Hitching in Spain, making friends, la Policia, Barcelona

Barcelona 7/2/2013 (?)

new sign
Patrick made me a new sign

It’s Tuesday, I know that much. Madrid was great. I made good money busking, so much to where I really feel like I can relax, buy food and beer, really enjoy myself. I played in Plaza Mayor and Parque Retiro mostly, and also Sol (where I was often hassled by pigs) and El Rastro on Sundays (where I would make the most money and sell out of CDs for the week. I had a great time catching up with my good friend and old bandmate Chris and his new wife Rocio.

retiro2

One night while busking in Mayor I met Martina. She is a 23 year old Italian artist and roamer, she’s really sweet and speaks pretty good English. She asked if she could dance and I said “of course.” She had her pack on at 11pm, so it was evident she needed a place to stay. I took her back to Chris’s  house and 2 days later we set out to hitch to Barcelona.

mayor

Busking in Plaza Mayor

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Martina and I at the Palace in Madrid

barcelona

We made it to a huge stop on Autopista 2 just before dusk and made camp in a wheat field behind the gas station for the night. This was ironic because she is gluten-intolerant.

The next day we stood thumb-out, talking to people, trying everything for 11 hours at a huge gas station while hundreds of cars just breezed by us. Hitching in Spain is notoriously difficult, but this was ridiculous. By the end of the day it looked like rain and I was pretty pissed. I decided it was worth it to get a room and we used a carpool service online to find a ride for the next day. Money-spent-lesson-learned, I will never try to hitch East out of Madrid again.

I have been in Barcelona for two hours and I love it already. I met Lydia on the ride here. A very nice, pretty, 25 year old Polish artist and graduate student. Crazy good English.

Barcelona 7/5/2013

martinalidia
Martina, myself, and Lydia at Park Güell in Barcelona

Still here, even after a terrible experience with the pigs. I had a nice crowd on La Rambla, it was going really strong just 2 songs in. They (3) pulled up, very rude, shut me down, hands on their weapons, berated me, took my passport, and threatened me with a 300€ fine. After some asking around I learned that unpermitted musicians were being shutdown everywhere, often times they were confronted with a fine to pay on the spot, and if they couldn’t pay it their instruments were taken. I did meet one guy who just said “fuck no, fuck you,” and walked away and he didn’t have any problems. I can’t risk that, though. I’m not trying to beg my way across Europe.

I am staying a little out of Barcelona, in the Chinatown, with a bunch of skaters and graphic designers. It’s really cool. They remind me of my skater friends growing up. I hang out mostly with Chris and Anita from Vienna, whom I met on the street. They are really nice and really cool and speak perfect English. They travel a lot and share a dissident, anti-capitalist perspective. We hang out in the park all day and roam the old town all night. Last night we went to a squat they had found like a week ago called “The Rabbit Hole” or something and we went in and had some for-donation beers and jammed with some Catalan squatters. I played a couple of my songs too. It was awesome! Anyway, great company, and they help me find this place I am staying at. In 2 days I hitch north back into France, through Lyon, and into Switzerland.

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