Roses – Perpignan Sun Apr 1

It was cold outside and the last thing I wanted was to step outside my sleeping bag so each time I woke up I ignored the world, rolled up like a fetus and fell asleep

It was cold outside and the last thing I wanted was to step outside my sleeping bag so each time I woke up I ignored the world, rolled up like a fetus and fell asleep again. But after a while my hunger overtook my freezing and I went up to eat bread and enjoy the fabulous view from the kitchen.

I climbed down and continued along the cloudy coast, hitchhiking from 9:35.

All houses were vacation houses and since it was off-season the area was quite deserted. After half an hour walk a walking man with a stick asked me where I was going. I said Cadaques and he said that the coastal road was a dead-end for cars, but that I could walk across the mountain to Cadaques. Walking is not my cup of tea if not accompanied by the possibility of a free car-ride so I turned around and walked back again.

At 10:25 car #9 stopped. It was three French women on vacation in a big van they had turned into a little house. I was a bit embarrassed to sit on their bed with my two-nights-without-shower-smell. They took me back to Roses city and dropped me off at the road towards Cadaques. After 7 minutes and 4 cars I got a ride with a middle-aged Spanish couple to a crossroad nearby. There I waited for 3 minutes and 3 cars till I got a ride with a young Spanish couple who were on holidays and took me to Cadaques.

In Dali´s autobiography, Cadaques was a small fishing village. It wasn´t anymore; it was quite a city, but a pretty one. I walked up the steep slopes and stairs till I found a place with a good view over the fishing harbour and there I sat on the wall and ate my bread in a very touristic lunch.

Unaware of that I was out on a peninsula pointing nowhere, I tried to hitchhike further along the coast. After 1 minute the first car stopped, containing an old man who asked if I was camping. Yes, I said. But when I said I was going to France he got angry and let me off, he had asked if I was going to the camping. At the crossroad where I stood there was a sign saying: “Portlligat”. I realized that it was my destiny to visit Dali´s house today so I hitchhiked in that direction. During the 9 minutes it took to walk there 7 cars didn´t stop.

Entrance was 10 € and I had to wait for an hour till it was my turn. In the meanwhile I sat on the stony beach and washed my feet and picked up flat stones to save and throw in that lake between the lunch restaurant and the printing company in Pardubice. Two girls were also waiting with me, drinking beer and kissing each other. Dali´s house was interesting. It was quite modest considering his wealth and megalomania. I liked the yellow room.

After the house I hitchhiked towards Cap de Creus. After 6 minutes car number 4 stopped. It was a young man who was working on a restaurant there. “I use to say that I work at the end of the world” he said. The road dwindled up the mountain out in the ocean. Up there we were surrounded by ocean on every side and the wind was neck-breaking.

I saw a cave far away and decided that that was my cave and climbed down the verge to reach it. All thoughts on my game and my plans were long gone, I was apparently on vacation today.

cave but found some other lost tourists who were also exploring this hidden corner of the world´s land mass. I followed where they came from and found the huge cave, which wasn´t a cave but rather a stone bridge over a thin bay being carved out by the most aggressive part of the Mediterranean.

After sitting there enjoying the wild scenery for a while I climbed up to the restaurant again and started walking back towards Cadaques waving my thumb. Interestingly, some other people were doing exactly the same a few hundred meters behind me. Since they were frequently hidden by cliffs and curves I couldn´t tell if they were picked up before or after me, but I got picked up by car #18 after 26 minutes walking. They – a young Spanish couple – took me to the beginning of the road from Cadaques to Llanca. It was cloudy now, and I waited for 2 minutes till car #8 – another young Spanish couple – picked me up. They were tourists as well and exploring this part of the country in almost the same way I did. They had been out in Barcelona, at the Dali museum and in the Dali house. Now they were driving through this amazingly steep and green and foggy landscape to Port de la Selva, which they had heard to be amazingly beautiful. As we left the car and walked in the city I was a bit frustrated, but hoped that this involuntarily diversion from my trip to France would at least render me something to eat.

