Barcelona – Roses Sat March 31

Woke up at Catalunya station. Followed the train one more stop to Diagonal and there I changed for the other direction and went back again. It wasn´t so cold anymore and when we got out

Woke up at Catalunya station. Followed the train one more stop to Diagonal and there I changed for the other direction and went back again. It wasn´t so cold anymore and when we got out of the tunnel I saw that the world was bright again. There were two Montcada stations and I got off at the first one. There was a cafe and I went to the toilet and then tried to ask if there was some kind of menu but the bartender just poured up a glass of spirits for himself despite the early hour and gave me an irritated look like I was some kind of homeless who is sleeping on trains and using his toilet without asking. Not getting a menu, I pointed at some bread in front of me and got a piece for 1,50 and then continued penetrating the foggy, chilly morning.

The road description from Hitchbase didn´t make sense at all. So I went to the other Montcada station. Now the road description made even less sense. There was a river, but on the wrong place. There was no pedestrian zone anywhere. I went back to the first Montcada station and tried again there. Then I saw a sign indicating that this commuter train line was number “4”. I took a look in my notes; my Montcada station was on line number “2”.

So I went back to the Central Station and tried to find commuter line #2. I thought I did, but after one stop it diverted from the route I thought it´d take and came to some kind of end-station. Three Americans were also on the train and they asked me: “Is this the train to Figueras?” “I hope not” I said.

Later that day I met the same three Americans again, on another station. “I think the next train is yours” I said. They were going to the Dali Museum and recommended me to go with them. “Maybe I´ll see you there” I said. They went on the train, and I took the next one, which was number 2. At last.

Arriving in Montecarda i Reixac – the right Montcada – the road description made perfect sense. I especially appreciated the line “on the left side you see the warning: ‘don’t cross. only for authorized personal´. just do it and enter this zone. there is a small way which you follow for 300m. then you arrive the patrol station.” It was 11:20 and very sunny when I started thumbing.

I had gotten the advice to be picky and not accept a ride shorter than to France. I decided to accept cars to Figueres but nothing shorter. If a car went to France, I would go to France and go on with my life. If a car was going to Figueres but not to France, then I would go to Figueres and let Salvador Dali take command of my life and melt my precious time like was it a clock on a rock.

I got two offers to places shorter than Figueres, one from a couple and one from a young man. Car number 254 stopped at 12:22 and was a couple to Figueres; one smoking Spanish man and his very elegant Belgian girlfriend. We had a very nice chat, but eventually I capitulated to the legacy of last night, let my head fall forward and went to the land where anything can happen but nothing is for real.

They woke me up in Figueres.

I was a big admirer of Dali when I was 17, which also was the age at which I went on my first hitchhiking trip. Back then I wanted so badly to visit Figueres but in San Sebastian my money ran out and I had to steer towards home as soon as possible to avoid starvation.

But now I´m here, and like as if fulfilling a promise to the younger version of myself I bought a 10 € ticket and got in. Sadly, Dali didn´t impress me anymore. He had abandoned me. Nevertheless, I examined every square millimeter of the building; competing for the space with hundreds of proud Spanish school children. My three American friends were nowhere.

With the ticket to the Dali museum came a ticket to another museum, which combined modern art films with dug-up stuff and dresses from the 18th century. It wasn´t fun enough to compete with last night´s lack of sleep. I tried to find Dali´s birth house, which should be more interesting since I have a clear picture of the house in my mind after reading his autobiography “Secret Life of Salvador Dali” five times, but couldn´t find it. But I did find the bar where he used to come for a glass on every visit to his birth town and I had a very touristic glass of “something Spanish” (as I asked for), which wasn´t expensive at all.

Then I went towards the city end; not to go to France but to do some hitchhiking in Daliland. The autobiography told so much about how the landscape of Cadaques inspired the paintings, so I I couldn´t resist hitchhiking through this country in order to become a piece of Dali art, as a tribute to my teenage idoling. I passed a bakery and bought the loaf that looked like most bread per euro. I hesitated for a second, thinking that it might be difficult to get a ride if carrying a gigantic bread. But then it struck me: a huge bread is of course the best travelling companion one can have in Daliland!

I walked and walked but the city of Figueres never ended. At its outskirts I found some abandoned economic farm buildings and I looked inside to see if they´d be good as shelter in case I wouldn´t get a ride from here before dark.

But they looked horrible on the inside; full of trash and with deep holes in them.

I didn´t find a good hitchhiking spot until 18:56. It was on a busy roadside right after a roundabout. It was raining and it felt like I´d have to stay there forever. But it only took 7 minutes for car #80 to stop; a Moroccan electrician who took me to Roses.

In Roses I had my first physical encounter with the Mediterranean, walked on the beach and dipped my feet.

I decided to sleep here and kept my eyes open for shelter. I found a wooden structure that would protect me from rain as well as from the damp of the ground, but it was open from the sides which meant that the wind would get me, as well as the eyes of everyone passing and I don´t like that. Homeless people typically sleep either where no one sees them, or where everyone sees them. Not where just a few people see them; as in the case with wooden structures by the beach.Then I saw an old castle on the horizon, that looked like it was being renovated.

I decided to check in there and speeded up my walk. My worned-out boots protested and tried to blackmail my feet but it didn´t work and I was soon at the foot of the mountain and started climbing uphill. The hillside was overgrown with thick bushes that did their best to slow down my pace and tear my clothes. Halfways up the mountain I saw that the castle was not merely undergoing renovation; it was being rebuilt into a fancy sort of building; probably a top-end hotel or the like. That means that someone was putting a lot of money in it, which means that money is also invested in people coming every night to protect it from vandals and thieves. The image of angry security personnel lightning up my face with torches intimidated me and made me instead have a look at the many rocks that were scattered over the hillside. It looked like there must be plenty of rocks that provided shelter enough for a human beneath them. So I climbed around, trying to fit my body in crevices here and there. But it was always too narrow, too uncomfortable or too dirty. The best place I found was one where a big leaning rock formed a roof only with the cooperation of some thick bushes.

It was dry under there and I bet on that no water would find it´s way down during the night, squeezed inside the bushes, snuggled down in my sleeping bag, ate from my big bread and fell asleep, happy as a boy scout.

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