Travel Log: Spain and Catalunya

February 22nd: Seville
Arrive at bus station. Difficult to discern where skatepark ends and bus station begins. Roller blades are still popular in Spain. Wander the city streets at night in search of a hostel. Make jokes about cross walk noises sounding like laser guns. Discover Cairo hostel. Looks fancy but prices are cheap. Check in. Explore Seville. Eat tapas. Meet Sutton from Austin. Follow Sutton back to his place. Write down quotes. Decline joints and offers of booze. Make up excuse to leave. Head back to Cairo to write. Fall asleep.

February 23rd: Seville
Check out of Cairo. Desk clerk says a man was looking for us. Describes Sutton. Eat breakfast. Check into a cheaper hostel. Explore Seville on foot. Find CGT offices. Doors are locked. Jason vows to return. Walk around the city walls. Jason tries an orange from the many orange trees. The fruit is not yet ripe. Reconsider our plans. Jason whistles labor songs in front of CGT office. I head to bus station. Meet back up with Jason. We have interview tomorrow with CGT. Buy groceries. Make dinner. Write and go to sleep.

February 24th: Seville
Check out of hostel. Eat breakfast at same place. Head back to CGT office. Conduct interviews with Guillermo, Lopez, Casado. They are well-organized for anarchists. Reconsider our impressions of anarchism. Take photos of office and members. Say goodbye. Walk to bus station. Hug the walls at the bus station cafe awaiting any good news to prolong our stay. Receive no good news. Buy a bus ticket to Barcelona. Barely catch the red-eye. Fall asleep on the bus as it leaves Seville behind. “Ever forward,” we say.

February 25th: Seville-Barcelona
Morning view of the Mediterranean, orange groves, castles. Landscape looks like Mexico. The driver expertly weaves through narrow streets of Spanish towns and cities. Valencia passes by our bus windows. Eat, sleep, read, repeat for fifteen hours. Barcelona on the horizon. Roll into station. Grab map from tourist office. Hit the streets of Barcelona. Tour group thinks we are photo worthy backpackers in front of Arc de Troimphe. They snap pictures. We look lost. Find route. Meet up in Cathedral Square with Isaac. He takes us to his apartment in rickshaw. Tourists stare. We feel awkward. He barely knows us. Gives us a key and goes back to work. We take showers. I have hives from detergent used in Lagos. Isaac returns and takes us to meeting about March for Dignity. Isaac translates. After meeting we eat crappy veggie burgers, go back to flat, sleep.

February 26th: Barcelona
It’s raining. Get invited to work on farm in Igualada. Isaac takes us on rickshaw tour around Barcelona. We learn about culture, startling statistics, layers of history. Tourism is a blight here as much as it is everywhere. Maybe more. See the whore billboard, reclaimed garden space, convent converted into cafe, Orwell’s Square, lost tourists, business clones, stunning churches and cathedrals, uncovered ruins in former shopping mall, etc. Halfway through tour participate in student strike/march. Resume tour. Weather clears up. Isaac rides off to collect customers. We buy groceries to make tacos. Cook homecooked dinner with Leon. Discuss Catalan nationalism. Leon buys donuts. We share food, write, go to sleep.

February 27th: Barcelona-Igualada
Walk to subway station. Walk back to the correct subway station. Barely make our train. Two hour train ride to Igualada. Arrive in small town. Wait to meet Manel. Manel shows up. Introductions and good vibes. Manel shows us farm and explains work. Farm is beautiful. Drive to Manel’s home. Nice house, beautiful view. Jason and I discuss. We decide to stay and work. Manel drives us to his children’s school. We meet Marta, Carla, Arno, Ruth. Ruth is another Workawayer. We get coffee with Marta and Ruth. At home we help make pizza. We eat large dinner. Play with kids. Go to sleep feeling safe.

February 28th: Igualada
Wake up. Eat light breakfast. Manel drives us to farm. Work a short day cutting canes around ditch. Eat home cooked meal with entire family at farm house. Play games with children and Ruth. After lunch Marta takes Ruth, Jason, me to Montserrat. Hike to cross. View Catalunya, France, cathedral. Visit cathedral. See Black Virgin. Head back to house. Eat large dinner. Go to sleep.

March 1st-5th: Igualada
Ruth leaves on Monday. Everyday we wake up. Eat light breakfast. See Carla off to school. Drive to farm. Cut, bundle, burn canes. Discover old well. Take breaks for fruit, water, kisses from Marci. She calls us “Guapos.” Manel checks on progress. At 1 o’clock we break for lunch. Manel cooks lunch. Kids come home from school. Marta has a two-hour break from work. We all eat together at large table. We help clean after dessert. Back to the farm at 3 o’clock. Continue working until 5. Come home and shower. Go exploring, shopping, play with kids, write, read, enjoy free time, talk with hosts about Catalan independence, etc. 8 o’clock we eat dinner as a family. Marta cooks dinner. There’s always lots of food. After dinner we talk, write, read, go to sleep.

March 6th: Igualada-Barcelona
After lunch we walk to bus station. Take bus to Barcelona. Get off on wrong stop. Walk two hours to Isaac’s. Stop to enjoy street musicians. Meet with Isaac. Go to new Wes Anderson film. Film is sold out. Go to bar instead. Watch Bamba Ganjah play. Head back to Isaac’s. Discuss Catalan identity before bed.

March 7th: Barcelona
Explore Barcelona on foot. Met up with Isaac. Attended another March for Dignity event. Bamba Ganjah plays here too. Serendipity! Take metro to going-away party for Lefteris. Talk politics and racism with comrades. Take metro back to Isaac’s flat. Write and sleep.

March 8th: Barcelona-Igualada
Attend Women’s Day march. Take lots of photos. Discuss demonstration strategies. Meet up with Alber for lunch. Easily find train station. Take train back to Igualada. Arrive in time for dinner. Show family our photos of Women’s Day march. Get mixed reviews. Talk late into the evening. Go to sleep.

March 9th-13th: Barcelona-Igualada-Barcelona
New Workawayers arrive: Jackson, Talicia. Take kids to school. Work in fields. Discover another old well. Eat lunch. Work. Eat dinner. Play with kids. Hold adult discussions. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Buy ferry tickets. Last day we say goodbye to everyone. Give my overalls to Manel. Write them a card. Give hugs to the kids. Manel drives us to bus station. We board bus to Barcelona. Make false promises about writing during boat trip while on the bus. Arrive in Barcelona. Take second bus to Isaac’s. Attend feminist sex workers meeting. Isaac translates. Go out for drinks afterwards. Head back to flat. Write and sleep.

March 14th: Barcelona
Explore Barcelona one more time. It’s raining. Take train to reclaimed factory. Eat traditional Catalan meal in smoky streets. Smelling like campfires arrive late to second feminist meeting. Leave early. Head back to flat. Eat donuts with Leon. Say goodbye. Walk to port. Ask for directions. Walk to another port. Ignore security and board Grimaldi’s ferry, Valencia. There’s no one aboard. We fall asleep along the “Pullman Seats” waiting for the boat to leave.

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