lifeofriley2013

A single woman's search for hedonic pleasure before marriage, mortgages and making babies

The Thrills of Travel

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I’m just about recovered enough to report on the events of the past few days, although admittedly it still requires considerable effort to co-ordinate my fingers on the keyboard! The party of course was a huge success. As soon as Dylan arrived on stage looking extremely hot, cool and oozing sex appeal all at the same time, the crowd of about eighty guests went wild and then when he picked up his guitar and started to play they went completely insane!. Immediately we were all up dancing, drinking and lip – syncing to tracks we hardly knew, enjoying the last real blast before the Mediterranean winter. The floorboards shuddered as we rocked the city until sunrise and even then Dylan continued to play until the last man was left standing which, as it so happened was not a man but a woman, me! In fact, I hadn’t sat down all night, evidence of which could be found in my pink swollen feet, skinned to the bone by shoe leather and sweat.

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Once the guests had finally left we joined Dylan’s friend Carlo and his wife for brunch at the ‘Federal’ cafe, yet another great place in Barcelona serving hearty breakfasts. Our eggs benedictine, spinach, bacon and delightfully oily french toast, washed down with strong black coffee, helped to soak up some of the alcohol, or at least enough to get us back to our hotel room. Dylan, it turns out, has not only incredible stamina but amazing hands too! After a very long hot shower (separately of course) he insisted on giving me a foot massage.

It was simply sensational, both strong enough to relieve the tension in my calves and gentle so as not to hurt my tender toes after too many hours spent crushed in stilettos. By the time we were ready to leave for the airport I was walking on air. Dylan too was on a high, the spring in his stride and lightness in his mood telling signs of a man who lived for his music and the joy of entertaining others with it.

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Flying over Sicily he leaned across to see Sicily out of the window  beside me and suddenly blurted, “Come to Greece with me.” “What?” I said, both surprised and confused “Yes” he said beaming with delight, ” I have a friend there planning to sail back to Malta next week. Come with us. It’ll be fun!” Excitement danced behind his eyes and I felt something stir inside me, the thrill of travel and exploring something new.

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“Sure,” I said without thinking at all, which now I am beginning to realize, is probably a better way to approach this life!

Exploring the City

After this morning’s embarrassment, and relief I might add, we decided to do breakfast at la Rambla 31, a cafe recommended by tripadviser. After some fresh brewed expressos with double shots of caffeine to get us going, we climbed El Carmel  hill to Parc Guell, in the hope that our efforts might help us work off some of the delicious chocolate and cream croissants, too irresistible to refuse under the influence of a hangover.

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Our waist expanding feast served us well because we ended up spending most of the day wandering around what is, according to a local guidebook, the largest architectural site in the south Mediterranean. Home of Antonio Gaudi, it was originally intended to be a luxury housing development away from the smog of the city, but only two houses were ever completed. The show house “la Torra Rosa” was never sold but later bought by Gaudi, in 1906. He lived there for the next 20 years transforming the site into a garden of tranquility and peaceful calm. Indeed it is.

As we sat on the serpentine bench we marveled at how cleverly he made the seat with its snake like curves. His attention to detail and creativity was incredible, designing always with the experience of the user in mind. A typical example of this was his use of sharp edged mosaic to prevent people sitting on areas where water tends to settle.

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As the Autumn sun started to fade we descended back down to the city and back to our hotel for a bite to eat and afterwards to get ready for Dylan’s party gig. I decided to go all out and wear a slinky skin hugging party dress before my rapidly fading summer tan disappeared altogether. When Dylan appeared out of the bathroom looking like a true rockstar in faded jeans, a rather cool Versace t-shirt and leather jacket cut to the hip, I have to admit I needed to take a breath. At the same time he was looking me over, sucked in air and gave a low whistle of approval. Well it was his big night, I had to make some effort! Seemingly we had both surprised each other, but then pushing aside whatever dark thoughts were flashing across our minds we quickly made a move towards the door for our awaiting taxi.

The Morning After…if only there was a pill!

Opening one eye amidst a blinding headache I noticed an arm stretched out on the sheets that was far too hairy to be my own. I put my hand to my forehead and took a sideways look behind me, cringing at what I might find. It was little consolation that it was Dylan and not some random stranger from a barcelonian bar. He gave a low groan, rolled towards me and threw a leg over my waist murmuring something into my ear. I froze for a moment hoping not to wake him while my brain whirred like a DVD on fast rewind, trying to recollect the final hours from last night. Nothing came.

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Cautiously I lifted the sheets and peeked down relieved to see I still had my knickers on. If not my dignity at least this much was still intact. Dylan began to stir a little, threw his other arm around me and then rolled me in under him like a sausage in a hot dog. His eyes were still closed and I certainly didn’t wish to be there when they finally opened.  Despite the rigor mortis which had settled in my limbs I managed to vault from the bed and into the bathroom just as he awoke.

After some deep breaths and some coaxing from the other side of the door I turned the key and crept out feeling very sheepish. Dylan on the other hand had a big fat grin on his face (well he would, wouldn’t he?!).”Don’t sweat honey,” he said starting to laugh “you passed out as soon as you hit the pillow and I was too far gone to take my shoes off, let alone your dress…not that I would without your permission of course,” he added quickly. “Man, that was strong stuff we were drinking!”

Barcelona! Barcelona!

