Those of you following the blog on Twitter will know that last week I headed off to Spain for a few days. Unlike last year’s 30 Blind Dates Challenge, my 30 Dates Around the World Challenge is taking place over a more relaxed timescale. As I’m funding it myself, whenever I head abroad, I’ll try to fit in at least one date, but the Challenge is therefore dependent on my holiday plans.
Last week I headed off to Madrid, where my youngest sister has just started an Erasmus year, and then to Barcelona with Signor28, who is the same friend who set me up on the two Madrid dates during the original 30 Dates Challenge.
As I had already done two dates in Madrid (including the very Spanish trip to the bull fighting), I decided to leave the dating until Barcelona. I’ve never been to the city and have only heard good things, so it seemed the perfect spot for my fourth of the 30 Dates Around the World.
You may remember that I’ve already failed to get a date in a European city this summer. I headed to Prague back in May, only to realise that unless I wanted a date with an entire British stag do, it’s pretty hard to arrange a date in the Czech capital! I did briefly consider the humour value of hiring a male escort as a date … only to appreciate the reality of what that would entail when I did a google search for ‘male escort Prague’.
Compared to the Czech city, Barcelona seemed like a quick win. Signor28 is an old uni friend, who has lived in Madrid for several years, and he has friends all over Spain. Both his brother and an old work colleague live in Barcelona, so he was confident he would be able to set me up on a date on the Friday night. He was working in Russia all week, and not flying to Barcelona until the Saturday morning, so the set-up worked well.
But all was not as easy as it seemed!
First off … there was the pants problem. You see – in my old age (not 29 any more in real life!) I’ve started becoming rather forgetful. But only when it comes to packing underwear for weekends away! I’ve forgotten to pack pants the last three times I’ve gone away. Which isn’t the biggest issue in the world – obviously you can always buy new ones, but underwear isn’t the cheapest clothing item, and I was getting rather fed up wasting money on clothes I would never wear again. Having checked out three Spanish lingerie shops, and genuinely only found knicker options with bells on, I decided to buy some girl boxers instead. It’s not something I would normally ever wear, but they looked like cosy summer pjs, and I figured at least then I could wear them in future to sleep in. It was only when I asked the shop assistant if I could try them on, that I realised my mistake. They weren’t girl boxers. They were men’s boxers. Partly out of embarrassment, and partly because they were still a better option than the ones with bells, I still insisted on trying them on, and then buying them. Which meant my Barcelona date was the first ever date I’ve gone on wearing men’s underwear! (Under the standard polkadot dress, of course!)
Next came a second problem. It turned out Signor 28 had emotionally blackmailed his friend into going on the ‘date’ with me. Having realised he would be stuck in Russia with work on my first night in Barcelona, he’d pleaded with an old colleague to go on the date and keep me entertained. His friend, the MBA, had grudgingly agreed, despite needing to get up for university super early the next day. “It’s only going to be a soft date!” he underlined over Whatsapp (a vital tool in international dating!) before I flew to Spain. “That’s fine,” I reassured, “I’m not a big party animal!” “No, really!” he insisted, stressing the point. “I can’t stay out late, I have to be up really early the next day for class.” I shrugged off his protestations, I was flying in at 5pm – plenty of time for an early dinner and a drink or two.
And then he suggested we meet at 10pm?!
In England, if you suggest a 10pm date, that doesn’t mean you want to eat. In fact, it probably only means one thing to meet someone that late! But in Spain they do things later than we do, so I assumed it was a simple drinks date, and headed out for dinner at 8pm, in preparation for the latest date I’ve ever gone on. (And the only date I’ve ever gone on wearing boxers!)
I was halfway through dinner when the MBA texted. “I can meet you at 9 if you like?”
“Just eating dinner,” I replied. “How about 9.30?”
“No way! I thought you wanted to go for tapas?” (I LOVE Tapas – it’s my ideal date food).
Turns out in Barcelona, 10pm on a Friday is dinner time. Oops.
So we met at 9.30 at Fortuna Metro station, and headed to one of the nearby squares to grab a drink out in the warm autumn evening. Figuring I should probably explain why Signor28 had told the MBA to take me out, I began telling him about the Challenge.
“Oh no no no!” he objected. “You can’t count this as a date! This isn’t a date!” he insisted. And to be honest, I understood why. It was all a bit half-hearted and a non-event. Having described the dates I’d done in Dublin, Amsterdam and Edinburgh, it did seem a bit of a let-down that my Barcelona date would be simply one drink in a quiet old square.
And so my 4th Date Around the World ended. However, the MBA had an idea. I’m under strict instructions to return again in the Spring, and the MBA will arrange a date to remember, with a friend who is notorious for going all out. Barcelona is a beautiful city, so I don’t really need to be asked twice to return! And it would be really good to do a proper date which does the city justice (minus the men’s underwear next time!)
Despite the failure of a date, I did have a lovely stay in the city, and would definitely recommend it for a romantic mini break. Parque Guell (in the header photo) is beautiful and the view of the city is incredible. The docks and beach area are great, and peppered with relaxed bars, including Zahara, where we spent most of our lazy weekend drinking Prosecco! If you enjoy sightseeing, the Gaudi architecture is incredible, especially La Sagrada Familia and Casa Battlo, and we found the most incredible spot for brunch. If you need a hangover cure, or just love food, check out Milk in the Gothic Quarter. We had incredible Eggs Benedict, pancakes and Bloody Marys. And KIOSKO burger, by Barceloneta Metro does the best burgers in the city.
Barcelona, I’ll be back for a second Date Attempt soon! 😉
Miss Twenty-Nine xxx