A postcard from Sitges

Mon 13 – Sun 19 May

Rise up and oppose Brexit

Sitges

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Regular blog readers will know about my love affair with Sitges just outside Barcelona. You can find many blogs on my visits here. I first went to this gay centre about 25 years ago when people still used pesetas. And it always draws me back. What makes Sitges such a great place?

  • Nearness to the UK. It is only a short flight or a reasonable train journey. You can even drive there. And yet it is a different country. Indeed, officially Spain but the local population far more sees themselves as Catalan and a separate nation.
  • The nightlife. OK the gay scene weekdays off peak-season is pretty much the same people you see around the town during the day. But there are some fun little bars and clubs with everything not starting till at least 10pm. And you can always find somewhere to carry on the party. Which I indeed did a couple of nights. Weekends it is fresh blood with the Spaniards out on the town (plus annoying hen and stag groups).
  • I particularly love the whisky sours at Parrots bar. These are the best ones – short and sharp. It’s a real holiday pleasure in Sitges to get indulgently sloshed whilst watching people and the world go past. Or just to get almighty pissed and crash back into the hotel at some unearthly hour of the morning. The alcohol and holiday feeling certainly gave me some great nights’ of sleep – Dave was occasionally worried I was dead LOL
  • The weather is generally pretty good. We had more rain and it was chillier than I hoped for but there was also some glorious sun. The rain on Friday actually gave me the excuse to effectively have a day in bed recovering from the night before. I love being a beach bum for at least part of the day, enjoying the sun and reading my book. Sunday night was slightly grim with thunder showers coming out of nowhere. We sat at Parrots staring out into the pouring rain. 🙁
  • Sexy rough Spanish/Catalan men. Their testosterone-fuelled masculinity is a pleasure to watch though many of them know and enjoy the fact they are being admired in a gay resort. The builders are my particular favourites and there is always building work going on in Sitges as it is such an aspirational and desirable place to live in. 🙂
  • The playas (beaches) are great. Sitges has some lovely little beaches like the gay nudist one at Balmins (just below the cemetery 🙂 ) that was my place of residence this holiday. I also like Playa del muerte (beach of death) about an hour and a half’s walk but didn’t make it this time. Glorious sunshine and beach time on Thurs, Sat, Mon and Tues. 🙂
  • Food is great with loads of little restaurants. Not as cheap as in the old days but fun to eat at some established long-term places such as Zodiaco, Vikingos and La Oca as well as experimenting with new places that will probably be gone by the time I return.
  • The coffee shops are great fun as well. The day-time version of the night-time with coffee replacing alcohol as you sit and watch people go by especially at Mon Roig. Some people amaze with their beauty and style though more often me and Dave were hit by their lack of style and general ability to be mutton dressed as lamb. 🙂 There are also lots of incredibly obese people about.
#IamEuropean

Eurovision

Mans Zelmerlow

Totally unplanned, my trip to Sitges coincided with Eurovision – the LGBT equivalent of the World Cup. I watched the first semi-final on Tuesday at home in London and was pleased with who went through. The second one on Thursday we saw in Sitges’ main gay area. Brilliant to see the different European nationalities around clapping for their entries as they performed.

And final night on Saturday was fabulous with an amazing atmosphere. Winner was perfectly OK. Not my favourite (that probably went to Russia (I know…), Australia, Norway and Iceland) but I’m a bad judge, didn’t clock Italy or North Macedonia as anything special.

Mark

Really great to bump into my old friend Mark who I knew when we both lived in Brighton. About 15 years since we last saw each other. We had a nice catch-up in Bears bar on Sat night and then drinks in the rain on Sun afternoon.

Personal Development

We make plans and God laughs at them. This old saying is certainly true of the things I expect to achieve when I am on holiday. It’s that old thing about realising ‘it’s a holiday, stupid’. Some language practice via simply being in Spain and also using the Drops app. But no real coding practice. Did manage to keep on top of emails. 🙂

Health and Efficiency

Gym and massage

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Two gym sessions before the trip to Sitges, one on Mon morning and one on Tues morning. I really am getting into my old groove of happily spending an hour or so in the gym working with different weights and machines on various body parts. It is a bit like an addiction but a good one.

Then on Mon afternoon, over to my mate’s house for him to practice his massage skills on me. We did a lot of body stretching rather than massaging which was good. I think in many ways I prefer to have my body stretched (and pummelled) rather than soothingly rubbed. 🙂

I did take my running kit to Spain. But it was another plan that God laughed at…

Books and Reading

‘Black Leopard, Red Wolf’ by Marlon James

So this has been my main holiday reading book. Though I’ve also had another one on the go on my kindle yet to be finished (‘The Haunting of Hill House’ by Shirley Jackson – very good).

geographical africa

Black Leopard is definitely more complex than just ‘Game of Thrones set in Africa’. It is a mix of African mythology including vampires and witches merged with fantasy and contemporary sci-fi (I traced stories that have appeared in Star Trek The Next Generation and Flash Gordon). As well as modern themes including homosexuality, mental health issues, and attacks on albinos.

red demon head with horns

In many ways it is similar to James’ previous award winning book ‘A brief history of seven killings’ which was based on modern Jamaica and Bob Marley. You have to stick with them for the first 50 pages then it suddenly starts to make sense and becomes a gripper. I truly struggled with both books at first and just went with the flow until things fell into place and they both became rewarding reads. In Leopard, I cared about the characters and wanted to see where the story went.

Overall, it is an opaque book in that I didn’t always follow what was happening. And it is brilliant that there is a map at the start of the book showing the details of this fantasy land as the journey of our hero and his gang unfolds. And a detailed list of who characters when they appear in the book. I would highly recommend this book simply for the journey it takes you on. Be prepared to work hard, however it will give back in return.

The Week Ahead

  • Mon and Tues left in Sitges. Hopefully the rain will stop and I can have a couple of days of being a beach bum. 🙂
  • Got yoga on Fri and a jog-run planned for Sat with 2 gym sessions on Thurs and Sun mornings if I get my shit together
  • Will try to get back into a personal development rhythm
  • Hopefully read another couple of books

And Finally…

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