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Barcelona was a blast! We arrived late in the evening and checked into the Neri, a rather chic boutique hotel situated in the gothic quarter and close to Barcelona cathedral. We had already agreed that it would make more sense to share a suite rather than book two separate rooms and besides after having already witnessed me at my worst, half drowned and half naked with mascara streaking down my face I wasn’t expecting to reignite any passion in Dylan. After deciding who would sleep where, we went for some tapas nearly and then spent the rest of the evening exploring numerous bars, sampling everything from local beers, or ‘cerveza’ (where the ‘z’ is pronounced with a lisp), to cava, the spanish version of champagne and ‘vermuth al grifa,’ a botanically infused sweet red wine popular in the region. Although the tradition is to drink it as an aperitif before lunch, this fact didn’t inhibit us from enjoying it well after dark.

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Eventually we found ourselves in Cafe Marula enjoying some late night cocktails, listening to the clubs funky tunes and people watching, which at this point was about as much as we could do after so much alcohol. Had we any inclination for conversation I doubt I could have managed to wrap my tongue around the extended vowel sounds that came pouring out of my mouth, as facial muscles surrendered to alcohol, in order to bring them to their consonant conclusion! Instead, we just sat back, relaxed into the oversized loungers, soaked in the atmosphere and resorted to fits of the giggles as a compensation for small talk or whenever either of us made any attempt to comment on the antics of young spanish girls competing ‘para la atención del apuesto camarero’ (I’ve been brushing up on my conversational spanish since yesterday).

Anyway, I have no idea how we managed to find our way back to our hotel because whatever happened half way through what I think was my sixth cocktail, not to mention what I had consumed prior to this, I have no recollection.

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According to some research at the University of Minnesota women buy expensive handbags in order to signal to love rivals that her man is devoted. Such nonsense! Who comes up with this kind of ridiculous trivia they dare to call research and who pays for it I would really love to know. I read about this in a magazine on the flight to Barcelona and thought it was a joke.

There could be any number of alternative reasons for these findings; that her love interest is gay, that he has a serious fetish for expensive handbag or perhaps they just like to indulge in a bit of sexually perverse bag bashing (have you ever seen the size of the studs on those  designer bags?!)

And before you scoff at this suggestion let me remind you that it’s a lot more credible than the notion of a man enthused by the idea of shopping for anything, least of all a plastic and mock fur handbag with some designers name emblazoned across the front. What’s more, in these days of ‘supposed’ equality and liberation don’t most women buy their own now anyway?

It has provided me with some food for thought however. Before I leap into bed with someone again (not forgetting that I still have 81 days and 2 hrs of celibacy to go), I will be making certain he buys me that horrendously expensive Louis Vuitton.

Travel Fever and Island Sickness.

It hasn’t stopped raining for the past four days and living on a boat is rapidly losing it’s appeal. I’m finding it hard to sleep with the hollow jingle of flags swinging loose against their masts, and the eerie darkness of the harbour haunts my nights as wealthy boat owners favour their villas to nights spent lounging on deck.

If it hadn’t been for the discomfort of my damp sleeping berth I may have turned down the spontaneous offer to go to Barcelona… TOMORROW! Nonetheless, it didn’t take a second thought for me to reply to Dylan’s surprise message at 2am this morning (what’s his excuse for not sleeping?) with a very definite ‘YES’ typed in bold text.

An old friend has asked him to play a gig for a surprise birthday party at some cool club in the centre of the city. His timing couldn’t have been more perfect because much as I love it here, the nightlife has become very sedate since the beginning of September when European schools reopened and greying retirees begin to replace young single revelers.

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Obvious signs; casting myself into the eye of lightening storms half dressed, flinging myself in to the raging seas and my latest habit of lacing my morning coffee with brandy are clearly symptomatic of that peculiar malady, ‘Island Fever.’ A weekend in Barcelona is the remedy I need.

End of Summer

Was it luck fate or coincidence, I have no idea, but just as Dylan reached me a huge wave surged up out of the tempestuous sea engulfing me completely. Although I’m a confident swimmer I think I may have drowned that day had he not arrived just then because panic, which had suddenly swept over me, left me flaying and gasping for air. Demanding that I stay focussed on his eyes he helped me to control the suffocating anxiety I had been experiencing, and then once I managed to regulate my breathing we swam stealthily towards the rocks, pulling ourselves out like rats from a sewer.

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He drove back to his Villa where a hot shower was most welcome. I stayed there hosing every nook and cranny of my body with hot needles of fine spray and steam for nearly ten minutes until I felt heat penetrate the marrow of my bones and then dried myself in fluffy towels smelling of Gucci. I found him in the kitchen in shorts and t-shirt preparing brandy coffees. A broad smile grew on his face when he saw me lost in his rockstar scented dressing gown.  I pulled myself up onto his black marble countertop sipping the hot liquid sunshine from the glass and apologized for my stupidity and for putting his life in danger. “No need” he said smirking “I had been debating if I’d go in myself, you were only helping me make up my mind, cheers.” With that we toasted the end of Summer while the storm raged on, bending palm trees to the ground and tearing plants from their pots.

The squalls continued for most of the day so we ended up cooking dinner together, chatting over wine until the the early hours of Saturday. The evening has been enlightening, not only am I now faced with my own prejudices, e.g. that all rockstars are drug addicts, but I’m also forced to question my assumptions about men, i.e. that they are only interested in getting into your knickers!

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