Determined not to have just another night in Barcelona the traveling team tricycle (Sam, Nancy and Myself) assembled on Saturday the 31st of December to visit Sitges for the weekend. My Saturday morning was filled with massive bouts of de ja vue. Not only had I just finished an evenings watch on board but we were to meet at the train station. The train station looked oddly HDR and smokey.
Not wanting to mess with a winning formula Sam and Nancy were late. Sam also wanted to have a pre trip drink. We convened at the very same Mexican cafe and my vocal chords replayed some eerily similar conversation snippets from our last trip to the Mexican cafe.
With our Margaritas hitting the spot quite nicely we were soon on our train to Sitges. I had been meaning to get to Sitges for quite a while. It lies about 45 minutes west of Barcelona and is a famously beautiful place, full of beautiful people and it is also well renowned for being fabulously gay.
Soon enough our train arrived in Sitges and like an Enid Blyton book gone horribly wrong we were soon rambling through the streets to our lodgings. Our lodgings were the result of many a minute debating on the best possible vantage point to savour Sitges and the beginning of a new year. Situated on the hill to the east was such a place. The Melia Sitges was a wonderful hotel. It ticked many boxes and even had ever so slightly warped lounge music in the glass elevator.
View from my room
With Sam taking his yearly session in the adjoining health spa and Nancy in tow I pottered about devouring my mini bar and unpacking my many bags. I think I even managed to have a nap of sorts before we all convened and traipsed down the hill to the marina. It is an odd behavior from working on boats that sailors find themselves pulled to marinas or water. Maybe we like the stuff.
The Marina was well appointed and full of day trip style craft. It also had quite a few weekend wanderers if the many restaurants were anything to go by. We settled ourselves down in a bar serving Japanese food and ordered some very exuberant looking Tequila sunrises.
For the record until earlier this very day I had not drank a drop of alcohol since that Steak House evening.
Needless to say after a couple of Sunrises I was feeling very festive and expectant at the prospect of my first Spanish New Years eve in a paradoxically both sleepy and sleepless town.
After a saunter up the hill and a pause to take in the magnificent sunset. It was time to prepare for our evening out.
One of the first things I learned about Spanish New Years was that is customary to don red trousers for New Years evening. Having not worn red trousers since my hey day I felt necessary to wear a garment which I had not worn before. A Michael Pattison design. My loud shirt is very loud and screams unintelligible things. I also dare not put a picture of it online for fear of it breaking the internet.
We assembled in the hotel cocktail bar at about 8pm and were ushered outside by the strange walking barman who could see trouble brewing a mile off. He did take the time to to brew a trio of very drinkable gin and tonics and walked them out strangely to us.
Savoring a very tasty drink I learned my second Spanish New Years custom. At the stroke of midnight we should eat 12 grapes one after the other with each chime of the clock. This all sounded like terribly hard work and another round of drinks was ordered. It is safe to say at this juncture that we were starting to feel quite loose. With the hotels guests safely at tables we felt comfortable enough to return to the hotel and order a taxi into town.
On the Taxi ride down into town Sam took over as the official travel guide and told us tall tales from the Carnival which happens in Sitges in February of each year. He also told us about a bear festival which has nothing to do with animals and other very important information. The taxi dropped us off near the beach and we discovered Sitges was pretty quiet. The third thing that I learned about a Spanish New Years is that is largely a family affair until well after 12am. A lot of the bars closed at 9:30 and the bars that did serve us were only to happy to bundle us out with a muddle of commiserations before 9:30. This was mildly disappointing. This was made all the more disappointing when some bars had crazy signs like this.
Do you need google translate for that?
Wandering the streets of Sitges I did learn that it is the home of the Barcadi family. I also learned that if you want something fluro/fluffy or sparkly you can buy it anytime of the year even when you should be at home with your family.
Thankfully we found a very luxurious and open lounge bar. The bar tender was Vampiric in nature and Sam was convinced he may have been chewing his own face off. I was enthralled and ordered the bloodiest drink I could think of. A bloody mary. The enthusiasm that the bar tender put into creating his cocktails had us wondering if he was in fact making potions instead of cocktails.
By this time our loud and obvious English speaking nature had alerted other English speaking people that had come to Sitges to be both amazed and gobsmacked that there was not a hell of a lot going on before 12am. We made some new friends, some of which are hounding Sam to this very day for a catch up, such an impact he made. We happened upon a couple of young Manchester people who for reasons that escape me were determined to create as much mess and exhibit as much lewd behavior possible without being locked up. It was disgusting and I found myself wishing I had a taser.
I now have a taser.
12am came and went. We took self portraits that summed up the interesting year we were having and the one that had past.
By this time we were becoming nicely disheveled and I started losing garments and faculties at an alarming rate. One thing that I loved about Sitges that you could leave phones, bags, scarfs, body parts in bars all over the town and return to them at any stage of the night to find them exactly where you left them. This is quite a contrast from Barcelona where you are constantly on theft watch.
We ended up dancing in some quite ridiculous night spots. I know they were ridiculous because I was channeling my tree pose.
I am a tree, the bad music will flow through me and I will stand tall.
So popular was my tree pose that a tree wearing ear muffs stood beside me.
At about two am there seemed to be an influx of teenagers. I suppose that the rich children of the very wealthy descend on town once their parents go to sleep. Sam now wished he had a taser. He does not have one. Yet. We had another run in with the Mancurians. I didn’t have my taser yet and in the interests of going to bed happy and rested we called it a night.
We had a very lazy Sunday in the hotel. I completed emptying my mini bar. We ordered room service and even had a tv show marathon. A perfect Sunday in a perfect little place.
Happy New Year!