There are many things in life that a man looks forward to. Doing things with the family, days out, holidays, sporting events, a day out for a few pints with the lads. I even look forward to a day off from work!!
But I have not had a REAL sense of excitement for a good while. I mean proper excitement. Like a puppy with a slipper. Like one man in a room full of naked women.
Like “I’ve got a semi on” type of excitement.
Having kids at a young age took away the “Lads holidays” period of my life. Not that im complaining, but when the opportunity came for me to have a 4 day bender in Barcelona with the lads for The Gay Golfers stag do, I just had to get involved. Oh and he is not actually gay. He just has some very gay tendencies!!!
4 days with another 10, highly excitable men. Men who would become children the moment we got together in Liverpool airport and were away from the wives. Men who would suddenly think we were 18 again. Men who would not pay attention to age, injury, or bodily functions. Men who would inevitably fall foul of all of the above.
IN SPECTACULAR STYLE!
So back in October, it was decided that we would head to Barcelona to give the gay golfer a right good send off as he heads into marriage with his long time Mrs. Not your “typical” stag do destination, but typical him. A little cultured and not the wild scenes of a Benidorm, Tenerife or Amsterdam. Either way we were going to enjoy it.
The date was set for May 23rd 2015. We had a whole 6 months to wait. Or as we saw it, 6 months to plan how evil we could be to a mate and still remain invited to the August wedding. In typical modern day fashion, we quickly set up a group What’s App conversation and the fun began. What could we do during the day? How could we embarrass the stag? Who was sharing a room with who? Who is actually coming? Every question you could imagine for 6 months solid. And I mean solid. From the moment one of us woke at 5 am for work everyday, until the last of us had gone to bed at midnight, the questions, comments and taunts about each others sisters and mum’s (yes, we are men, that’s what we do!) continued to roll in.
Images of pranks gone wrong, screen shots of ideas from websites. Costumes, dildos, Viagra and quite a few pictures of me doing silly shit were shared between us.
How our WAGS didn’t lose the plot with us permanently on our phones is beyond me.
As the time passed we lost a few men for various reasons, but we were primed and ready come the 23rd. Although I very nearly didn’t make it due to a knee injury sustained just 36 hours before we left. However, no knee ligament injury was stopping me getting on that plane. So I donned the “Stone cold Steve Austin” style knee brace and hobbled along to the airport, leaving the crutches behind!!!!
4am on the 23rd of May and that Damn alarm goes off again (I hate that thing). Then I realised this was a good alarm. Now I’ve gotta get ready without waking the entire house up, which I semi successfully did. Just the Mrs was woken.
Clobber on, kiss the kids goodbye (unlucky you little buggers, I’m off to spain, were my actual thoughts), and hobble down the road to meet the lads.
3 more excited men stood at the bottom of the road and we set off for the airport.
As usual with stag parties we had t-shirts made. Not the type of tacky things with nicknames on, just enough to highlight the fact that we were a stag party. We began to hand them out at the airport. “Lee’s stag, Barcelona 2015” they read, all 6 or them. Yes, as I said, there were 11 of us. Well done trots, you’ve caused chaos before we have even got through customs.
5:30 am, and we are through customs. A few pints and a bacon sandwich before we boarded the plane, followed by 2 hours worth of subdued banter so not to annoy the other passengers.
We landed in Barcelona and headed off to our apartments. The first thing that struck me was the sheer size of the place. It’s huge!! We would definitely lose someone here.
A quick stop at a little bar for a pint and some tapas, while we figured where our apartment was, and then we checked in.
So here we were, 11 men, all alone in a city we didn’t know. Where people didn’t know us. It was just what we had waited 6 months for. What we all needed. What we all scrimped and saved for. Let the fun begin.
As with most holidays, the first few hours after you arrive are spent checking out your surroundings and finding the closest shop. Not that we bought much food. 1 crusty bread, a packet of ham, 3 bags of crisps, a bottle of jager, a bottle of rum and 90 bottles of beer. Typical men.
A quick swill and we were out. Excited to be free, we hit the drink. It would be the theme of the next 3 days.
Picture the scene, 11 men looking for the nearest drink. We found a hotel which had a rooftop bar and pool. It’s not our hotel, but fuck it, it’s got a rooftop bar!! Up we went. When we got to the top our faces lit up. A small rooftop terrace, waiter service, a pool with a sauna and a great view. We were all made up. Not that we had our swimming shorts with us but that didn’t stop 2 of the group from having a swim. It would become a daily thing for those two!
We continued to roam around from bar to bar. Stumbling on a street party with live acts on the stage at one end. The language may have been spanish, but the beat was good enough for me.
We headed to La Rambla. The main street of Barcelona. A hive of activity, especially today. It was St George’s day. The day English people are supposed to celebrate. Well we don’t, but the Spanish do.
