The Shit List: Ten Things to Do On Las Ramblas on a Saturday Night Before You Die
Some travel companies like to Google activities in Europe so they can put together sparsely worded listicles mandating you try 30 different things located in all the disparate corners of the vast European continent before you die. The only way to feasibly achieve this would be to jump on one of their dog-forsaken “5,000 countries in three days” tours, which are expensive and prolifically unpleasant. Stoke Travel isn’t like those other travel companies. We like to do a few things and do them well. We’re thorough, and enjoyable. Thoroughly enjoyable. We put forward as evidence our carefully curated list of 10 things to do on Las Ramblas, Barcelona, on a Saturday night before you die (obviously before you die cos you’re not going to do them once you’re dead now, are you?).
<h2>1. Step in piss</h2>
If you’re a tourist out for a good time on Las Ramblas, it’s probably the height of summer and really dry. So what are all these puddles everywhere? One guess, fool. Open up your nostrils, can’t you smell its mineral tang rising with the heat from those beautiful pavers? You realise now what has been catching on your thongs (Australian thongs, not American thongs) and flicking up all over the back of your sunburnt legs. Ahhh, you cry, and try to brush it off, but then you realise you have it all over your fingers. You have no choice but to carry on, but you wear your new knowledge like a shameful secret and hope that no one can smell it on you. When you think no one is looking, you sniff your fingers.
<h2>2. Give money to a homeless person with a dog and a humorous sign</h2>
Why do all the homeless people here have dogs? you slur in Chad’s ear as you walk past a dreadlocked young woman crooning to a puppy in a nest of blankets. At first the high levels of visible homelessness prod you awkwardly in your sheltered core as you try to decide whether you give them money or not and whether it would mean you have to give money to every homeless person you see and can you afford that and are they really homeless?, when you see a guy holding a sign scrawled with need $ for hores and weed. You are disarmed by his roguish charm and larrikin-ish sign, so you give him €1 and a comradely nod, because you were only going to spend it on hores and weed yourself.
<h2>3. Be offered drugs</h2>
The first time a guy standing stationary in the hustle of Las Ramblas makes unflinching eye-contact with you, you might think it’s because your eyebrows are on fleek tonight. As you get closer, he’ll murmur, Do you like stuff? (Stuff??) MDMA? Cocaine? Marijuana? You realise he is just trying to sell you drugs. You slide by cautiously because you’re afraid of being pickpocketed or stabbed, and to your back he sings in a voice a notch more audible, Smoke weed? in a final bid to win your custom. This will happen to you approximately once every five steps.
<h2>4. Buy Estrellas from the guy holding the six-pack</h2>
How were you to know that the convenience stores (here everyone calls them “Pakis”, but you won’t do that because it’s not PC, will you?) aren’t supposed to sell alcohol after 11pm because the locals are sick of drunk tourists like you turning their beautiful city into a hotbed of puke and venereal disease? But what’s this? A man making eye-contact who is holding beers and not muttering about drugs? Well he looks harmless enough. You pay €2 for two Estrellas (Estrella Damm, Barcelona’s beer of choice). It seems a tad exorbitant but you’re desperately thirsty and you were declined entry into some nightclub called Boulevard because you’ve got a dick and an American accent and jandals on. As you walk away, he adds, You like stuff? You quicken your pace, fears of being stabbed renewed afresh.
<h2>5. Get chatted up by prostitutes</h2>
As you fail to nonchalantly walk-run away from the drug dealer you bought the Estrellas from, you hear a friendly voice, Hey baby, you want some brown sugar? You turn around to find a temptress of the night moving her hand towards your crotch, and your main qualms about letting her proceed are basically how many of the people in the crowd can see what’s going on here and is the drug dealer her pimp?, when suddenly this moment suspended in time is slashed free by…
<h2>6. Have club fliers shoved in your face</h2>
…Hey man, are you guys partying tonight? asks a guy with an accent you can’t place as he thrusts a flier in your face. It’s an entry flier for Boulevard! Radical! But the bouncer said you couldn’t get in with those shoes and your accommodation is all the way over in Barceloneta and you can’t be fucked walking all the way over there just to change out of your jandals when you see…
<h2>7. Buy some knock-off shoes/handbags/FC Barcelona merch from street sellers</h2>
…A tall African dude unslings the massive bindle from his shoulder and thus appears a plethora of reasonably legitimate looking Nike knock-offs. Everyone here wears Nikes. Or do they wear Adidas? Shit, which do you choose? You go with Nikes because he didn’t have the Adidas in your size, stuff your jandals into your man-bag and walk with a newly confident pizzazz over to join the ass-end of the Boulevard line.
<h2>8. Probably buy drugs</h2>
Ugh, that guy just spilt a drink on your new Nikes. You try to infiltrate a circle of girl dancers with some of your fail-safe frat-boy moves, but they look at you in disdain and then start whispering about you in some language you can’t understand. You’re sweating harder than Donald Trump’s ballbag by the end of father-daughter day at Ivanka’s high school and that 45-minute wait in the line was unpleasantly sobering, so you go to the bar to order a Galliano and lemonade, a drink which you call a “Paddlepop”. It costs you €15. Fuck this, you declare, and you and Chad stumble back out onto the street. There’s that eye-contact again, those brown irises have started to take on an alluring quality, surely it’s cheaper to get a little bit of coke from this guy than spending €100 on Paddlepops… Suddenly you find yourself sitting on the dude’s bed in an apartment at the top of a staircase reminiscent of Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo, it’s okay though because he let you try it for free and your front-right tooth is numb already so it must be good…
<h2>9. Laugh at the dick-shaped vegetables</h2>
You and Chad stumble back onto Las Ramblas all wide-eyed and full of love for the wonders of this thriving petri dish of bacteria in all the various luminous shades of humanity. Suddenly you notice that half these stalls are florists, isn’t that quaint? What, is that a variety of capsicum seed that produces a cock-shaped vegetable-fruit? How hilarious. You hadn’t noticed that before when you were terrified of everything around you, but you’re so confident now. What’s that familiar sound you hear? Hey big boy, you ever tried brown sugar? Why no, no you haven’t…
<h2>10. Get pick-pocketed</h2>
You wake up spooning Chad and notice that you’ve thrown up on his back. You fling yourself backwards before he wakes up, muttering no homo to as you spacewalk over to the shower. Once you’re clean you pick up last night’s pants to put back on so you can go and get a fucking Coke or something, but your wallet isn’t in the pocket. The panic rises in you like bile (or is that actual bile?) as you start shaking your clothes, slapping the furniture, slapping Chad, are you going to cry? No you won’t cry… yet. That will come after you’ve dragged your miserable ass down to the station to try to get a report out of the most-welcoming Catalan police for your insurance company, which will obviously have to wait til Monday, estupido.
As you can see, when Stoke Travel knows a place, it knows it intimately. If you find this article totally unrelatable because you’ve never been to Barcelona, check out Stoke’s Barcelona winter breaks.