I think the essential travel lesson I have learned in my voyages is to unwind and to always have an open mind while making executive decisions. This story is extremely short and sweet. But it shows the value of keeping an open mind while travelling, and maybe stepping out of our comfort zones a little.
Last year, I was lucky enough to visit Barcelona, the capital of Catalonia and large coastal Spanish city. Once in February, and once in June. It was like visiting two different places.
Barcelona in the winter was like a well raised child, who always finishes his vegetables, says please and thank you, and opens doors for strangers. The city was beautiful, clean, honestly a little quiet. The architecture is stunning, the food is spectacular and the vibe of the city was awesome.
Barcelona in the summer was like the same well raised child, who ran away from home with his friends to form the next big punk band. The same beautiful old buildings, the incredible food and drink scene, but the vibe was just different.
There was certain sketchiness to the city, that I considered pleasant. The city was not quiet, the beaches were jam packed with tourists, locals and random men selling illegal mojitos.
Everywhere you went in the city, someone was offering you a sealed beer for a smaller price than the stores. How could we pass up this opportunity? We would buy Estrella beers, Barcelona’s finest at 30 cents a piece.
As we went out one night in the bustling Gothic quarter of Barcelona, wearing our imitation Gucci shirts that we purchased from a vendor perched on the side of the beach, we were simply roaming the streets when we noticed a man selling beer. Again, it never hurts to have a extra cerveza in hand, so we each bought one.
There were six of us, and he only had 3 beers in his bag, so he instructed us to wait for him to gather up some fresh cans from his reserve. He sneakily tip toed towards a manhole cover. He made sure he was not being watched by the Barcelonian authorities, and opened the cover.
Out comes a massive cooler, filled to the brim with ice cold Estrellas. He hands us our 6 beers, for the small price of 5 euros, and we are on our way.
We now know the real use of the Barcelona manholes, it was quite literally used as a refrigerator for illegally sold beers.