Friday, September 2, 2011

Spain auto-stopped!

Before hitchhiking in Spain I read and heard various opinions about how it works there. Most of them were so-so, describing the hitchability as only average and people as ones who have little idea what hitchhiking is. In my case, reality turned out to be more benevolent...

My first day was a hitchhiker's dream. During my entire stay in Donostia I heard thousands of ideas where I should try to catch a ride to Zaragoza. Eventually I started from the city center, not from a town by the highway 10 km south from Donostia, where most of the traffic heads to Pamplona and further. Unai's father took me to my spot and, really, I haven't hitchhiked from a worse place for a very long time. Or at least that's what I thought. Street lights, cars immediately accelerating to enter the highway after around 100 meters, no place for them to pull over and high barriers separating the major road from nearby streets. So I could only stand before the traffic lights, hoping that somebody who heads my directions will stop at the traffic lights. I didn't have to wait too much until two young Basque guys shouted "Pamplona, si!" Easy ride, with very humorous people who spoke English. First and the only one, since the rest of my drivers spoke only Spanish. But they were also very kind, drove me further to help me get close to another good spot and one Brazilian driver gave some luscious nectarines.

I had four rides on the distance of 270 km, 3 with passenger cars and one, the longest, with a truck. And I never had to wait more than 5 minutes!

It's getting hotter and drier...

Coming back from Zaragoza to France was not so easy, but also brought new experience.

First of all, first really negative experience. Not really bad, but many girls would freak out in a similar situation. So far the only ones I had were connected with overspeeding/drinking and driving but this one was sex-related.

Spanish truck driver got off the highway and firsts asked some questions in Spanish, for which he only got my reply "ne comprendo." But then he started pointing to his crotch and making disgusting gestures with his mouth that looked like giving a head. I firmly replied "no" every time he did more and more to convince me with his "si, si" to blow him and was about to get out of the truck when he took off and for the rest of the ride he didn't say anything lascivious anymore.

Fortunately, I quickly forgot about this situation when much more friendly guy, Joe from Dominica pulled over. We had a great chat about living in the mountains and much happier and carefree life back in his country or in the countryside (in my case).

Moreover, riding over Pyrenees was magnificent and made my memories from Alps revive. Tiny roads, switchbacks, passing through villages, green hills, bare rocks and other views you don't see when you take the highway.

My stay in Zaragoza was an enjoyable one. Unfortunately my hosts (a couple) were really busy with their jobs, Beatriz working for the radio and Raul practising for his concerts. I hope to see them once more, they both radiated with positive energy and, from what I could conclude seeing their photos, souvenirs from distant parts of the world and books written by Beatriz, they have a lot to share.

Nevertheless, we managed to spend one nice evening together in a basement rented by a friend of theirs, transformed into a pub. There were more people there and I discussed the feeling of national identity with a German couchsurfer, got to know a little about street art in Zaragoza from a girl who paints a lot and talked about travels with a Spanish girl and managed to convince her that her English is not as bad as she thinks.

Street art was the thing I fancied the most about Zaragoza. I anticipated to see some art created by locals, accessible to everyone and I wasn't disappointed. In the eastern part of old town the walls are full of colorful paintings.

I also went to a museum where I saw exhibitions of Japanese and Romanian art. All the explanations were in Spanish, so my imagination worked more.

Colorful Romanian houses

Romanian art where different fabrics and materials were used

I stared at this one for so long because I couldn't believe that the strokes of brush were almost invisible at the edges, these "animals" looked like pasted from another painting.

Thousands of questions...

"Pink dream," I must admit very nice one.

I did some walking in the old town, which was surprisingly not so crowded. The architecture is nice, basilica looks impressive with symmetrical cupolas and towers. Inside it looks just like any other church with gildings and elaborate paintings. I was fed up with more religious imagery and left after less than 5 minutes.

It was a hot welcome.

Spanish people against BXVI

Spain was nice and I was really tempted to stay more. But my poor equipment is probably not enough for some situations that can happen in a country where people reluctantly take hitchhikers (sometimes...). On the other hand, I can enjoy France again, the sound of melodious French and picking apples from trees just by the road. However, I have to move to warmer climate to see my beloved figs again.

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