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Eye of the Tempest

Barcelona easy.

SPAIN | Sunday, 6 August 2006 | Views [1315]

On Saturday I woke up late and headed to Barcelona beach for a few hours for some sun, surf and a much needed 5 euro Thai massage. There I bumped into some friends I knew from the last time I was in Barcelona in May, who invited me to come to a nightclub in a cave that night. So around 1am we shared two taxis to some remote village (I don't know the name of) and find ourselves dropped off at the entrance to what looks, at first, like any normal nightclub. Inside the cave, the music was pumping ( a bit too hard for my usual taste) and the crowd was jumping and ... yeah, I know: now I'm just ripping off some 90's rap song! The cave was humongous, though, and had a bar, toilets, a stage, lights and even a coat room; a whole nightclub built into it's walls! Where the walls were left bare, including the naturally formed stalactites and stalagmites, they glistened in the laser lights with the humidity of all the dancers packed inside. THey absorbed the racket beautifully! Outdoors, in the nightclub courtyard, there was a much smaller set of decks playing more relaxed melodies to people wanting a break. From the comparatively serene courtyard, the thunder from within the cave was almost inaudible!

The next afternoon was hot and sunny so some friends and I made our way to the famous park Guell, designed by Gaudi: Barcelona's favourite (surrealist) architect! It was built into the side of a hill, with the journey up the path an ever changing feast for the senses. At one bend, pan pipes reverberated down from a Romanesque terrace. At another, violins shook the eucalypts and other aromatic plants in the extensive gardens. On the top of the hill, there was an awesome view of Barcelona right out to the bay. A group of musicians, including a disproportionate conglomerate of djembe drummers, were playing impulsively amongst themselves; incidentally providing music for the rest of us to enjoy and juggle to all through the afternoon.

Monday and Tuesday I looked up loquo.com to find a place to rent in Barcelona for a month or two. www.loquo.com is a fantastic, free public notice board for jobs, lifts, apartments, etc. which is particularly useful in Barcelona, but it's well used, so you've got to get onto it quick if you want that apartment/car/lift. At this point, I was still sleeping on the couch of a generous friend's overcrowded share apartment. On Tuesday afternoon, I got a call back about what seemed to be a perfect apartment. I was greeted by a tall, Italian girl with crazy hair who said she was looking for a family of friends in the flat, and a very calm and collected Chilean man who was a budding film director, both of whom I took to right away. By that evening I had moved into my first, very own apartment in Barcelona. I was giddy with glee! It was spacious, clean, relaxed and had large windows and three balconies. I immediately felt comfortable and settled. It was all terribly easy and not working around a hostel or other people's timetables freed up a lot of time and energy for more interesting activities. Yay for having my own place!

Meanwhile, I had also arrived back in Barcelona with just a few days to spare to get to the week long Boom Festival; one of Europe's foremost and largest Trance and World Music Festivals, held every second year in the foothills of Northern Portugal. This year it was also going to include a focus on sustainability and environmental awareness. It was always going to be hard finding a lift all the way across the Iberian Peninsula that late, but as an active researcher of Countercultural and European Carnival Traditions and of Sustainability efforts, I felt it was my absolute duty to try! So I set aside a slim 300 euros (100 or so for the transport/ gas, 100 for the ticket and another hundred for coffee, food, emergencies, etc.) and sent out messages to as many people I knew would be heading that way to give me a lift, or at least catch the bus/ train with me (there were suprisingly almost no directions on how to get to the festival on the Boom website). I searched for flights but found them booked out. I went to loquo.com and followed up potential lifts advirtised there, but they all fell through. I even tried organising with several friends to journey to the festival together, but when by Saturday afternoon I found myself still in Barcelona at Sans Estacio with no trains or buses leaving for Portugal till the next afternoon, I finally conceded it was not going to happen.

Despondant and grumpy at missing out on the big party, I bumped into a jumbly crew of backpackers arriving for a one night stop over in Barcelona on their way down to Morocco. We ended up staying out all night (well, it was a Saturday night in Barcelona) and having an absolute ball! By Sunday evening, two of the group had gone on ahead via Madrid, and the other two were trying to convince me to use the 300 euros I had set aside for Boom to go to Morocco with them instead. They reasoned that it shouldn't cost more than 40 euros to bus down to Southern Spain, another 30 or so for two way travel across the straight and if you didn't stay long and weren't discriminating, Morocco was not too expensive. Besides, they reasoned, they had been there many times before so they could show me around and easily get me back within a week or so. It was all just too "Barcelona easy."

And here's the exact point where my plans started to go awfully askew: I said, "That sounds like fun!"

Next time on Catch-up Tempest Trails:

- Will Tempest make it to Morocco?

- What does Tempest mean by "awefully askew"?

- Will Tempest remember to bring/ look at a map of Spain before leaving?

- Who was Gus?

Some Tempest time!

Some Tempest channel!

Tags: Philosophy of travel

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