Once again I’m back home for a couple of days. How should I describe my Spanish trip? Quite peculiar but it exceeded all my expectations.
First some organizational matters… From Transylvania to Spain there are regular flights. Of course the cheap ones are provided by Wizzair, but only if you book them in time. And this is where my two day long bus journey took of. I didn’t book the flight in time and because of further problems with my credit card, I ended up getting the bus. Damnnn…I said to myself. Two whole days. And I am not kidding one bit. But then again as a student traveler you take the cheapest way possible. This way the round-trip journey cost me 165 euros. It could’ve been cheaper, but what the hack. The idea of Mediterranean waves splashing my behind was stronger than to think about a two day journey.
So my brother drives me to the bus station and I set of with my backpack. Let’s keep the journey as short as possible. 48 hours on one sit, three kids running around, a tired old fat lady in front of me and my only comfort was a really cute twenty year old girl sitting next to me. She went to visit her parents in Spain. The bus stops every four hours, the Hungarian border officers check our luggage; because of two accidents we lost 5 hours on the Italian and French highways but strangely enough I was as calm as never before. Damnnn…I’m gonna be on the beach for nine/ten days.
And this is how I arrive in the torrid Barcelona. It was extremely hot. Over forty degrees outside. I was dropped of in Norte Station with a huge smile on my face…Ahhh!!! Finally Spain. A skinny guy from the bus approaches me. Sorry mate. Where are you heading to? – he asks me. Hmm…I have no clue, I reply to him. I’m just gonna get lost in the city for a couple of hours and then I’ll head of to Salou. The guy looked pretty amazed, but then again this is how I travel. I got my backpack and went straight to the washrooms. Two days on a bus, without showering takes its toll on you. So once again I shocked a little bit the blokes peeing next to me. I threw away my shirt and socks as the stench was indescribable. Here I stand in a Catalonian washroom, half naked with a backpack and washing my legs in the sink…
After I freshened up, changed my clothes and put on my cap I went to find the chap who approached me. Where exactly do you have to go? – I asked him as he seamed lost. Palma de Mallorca. I’m visiting my brother. – he answered. As I found out he didn’t speak any foreign languages, nor did he ever travel abroad. Well I didn’t really have a priority, so why not help the poor guy. I got a map from the information desk. By the way. If you don’t have a map, always look for the information desk. Normally all airports, train and bus stations have it. If you don’t know Spanish it is not a huge problem. Getting around with English is real easy and it won’t cause you a headache.
I asked for directions how to get to the port and in a minute we were on the metro. The Barcelona underground is really modern and well structured. If you have the subway map, it is impossible to get lost. Just be careful for pick-pockets and the ticket wending machines can be quite confusing. A one way ticket is at an acceptable 1.30 euro and you can use it on multiple lines as long as you are underground.
My backpack is getting heavier each minute but my worries soon disappear as we come up to the surface. So there it was. The Port of Barcelona. I fell in love with it instantly. Amazingly well arranged streets, white buildings, clear blue sky and of course the Sea. The column of Christopher Columbus towers over the square as sea-gulls lazily float on the tranquil waves. Everything is quiet but in the same time the hustle and bustle of the city never stops. An amazing combination of a vibrant city set in a calm environment.
I helped the guy buy his ticket to Palma, which I must say is over 100 euros one way. If you do not have the necessary money, don’t try going to the islands as it will unfortunately cost you a fortune. And plus there are plenty of other stuff to see on the mainland.
And so I had a whole afternoon to wonder around in this already exceptional city. I sent a message to Nuria, and to my relief she would wait for me in Placa de Gracia square to take me to Salou. This problem was solved. The only inconvenience was my twenty kilo backpack. It is hard to walk around the city with it, in the middle of a hot July day, but the sights that await you somehow make you forget about it. In the port lies, as I heard, one of Europe’s best aquatic museums, with underground glass passages as sharks swim above your head. Unfortunately the enormous queue at the ticket vender discouraged me. When time is limited you have to do certain sacrifices.
Some more words about the city. As you had north from the port, you reach the old town. Narrowly built streets wait for your footsteps. The ingeniousity of the old architects is truly appreciated when you feel the cool shadow on your back that the narrow streets offer. It is an absolute joy walking on these streets. The buildings are quite high, a clear sign of the city’s wealth in previous times. The old district is well preserved, the streets are clean and the small balconies just give a unique feeling. On each corner a musician enlightens the atmosphere. Saxophone, guitars, drums. Whatever musical instrument you desire. After passing through the old quarter you reach a new square. It is dominated by the main Cathedral which is unfortunately being renovated. So tough luck taking pictures. The history of the square blends perfectly with the small coffee shops and tired tourists sipping their drinks. A part of the old roman wall still survived and just next to the cathedral stands the Angel Gate.
