09 August 2007 | Written in Barcelona
Wet and thundery while in Sitges
We came to Sitges with high hopes. But it turned out to be overpriced and overrated. No doubt it's great fun to be here with a group of like-minded mates, up for some serious beach and night life. But for your average couple, especially about 45 minutes walk from the centre of town, it's not really idyllic.
Sitges was a classic fortified town on a craggy promontory with a fishing village. There is still some fishing but it does not have much presence. Around the crag is now a hilly town along a spectacular beach. It is very much tourist-ville, playing host to an extravagant mixture of western-European nationalities and sexualities. The place was 'adopted' by German and British gays in the 1970's and has snowballed from there.
In one respect it was like Morocco. Cafés almost entirely filled by blokes, all watching the street and chatting. But definitely not watching us! Sitges is full of gay men, posing, cruising, gossing, playing all sorts of games from dominoes upwards. There are a lot of lesbians too, but not as flamboyant or as visible as the boys.
In between there are indeed straight couples and families, mostly taking one of two attitudes. Either they're mixing with the brightly plumaged gays, just slightly, self-consciously liberal about it. Or they have a glazed expression of astonishment. 'Well, Cheryl (or Mireille, or Sabina or Luzia), I never knew there were so many!'
We went out for a drink at the Marypilli bar on Wednesday night. It was pleasant and friendly. Nice cocktails. But in the end we didn't hang out till the scene kicked in at 0200. Soft, we are!
Otherwise, Sitges was a bit of a wash-out. It absolutely chucked with rain every day, making life a little dreary, and the marina was very dear. We flew, as we usually do, our big rainbow flag. (We'd taken it down for Morocco, where homosexuality is illegal. We're not that brave!) We always hope that other gay and lesbian sailors will come and say hello when they see it; so far that's only happened in Cadiz, where we met the lovely Dane, Johan and Rota with Sandrine and Sylvie (visiting Muriel and Stephane on Alna'ir.)
Also, you can see our wonderful sun cover over the cockpit. This was a very welcome civil partnership present, which we have used a lot this summer and last. In Sitges we finally did a long overdue job of re-rigging the lazy jacks on the stack-a-pack. This confines the mainsail, making it much easier to put up and pull down, and for yonks the bits of rope and bungee have needed replacing. We put on new line and bungee, with plastic snap hooks on the end. This makes them easy to remove, so the cover can go over the boom. Now it is much higher, and also slightly steeper so rain doesn't sit on it to the same extent.
The job also makes the stack-a-pack work better. Definitely should have done it months ago.