Never Eat a Cactus, No Matter How Sweet and Pink


Things to Remember:
All of France closes on Sunday. You have worried about starvation many times in the course of your trip. Only on a Sunday.
Hiking 2 hours up a mountain (then 2 hours down) with 70lbs on your back will put you out of commision for two days.
Eating figs does not allow for a speedy recovery. And no, it does not give you the runs, either.
Hitch hiking though the mountains is beautiful, but it takes about 5 times as long.
When the guide book says a hike takes 3.5 hours, it really means you’ll be done in 75 minutes.
Never eat a cactus, no matter how sweet and pink.
Too many organic, raw almonds makes you feel ill.
Poseidon is a pretty cool dude. You met him face to face during a lightning storm, camped on a beach next to the Mediterranean.
Bathing in a puddle of rainwater is only bad when you have to shave with something no sharper than a piece of glass.
There isn’t anything that half a kilo of frozen spinach won’t help you pass.
Two giant American girls running 4km up hill over the Spanish border looks ridiculous and feels a little ironic.
The grass is not greener on the other side, but Spain is uber friendly compared to France. Evinced by the dude on the bike, pedaling over the border, who pumped his fist in the air to you and Alexis and screamed, “EspANA!”
Pocket pool is still a game enjoyed by many men. Armenians have made the shit list.
You can dig a trench like nobody’s business. And you only get one first impression. Too bad 6 hours of continuous digging, following a week of hiking, made you admit your limits—but only after the trench was finished.

You went from five weeks of speaking French continuously to shutting your trap instantaneously, since you do not speak Spanish. Not yet, anyway. You are learning quickly. But the change in culture, language, and atmosphere was immediate, and your role in your trip has been reversed. Alexis took the lead with the hitch hiking, the negotiations, the navigation. You have hitched in many countries before, with many non-English speakers, but never in such a difficult territory as Spain, where no roads are properly labeled, and every monkey fart of a town is known to the people, but not to your atlas. It was rather difficult finding Mas Franch, a wwoofing farm located in the Giorona region, north of Barcelona.

It’s a permaculture project, and a community. The house was built in the fifteenth century, was used as a hostel until recently when the Mas Franch community decided to turn it into a sustainable living project that builds all of it s structures with bio materials. The place has everything (even a tractor tire!), does not rely too greatly for anything from the outside world. Keeps dogs, cows, chickens, and a recent addition of a 4 week old kitten found under a car. You are still weary from your travels, and have not been fully immersed in the type of work done here (aside from trench digging), but you are sure you will learn a great deal more about permaculture and building while you are here for the next two weeks.

What next? Not trying to plan anything too speedily, since you are so exhausted that sleep evades you, but it is likely you will head to Barcelona, then continue south toward Granada.

Categories: Camping, Hitchhiking, Safety, Spain, Struggles | Leave a comment

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