Barcelona wasn’t all pretentious thoughts about politics and history. I spent a decent amount of time slobbing about on the beach too.
Maybe it’s the amount of sunshine and the warmth, but there’s a machismo to be found in Mediterranean countries, that we northern Europeans don’t seem to share.
For three afternoons in a row, after eating a massive menu del dia, I headed to Barceloneta for a sunbathe and a siesta, with my book and towel. And for three afternoons in a row, the tanning masses were treated to air displays by the Spanish air force. Fighter jets, old planes, new planes, solo planes, planes flying in formation, coloured smoke, broken sound barriers – we had the works, and all literally, right along the shoreline.
Having already experienced the prevailing attitude to health and safety, it shouldn’t have surprised me that they flew so low and so close to us. This was a reach out and you can touch them experience – more Top Gun than the Red Arrows.
After hours of ear-pounding acrobatics, I wandered along the beach and came across this uber-masculine scene:
A children’s playground overtaken by oiled up, six-packed men, who were stretching and posturing for the entertainment and delight of the less tightly toned of us, who had the joy of being able to sit with them in our eyeline. It was all very serious in spite of the fact that they looked absolutely ridiculous, shadow boxing the air, dangling from climbing frame bars, heaving their chins up with bulging biceps not quite as effortlessly as perhaps would have made it an awe-inspiring display.
No British guy would a) have the body, or b) the audacity to pose about like these guys were and even if he did no one would think he was c) even vaguely cool. As far as I’m concerned, this is one of the absolute joys of being on holiday in the Med.