September 30, 2012

I have felt slightly out of sorts for the past couple of days, I think primarily because I am exhausted. I don’t like to sleep when I travel, as it only prohibits my wanderings, and so I’ve been walking and exploring and walking and seeing shows and walking and adventuring and walking some more, passing out past midnight and up again early, ready to head out again. This lack of sleep — combined with the fact that I am more often that not sleeping on floors or small couches or ancient bunk beds with visible mattress springs — has added up, and so I decided to get out of the city, find someplace pretty, and sleep.

The town of Caldes de Montbui lies about 30km north of Barcelona, and has been a destination since Roman times due to its natural hot springs. This seemed like a great place to relax, so I said goodbye to Aaron and Monica, shouldered my pack, and after a couple of Metros, some walking, and a bus ride, I found myself in the center of a small little stone town, narrow streets and Catalan flags, sidewalk cafes and a ravine and an old spa hotel, built sometime in the 20s. I dropped my bag on the bed, turned down the sheets… and then heard people drumming and cheering outside the window. I peered outside, but I couldn’t find the source of the noise, and so I stepped toward the bed… and then looked out the window, the curiosity killing me. Bed… adventure… bed… adventure… So I checked out a mountain bike from the front desk and set out.

After riding for a bit (up a stone-paved street, over the ravine, and up a dirt road), I found the town’s athletic center. It was Sunday, and so there were a variety of games going on, and I cruised my bike from game to game, watching regular people living their regular Sunday lives in their hometown. After spending so much time in Barcelona alongside tourists and doing tourist things, it was nice to just sit in the low concrete stands and watch a soccer game, men ranging wide over the field, wives with babies looking on, children kicking soccer balls to and fro on the sidelines when they weren’t monkeying around on the fence.

Eventually I rode my bike down another hill and into a park, where people were BBQing and drumming and singing songs, children playing on the playground, more little boys playing soccer, dogs running through it all.

I finally went back to the hotel, ate lunch, and then crashed, sleeping for four hours. I honestly could have slept longer, but I wanted to be able to sleep tonight, and I also wanted to take advantage of the heated pool. And then a late dinner and then some journal writing and now to sleep again.

Tomorrow I have booked a massage, and also booked time in the baths. And then I think it’s off to the Pyrenees.