Riding around the city was fine, but when we hit the freeway, it was impossible to keep my hair in place, no matter how hard I tried. Hector offered me a hat he had reserved for he ladies that came aboard, and even though I though it was smooth of him, I encouraged the purchase of a new one. Not only was it too big for my head, but it was too Betsy-Mae-looking for that car. It saved my hair from the tangles though.
As we moved out from Barcelona, the scenery changed from busy streets and avenues to light freeways up into the mountains surrounding the city. The mountains seemed like hills from far away, but when you're up close, going up them, they are monstrous. But when we were close to the peak, riding on the serpentine roads, we suddenly realized we had a mighty companion: the vast and endless Mediterranean sea to our left.
Hector started getting fast and furious on the curves but when he saw my face of utter terror he stopped and apologized. Apart from wanting to live, I wanted to enjoy the view and the mountain and sea wind in my face for the duration of the ride.
We finally arrived to the hot sea town of Sitges, wedged in between the Garraff Mountains and the Coast of Garraff. What I had heard about the place was very little, except that it was the Mediterranean gay capital. But while I was walking through the small streets with shops filled with gay fashion and accessories, all I could think about was how my friend Juani and I would be having a blast here. We walked in a clothes shop and found wee elastic shirts of all colors and glitters, tight pants and jeans, some with holes where the butt cheeks go, others with a removable flap on the side of the bulge. Fascinating.
We continued to walk and turned into a street that Hector said was dubbed "the street of sin". This was due to all the gay bars and clubs that lined both sides of the walk. Everything was closed of course, but a few tiny restaurants and bistros were serving light lunches to gay couples and their tiny dogs.
The best part though was the boardwalk overlooking the beach where couples, gay and straight, were sunbathing; some dressed and others nude, some quiet and others scandalous. The sky looked very strange, as though it was covered with a thin translucent film which made the entire sky and its light very silver looking. I wasn't sure if it was smog or if it was haze, nonetheless it made the scenery very glossy.
We walked around the old part of the town where museums and old parts of fortresses with their fuscous canons were still pointing to potential enemies over the water. An old church where a wedding was being held looked right over the sea and its tiles were occasionally sprayed with droplets of foam and salt from the crushing waves. An old man sat in a cute portable chair facing the sea, reading his Saturday newspaper, oblivious to the tourists and of Ed taking pictures of him.
It wasn't long before our stomachs started begging for some attention, so we drove back into Barcelona for a late lunch. Hector is a carnivorous mammal but he is such a good host that he indulged us with a salad and pasta lunch at MareMagnum, a huge mall on the popular port of the city.
We all decided we would do something that night but by the end of the day we were so tired we agreed a date with our pillows sounded more appealing. Guess we're not as young anymore. Oh well.....
Saturday came along and we knew our Barcelonean friend Hector would eagerly call to show us around the city in his shiny new car. We met around noon in Plaza Catalunya and we headed for he outskirts of Barcelona on his "baby" (or his Renault Megan cabriolet). With the top rolled down, it was a perfect day to ride: the sun was bright and warm and the sky was almost cloudless except for a few rebel white fluffs here and there.