On To Barcelona

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We are sitting comfortably on the train waiting for it to depart. We were up at an ungodly 0527 in the morning. That’s when my first alarm went off. We quickly closed our luggage with all the remnants stuffed into them. The struggle with mine was real as it took some effort to convince it to close. As I write this we have pulled away from the station and the quiet of the train is disturbed by the subtle rattle of movement along the tracks. 


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We have hit speeds of 296km/h! And are traveling at an average speed of 270 km/h. The flat countryside whizzes by with farming complexes surrounded by trees hyperlapsed in my mind. It’s a beautiful morning too beautiful for me to sleep but Chrl is curled up with her head resting in my lap asleep. We didn’t get much sleep last night as we enjoyed our last night in Paris. This train ride is six hours long so she will have plenty of time to catch up on her sleep. 


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Nînes is still about an hour away. It is the first stop for this train. Afterward there will be six more stops before finally reaching Barcelona. I’ve been doing some writing about yesterday as well as catching some zee’s. Chrl is curled up like a feline on my lap sleeping away. The train is nice and quiet as most people are doing what we are doing which is resting. 


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Ten minutes to go until our first stop. There is a slight flurry of activity as we approach this stop. I’m anticipating stepping out onto the platform for some fresh air. Outside it looks like it’s hot. The topography has changed from flat and grassy to rocky with groves of grapes growing on the land around us. 


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Just finished a sandwich that we bought in Paris yesterday in preparation for this journey. There is a car where one can purchase some food and drink but it tends to get expensive buying food like that. I suspect that I’ll be visiting there a bit later to get some more food later. For now the water, juice and coffe will suffice. We are slowly approaching Montpellier Saint-Roch where I will again stretch out my legs. 


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We just left Perpgnan. I’ve been experiencing some trouble typing. The screen looked to be quite oily and this caused the cursor to jump around all over the screen. A word would begin in its proper place and then it would jump to a different place altogether adding the rest of the letters in a different spot. This became frustrating until I washed my hands again and rubbed the screen well with a tissue. We are about an hour away from Barcelona! 

Chrl has been working away at her paper. It’s a literature review of a UN report. It is  one of her final projects and she is hopeful to have everything finished by the end of the week. She has been working on it quite steadily for a while since before the trip even. 

I get a connection intermittently at the stations that we stop in. The agencies that I work with are trying to maneuver themselves as my representatives. One job multiple agencies trying to fill it. I am wondering about how to handle the situation. 


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We just left Girona the last stop before Barcelona. As I stood on the platform I noticed that half part of the train is missing. When we got on the train there were two trains attached together one of them must have detached at one of the stops. In about half an hour we should be there. It’s been a long journey. 


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We are minutes away from arriving in Barcelona. I’ve been using this time to write about our Parisian experiences. We had a great time last night and soon we need to disembark and find our hotel. I think we will both enjoy a nice shower before heading out to paruse the city. 


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The decision was made that we should divide up our tasks. I’m currently doing laundry while Chrl studies for a bit. There is a fine for hanging things on the most perfect handrails for drying clothes. The fine is quite hefty. The laundrymat is close and works quite automatically. You pay at the machine for the washer you have your laundry in. 


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After checking into our hostel we washed ourselves from the soot of travel. It felt quite invigorating to have washed that journey off. The carriages are climate controlled but stepping off the train for some fresh air the ambient temperature got progressively hotter the closer we got to Barcelona. 


We were both hungry when we stepped off the train. America’s largest fast food joint had a franchise in the station. The stuff never tasted so good. Towards the end when both of us were feeling the pangs of hunger wash over us getting food from the onboard caff delayed those pangs. Once we had something in our stomachs we had the energy to continue to find our hotel. 


The geographical oracle application in my phone guided us to the Metro station that took us to the general area of our hotel. It was on the corner of a confluence of many streets. The little door was easily missed. The location is close to where everything is. Chrl loves how cute it is. I must admit I like it myself. It has everything we need and more. We checked out the communal area where we discovered that there are vending machines for everything. It will be a good area for Chrl to do some of her work. 


The first place she has to see is La Rambla. The street is made for walking hand in hand being distracted by all the commotion happening everywhere. This street has everything you need and more. I like the quality of the merchandise on sale here. This is a really cool city but one that is great to enjoy with someone. 


The architecture that we haven’t really explored here is playful and intricate. Even the modern stuff tries to incorporate some sort of curvature. We rambled down La Rambla distracted by the new style and flavor all around us. People come here to have a good time. There is a bit of hedonism that goes on here. There are also a lot of passions. Art and culture infuse industry here that is guided by some ethics. 


We saw an animal rights protest as we approached our hotel. From the imagery I deduced that they were protesting for the ethical treatment of animals for consumption. Something that many consumers are unaware of and would like to not think about as they dig into their steak or sausage. There is however something to be said about what someone feels when they see how an animal is treated. There is also the way a farmers that dedicates themselves to this way of life treats animals versus a corporation that tries to derive as much profit as possible does. 


We found a little boutique clothing shop along our initial walk through the old city. Something about the dresses on display caught our eye and we decided to step in. We found a few things that convinced Chrl to try them on. I liked how they placed the comfortable chair right beside the big mirror. When Chrl was looking and judging how she looked and felt about the outfit I did the same from the chair. I am kind of enjoying this part of the relationship now. The importance of how she feels inside about piece of clothing shows on the outside but it also helps how she feels beside me wearing that piece of clothing. It’s part of the playfulness that forms our rapport with each other as we float in our little love bubble along this trip. 


This store had a lot of nice pieces and some innovative designs. I liked the tourist bag to thwart pick pockets. All the zippers are against the back and not the outside of the bag. Everything was ethically sourced and colored and made right here in Barcelona. One of the choices was a hit with both of us. The way it looked on her surprised Chrl while I was in total agreement having suggested it. At some point she will be evaluating my choice of clothing while I also model the choices she makes for me. 


We had some dinner already and we were both tired. It is still too early to go to sleep however. Chrl wanted to do a bit of work and I wanted to wash the laundry. It was a time for both of us to focus on some individual tasks. When two individuals are bonding they need that time to grow into each other. We sat outside at the café downstairs (it’s so nice to have) chatting at the end of the night. Coffee and the like is noticeably cheaper here. We watched the people walking by and we shared passing longing glances at each other lips turning upwards at the ends. Smiles form good wrinkles.

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