But what is Barcelona without Gaudi. Not visiting at least the Sagrada Familia is an almost sacrilege. Taking the green subway you get off just next to the masterpiece. It is truly a unique piece of art. And for over a century it is still being built. If you do not visit it, I cannot truly describe how Gaudi’s innovative natural design found a perfect harmony with religion and stone. If you are a student it will cost you 8 euros to get in. Don’t worry about expired student passes, as no one will truly check it. It might seam a lot and the inside view is not that amazing, but you only visit it once. Half of the building is still under construction, but even this way you can admire the strange white columns that sustain the building from the inside….My phone rings. I check the message box. To my surprise my Italian friend Giacomo is just in town. A coffee is always welcomed in a foreign city with a good friend.
It is almost seven p.m. when I finally meet Giacomo. As I find out he is doing a month long internship at a Catalan firm. Not bad for a first year student. We headed to the Cathedral and set on the stairs. A long haired guy was playing on his guitar at the bottom of the stairs. Three weeks after leaving Utrecht I once again meet a person from Parnassos. A strange feeling encompasses me. I ended my Utrecht year and still…Still somehow it feels that it just goes on. Here I stand in the middle of the Catalan capital with one of my friends from the Netherlands and it seems as my year spent there never stopped. Almost an hour passed as we chatted about Parnassos. So I heard that everyone was pretty drunk last week. – said Giacomo as he left the dorm before I did. Oh, mate. It was fabulous. Each night we were drunk and crying like babies. Everyone hooked up with everyone. We realized that the year ended and we used every minute to spend as much time with each other as possible…and the stories went on as we headed towards a small bar. A coke with wine…It was past nine when we rushed towards Placa de Gracia to meet up with Nuria. After a couple of minutes of wondering we were already hugging each other. I completely forgot that I left Utrecht. Everything felt the same once again.
An hour on the train and we didn’t stop talking. Every small detail seemed important. You truly learn to appreciate the importance of one moment when you meet persons who you will only see a couple of more times in your life. I wanted to know everything…Oh and by the way. – she continues. Dan still owes me one. You know what they did? They threw me in the water in the middle of the night. Can you imagine me soaking wet on the beach with my jeans?….
We get of and take her car. I drive a little bit strange. – she says to me, and the almost two accidents confirmed what she said ;). But I was still exhilarated. Once again like before…
…The doorbell rings and Pierre opens the door. My little Frenchman from Lyon. Oh, my God. How are you Gashi? So good to have you here…and we hug each other. The apartment is crowded but just looking once again at the faces and hugging each other fel exceptional. I put down my luggage and take a well deserved shower. I kiss Emma goodbye as she was already heading back to Scotland the other day. The hours pass by without us even noticing it. I slowly go to sleep.
…A brand new day in Spain. It’s already noon and everyone is still sleeping. As I find out from Pierre, when Alex was taking a shower the sink accidentally fell of with all the tiles around it. When he asked a worker for how much would he repair it, he replied 585 euros. If that doesn’t raze your eyebrow, then I don’t know what does. And this is how the sink fixing saga started. Hei Pierre. I’ll try to fix it for ya – I tried to comfort Pierre… In half an hour we were already in the car with Dani, Pierre and Ema heading to the nearest hardware store in Tarragona. We were lucky with Ema. His Spanish saved our asses. New tiles, tools, mortar and even a tile cutter for only 40 euros. A good bargain I might say. And so the work began. First the tiles went on, then in the upcoming days the sink. Thanks god that the guy downstairs leant us his drill machine J Muchas gracias hombre!
Later on we went straight to the beach. Finally. My skinny white ass on the Mediterranean coast. A white sandy coastline, tanned people and the blue sea. What else do you need? Beach volleyball followed and I can truly say that we sucked at it, but then again who cares. By the end of the day I became red as a crab, but we were already putting on hour long trousers. We were of partying.
Let’s just say that this was the kind of trip where I didn’t spare money. Yes a student should look at the amount he spends when traveling and I do try to travel cheaply, but you only drink once 10 euro cocktails in Spain J. So the night got hot, cocktails followed. On stage a live striptease show. And the funny thing is that we were more laughing than admiring the dancer’s prowess. I turn to Adam and Pierre. Hei guys. Look. Her boobs are so fake, that they actually stand still while the rest of the body is still moving. The guys started laughing but fully agreed. Let’s hand it to her. She was a good stripper. SO the night got ever hotter and in a couple of hours I found myself with her on the beach. Too many people want to know what happened on the beach. Let’s just say that it stays between her and me. But her kisses still haunted me from Utrecht. Something grabbed me in her in Holland and now she was once again next to me. Her long silky hair flowing on my hands as her hips brushed my body. Something wild burns in her eyes and I cannot help thinking about her. A strange fire that grabs you but pushes you away in an instance. A battle of egos and pride combined with a sensual dance dripped with martini and vodka. A woman that can drive you crazy on a sandy beach while the waves crash into the coast. A wild dance broken by moments of tenderness. Her breath still flows on my skin, her touch still send shiver up my spine…
I wake up in the morning whit a strange hangover. It seams more like a dream… We had of to the beach once again. Hailey sunbathes next to Clair while Dani and I keep on talking about his new girlfriend. You know. Guy talk. And this is how I meet M. An African girl from Morroco. I asked her to put some sunscreen on my back and in ten minutes I found myself in the water kissing her lips. Don’t ask me how it happened, but I didn’t really care about her husband back home. We disappeared for a couple of hours. It had to end. Just some fooling around. It was better for her and her family.
