The bus ride to Barcelona started off terribly. I quickly discovered that my bike would have to be disassembled and boxed to some degree. I scrambled around the airport/ bus station looking for a bike box and coming up completely empty handed. After a quick discussion with the bus driver he let me know as long as the pedals and gearbox’s were covered I was ok to load it. That was something I could do.
After rummaging around in a recycling dumpster I found a big piece of cardboard that was haphazardly taped around the rear end of Doris. Once again a stranger stepped in and helped me in this moment of need. With everything packed I made my way onto the bus. The gentleman that had helped me made some small conversation with me unfortunately his Castilian spanish wasn’t great because he was a lifelong resident of Barcelona where they speak Catalan. I watched the scenery whiz past me in a blur, my heart still in Madrid.
Once I arrived in Barcelona I quickly got everything unpacked, assembled and repacked onto the bike. With everything in working order I hopped on my trusty stead and cycled the short 2 miles to my AirBnB. Barcelona is a somewhat modern city it feels very cramped with the buildings and streets being separated into smaller blocks with buildings 4-6 floors high all around.
I arrived at the small flat and locked the bike up grabbing my bags. I buzzed up and was let in, with the elevator being taken I opted for the stairs and 4 floors later I was knocking on the door to my hosts flat.
A small pretty Italian woman answered the door, and from the moment she opened her mouth she did not stop talking until I left. She let me know pretty quickly she was a dentist and she was from Italy but she loved Barcelona and like I just love traveling and did you know weed is legal in Barcelona? Heres your room and here’s the shower and don’t use the kitchen except for the microwave that’s fine and like the door is really weird let me show you how to use it, no no no that’s not right try it again, there you go, why are you traveling and where are you from, oh I don’t like the US, and Brasil is just such a disgusting country.
You get the picture…
I attempted to ask where I could lock my bike up but she just kept going on and on about the crime in the area so I decided to lock myself in my tinsie room (9ft X 5ft) and see if my Scottish home boy Stuart might have a hook up. Thankfully he did, I snuck out of my room but not before being cornered by miss Sex and the City Barcelona edition and being told exactly how and where I should spend my evening. I edged my way out of the flat gradually with her following me the whole time, as I was shutting the door to leave I thanked her again and again with her still talking.
Finally free from the onslaught of her conversation I hopped on my bike sailed down the blocks with the sun setting over the buildings near the center of town. 3 miles later I arrived at Stuarts flat and he took me in to lock my bike up in the apartment complexes lock up. We exited the building and roamed around. I told him about the last few days at Antonio’s in Madrid and he caught me up on the goings on in Barcelona. We made plans for the next day to hang out at the beach during the evening as he had a lunch date with a local girl. With plans made I made my leave heading to the nearest metro station. I snuck as quietly as I could to avoid being ambushed, the soft smell of Mary Jane coming from the end of the hall reassured me of my safety. The day had felt like 3 or three day’s events had been crammed into one and I quickly fell asleep.
I woke up late close to 11am and peeked out the door to see if the coast was clear thankfully it was and I made my way to the kitchen for a quick drink of water before showering and making my way to the street to look for some food. After picking up some sandwich supplies I sat in the nearby park munching away and sipping on a coke.
After relaxing for a minute in the cool park I picked myself up and started walking towards Stuarts flat. It was not by any means a short walk but I got to see a lot of the city area and enjoy the look and feel of Barcelona. While it is technically Spain, Barcelona is in the Catalan region that does not really want to be a part of Spain. The buildings do not feel truly Spanish and have a unique style that feels elegantly quirky in a celebration of Catalonian style and tradition. I arrived earlier then expected so I picked a shaded park to pass the time. Once he arrived we made our way to the metro and hopped the closest train to the coast. We walked up the coast people watching, he told me how his date went (well) and how he was starting to miss home. I was in a similar place, missing home and trying to get back in the groove of being on the move once again. The sun started setting and we found refuge in the shade of a highrise that was in the distance.
Watching the tide come in and people pass us by we sat in a relaxed silence for some time. Roaming vendors trying to peddle drinks and beach blankets loudly spoke their deals and prices. Acrobats and performers danced and flipped across the sand blending in with the surfs gentle eddies. Eventually we got up and started to make our way back to our places. it took a little while to return to the metro. Riding the crowded train we again made plans to explore the city again a couple of days from now. Once we came to his stop we said our farewells and he hopped off.
Once I arrived back to my flat I soon realized that I was not alone. The other guest was there and I introduced myself. After a quick exchange I let her be as she was obviously busy with some personal work. As I made my way to the kitchen to heat up my cup noodles I was ambushed by my host. “What did you do today, oh that’s it, it seems like you’re wasting your time. You should go out to some bars. You need to go onto this site and join all these groups, how many more days are you here, only 2 more days? You need at least 2 weeks. But your going to italy how long will you be there? You don’t know exactly that’s crazy you need to plan your trip better. But Italy is the best you’re going to love it. You need to go to this little town that I grew up near it has the best food.” “Is it near Modena? I’ve heard that region has incredible food.” “No Modena is a shit city it’s not even really a city. You should use this website to plan the rest of your trip let me show you.”
At this point I began to ease my way away from my host nodding my head, smiling and agreeing. My noodles had already became luke warm but I declined to return to the kitchen in fear of being trapped in some kind of endless conversational hell. In case it isn’t obvious I’m fairly introverted and these kinds of exchanges if you would call it that exhaust me.
That evening I got ahold of Fernando Ruiz and unfortunately found out he would be too busy to meet up and show me F.E.R. Miniatures building. He was in the middle of finishing up the partnership with NUTS PLANET unfortunately. It was no problem, I put out a PSA and before long another Fantastic Painter Jeroni got ahold of me and invited me out to visit his neighborhood and to see his painting! With plans made I relaxed into bed excited for the day to come.
Thanks for reading! These kinds of experiences are always fun to write. Sometimes the weird or bad parts of a trip end up being the most humorous later when you look back on them.
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