Ever Been Escorted by a Police Car?
April 29, 2012
Flying to Barcelona had an easy procedure. Air Transat is very bike friendly. They charged me only 30$, which is very reasonable, and checked the bike in the fragile section. On the plane, I happened to be sitting next to an Iranian family of four. The father of the two daughters was a builder from Toronto. He advised me to buy a condo as soon as possible because it is a good investment.
|boxing the bike took us five hours!|
|Babak giving me a ride to the airport|
The plane landed in Barcelona at 7:30 am. The immigration officer stamped my passport without even looking at my picture. This was unexpected since I had been warned to get my return ticket from Iran; otherwise, the Spanish officials would deport me right at the airport. I had verified this warning with the Spanish embassy! Anyways, I was glad that I was not questioned or anything.
In a corner at the arrival hall, I reassembled my bike and checked everything. It took me until noon to make the bike and the luggage ready for departure. The weather was cool and sunny. It had rained a lot the night before though.
I left the airport without knowing where I was going. The only thing that I knew was to keep going north to Barcelona. A couple of hundred meters into the road and I realized that I was on a highway although I had asked a police officer a few minutes earlier about whether I was allowed to bike there. I had just passed an exit when I stopped and walked my bike on the highway against the coming traffic to get to the exit and get off the highway. When I took the exit, I saw a police car, parked some 500 meters ahead. I went to her and asked for direction to Barcelon. She radioed someone and asked something. Then she did something unbelievably nice. She asked me to follow her!!!! She lead me through a couple of side streets and neighborhoods to get me to a bike path to Barcelona! Yeah.. I felt so important to be escorted by a police car on the highway and some neighborhoods! What a warm welcome!
Soon I was in the rural area of Barcelona. Now what? I was not sure if Dario, the CouchSurfing host who had accepted to host me a few days ago was still willing to do so. Or if he would be home when I got to his place. He had had messaged me that he would leave home at 2 pm. And it was 1 already.
After asking a couple of people for direction, I took Arash’s advice and asked a group of teenagers for direction because I thought they would be more likely to speak English. I asked them to call Dario since I didn’t even have any coins to call him. At least I informed him that I was in Barcelona and he would receive me. He arranged her girlfriend to open the door for me.
Christina, Dario’s girlfriend, welcomed me and gave me the key to their apartment. I had to carry my bike and the luggage to the third floor because the elevator was barely big enough for two people. My bike would not fit.
After a few minutes, I went to discover the city and have a bite. Christina had given me a map of the town. I tried Hamon, a kind of salami. It was delicious although it was not a good one so I was told.
In the evening, I went home I got to meet Dario, very friendly and knowledgeable about Barcelona. He is a tour guide and a soccer referee. The next day we went out and he showed me around. What an awesome opportunity to visit Barcelona with a Catalan who has a lot of knowledge about Barcelona. The most interesting places I saw were Sagrada Familia and Park Guell. The architecture was breathtaking. I also liked the Gothic district where there are buildings from the Medieval.
|View from Park Guell|
In the afternoon, Dario, Christina and I went to a local restaurant near the beach to have Payeya, a traditional dish. They also took me to a great shop specializing in Hamon. I bought half a kilo for the dinner and for my way tomorrow.
|My awesome hosts|
|View of Barcelona from Guell|
Tomorrow morning, I am going to be on the road toward north. Dario has suggested me to take the train to get out of Barcelona. He thinks it is not fun to ride in the industrial area to get out of Barcelona.