Bare Brown Butts in Barcelona

barcelona beachThere’s something about Barcelona.  No, it’s not the Sagrada, it’s not the tapas and it’s not the constant rushing and pushing of Las Ramblas.  It’s the bare butts on the beach.  It’s quite funny to see the reaction of tourists (myself included) as we realise that the skinny old brown man who has just strolled into the line of vision is actually stark naked.  Wow.  We are such prudes!  He is fine – not a care in the world. 

My real reason for being in Barcelona was a Med cruise but I always recommend a couple of nights pre cruise as otherwise you end up stumbling around the ship at  4 pm looking like something from the Walking Dead.  Jet Lag is such a pain in the …. well …. butt (seeing as we are on that subject).

The barcelonés are an interesting crowd.  Not really Spanish but Catalan and famous for the lisp in the “c” in Barcelona so that it sounds ” Barthelona”.  If you think Las Ramblas is the place to be – forget about it.  That’s not the real Barcelona.  Instead take a jog along the promenade of Barceloneta Beach – and do it early in the morning.  (Here at least jet lag is my friend).  Who plays dominoes at 7.30 am on the beach front?  Barcelonés do.  5 old guys, a few packs of cigarettes, yellowed ivory dominoes – what more could they want?  Maybe a skinny dip later on in the day.dominoes on beach

And they are SO active.  Biking, walking, skateboarding – a large racquet ball court alongside the promenade constantly filled, kids’ sailing camps in the bay.  I watched fascinated for at least an hour as two little boys (maybe brothers) ran up and down the beach occasionally dropping to the ground to do a few press ups and then racing on again.  They must have been about 8!  Portly matrons solemnly pulled on bathing caps and proceeded into the surf to swim far out into the bay.  They ignored the old skinny brown men.

Later in the day when it got really hot some tourists arrived.  How could I tell they were tourists?  From the self-conscious way they took off their bikini tops to sunbathe on this “anything goes” beach – and of course their startlingly white boobs.  A very big contrast to the very brown buttocks of the locals.

By Lesley Keyter

Lesley Keyter is the face of travel in the fast growing city of Calgary. Every week since 1997 she has has featured live on the Morning News Global TV.


  1. Very fun post! Congrats! As an italian who has been living here in bcn for 4 years I have to ask you: where did you hear the story of the supposedly catalan “C lisp”!?!?
    In fact, real bcn catalans say something that is more similar to “Barsalona” when referring to their town, and the “th”-like sound is instead really typical of the traditional spanish language pronounce, every time there is a “ci” or a “ce” in a word! 🙂


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