4 May 2009

Traditional Catalan Country Lifestyle

Posted by walterheck

The next day, I slept in. Then I went out, ending up almost immediately in the public library again. I spent most of my day working from there since the weather was very crappy, until I went to see Xavi give basketball class to some kids. After that we went home and Anita cooked for us. We spent what was left of the rest of the night talking and making my plan for the next day.

It was time to hitch into Spain. Once again, a new country. This one was for me particularly interesting, because I knew very little about it and very much would like to learn the language. I got on the one road leading to Spain out of Andorra la Vella. I always get very happy when I am starting to hitch: you never know when the next car will stop and what kind of wonderful thing will happen this time. I look at the people behind the wheel wondering what they are doing in their lives, where they are going etc. I just stand there by the side of the road smiling at all the cars, listening to some music. Life is great at times like those!
I started hitching and was picked up pretty fast by a girl going to study just outside Andorra on the Spanish side.
When she dropped me off I just felt like walking. The sun was shining nice and warm, but not too hot. This was a welcome change from the 2 days of wet snow we had in Andorra. I walked quite a few kilometers, after seeing on the map that there was a split in the road were I thought there would be more traffic. It turned out that the split was very small and traffic didn’t get more busy. But that was okay. I just thumbed from there and got some interesting rides detouring all over the place, but I never had to wait very long. Spain has a reputation of having extremely long waits for hitching, but I didn’t have a problem at all!
After a couple of hours I made it to the tiny village I was going to: L’espluga de Francoli. I was picked up by my hosts sister Merce and two other couchsurfers that were staying with the same family. Immediately I was treated to a tour of Espluga, which for a small country side Spanish town has quite a few interesting places to visit. One of them was the 4th biggest cave in the world, which had a very interesting exposition on the origin of man in this area inside it. We also went to a monastery before heading back to the family house.
I immediately felt very welcome and it was very nice. We went for a mountainbike tour around the area and later went shopping and to a family dinner. Now, this family dinner was one of those many times you just realise how amazing couchsurfing really is: all of a sudden you are sitting with a Catalan family including grandparents, aunts and uncles included. These are such intimate occasions that you otherwise would never ever experience. We had some very good traditional Catalan food and lots of laughter and happiness. Amazing!

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