Akilina's Travels

Couchsurfing Letdowns/Barcelona Antics

I arrived in Barcelona on the 18th of October with a couple of couch requests already set up, just in case one fell through. When I arrived, I got a hold of the first person who promised a couch, finding that the person was headed out to Madrid in an hour, and had not told me of the change in plans. Okay, so I had another person who invited me. I don’t carry a phone, making my experience that much more difficult, but this can be overcome by using my laptop. So I head to the McDonald’s at the train station to find they have no plugs for my computer. I wonder around the station a bit, searching for any plug possible, when I find one!

I get into contact with the person who had invited me on couchsurfing, who says they live a 15 minute walk away from the train station. Well, 15 minutes for someone with nothing on their back and in their hands is just that, 15 minutes. But for someone with 20 kilo on their back, and things in their hands is more like a 30 minute walk, especially when you don’t have a map, and your backpack is made to kill you, not help you (again, thanks Romania).

I decide to try to find another place to crash because for whatever reason, this person makes me feel not uneasy, but annoyed. I tell him I will just search or sleep at the station, no problem, but I cannot go wondering about the streets looking for his place with all the weight and having had no food, and no sleep for the past two nights. He continues to bug me about going over, and as I still had no other requests, I decided to try it out.

I get there after wandering around for a bit (it took 45 minutes), and meet up with this guy from Peru, who is obviously stoned out of his mind. Okay, that’s fine, all I need is a place to sleep, stoned people are pretty calm and slow, so whatever. I get upstairs and decide its time to sleep, I lay on the floor, and am just passing out when he walks up to me, and tells me his friends just called and want to go surfing in the morning, so I have to leave at 6 a.m.

I haven’t slept in over two days and it is now 2 a.m. and this guy wants me to leave at 6 a.m. when I could have just found a different place to go? I knew that my friend Marina was at a hostel near Sagrada Familia, that it was cheap (7 Euros), and grabbed my things to leave. He began whining about how I was being unfair and I was being crazy, I got into the elevator and he held to door open, telling me I could sleep there, i just needed to leave at 6. I kept telling him to let the door close, all I wanted was sleep, just leave me alone, I just want to fucking sleep, I began screaming, he wouldn’t get it through his head, and finally he let the door close, cussing at me. Fine, I am leaving, thank God.

I get outside, and have no idea where Sagrada Familia is, so I hail a cab. Expensive, but public transport was done by this time, and I had a little bit of money to get me somewhere, especially because I was so desperate for a place to sleep. I tell the cab about the hostel, and with my luck, he has no idea what a hostel is, or where it is, so I tell him to leave me at Sagrada Familia, and I will find it.

I wonder around Sagrada a bit, asking about the hostel, no one seems to know where it is, or even what a hostel is. Two young Spanish girls decided to help me, one takes my tent, the other my computer, and we begin trekking the hill, up and down, looking for the hostel. Finally, we find it, and they help me to the reception. Reception at this hostel was pretty terrible. But I finally got a bed, and found Marina.

The next morning, we send out couch requests, turns out she is in a situation similar to mine, no money, we are on our last few euros for food. We go on the Free Barcelona Tour, and see the amazing bazaar in Barcelona, we get fresh figs and a fruit cup, as well as a couple of sticks with meat on it.

Marina at Mercat de La Boqueria

Marina at Mercat de La Boqueria

Night time comes, and we are in contact with someone from couchsurfing. So we go back to the hostel to get our things, when we lose contact with the couch request we got, no longer is he responding. So, we stay another night at the hostel. Up in the morning, we immediately send out more requests and head off to Park Guell.

Me at Park Guell

From Park Guell, we go to the beach. Finally, a couch request at night. We head there and met up with a guy from Argentina at the metro stop he told us to go to. He is very nice, only hosted once before, but had a great reference. So we spent two nights at his place

.

Barceloneta Beach

Barceloneta Beach

On October 22nd, we begin our hitch. Our money has greatly dwindled, we had put our money together, and by this time had twenty Euro between the two of us. I had ditched my horrid backpack at the hostel, taking only things I ABSOLUTELY needed and put them in a cheapo 15 Euro case I had bought which had wheels. I also had to ditch Ol’ Blue, my tent.

Our trek towards the highway turned bad quite quickly. One of the wheels on my new back was defective, it was leaning inward and dragging, making my back tilt, causing the material to tear and wear down. At one point, the bag twisted over and was dragged a few seconds, resulting in a large gash along the side of it. I am exhausted from yet another terrible experience with bags, so we chance a stop at a Chinese Basar. I am sold a bag carrier for 5 Euro, metal with wheels and a cord to tie the bag to it. And, of course, the handle for this new carrier breaks within 10 minutes.  So we prop the bag upwards, tie it down, and use the handle from the bag itself, and the wheels from the carrier.

Someone takes pity on us, and takes us to a gas station out-of-town, in the direction of Perpignan, France, We spend a total of eight hours trying to hitch a ride before we finally get someone to pick us up.

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This entry was posted on October 28, 2013 by in Hitchhiking/Autostopping, Hostel Life and tagged , , , , , , .

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