…It’s about ten p.m. Lindsey, Adam, Dani and I… About a dozen or so empty beer pints litter the table… Valencia during the night. We are all tired. It was a long journey to Valencia and even a longer walk around the city. The Pearl of the Mediterranean as it was once called. An exceptionally well preserved city with a modern twist. The Cathedral, the bell tower, the Serrano towers are all worth visiting. It is slightly cheaper than Barcelona and a bus ride will cost you a smooth 1.20 euros. Don’t really use the subway as it almost avoids the old center. But please visit the new architecture. A breathtaking, almost outer-space like Art complex lies not that far away from the center…
If you travel on the Spanish East coast you cannot miss out paella. It is a rice dish with lots of veggies, seafood or chicken. And in Valencia you can get a 9 euro bargain with starter and desert included. So one beer followed the other and we decided to go out clubbing. Adam with his amazing crouches (he broke his ankle in Utrecht; ask him how he did it 😉 ) dancing around while the small bar got ever more crammed…
…Seven a clock in the morning. I get up. I look around. A lavishly decorated bedroom. B’s head on my chest. I kiss her forehead. Her brown silky skin floats on my body. How did I get here? – I ask myself. Suddenly everything flashes back. I’m gonna miss my train!!! I say to myself. I dress up quickly. Why do I have to leave right now? – I keep asking myself as I look at B’s naked body lying on the bed linen. I kiss her goodbye and rush towards the subway.
Here I stand at seven o’clock in the morning in a foreign city, without my friend’s phone numbers and a one night stand with a Spanish girl. And a sneaky smile runs through my face. Damnnn… I love this country.
…The ticket vender looks at me. I look at the price and start praying. Shit! Almost 40 euros to get back to Salou. That happens when you don’t buy your ticket in advance. Dani and the others nowhere to be found. Hm…I might hitch-hike. But who the hell would pick me up at 7 in the morning on a Sunday in Valencia? And it so turns out that I accidentally bump into Dan and Lindsey. Great!!! They were actually sleeping in the train station. And no tickets!!! So what is there to be done? We got into a cab, rushed to the bus station and found out that the next bus is in four hours. Well we might as just have slept on the floor, of course if the security guy wouldn’t have kicked us out. After a grueling sleep in the park, eaten by bugs and flies the bus finally arrived and we were on hour way to Salou.
But Spain wouldn’t have been awesome without an amusement park. Heily, Ema, Claire, Alex, Pierre, Tati and I decided to visit an Aquatic Park. But what lies next to it? Port Aventura. One of Europe’s biggest amusement parks. Great! But too expensive. Hm…luck so had it that at one of the gates there wasn’t any guard. Sooo…Soo Pierre and I just got over the fence J Here we are. In our bathing shorts, with no T shirts or camera and with barely some money among Pierre’s cigarettes. All the best rides without us paying for it. Man!!! I truly love this country. But there was one problem. We didn’t have any shirts. Pierre bought himself one, but I was even luckier. I found an orange T shirt suited for a 5 year old child. So we tore it apart until I had a sort of orange napkin on my back that we supposed it was a T shirt. I think I looked a little bit gay in it and I think the five gay Russians behind me in the line thought the same. Good thing I only used it when I got on the roller-coasters. How can I actually define this park? Seven roller coasters that almost made me shit myself and made me scream like a two year old girly. A 100 m high tower from which you free-fall; Polenysian and Mexican dancers combined with a 3 D submarine experience. Pierre my friend! It was one of the best decisions jumping the fence…
It is never easy leaving a place. It is not easy saying good-bye from Hailey, Mark, Adam, Alex and Lindsey as you know that America and Australia is just too far away in order for you to visit them…Thursday afternoon with a coffee in our hands in Salou’s train station. So this is once again a good-bye. I hug Pierre tightly as I can. I’m gonna miss these guys. I don’t believe in good-byes. This cannot stop. Even a phone call in ten years will mean more than any wealth in this world…The train roles away while Pierre still waves. Two more days on a bus and here I am once again.
Guys, I cannot thank you enough for everything!!! Have a great summer.
Kolozsvar (Cluj-Napoca), 4th of August 2008