So I’m guessing, as blogging etiquette goes, I’m the child with her elbows on the table, eating mashed potatoes with her hands. I started my blog, lobbed up a few posts, and then kind of gave up. It’s true, I have been neglecting You and Me Both, Kid, but I have a reason….I’ve been on the road. Well, for a short while anyway.
I wish I had a tale about being on the road for months and months, Kerouac-ing it up and befriending vagrants and people who enjoy bongo drums and spinning fire around their heads on bits of string. But the budget this time round would only stretch to a week, and to be perfectly honest, I detest all that nonsense with bongo drums and fire on strings and ‘ohmygodIdrankabucketinthailandandthe firewasjustSOOOOOOgorgeous’. It would put years on you.
Since quitting my job to come to Spain and ‘find myself‘ I’ve been worrying that I’m not doing enough with my time; that I should be frolicking on the Whitsundays, and driving Route 66 and ohmygoddrinkingabucketinThailand. But don’t I have my whole life to do that? For now (I keep telling myself) I’m taking a break for a few months, and the most taxing part of my day is wondering if I need to go to the supermarket and what time Masterchef Australia is on at (I do have access to Sky Digital in Spain. I’m not an ANIMAL!). However it would be unacceptable to travel to a country like Spain and not do some exploring, especially seeing as my only previous experience had been Barcelona for the Sonar festival, and a week in Gran Canaria (Playa Del Finglas to be precise) with my friend Orlaith, listening to The National on the balcony and retiring to our cell-like bedroom before midnight every night.
If I was any use at all I would have bought some kind of multi-journey train ticket, practiced my ‘vino tinto por favor’ and taken off with my knapsack on my back. But, in this part of spain, as I was soon to learn, public transport is not easy to come by. Sure, there are buses, but finding out about timetables and routes is like trying to solve the riddle of the Sphinx. Once you get to Madrid or Barcelona the transport links are much better, but not in Andalucia, so I decided to rent a car, which, as I would be travelling alone, seemed to be the best option.
I planned a tentative route in my head, with a romantic idea of driving north through Spain, climbing the Pyrenees in my little Opel Corsa and ending up in the south of France, blowing the locals away with my Leaving Cert French (ou est le bibliotheque?……prenez la premier rue a gauche..etc). I knew that leaving from here in Mojacar I would be heading north along the coast, past Benidorm to Valencia. From there I planned to bypass Barcelona on my way to Banyoles, near Girona, where a friend would be spending the weekend with 50 others in a massive villa and had invited me to join them for a night or two. I then planned to cross into France at La Jonquera and stay at another friend’s parent’s apartment in Arles Sur Tech, not too far from Perpignon. I reserved a rental car and a hotel room for my first two nights in Valencia (with the help, and the grasp of Spanish, of the father of My Best Friend Who’s A Boy) and semi-planned my route.
But then , DISASTER! Within hours of each other, both the accommodation in Banyoles and the accommodation in Arles Sur Tech fell through the day before I was due to set off. I felt briefly at a loss, imagining the extra money I was going to have to spend on accommodation (I have no job to go back to remember) and wondering if I should just go to Valencia for a couple of days, rather than aimlessly heading north on my own.
Aimlessly heading north is EXACTLY what I did though. The old mantra of ‘you only live once’ came into my head, and I got the map out, pinpointed a few places I could head for, decided to pack a tent and stay on campsites to save money, and headed for Valencia……..*
*to be continued, as indicated by the dots