Aged 19 me and my bestest gal pal spent the weekend in Barcelona. This was our only weekend off in a four month university summer dominated by low paid waitressing work, and we intended to make it count.
With four days in a city rich in culture, what did we do? We went to the beach. We only went to the beach; every single day from 10am till dusk.
Barcelona was experiencing a heatwave, and we had come from one of the wettest British summers on record (although I think they say that every year...). Regular tannoy announcements were being made warning tourists against the midday sun. Announcements in English, as tellingly only the English were mad enough to be out.
Unsurprisingly we both got sunstroke, and I got sunburn; I didn't realise how bad it was until two days after getting home, I had to leave work as my entire body had come out in blisters the size of pennies. I have permanent freckles as a lasting reminder of our stupidity.
Anyway, Barcelona is infamous as a pick-pocket hot-spot and we were nervous about this; we had heard that to keep your valuables safe at the beach you should bury them in the sand, so we did.
This worked perfectly when we both wanted to swim at the same time. It was less effective when we got to the bar to order lunch and my sun-frazzled friend realised she had left her wallet entombed.
We ran back to the beach. Abandoning our disgruntled waiter.
We found the patch we had been cooking ourselves on, but with an ever-shifting topography of people, everything had changed. Despair settled into my unfortunate friend's rosy face.
Suddenly, with a moment of clarity that to this day I cannot account for, I noticed a drink can, and I had noticed it before. Then, I observed a sweet wrapper, that I had I also seen before.
Walking between towels, uncomfortably encroaching people's personal space, I crouched down in the miniscule space between four separate groups. My friend stood behind me, staring in disbelief, and by disbelief I mean she didn't believe...neither did I, really.
My surrounding audience watched on, thinking 'surely she's not going to put her towel down here'
Then I started to dig, everyone stared on, cynicism and derision heavy in the air.
I prayed I was right.
And I was.
Three seconds later I produced my friend's wallet.
I was surprised. My friend was surprised. The onlookers were even more surprised. Was Barcelona a city paved with gold??