Here's more from my travel journal. This is re-printed exactly how I typed it way back when. I had run off to Europe in early 2000 and hung out in Paris, Barcelona and then Dublin. I was posting this to the Hooligan website at the time, and while some of it is kind of embarrassing, it’s still pretty funny. Enjoy.
Travel Journal February 2000
The coffee in Barcelona is how that woman from Good Times likes her men: Hot, black and strong! The coffee’s good and that’s not all. Barcelona reminds of how Cuba must be. Spanish speaking people with palm trees lining the streets, and buildings you think of when someone mentions Earnest Hemingway.
But Madrid is where Hemingway used to hang so Barcelona, or BCN for our purposes, has its own vibe entirely. But I could bore you with how beautiful I think Spain is. If you’ve ever been there, or even thought about going, you already know this. No, my travel journal will center not on the actual travelling, but the pitfalls and embarrassment that seems to come with it.
My first night in BCN I hooked up with an old friend by the name of Steve P. Steve has lived in BCN for the better part of 10 or 12 years so he was the main man to have show me around. We were going to warm up around 9:30 at a bar where you can pick up and play any guitar on the wall. I’m a master guitar player (ha) so I thought this sounded very cool. The place was closed because the people were on vacation. Vacation? “No one goes on vacation in February!” I exclaimed. I was on vacation dammit, and they needed to be open! Not really. Regardless we moved on. We went back to Steve’s place to have some beers before “really” going out.
People in Spain don’t eat until 10 p.m. and don’t really start partying until midnight. My second night in BCN, we stayed out till 6 a.m. (another story entirely). We went to Steve’s to have some beers.
Steve’s place is small. There’s enough room for a bed, a couch, a kitchen and a small bano (that’s bathroom in Espanol). But as he told me, the real reason he lived there wasn’t for the apartment, but for what was beyond the door in the kitchen. As we walked outside, I was treated to the most marvelous view in the whole motherfucking city of BCN.
A ‘panty dropper’ is something like the view from a house or apartment that will facilitate the dropping of women’s panties once you get them up there. Steve’s view could drop more panties then Leo Dicaprio, Brad Pitt and Ricky Martin combined. This was one spectacular fucking view, man. I took it all in, drank some beer and enjoyed Steve’s hospitality from his killer vantage point.
After some time, we moved down the street to a bar Steve frequented. The place featured rock and roll memorabilia on the walls and rock and roll tunes pumping out the stereo. The place was great and would be somewhere I’d hang out if it was in the states.
It was around midnight at this point and Steve said, “like clockwork, this bar will fill up at one.” Bing. One o’clock hit and, like he said, the place filled up before I even knew it. It was packed and hopping. We had carved out a corner earlier so we stood there drinking beer and having a wonderful time. This, believe it or not, is where our story begins.
It was at this point I was introduced to one of the local BCN beers. Voll Damm was its name and I will never, for the rest of my life, forget it. Voll Damm is a fairly hearty brew which tasted like a heavier Michelob than anything else. When in Rome. It tasted good so I drank it. Or I should say I drank an enormous amount of it. I was drinking Voll Damm like it wasn’t just going out of style, but like I had a fire to put out somewhere deep within my body. Bud lite it wasn’t, but I was sure drinking it like it was.
Steve had a friend named Steve who was there with a nice French girl (yeah, I know!). We all talked, rocked out to classic rock and proceeded to get fucking locked. On the train to BCN from Paris I started coming down with a cold. I was getting sick one way or the other so I just said fuck it. I’ve drank my way through colds before. I’m an old pro right? I partied on like a champ (or chump depending on how you look at it). I had two Heinekens before I even met up with Steve and about five cans of San Miguel at his place. I then inhaled about five bottles of Voll Damm at the bar. Drunk right? Wrong. Really, really drunk. What Steve declined to tell me was that each bottle of Voll Damm is around 8% alcohol. I got slaughtered like a pig at Easter.
Steve and Steve saw me chugging Voll Damm like Coors lite and told me the next day they were going to say something, but….. I would’ve done the same in their place so I can’t be too mad. Regardless, the Voll Damm binge combined with the first nasty days of a cold, made for one of the worst and most punishing hangovers of my entire life.
I drink. And despite how tanked I was, I handled it like a true warrior. I’ve been drunker than this, but the hangover made me want to go home to momma. Leaving the hotel, I almost threw up in the hallway. There was a strange, feces like smell in the stairwell. Imagine that? It was gross, so every time I left or came back to the place I’d run up the stairs holding my breath. Now, it almost killed me. I think I was a pale green, but I was afraid to look in the mirror for fear of scaring the vomit out of me.
By the time I found the Picasso museum, I was the walking fucking dead. I was the guy in the “Thriller” video whose arm just kind of falls off. Usually I feel like the dead guy who starts doing the Robot at the end. When I got to the part of the Picasso Museum where a lot of his pen drawings are featured, I almost puked in front of a bunch of Italian tourists. I could’ve slept right there. I almost puked, but years and years of dealing with hangovers has conditioned me to not puke in a public place no matter how bad it wants to come out.
One time I went to a Sorority function when I was in college. You travel somewhere on a bus and you get really drunk and laid if you can still see straight. The thing about Sorority functions is you can go balls out, but you just can’t puke in the bus on the way back. The girl who took you to the thing will get fined and in a heap of trouble if you do. The time I went to this Sorority function, I got really, really drunk on Greyhounds (vodka and grapefruit juice). My date was unconscious and I, in a semi-conscious state, willed myself not to puke for a 40 minute bus ride back down twisty mountain roads. If you’ve ever had a ‘few too many’ a ‘few too many times’ you know exactly what I’m talking about. My brother once puked in his mouth and then swallowed it because someone was giving him a ride home and he didn’t want to puke in their car. Now that’s one tough mother!
Anyway, puking in front of Italian tourists and the magnificent works of Picasso was not in the cards for me. I got back to my room and slept it off. I was absolutely polluted. This hangover would have killed a lesser man I’m convinced. That night though, I went out til 6 in the morning. I was drinking beer. Not Voll Damm mind you, but I still got back on that horse and rode. I was sick as a motherfucker, but hey, I was in Barcelona. No time for a hangover (even as gargantuan as this one) when you’re in one of the most beautiful cities in the world. BCN is fantastic. The Gaudi architecture will blow you away. We could see the Sagrada Familia from Steve’s panty dropper. Sagrada Familia is a church that Gaudi designed in the late 19th Century and is still being built today. It’s fucking amazing though and you can go up in the towers. The rest of the city is stunning as well. The whole place has a great vibe. And while I’d suggest to definitely go and see Barcelona, please keep your Voll Damm intake to just a few.