So it's been a pretty full-on trip this last week, travelling from Madrid to Valencia, up the Costa Brava and onto France and then back to Hungary. We spent a couple of fun days on perhaps the most beautiful lake on the planet - certainly one of them - which I was hoping to fish with Jose, but unfortunately we ran out of time and he was caught up with his children when we were free - having children means that you have to make plans many years in advance and not be spontaneous. Obviously this is impossible for me, since I find it hard to plan the next five minutes without something or someone coming along and messing it all up. And normally it's a fish. But anyway, that's cool, and we'll try to plan better next time.
Now I didn't want to go to Barcelona. I'm not a city-lover, in fact I particularly dislike cities and busy ones have considerably less appeal. There's traffic, people who don't talk to you, more traffic, rubbish, smog and you have to be careful because not everyone flyfishes like we do and so they're not necessarily worldly or honest - why anyone would want to go to Barcelona I have absolutely no idea.
Babus said: “Paul, both Marc and Tonio have said that Barcelona is very beautiful and I'd like to see it.”
“Babus, my friends are all imbeciles, you know me by now, don't listen to them.”
“Not all your friends are imbeciles, Paul, and Marc even made sense sometimes.”
And so we went to Barcelona, under protest. The most interesting bit happened outside some famous (and I thought quite ugly) gothic Cathedral, in the busiest part of the city, surrounded by thousands of tourists, when some guy whips out a crowbar and breaks into a parked car, right in front of us, through the window. So I went looking for a policeman and found a security guard, “Come quick, some guy is breaking into a car and I don't speak Spanish”.
And so we confronted him. “What?” he said, like he was innocent. He had that kind of weedy body that comes I think from Heroin. That must be some really screwed-up world and quite exclusionary, where you can steal from your fellow man, and family for that matter, just to stay there. There is no right or wrong maybe, or if there is, the drug is more important. That's not freedom. Of course maybe the solution is to legalise it, at least then you can control it, but that's not politically acceptable. But it would probably solve a hell of a lot of crime…I've had six cars broken into and at least three of them were almost certainly drug related...
Anyway while I'm having these thoughts a crowd has caught up on the scene and one guy is calling “Policia” and the tour guide is shouting something in Spanish through her microphone. So it's all happening here in Barcelona. Looking for a little less in the way of excitement, Babus and I head up the coast and over the border into France. We caught up again with Marc, Cherry made a new friend in Marc's cat, who was bigger than her, fished a little in France (although we may as well have been fishing the salt for all the good it did us) and managed a funky swap for a kick-ass racing bike and what a machine that is! Went for my first cycle ride today - two weeks to go until the Ironman, so lots of cycling to do before then and it's going to be interesting, something I've always wanted to do, but have never gotten around to. Until now that is.
In fact I've never even tried to swim 2.4 miles (or whatever it is), and the most I've raced is 1500m. I have run a marathon and more in training, but not in a long time, well apart from the Coast to Coast. And as far as cycling goes, my longest distance so far has been 40K. But hey, you don't know what it's like until you find out and running in the park gets kind of the same after a while, if you know what I mean, and life is much more interesting when you're fit. Especially for the sort of fishing we get up to. See? It all comes back to fishing somehow.
The beginning of September sees me back in Canada. Not sure when I'll have such a long extended stay in Europe again, but it's been interesting - especially the winter which I won't be having again. Lots of plans coming together at the moment... Asp fishing this week!
PS Nearly forgot, South France is my kind of place, one fishing license for the whole region - like fishing should be!