Surviving a German whirlwind in Barcelona

Postcard: El Xampanyet, Barcelona, Spain | Art by Todd Berman

We’ve settled in so well in Spain that in Barcelona, we’re briefly mistaken for locals by a German tourist, Reinhard, when we help him order “siete cervezas” for himself and his friends at El Xampanyet. This mistake makes us giddy.

Suddenly “siete cervezas” grows to nueve and we find ourselves their drinking companions. I mutter a warning to Todd, saying “We need to pace ourselves. Drinking with Germans can be dangerous.”

Reinhard entertains us with tales about their club, Roib’n up ole Dialen, which he says translates roughly and somewhat nonsensically to “up the middle between where the animals eat.” At first, he explains the group as simply as a kind of German bowling club, but slowly reveals that, among other hobbies, they have a brass band and have been taking trips together – for 45 years. These guys have grandkids and they’re drinking us under the table.

We talk (and drink) into the night. Some of the most memorable conversation being about the upcoming U.S. Presidential election. Reinhard is especially inspiring with his optimism, hoping that with Obama as President, the U.S. will once again lead the world as we did with the Marshall Plan.

Hanging with Roib'n up ole Dialen, Barcelona, Spain
Hanging with Roib’n up ole Dialen, Barcelona, Spain | Photo by Lauren Girardin

The Roib’n gang is so charming that we’re almost convinced to forgo our next stop to follow them home for some German hospitality. Instead, they swoop out of the bar, back to their hotel, leaving Todd and I feeling as if we’ve survived a whirlwind.

P.S. The next day, we discover that Reinhard is also incredibly modest – when we’d chatted about work, he’d told us that he has “a little website” that translates to “World of Living ” – it turns out that he runs an impressive German modern design company, Welt des Wohnens.