Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Laziness and Drinking

Monday and Tuesday were ‘free’ days; there was nothing scheduled as a group so people did their own thing. Brett and I had a long lie-in on the Monday morning, and then he sunbathed by the pool while I uploaded the previous day’s photographs to Facebook.

Late afternoon we took a walk along the promenade towards town with a few of the other Chorus guys. We were trying to find an old town for a bit of authentic Spanish culture but there wasn’t one. What the locals call the old town all looks to be twentieth century construction. In the end we had a few beers at a community centre/park and discussed Chorus stuff – most of our companions being relative newcomers, it was interesting to hear there perspectives on how we treat newbies and how they think the Chorus could do its stuff better.

Back to the hotel for another dismal dinner and then out onto the terrace by the pool for drinks. It was a very pleasant evening; pretty much everyone was there at some point and returners from Barcelona would join us as they got off the train (which stops across the road from the hotel.)

The bar staff at the hotel seem to resent the fact that we drink so much. The impression I get is that they normally have a much quieter time of it; most of the other guests drift off after the evening entertainment finishes, with just a few die-hards staying later. So by about 11pm they can start clearing up and slowing down. With a gay men’s chorus in residence though, the drinking continues in quantity until the small hours, which means the staff have to work through until closing time. Anyway, after the bar shut twenty or so of us made our way up to one of the hotel rooms where a few bottles of spirits and cartons of sangria had been collected and we carried the party on there.

I had been drinking Spanish brandy all evening which has a lovely flavour and didn’t seem that terribly strong. As a result I’d had five or six of them (continental ‘measures’!) by the time the bar shut but wasn’t feeling much the worse for wear. After we retired upstairs though there was only gin, vodka and sangria to choose from. I had a gin and tonic (in about a 50:50 ratio, it turned out!) and I think my second was a mix of gin and sangria. Within half an hour I was pretty smashed, but still having a good time. Much fun was had by all I think as the atmosphere was very convivial.

Brett and I left the party around 2:45 (but I hear it continued until they got closed down by Hotel Security at 3:30ish). My head was still swimming though when I tried to sleep which always makes me nauseous, so I ended up throwing up a couple of times before I could doze off. It seems to have been for the best though because I woke up clear-headed, if a little sluggish, on Tuesday morning.

It was a late awakening though, so we had breakfast at the café on the promenade. Shortly after getting back to our room Theo and Dennis called by to see if we were still up for a trip to Barcelona. We decided we were and headed out to the train with them.

We had an enjoyable, if tiring, day which can pretty much be summed up as; lunch, Sagrada Familia, bus tour of city, a bit of shopping and then home again. We were up for the bus tour as it had come recommended and we hadn’t done it before. For €20 it turned out to be reasonable value – although most of the things that I would have liked to have photographed were hidden by trees – it gave us a good idea of where we would want to explore more the next time we are back.

When we got back to the hotel Brett, who had been feeling increasingly like he was catching a cold, went up to bed while I went out for a late dinner with Theo D, Dennis M, Martin B & Nicola L. Ended up in a place just being vacated by another Chorus crowd who recommended the tapas and arroz negra. We took their advice and had a lovely meal.

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