The evening started innocently enough. We picked up a bottle of cava, a locally produced Catalonian wine, and headed up to the rooftop of our hotel to catch the sunset. There was no one else up there and the streets below were quiet. We could see people hanging on their balconies and relaxing in the apartments across from us and, overall, it felt like it’d be a pretty low key evening. Jet-lag had us going to sleep at odd hours up to this point, so we were excited just to be out of the hotel room.
Knowing that we tend to stick to ourselves while traveling, I remember telling H while we were planning Europe that it would be cool to have a different kind of experience this time, at least once – whether it be by befriending locals or other travelers. Fast forward a few hours and we found ourselves sitting next to a pair of newlyweds at dinner – he from New Zealand and she from Australia, and coming to the group consensus that our failed attempt at trying absinthe earlier that week deserved another shot.
And that’s how we ended up back at Marsella, the interior looking like it hadn’t changed a bit in the 200 some odd years it’s been open - wood paneled walls, peeling ceilings, and thick layers of cobwebs covering everything being proof of that.
And, for those of you who haven’t had absinthe before…
How to drink absinthe:
- Pour 1 – 1.5 oz of absinthe into an absinthe glass or one that’s similarly stemmed
- Place a sugar cube on an absinthe spoon (a flat spoon with pierced holes, or in the case of Bar Marsella, a fork) and lay the spoon on top of the glass
- Slowly pour cold water over the sugar cube, allowing it to dissolve
- Keep pouring water until the sugar dissolves completely
- Stir the mixture and enjoy (in moderation)
Note: It’s 106 proof, so for heaven’s sake, don’t take shots of the stuff…
Somehow we ended up in a Spanish nightclub after that, dancing (or in my case, flailing) to the beats of 90′s r&b and soul until the wee hours of the night. I am 100% sure that if we hadn’t serendipitously met that couple, we would have done our usual: had a chill dinner, maybe had a glass of wine somewhere and then gone back to the hotel room to sleep. But not this night…this night, the stars aligned and presented us the opportunity for a grand adventure, so we seized it.
At some point we left the club and said our goodbyes to our new friends without exchanging contact information, knowing that we wouldn’t keep in touch. It was nothing more or less than what it was – an epic night out in Barcelona together, not to be forgotten.