Wednesday, February 3, 2010

In the Middle of Nowhere

I live here, in this pretty village. Well, actually I live near this village. It's a fishing port but you can find a better selection of fish for cheaper in a nearby inland village. And actually the best view of the village is from where I took this photo. From other locations it isn’t that pretty. But the coast here is somewhat pleasing. The development is minimal, there are pine and olive trees, small cliffs, small coves, the sun shines often. Even so, this is not the place that moves my spirit.

I live about three kilometers outside the village. That’s a 45 minute walk or a ten minute drive on a small country road that passes through olive orchards. Sounds idyllic, but sadly, it isn’t.

I will try not to go on and on about Spanish drivers. Let's just say they are aggressive and inept. Ubiquitous aggressive inept driving makes it bad enough to be out and about while enclosed in an armored vehicle, like a car, and another to be out there unprotected. To walk down that small country road passing through olive orchards, winding, curving, and dipping your way to the village with no armor is to risk your life. One problem of ineptitude is that most drivers don’t stay to the right on these small roads. They drive in the middle and if there is a curve to the right, even a blind curve, they take it all the way over on the left. Same for right turns at intersections or into driveways. The speed limit on that little road is 30 kilometers per hour. Most cars go 60. So I take that walk to the village every now and then, but keep my ears pealed for oncoming cars so I can step aside if needed. And I never ride a bike because at my age, it isn’t safe to fall while trying to avoid being hit by a car.

The fact is that I didn’t come to live in Spain in order to be out in the country. I came to live in the metropolis of Barcelona – one of the world’s great cities. And one of the great attractions to living in the city was that I wasn’t going to need a car. I could get around by foot and public transportation and so I would be less of an environmental burden on the world. But life happened, things changed, and here I am, out in the middle of nowhere surrounded by olive trees and inept drivers.


  1. Alberto José MiyaraSaturday, February 13, 2010

    This beautiful post still doesn't tell us whether you do have a car or not.

    As my friend Miquel once told me: "We Catalans haven't yet completed the transition from the cart to the car."

    I'm planning to travel to Catalunya again this summer. I'll come visit you and you'll treat me to one of your delicious fish recipees (you do have a few, don't you!). If I don't get hit by a car on the road, that is.

  2. Alberto, I look forward to seeing you here. And yes, I do have a car. A Citroen, but not a 2CV as I would wish.