I thought to myself. Who is this guy? How does he know who I am? As our eyes met, I immediately recognised him. It was Michel, the owner of our hotel.

“Oh, yes, Michel, I’m sorry, I didn’t recognise you there for a moment. Hilde, my wife, she is from Norway”

We settled in and began chatting. The bartender and Michel, as we found out, were friends. Both part of the small but proud French community in town. It was plain to see that this place was a paradise for anyone who chose to live here.

“Why would you want to live anywhere else!?” Exclaimed the bartender.

Soon Michel’s partner arrived. He introduced us with a flourish “This is my partner Michel.”

“Wait you are both called Michel?” I clarified.

“Yes, Michel and Michel. It is easy to remember our names no!? It is good for the hotel. All we need to do is tell our guests to ask for Michel if they need anything.”

We all laughed.

Michel and Michel talked of their move from France some years back in order to escape the grind. All three men spoke fondly of the town and how they had found their place in life here.

“You should come back for Carnival some time, Sitges is at its best then.” Explained Michel.

“Yess, Caaaarnivaaaal!” The bar tender cried out, shaking his hands in the air.

“Ha, yes, and he looks fantastic in a dress.” remarked Michel.

“And yooou look faaaabulous in a dress too darling” Fired back the bartender.

After a while, Michel and Michel conceded that they must throw in the towel for the night.

“We are old married men, we can’t party like you kids any more”

They bid us farewell.

“We will see you in the morning anyway.”

The wife and I stuck it out for a few more drinks, a couple of which were insistently “On the house”.

On the way out the bartender handed us a business card.

“Go on our website, there are photos of carnival. You can see us in our dresses. If you like it, maybe you will come back next year for the party!”

We thanked our friend for his hospitality.

Some months after returning home, I emptied my wallet and noticed the card from Bar La Locacola. I smiled to myself, logged on to the Internet and typed in the URL.

 

 

Tags: gay bar, sitges, spain

Comments

1

c ai vraiment pas le top gay a sitges ,ya beaucoup mieux a faire dans ce bled !que des Français a la con dans ce bar un conseil si vous aller a sitges la plage la nuit c ai mieux !salut les mecs.

  Henri Bégot Feb 24, 2016 10:38 AM

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