After an eventful time in northern Spain my last day was a good one socialising with a fellow worker-traveller in Figueres, home of Salvador Dali. The first day’s diary below covers that. I then hitched across the south of France into northern Italy, where the hitching was good, and the Riviera cliffs to beaches scenery even better. I spent a night sharing a room in Nice with another hitcher I shared a lift with, after his suggestion. I briefly stopped in Pisa and Florence, before reaching Rome, told in the second day’s diary below. The whole journey’s told in my memoir, The Guns N’ Roses Worker-Traveller. If you want to see the diary days in-between these two, please request.
I didn’t take any photos in Spain or collect any memorabilia, apart from a couple of pesetas; I probably would have in Barcelona, but as my diary extracts show, my lift took me straight past it. I kept a coin or two; or note if that’s all there was, as in some countries; from each country. Here’s a photo of the two peseta coins I kept:
Hitch-hiking in Northern Spain
As my diary extracts show, hitch-hiking in northern Spain (Basque region) was difficult, but the lifts were eventful when they happened. Some Germans lifted my mood playing the Scorpions, and a local put AC/DC on.
The German ‘Scorpions’ lift, walking above Zaragoza and arriving in Figueres (I found out while there it was Salvador Dali’s birthplace: the museum was closed as it was a Saturday!) all made it into my fantasy fiction travel around Europe to Google Maps original concept XaW Files: Beyond Humanity book; cross-referencing through time and writing genres, via the motorways and crossroads of my mind; neurons of memory and creativity perhaps travelling from different parts of my brain, and meeting at the greenYgreyesque corpus callosum.
The Zaragoza to Figueres lift started off a spaghetti western storyline in Chapter 6 Episode 18: ‘I had felt shimmering significance in Figueres, time distortion in Barcelona and at a crossroads in Zaragoza.’ I had made it to Barcelona in 2013.
The German Scorpions lift was referenced in a fantasy storyline with the real Scorpions singer Klaus Meine, twisting it around to him having read my memoir, which is of course separate to the greenYgrey trilogy: ‘Klaus was very understanding about it, and gave me a lift to Hannover, his home town, which was on my way west. He played the Scorpions’ Worldwide Live album on the way, which is one of my all-time favourites. I told him I’d referenced a couple of Scorpions songs in the opening paragraph, and he said that was a coincidence, because our drive reminded him of one in The Guns N’ Roses Worker Traveller.’
My 1987 Diary
Here’s my diary recording my brief time in Spain. I had intended spending longer, but as I write in the diary, the hitching wasn’t very good.
In 2005, after a decade in further education I became Dr. Marc Latham, the Chav Philosopher; possibly Blighty’s best value and poorest doctor of philosophy. My memoir, poetry and fiction books are available on Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Marc-Latham/e/B004SP40J0/
Salvador Dali artwork is available on Artsy: https://www.artsy.net/artist/salvador-dali
On my last full day in Barcelona I visited the northern half of the city, having spent the previous day in the southern half. It was my Antoni Gaudi day, as I first walked north to his Park Guell, on the advice of Hostel One, and then down to the centre for his unfinished masterpiece La Sagrada Familia. I then saw more of his work and that of other Modernisme period artists and sculptors in the city centre, where art and sculptures decorate walls and roofs.
Barcelona Parc Guell and Eixample Photos
At the end of the day I waited for the sun to go down on Placa Catalunya, which is considered the borderline between the Barri Gotic of my previous day and the Eixample area of Modernisme architecture I’d visited that afternoon. It was also my arrival point in Barcelona.
Sometimes as I returned to the hostel, the sun was at my side. Sometimes it was straight ahead. By the time I reached the hostel it was nowhere to be seen. It returned the next morning, shining brightly and warmly.
Looking Back at Summer
I wondered how much I’d see and feel the hot sun afterwards, after several disappointing summers in the U.K.
Although I think it is gone now, seven months later, it lived its 2013 life to the full. It all started in Barcelona…
There are more Marc Latham Barcelona photos on the Greenygrey blog (greenygrey.co.uk/blog). Just search Barcelona on there.
There’s a Marc Latham Barcelona article from the trip on TravelThruHistory (travelthruhistory.com/html/cities59.html).
There are also Marc Latham Barcelona photos on emorfes (emorfes.com/2013/04/06/greengray-barcelona-photography-by-marc-latham/).
On the Saturday night I returned to Montjuic for the Magic Fountain show, on the advice of Hostel One, and it was a fun spectacular. The next morning I ran my marathon, enjoying the run seeing many of Barcelona’s landmarks for the first time. That night I went to see Barcelona beat Rayo Vallecano 3-1, with Messi scoring two and Villa one.
Barcelona Marathon and Football
I watched from the top of the stadium, with sore legs from the marathon and Camp Nou climb. I felt like I’d climbed two mountains that day, but in reality, I had climbed none.
I think I achieved something though. The green field below, and the cool air above, felt like they were my reward.
Barcelona Magic Fountain and Camp Nou
Here’s some photos from the Magic Fountain and Camp Nou. There are photos from my marathon at the Marathon Photos website:
My summer started in mid-March, now six months ago, and it has been a good one in the U.K., so autumn is more welcome this year than in most years. However, my spring/summer season started not in the U.K., but in sunny Spain. It was sunny in Barcelona for most of the time I spent there, while the U.K. was suffering a cold snowy spell at the time.
Arriving in Barcelona
Most of England and France was covered in snow as I flew over from Leeds, and then the Pyrenees were too. It wasn’t hot in Barcelona, but it was warm and sunny: mostly nice spring days.
After getting the bus into the centre I walked out to Hostel One, Sants, which took longer than I wanted with my marathon three days away, but it was nice when I got there.
I just relaxed near the hostel for the next couple of days, before going to Montjuic Park via the Espanya Plaza to collect my marathon number, chip and goodie bag on the Saturday.
It was exciting to receive the last pieces of the marathon jigsaw started six months previously. I had a free pre-race pasta meal and drink, before walking up to the National Art Museum at the top of the steps and fountains. Here’s some photos:
Barcelona Flight, Catalunya and Montjuic Photos