I left on a beautiful morning, sunny and clear but rather warm, well for January anyway. Georgina was waiting at the ferry terminal, just to see me off, what a wounderful surprise. How remarkable the WIMA friendship is, I was very touched by this indeed.
The ferry ride was rather rough, I got sea sick and had to lie down and I spent my entire journey listening to Terry Prachett’s Thief of Time, which, all in all, was a good way to spend the time – if I had not been so worried that the bike would fall over. On this ferry, unlike most other ferries I’ve taken, they tied the bike down for me. They used a cushion over the saddle and a strap. I would rather have secured it by tying it down from four points on the frame. However, it proved that my worries were unjustified and the bike was still erect when I descended the next morning. Entering Spain felt amazing, the air was moist and felt warm. I was very excited and it did feel like coming home! The temperature would drop drastically over the next 24 hours or so, quite disappointingly – but after hearing the weather reports from England (snow storm and flood warnings) I was indeed happy to be on the south side of the Bay of Biscay.
As I was in no hurry to reach my destination – Christopher was travelling by plane a few days after me – I had booked a couple of nights in Zaragoza. I was intrigued by this city which I had failed to visit on every other journey through the country, for one reason or another, and thought that now was the time. I thoroughly enjoyed parking the bike on the pavement outside the hostal, no need to look for special parking – one of the glories of being in Spain. I enjoyed tortilla de patatas for dinner and a morning run in Parque Grande José Antonio Labordeta, followed by a walk along the River Ebro. Pretty amazing and it would get better. Barcelona welcomed me with shining sun and I managed a stroll along the beach to soak up the atmosphere. Ah yes, after parking the bike just outside the hostel, on the pavement. Love it!
We’ve been here a week now, looking for rooms to rent and searching for jobs. It often feels like two steps forward and one step back. Many people have asked us if we are returning to Madrid. I can understand that it might have been expected, since we have many good friends there. But the thing is, for us it just felt too depressing to go back and start all over again, finding jobs and a flat – we had the most amazing flat when we left, and I at least had a job with an indefinite contract. Well, if we have to start all over again we’ll do it properly and this time by the sea; that is why we chose Barcelona. If we had something to go back to, we would be happy to return to Madrid, we loved it there.
One of the things I appreciate with Barcelona is the abundance of vegetarian food and the Cat Bar especially. Every time I’ve been to Barcelona I’ve gone back to this bar. They serve the most amazing veggie food, the menu has changed over the years and now it is vegan burgers accompanied with a selection of vegan beers. The bar dosn’t actually have any cats, which could be a slight disappointment, I get that. But it does have a duCATi parked in the bar, my initial love for the place was sparked by this several years back. In addition, I once had a haircut in the bar and another time they had a guest piano player – it is so much more than a mainstream bar.
Cheers to all things CAT: the duCATi in the CAT bar in CATalunya!