St Jordi is celebrated by exchanging gifts, books for the men and a rose for the women. Book and flower stalls are set up along the streets of Barcelona. This curious festival coincides, on one hand, with the fact that Sant Jordi has been the patron saint of Catalonia since the 15th century; but also comes from the famous legend of St George and the dragon and the old medieval tradition of visiting the Chapel of Sant Jordi, where a rose fair or “lovers” fair used to take place. Sant Jordi is also the patron saint of lovers in Catalonia (explains a lot).
I’d never seen anything like it. The streets were packed. There was a real buzz in the air, the people all smiling, looking for the ideal gift for their partners. Rose stalls stood on EVERY street corner and book stalls lined the middle of EVERY street. The spanish all loving life, and there we were. 11 thirsty, English men, meandering through the heaving streets of barcelona……. hang on a minute, 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10…… Erm, MAN DOWN!!!!!
We had been here less than a few hours and we had lost one already. So we gathered up as a group, made a few calls to his mobile, had an adult type talk on responsibility and how best to resolve this situation and came to a decision. WE SHALL CARRY ON! If truth be told our little lost soldier had traveled the world and seen more than any of us. If anyone was going to be ok alone, it was him.
More bars followed, more drinks, more sangria, jager bombs, beer, and a few stumbles on the cobbled back streets. It soon became apparent that we had done nearly 20 hours drinking. Maybe it was time to head back. After all we had 3 days of this to come.
Now where the hell was the apartment?? Good job I’d taken notice of my surroundings. I would later gain the nickname “TomTom” for my ability to get us back to civilization when we got lost.
A quick stop at a Chinese was needed though. We were starving. The poor staff looked mortified when we rolled in, but we where on our best behavior, well mostly.
Apart from when we noticed a man who looked like a British MP.
“Look it’s Ed Milaband!” Was the first shout.
“Ey, Ed, vote labour!” Oh dear. Let’s eat and leave.
Oh yeah, did I mention that we were not allowed to speak in the apartment after 10pm, due to noise restrictions and the fact that there where 3 apartments below us, all occupied by elderly people.
Well it was now nearly 1am and a heard of drunk men where trying to get home. Didn’t really work out well did it!!
The next morning we woke, surprisingly fresh, and headed out. We somehow managed to quickly agree that the beach was the place to go, although we had no intention of actually going on the beach or near the sea!
We found a great little beach bar where we had a bite to eat and of course a drink. Yes drink, it’s 10 am, what’s wrong with that?
We set about planning the day and how the rest of the week would look. The only problem with this beach bar was the 3 Chinese ladies who began to pester us for a massage on the beach. GO AWAY WOMEN!!!!
Eventually someone gave in to her constant pestering and actually got a massage. Queue the rude jokes as she smiled with joy at the thought of her 2 euros she was just earning. It’s a good job she didn’t understand English.
During our research we had been advised that a great way to see Barcelona is to do the segway tour. You know, those things with 2 wheels that you stand on and wheel around. €55 for a 2 hour tour, with a tour guide, and those stupid white helmets. It would be fun……yeah let’s do it.
Off we set to find the segway place. That was, until we bumped into the Slovakian comrade who had scooters. Not scooters as in road legal mopeds. No, these were the type of electric scooters your kids have all asked for. But adult ones!!
€15 euros for 2 hours, or €20 for 3 hours, go where you want, no tour guide and no stupid helmets. And they were twice as fast as segways.
Sorted. Quite possibly the best 3 hours of the whole holiday. We went all over the beach front. One end to the other. In and out of bars, shops and even into the marina. Well, until security stopped us.
It was definitely my holiday highlight.
The rest of the day was spent roaming the streets, drinking and soaking up the local cultures. We found another bar on the way back to the apartment to get changed.
Now not one of us smoke, but we suddenly had the urge to enter this shisha bar we had stumbled upon. (This would be funny). The next hour was spent trying to blow smoke rings and not look like a fool when choking on the smoke we had inhaled too much of. Needless to say i now want my own shisha pipe!
Tonight Was the night we were going to abuse the stag, although the word abuse is a little harsh. We had picked out a costume for him. I mentioned the gay golfer thing earlier. This was the chosen topic.
Pink polo with “Gay Golfers Association” on it. White pants, and a pink visor. Throw in the gay pride badges and flags and the striped socks we made him wear over his pants and he looked great. He was definitely the only gay in our village. He got some strange looks that night but took it all in good humor.
Now as usual, when it comes to hiring an apartment, there are certain rules. Like DON’T BREAK THE BEDS!!!
Unfortunately, at 3am, while acting like the over grown children that we are, some of us had tried to jump on each other in a drunken state, and we forgot this rule.
The next morning brought a number of surprises. One of us had lost our phone (no surprises with who though) but a big surprise was it had been found by a decent English guy who very kindly left it at his hotel reception. A €70 euro taxi ride soon got it back!
Suprise number 2 was that one of the lads who couldn’t make the trip had booked a flight and was on his way. Only for 24 hours but he would soon be here!!
Suprise number 3 would come later.
