Day 25 Ė Barcelona

I wake up just in time to see another sunrise over a remote hill blanketed with olive groves and apricot yards. Itís time to commune with nature and breathe in the fresh air of the middle of nowhere. Ah, that was a good five seconds. Now on with the show.

There are no museums to visit today and the docket is clear of any other to-doís except that I have arranged by email to meet with friends in Barcelona today at no particular time. Even though Iím only about three hoursí drive away Ė if I chose the not-free-at-all freeways Ė I prefer getting into town towards the end of the day as they have day jobs and there is no point in yanking them out of work despite their telling me that that was okay.

Speaking of the fast lane into town, and I know Iím probably going to sound grumpy in an Andy Rooney sort of way, I swear my GPS has been possessed by the aggregate souls of former Ministers of Transportation because ďCarmenĒ here has a preternatural disposition to take me onto pricey toll-ridden highways. Spain, like France and Italy, has seemingly hogged every inch of four lane highways and stuck multi-Euro tolls every few miles. Iím constantly fighting the damn thing to program it to take me to my destinations for free but the conspiracy theorist within me notes cynically the absence of any functionality to avoid tollways. And I swear on a stack of bibles that I note a hint of perverse glee in her tone when for one reason or another I donít notice until itís too late and I have no choice but to take the toll ramp. And when I do my job correctly I can just feel the checked tension in her voiced directions. Whatever, I know itís me going schizzo is all.

So, well, I spent the day taking it extra easy, taking frequent stops to metal detect freshly plowed fields and each time coming back to the car empty-handed but not yet resigned to give up the chase. Then itís time for breakfast, lunch or a snack and regardless of which the menu is always a combination of tuna, bread and cheese with juice. If I get so sick of this that I canít take it anymore I really donít know what else I can prepare on the go. There is, in case I havenít mentioned this a million times before, no reasonable option of dining in small European towns. The odd restaurant or pub one does see is closed in the daytime and there is, of course, no such thing as fast food except in cities.

Ok so I made it into Barcelona by late afternoon and without too much difficulty meet up with my friend Lluis. I was surprised to find calling him was as easy as turning on my Cingular cell phone and dialing his number. Just like that.

I spent an absolutely wonderful time at his house in the company of his wife and their son and for a change my digestive system must have really appreciated the delicious roast that was our dinner. We stayed up talking til midnight and then I went to a nearby hotel, their treat, for a shower and bedtime.

Day 26