A loner in Barcelona

Gatwick to Barcelona was a piece of cake, but things began to unravel when I arrived in Plaza Catalunya. I was looking for Sants Station which I wrongly believed to be in the Plaza. Eventually I had to take a Metro but got off at the wrong stop… Back on and head to Sants, where I had a tussle with one or two machines that refused to sell me a ticket. Eventually, after a bit of queueing and pestering people in pidgin-Spanish, I leapt on a train and asked two passengers if this was the train to Ripoll. Just as they said no, the doors locked and I was whisked off towards an unknown destination. With my new friends’ help, I jumped off at the first stop and found myself back at Catalunya station, where it is apparently possible to get a train to Ripoll after all. I’ll believe it when I’m there! I’m told my train will be along in about an hour. If I leave the underground station, my ticket will expire, so here I am…

One bit that worked unexpectedly well was contacting the local rep. for transport from Ripoll to Camprodon. I found a voicemail, which – glory be! – I could access and the phone number in my holiday documentation actually worked, so I’m now sitting on the train to Ripoll and expecting to be met. If I could get something to eat and drink, all would be right with my world. Well, nearly all! (Mustn’t mention the shoulder – keep that for when I really need sympathy!)

The two hour train journey to Ripoll was uneventful and quiet, but I would have been relieved if I’d found a loo. We headed N from Barcelona and the mountains grew ever closer. At Ripoll my phone dinged to tell me the guy picking me up was running a bit late, but it was partly my fault – having screwed up in Barcelona – and it was pleasant in the sun. Des – who works for Catalan Adventures, the local agent – drove me the half hour to Camprodón, ran over some organisational stuff and here I am.

A pefectly acceptable room, a nice wee town (pop 2500ish), cool of the evening: all I need to do now is wait until they serve the evening meal. I’d happily eat scabby burro and patatas bravas at the moment: my burger last night at Gatwick, topped up with a sandwich on today’s plane long gone. In Madrid they seem to start eating about 10pm – judging on previous experience – but here they start at 8:30, so that’s an improvement from my point of view.

There were several reasons I chose this trip and one was the Catalan angle. I was interested to see the language: I don’t want to tread on Catalan toes, but first impressions are that it’s a mix of French and Spanish – hardly surprising! – and it’s odd to me to see signs that seem ungrammatical in both languages! My Spanish is rusty, but I hope that it will get well-oiled (!) whilst I’m here. The other aspect of Catalonia is its Independence movement and I hope to have some conversations on that topic once my ‘idioma’ is functioning a bit better.

Anyway, food calls. Or at least a beer – I wonder if they sell pork scratchings?


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