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Barcelona and the Fantastic Beach – Day 23
Tuesday 4th August 2009 – Spain
My parents were told by FedEx that my card would be with me by Thursday, so I had an idea to make use of my time, and the money my parents had wired to me, and have a couple of days down in Barcelona by the beach.
It would turn out to be a four hour drive from here, but I had a full tank of fuel so wasn’t worried too much. I had worked out that the money would be enough to last me until Thursday. The journey was broken up by some incredible scenery as I came ever nearer to the city. An accident on the motorway slowed the journey down a bit. 2 lorries had come together on the other side of the motorway. One had ended up on the hard shoulder on its side, the other was in a mangled heap of metal, entangled in the central reservation, which was strewn across our side of the motorway, along all 3 lanes. We had to go past on the hard shoulder. What I found a little odd, though, was the lack of police presence. There were 2 policemen at the scene on their motorbikes. One was talking to the driver of the mangled lorry, the other was 500 meters before the accident, casually waving his hand to slow people down. He looked disinterested to be honest. It looked as though the accident had happened some time ago, but not a lot was going on to clear anything, if anything at all.
On with the journey, and up and down those mountain roads I went, the car struggling up the hills, but happily gliding down again. I always seem to end up in the climbing lanes dedicated to the lorries, and frequently get overtaken by lorries while I’m in this lane. My car really is in need of ‘pimping up’.
I left the mountains behind as the industrial buildings on the outskirts of the city rolled into view. It wasn’t a great first impression to get from a city, but experience told me not to judge a book by its cover. It isn’t dissimilar to other places I’ve been too, and I know the rest wouldn’t be like this.
I found the campsite eventually, and noticed how busy it was. The prices were also sky high, and I began to have doubts as to whether to stay more than one night. I booked one night for now and took my car on a tour of the campsite, trying to find anywhere where there wasn’t a car, tent, or caravan. Towards the back of the site were a few spaces, and it turned out to be a good place to camp, meters from the beach that actually backed onto the campsite. I was happy here. The campsite was packed with just about every nationality you could think of, and I noticed a lot of other English cars dotted about as well.
After erecting the tent and having a spot of lunch, I walked to the nearby bus stop to get a ride into the city. It would be easier than taking my car, plus I wanted to conserve fuel. The guy at the camp reception had given me a bit of paper with information about the 2 buses I could take into Barcelona. So I waited a very short time and one of the buses turned up. It had Barcelona written on the bus, so I was doubly sure it was the one I needed. I asked for a ticket to Barcelona, but the lady didn’t understand the word ‘Barcelona’. I showed her the paper the guy had given me with the bus number and Barcelona written on it. She shouted at me, pointing at the paper, and pointed to the door for me to get off. I didn’t have a clue what she was actually saying, but I got the message loud and clear, and with the other passengers scowling at me, I decided to try the other bus. But as I went to leave the bus, she closed the door, and wouldn’t let me off. I looked at her as she grinned at me. I pointed to the door as she put the bus into first gear. As she began to pull away, the doors opened and I was forced to hop off as the bus was moving. I had an urge to hurl obscene language in her direction, but she wouldn’t have understood.
Very angry by this undeserved treatment, and slightly puzzled as to what more I could have done, I waited for the other bus to come along. This one took a while, and people began to gather in their numbers at the bus stop. The bus arrived and I stood in a place that I thought would be ideal for getting on first. As it happens I couldn’t have been further from the doors as the bus came to a halt. Realising I would be almost last to get on, and noticing how the bus was already full to bursting, with around 20 people still trying to get on, and given the previous bus experience, I made the decision to avoid using the bus and to take my car instead. Bearing in mind the petrol situation, I was having second thoughts about this idea also. It was now that I received a text from home explaining about further problems with FedEx, and how the card would be delivered on Friday now, so I had no option but to forget about going into the city, and to make plans to go back to Calatayud tomorrow. I now had the problem with money all over again, and was angry at myself for jumping the gun and coming to Barcelona on the promise that I would have the card by Thursday.
I took myself to the beach to try to forget about my predicament, and was immediately transformed into a happy state of mind. The beach was incredible. Soft sand beneath your feet, huge waves in the sea, which was so warm, and the sun beating down. I was in heaven. This is the sort of place I wanted to be, this would be my ideal home, down by the sea. I had a great day splashing around in the ocean like a kid, attempting to body surf, although failing miserably, and swallowing half the ocean. No sooner did I sit back on the beach, when I was up again and back into the sea. I wished I could have spent a few days here, but thanks to the situation and my poor judgement, I had to go back to the ghost town of Calatayud, in the middle of nowhere, and wait for my bank card. It also meant I could only see the city if I drive through it on the way back tomorrow. This would mean using more fuel.
I got back to my tent quite late and had some dinner and showered. After playing my guitar for a while, I went to the beach again and sat, listening to the waves, feeling warm and content as I stared up at the stars in the sky. If all else was falling apart on this trip, at least I had this one moment of pure bliss to take away with me. I wasn’t going to forget this moment in a hurry.
Written by Daniel Stevens,
Founder of Roundtheworldtrip.org.
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