Posts Tagged With: Marseilles

LAST DAY: From a Gas Station near La Turbie to Barcelona.

La Turbie-Barcelona

La Turbie-Barcelona

Following the tradition of me lonely travelling period I woke up very early, however, there were already a lot of things going on in the huge gas station. I realized that I really was too close to the entrance because with the daylight absolutely everybody entering in the area could notice my tent. Anyway, If nobody had told me nothing by then everything was OK. When I finished packing my things I entered the main building, located just next to the gas station in itself, with a cafeteria and a souvenir shop. I went straight to the bathroom. Because it was a stop for truckers I was sure that they were going to have showers. Indeed, there were two cabins but unfortunately both occupied and with three guys ahead of me. I paid for my turn and I waited outside drinking a coffee and evaluating the situation.

During this time I saw at least two Spanish trucks, I was starting to be confident. After a long while I could enter to the shower,consisting in a single space no much bigger than a square meter of surface. That was enough for a truck driver that could enter only with a towel keeping all the other things in his truck. But In my case, I was carrying all my belongings, including a big backpack, a guitar and a cat. Finally, all this things (and animals) took the shower at the same time as me. It took me at least twenty minutes and I remember than the guy who was waiting to enter after me was not very happy, what a pity.

Most of my things were completely wet and I had to hang my towel in one of my backpack’s hitches but I was feeling very well. The sensation of taking a shower after many days without doing it is one of the life’s great pleasures. It seemed to me that I was lighter. There was no doubt that my possibilities of getting a ride were going to increase with my new good-smelling style.

I decided to change my technique of simply going the exit and try to do traditional hitchhiking, since I speak French and I was clean. I wanted to enjoy myself, so I leaned my items against a wall of the building and I started to talk with the people that was filling their tanks. The gas station was so big that I had no time to notice every car, but there were two special lines for trucks on the left side moving slower. Two trucks were getting filled and another two were waiting behind. I talked with all of the drivers but none agreed to drive me. I continued asking among the cars while waiting for new trucks.

At one point I saw a Spanish truck entering so I immediately approached. I tried to be extremely polite because I really wanted to start as soon as possible. I knew that it was almost impossible but I was dreaming to arrive in Barcelona that very day. The trucker was also very polite but refused to drive me alluding the laws and so on. Anyway I asked how many kilometers I had from there to Spain and one or two more irrelevant questions just to start a small talk and get along with him. Then I left, thanking him for the information. I knew that the guy was going to be there for a while since he had at least two other truck in front of him waiting for fill the tank.

Meanwhile, I continued with my strategy rotating between car drivers and new trucks arriving. In some point several Spanish trucks from the same company arrived but my experience told me that truckers travelling together don’t pick up hitchhikers. I asked the first one and I avoided the others.

I had been trying to get a ride for at least 1 hour but the general impression was good. At least three persons apologized to me for not having space in their car. I was also going regularly to check how Pulguita was, walking around with her cage hanging on my shoulder from time to time. A little bit later, when I had already forgotten about the Spanish truck driver I had been talking with, I saw him entering to the building. In this moment he looked at me and from his glance I had the feeling that he was finally going to let me in. Indeed, he did it. Ten minutes later I was sitting in his cabin.

He spent the first half an hour apologizing for not having picked me up at the beginning, referring to all the dangerous things happening on the road. He was probably right and I understood his point. It was a good guy, the kind of person you can guess what is he thinking from his face. When I asked him where was he going he was not clear, like trying to be defensive once again so I decided just to be sympathetic with him and lengthen the ride as much as possible. We didn’t stop talking for a single moment. It turned out that he was also from the north of Spain like me which allowed us to switch to new topics of conversation. We talked about food, other countries, cars and many other subjects.

Somehow, when I checked the signals on the road we had already passed Marseilles and we were approaching Montpelier. It was necessary to make another stop. By this time, the driver had already agreed to drive me to Spain but he was still waiting for the confirmation of his way depending on many factors. The following conversation was about this topic and I found it actually very interesting. He was going from Italy to Lisbon, but the headquarters of his company were in Madrid. He was constantly talking with the controller by the radio taking into consideration the traffic, the weather, the price of the fuel and the places to sleep in order to determinate, not only his itinerary, but also the one of the younger colleagues in the road at the same time. I really enjoyed being part of the discussions and even giving my own point of view.

I was also making my calculations and, if he was going to cross the French-Spanish border by Catalonia I could be in Barcelona that night. I called Aleksandra with the good news and she offered herself to pick me up anywhere between the border and Barcelona. To go further would not have made any sense. If I understood correctly the guy had three options, to go by the south of France, crossing Toulouse and entering in Spain through the Basque Country border; to go by Catalonia turning west in Girona toward Zaragoza and then Madrid; or to follow south through Barcelona until Valencia and then turning west toward Portugal.

He had to do the first choice in Narbonne, where he continue south avoiding the French way. At this point I could finally confirm that I was arriving to Spain this very day. I immediately called Aleksandra that was prepared to do her way to the north by car. I told her to wait. The trucker was still thinking what to do, this time including me in the equation. He told me that by the height of the border he was going to decide, so I could call Aleksandra from my Spanish number and tell her exactly where she could pick me up if necessary.

After many conversations with his colleagues and a very stressful time (even if thinking about it with perspective it was not so important but I really wanted to see Aleksandra again now that the situation was turning real) he decided to take the middle way, turning west near Girona. He told me exactly in which gas station he was going to stop, being careful in choosing one close to an exit where it was possible to change the sense, taking into consideration that Aleksandra was coming in the opposite direction. I called her again, still from France, and few minutes later she was in the car heading north. We were closer to that place but going slower, so according to our calculation we were going to arrive more or less at the same time.

The meeting point was a big gas station 30 km north of Girona just after Figueres and around 130 km away from Barcelona. When we arrived the driver went straight to the gas station crossing an area with a big restaurant. From the truck cabin I tried to notice a small green Toyota Yaris but I couldn’t. I didn’t want to call Aleksandra as not to disturb her while driving, but when we were reaching the dispensing area I received a call from her. She was in the restaurant. I told her that we were just arriving and she appeared few minutes later.

We embraced each other and she helped me to carrying Pulguita. I also introduced her the truck driver and we give him together our sticker. The last one for a driver but we still keep some of them. I thanked again and say goodbye to him. Then, we were feeding and playing with Pulguita on the grass for a while and we drank a coffee in the restaurant. Aleksandra let me drive back because after one month being driven I missed so much the feeling of being the one controlling the car. Around 10 PM, we were already at home in Barcelona.



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