Sunday, May 3, 2009

Getaway Car - by b

In a couple of hours I will head down to Hertz and return our little Peugeot. It's been ok to have it over the week... it made a few things marginally easier, emphasis on marginally. But it was great! to have it to go away for one night this weekend.

There was no school on Friday for May Day. A serious holiday here. So we had a plan to head somewhere over Friday night. A couple of people had suggested the delta of the Ebre river about two hours south of Barcelona ... on the coast.

On Thursday forecasters were calling for a gloomy day. Rain. On top of economic gloom. May Day might be called "mayday! mayday!" here.... times are bad for many workers.... Spain has the highest unemployment rate in the EU... and twice that of the US. These numbers are falling off "good" times spurred by wild real estate growth. And, according to this article in the Christian Science Monitor, the country is not yet taking hard steps to restructure its economy for other industries and jobs --- with perhaps a few more meaningful calories.

I was feeling it too. Even though my business is not focused on Spain all the news does kind of seep into my bones sometimes. And last week was one of those times. So far we've actually, surprisingly somehow, seen significant growth at work. But I'm always paranoid and scared. So i've been trying to turn that paranoia to good... and have embarked on a big business development push to try ride some of the momentum we do have right now and get stronger...

All of which is stressful and tiring and kind of psychologically nonstop

It was definitely time for a getaway for me. And to leave the computer behind in Barcelona.

And the sun came out. Which helped a lot too.

We tossed some basics into the back of the car and were off. The car is a little nostalgic for me since the car my dad had when I was growing up was a Peugeot. The logo, a lion, brings back a lot of memories for me.

In fact... this is the car my dad had in South Africa.. a white 404.

photo by Walter Watzpatzkowski

Here's our (for a week.. in fact for one hour now.. I really have to take it down the hill) smaller, more modern version. The 207. It's smaller than the vegetation in the delta.

The delta is where the river Ebre meets the sea. It is, Kristin told us, the second largest wetland in Europe. I really liked driving through it. It's flat and filled with rice paddies. Driving was tricky as roads were narrow, changed suddenly, and were surrounded by water. It was a bit of a lunar landscape.

Here are some more pictures:

The boys running around in a rice paddy

navigators socks

Sand crust contest... who can get the biggest piece

We went to sleep pretty early in the hotel... and then I woke up pretty early to read

Everyone else got up late.. like at 10:00. We ate a tasty breakfast in the hotel and then off...

The boat that will take us across the Ebre

On the boat... called the Transbordador

Bike riding

Mas bike riding


Orange peeling

And then homeward bound. But not before finding a 10-year-old girl who was lost after becoming separated from her group on their bikeride. We stuck with her until her dad showed up. We drove directly from where we were to the highway (autopista) and didn't have to cross the river on a boat again. We could cross via bridge. It was an easy and pleasant ride home. A great couple days away.