Tuesday, 22 April 2008

Barcelona, it was the second time that we met...

It seems a shame not to stay longer in Barcelona, but we must be moving on. The aim of the game is to spend as much time as humanly possible in Morocco, and so we are on our way. The walk out of town to find a suitable hitching spot is arduous, requiring us to traipse down the longest, straightest road ever. Morale is restored with the purchase of twizzlers that spin in the wind for our backpacks (Barca blue and red for me, the Swedish blue and yellow for miss Sofia), but the sun is fierce and we have to resort to our factor 2000 suncream to avoid a roasting.

Last night we had discussed trying to get hold of tickets for the Barcelona Champion's League game, but decided against it because time was against us. However, after much re-positioning and fruitless sign-waving (we later learn from an acquaintance that Barcelona is notoriously difficult to hitch out of), we've had enough and we decide to abandon hitching for the day and try and snare a pair of tickets for their Champions League game with the German side Schalke 04. It will be a belated birthday celebration for Sofia.

A short taxi hop later and we roll up outside the Nou Camp. It is, as advertised, monumental. It takes us about a quarter of an hour just to walk round the parimeter. The ticket office is finally located and it turns out that the first leg is actually taking place in Germany. Wonderful. A flight to Germany being slightly off-piste, Sofia has a little sleepy whilst I bury our sorrows in the club shop, which offers every conceivable commodity (clocks, tea towels, mugs, bed spreads) in FC Barcelona format. My consumer lusts finally satisfied, I emerge, blinking, into the sunlight. Sofia is still feeling rather delicate and time is ticking. Taking into account the lack of progress made today, and the fact Sofia is still feeling unwell, we take the sensible option and get the train to Valencia. This Is Not Cheating. We are expanding the range of our travel experiences.

At the train station, we run into a British girl who had done the hitch last year and was now doing her year abroad in Barcelona. It appears our green hitch t-shirts gave us away. Damn. We must learn to camoflague ourselves more effectively. The train is an air-conditioned paradise. I sit, plugged umbilically into my walkmen, whilst Sofia hunches herself into a ball, shivering and sweating. The trainline runs directly parallel to the seafront, so there are beautiful ocean views throughout the journey.

We arrive in Valencia late and the streets are quiet. The train station is next to the bull-ring, but unsurprising given the lack of light, there is no bullfighting taking place. Bullfighting in the dark sounds like a recipe for a goring. Unless the matador were to wear night-vision googles, but that seems like an unfair advantage and so rather unsporting.

A hotel is located rather quickly. The hotel is rather cramped but we just crave somewhere to crash, and Sofia is asleep virtually the second her weary head hits the pillow, whilst I luxuriate in the delights of foreign language television.

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