We waited for our new guest to arrive, i fixed the broken bed (deposit saved) and then the now 12 of us headed for breakfast. An Irish bar we had found the day before, called “Dunnes” was to be our destination.
On the way I had gone into one of the many official FC Barcelona club shops to get a few presents for the kids. (A decision that I would regret in about an hours time).
I left the group to go and get my bits and arranged to follow them into the bar. 20 minutes or so later I did just that. Once I got to the bar they were all sat down waiting for their food.
They had found a long table at which they could all sit. There were 11 seats. 5 down one side, 5 on the other and 1 on the end. The other end was pushed up against the wall. So rather than make a fuss I just found a table adjacent to them all and sat on my own.
When I say on my own, I was able to get involved in the conversation, but had my own table. The breakfast was ordered and the drink again began to flow.
The breakfast eventually arrived. Now it was titled “The Irish breakfast”. It looked distinctly like an English breakfast to me, except that everything was cold. Maybe that was the Irish bit! When I say everything, I mean everything. But I was hungover, my leg was killing me and I was starving, so it was devoured within 5 minutes. Now with the cold breakfast came toast. Rock hard toast. This is where Suprise number 3 came.
So there I am. Hungover, tired, in pain and for once, being calm and keeping myself to myself. (I’m one of the loud ones usually). Reading the sport section on the BBC website, eyes pinned on my phone, I was at peace with the world. Then it hit me, literally!
Que the incessant laughter. Well, from 11 others anyway. The type of laughter you get when something hilarious happens out of the blue.
Remember the rock hard toast?? Well it had just been launched across the room and hit me plumb in the forehead. In a split second I saw the toast hit the deck, the crumbs falling from my head, my sunglasses hit the table, bent out of shape, and a sense of pure embarrassment and extreme anger. The table nearly went as I flew to my feet in sheer rage. ….
WHO FUCKING THREW THAT???
WHO THREW IT??? EY? COME ON!!
WHO FUCKING THREW IT???
SHIT HOUSES! !!!
Now i’m not a fighter. I can talk a good talk and can hold my own, but in no way am i a fighter. The tattoo on my arm proves it. “Of skill rather than force” it says in Latin. However for that 20 second period of vile abuse spilling from my mouth i was willing to fight the lot. All 11 of them. I didn’t care who it was, if they had told me there and then id of lost the plot.
It took me a good hour or so to calm down. We had moved on towards the marina for a drink and all was forgotten. That was until someone shouts up “WHO FUCKING THREW THAT?” No doubt I was to be the main focus of the day.
The day involved more of the same. Piss taking, sight-seeing, a trip down la rambles and of course, drink.
We settled into an Irish bar that just so happened to have the Liverpool game on. (Not that it was worth watching). Drink was cheap, sport on and music. Ideal.
Outside the young Spanish kids were playing football in the square. Imagine that in Britain. No chance. Not here tho. The kids are encouraged to play and it shows. Once the drink had started to take effect, a few of the lads decided they would teach the kids a thing or two.
The only problem was this group of 5 – 12 year olds were better than us men. 1 euro coin per nutmeg was the challenge. Well the kids ended up with enough money to buy a sweet shop. It cost us a few quid but it was worth it for the fun and also the enjoyment on the kids faces. Maybe it made us feel like we were with our kids somehow. Parental instinct or something.
A quick pit stop back at the apartment and it was on to our last night. Minus one. A little too much ale and shisha had rendered him a vomiting useless mess. He would spend the night in bed. At least he couldn’t lose his phone from in bed!
As is the norm with holidays, we found the best place on the last night.
Anyway, it was full of great music, decent booze, plenty of free shots ( why did they keep giving us free shots??), and eye candy!!!
A great night was had by all until we fell home at about 3am.
The final day involved a trip to the cathedral, not before we said goodbye to our 24 hour journey man though. A brief stop at a pub, where hardly anyone had a drink, and then to the Camp Nou. Here we all dreamed of how good it would be to watch a game or even play there. For a football fan its a place of dreams. If anyone is planning a trip there it is well advised. The stadium tour is great and you can take it all at your own speed, just don’t touch the grass!!! A plan was hatched to come back and watch a game one day, and then, after 4 days of utter chaos, we set off for the airport.
Only a short taxi ride away, it was enough time to reflect on what a great time we had had. Despite knowing most of these lads for over 10 years, trips like this will test friendships and bring you closer together as well. So many good times. Snicker gate, elephant masks, broken beds, crazy taxi men, any blozzers, drunken falls, lost men, scooters, football, viagra, rock hard toast, the list could go on. Anyway i have to get back there to with
A quiet flight home began to show how the 4 day trip had taken its toll on us all. We would land back in Liverpool at midnight and sneak into bed.
Now i need a holiday to recover.
NB: It was later discovered who threw the toast. Lets just say, for the GROOMS sake, i hope there are no bread rolls left on my table at speech time!! #Revenge #WhoFuckingThrewThat