They were disappointed of Port de la Selva, finding it no different from any other coastal town in Spain. I thought that the landscape might open up and get all crazy if we just passed the cape, but as the big France-longing egoist I was I kept my mouth shut and instead secretly smiled inside as we entered a food store. They treated me with bread, cheese and ham and some kind of very typical pirogue with Sobrasada inside. We sat in the harbor and ate and they cursed the high tourist-prices and then we went on. The girl in the couple was a podiatrist and she gave me her card.

They let me off in Llanca were I waited in a very good spot after a traffic light for 43 minutes during which I got two ride offers. I accepted the second one; car #114, a man listening to trance music and driving to Portbou, right before the French border.

I walked out of the city and thumbed again. After 5 minutes I was picked up by car #4, two middle-aged French guys who were driving a very old, blue car, smoking rolling tobacco and listening to experimental jazz.

I have to entertain you with some statistics:

Ratio Ride-offers/Cars-waved-at:

  1. Spain 28 / 1188 = 2,4%
  2. Portugal 3 / 1516 = 0,2%

Ratio Ride-offers/Minutes-waited:

  1. Spain 28 offers / 413 min = 15 min/offer
  2. Portugal 3 offers / 192 min = 64 min/offer

Proportion of trucks:

Spain 8/28 = 29%
Portugal 2/3 = 67%

Gender:

Spain Male: 21/28 = 75% Mixed: 6/28 = 21% Female: 1/28 = 4%
Portugal Male: 3/3 = 100%

Our road was on a high altitude and passing over many beautiful cities along the coast, each situated in a small bay and with a church in the middle and an old railway going through it. The men stopped in one of the cities to call a woman to ask her if they could sleep in her house. They left me in Perpignan, where they took off on a small road to Carcassone. I didn´t want to join them further since I hate playing Carcassone. At 20:02 I stood on a regular onramp; it was raining and getting dark. After 3 min car #3 stopped, containing what looked like a stereotypical immigrant-dense-suburb couple with classical gender roles and club music pumping at a volume unmatched. They took me to an outlet area north of the city where there was a nice highway-to-highway road for getting towards Narbonne/Montpellier.

It was really dark now, and the rain was getting worse. I stood between 20:15 and 20:46 while 14 cars who hardly could see me passed by. It was pointless to hitchhike any longer. I wanted to snuggle down in my sleeping bag among the trees, but it was raining too much for that. I went to the outlet to scout for good hide-outs. There was a bridge over a small stream under which I might possibly fit, but it looked too dirty down there. Then there was a Carrefour supermarket which had long rows of shopping carts under roofs to protect them from the rain. I examined all those little houses; in one I found a curious dog, and in another I found three rows of shopping carts of which the middle one was much shorter than the other two, and thereby forming like a room with three walls.

But the best sleeping place seemed to be a playground outside a fast-food restaurant. It had a big structure on it with slides and tunnels for children to crawl around in. The tunnels were big enough to allow me to crawl in and be perfectly protected from rain and even from wind. While waiting for the restaurant to close I sat in another, cheaper, restaurant, bought the cheapest thing they sold and ate it as slowly as possible while waiting for the time to pass and the rain to not rain on me. After they´d closed I sat on safe distance from the restaurant with the playground and watched it as the employees cleaned and closed the place. When everyone had been gone for a long while I approached the darkened building to sneak into their walled playing ground and crawl into the tunnels.

But when I was only a few meter from the place I saw a car with two people parked on the restaurant´s parking lot. They both looked at me, wondering what the hell I was doing there. I didn´t want to play on the playground with these two ghosts watching so I sat 50 meters away and waited for them to leave. After half an hour they were still sitting there. It was creepy; this outlet was totally empty now – everything out here was closed. What were they doing? And they must have been wondering what I was doing. It struck me that if they had any relation to any of the legitimate businesses out here, then they´d probably call someone to tell them that a 20-30 year old man, about 190 cm tall with a blue backpack was sneaking around, probably a criminal or a mental-case, or both.

So I went to Carrefour instead and sat between the rows of shopping carts. I tried to roll up like a ball to save body heat and sleep, but a cold French wind always found its way between my trousers and my shirts and chilled the lower part of my back and kept me awake. So after an hour I just took out my sleeping bag, put it on the naked asphalt, went inside, stretched out my legs and embraced the night. Bon nuit.

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