eve at large // barcelona vignettes

V took a three day trip to Barcelona to visit a friend and see Lorde in concert. Here she divulges blinks of her trip without all the boring in-betweens.

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Cast of Barcelona Vignettes (in order of appearance):

Millie: my close friend who I was staying with in Barcelona.

The cynic: Noud, Millie’s friend from her art lessons.

Myrthe: another of Millie’s friends from art college.

Julia: Pastry-eating pal I met at the Lorde concert.

Gloria: Millie’s elderly landlady

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camille minouflet – @caminouflet

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Location: city centre. Our walk from the metro was interrupted by pro-spanish unity protesters who saturated the streets, nearly everyone in capes of red and yellow. It seemed that when they started to fill the streets lengthways, they simply ascended—climbing onto bus shelters, bins and barriers. The sky cerulean acted a ceiling to the seven-story street walls.

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High vis jackets stopped us entering the metro saying that the platform was full. As the small entry-hall swelled with more flagging Spaniards, the cynic and I discussed our death in such a crowd, or on the plane over here. Then we debated jumping the barriers or sneaking down in the lift or setting up a towel and lying, in our beachwear, there in the sun-blind station.

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catherine mcmahon

Location: the beach. Cream thoroughly soaked in, we went in the sea—to the natives it was cold but, compared to the murk of Plymouth Sound, it was only refreshing. We opened our eyes underwater to a screen of light-freckled mediterranean turquoise. I lay floating, starfish prone, in the sea and felt luxurious, ears submerged, listening to the sand grains graze over one another and feeling that same sound crackle in the back of my neck.

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I stomped out of the water to ruin the bay-watch catcalls of Millie and Noud. I felt we were the misfit protagonists you vouch for in a movie, surrounded by more typical tourists catching tans with butterfly-net bikinis.

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We danced on the sand, tipsy on Sangria, to acoustic singers in a beach cafe, waiting to use the public loo—one of those concrete, toilet-seat-lacking loos which is always damp and cold regardless of the temperature outside. Bliss.

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lou levit

Location: city centre. We bought groceries for dinner and sat outside Myrthe’s balcony, serenading her, Romeo-style, to open her front door. When she eventually arrived we cooked pesto-pasta and ate while laughing in candlelight at each others’ Barcelonian tinder. The whole apartment felt like a renaissance era painting if it had drugs and iPhones. Myrthe has matched with two famous dutch musicians.

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We walked back to Millie’s apartment in the beach clothes that european cities still accommodate at 10pm. My hair was thick with salt, skin filmed with the saline med.

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Location: in transit. Next morning. I dazzled passersby with my pallid flesh as I practiced ordering a latte in spanish from the coffee shop opposite Millie’s studio.

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The barista was understanding and kindly offered to teach me spanish in exchange for more conversational english. I contracted an oblivious Millie into this deal and thought hey, this travel stuff is easy—makin’ friends, learnin’ languages, squeezin’ lemons.

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biel morro

Location: Gothic District. I decided I no longer liked to shop in vintage shops very much, despite my enjoyment of their anti-consumerist sentimentality. I’m also still enamored by their aesthetic: denim in 30 shades and corduroy from sunshine to bueno, layered on coat hangers. In another shop we questioned some culturally appropriative clothes. I bought a non-appropriative, sparkly top.

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Location: Lorde concert. Made friends with two ladies eating pastries in the queue. They had arrived on a Vespa and this made me think they were pretty cool. Once inside we went to the loo together and bought some beers. Julia was thrifty. She quickly located some covert toilets without queue (location never to be disclosed to the masses) and worked out that as you were given two euros for returning your beer cup, you could make a profit by returning rogue, floor cups. This became the treasure hunt of the night.

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What does make me a little sad about concerts is that, while you can fool yourself into thinking that the songs were written for you when you’re sitting in your car, driving over dartmoor, feeling life-lost, that is shattered once you’re sardined by 20,000 others who also know every word.

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 tao xanh kim

Walked to bus stop. Vespa horn honk from my gals. Bus cancelled and shit I have no idea where I am or where I’m even going. My taxi driving saviour taught me how to say I went to a Lorde concert and speed camera in spanish.

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Location: city centre. Tuesday. Millie and I woke together and I dressed my new raspberry-lemonade top with my super pink trousers and just thought fuck it I’m gonna be pink woman today. Strutted through the streets of Barcelona and chased pigeons to be in my boomerangs.

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Ordered a coffee from my favourite barista in Barcelona and told him fuy para concierto de Lorde anoche. He was impressed.

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Location: Park Güell. Millie and I attempted to see as much of the Gaudi Park as possible without paying. Once at the top of the site, we went off-piste and climbed another small hilltop, comparing it to dartmoor tors. Upon summiting, we were met with a panoramic collage of Barcelona. We felt superior to the obedient tourists below us, on the park’s highest viewpoint, and contemplated the speed at which we could zip line to the city centre.

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A man pulled giant bubbles, their neon rainbows glistening, from string loops. Everyone stood hands outstretched, as if meditating, welcoming the magic towards them. Once all the soapy source was used, we whipped its dregs up into our hands and blew bubbles out of our thumb and forefingers.

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Location: in transit. Millie waited in the metro station, so as not to waste a ticket ride, while I ran to her apartment to retrieve my forgotten jacket, unnecessary in autumnal Spain. But it’s my favourite jacket. Gloria was snoring loudly and will never know I was there that afternoon.

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Location: airport. Flight delayed by five hours. Wish I had some story of great conversation with a fellow stranded islander, but I was tired. I ate a duty-free toblerone instead.

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