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Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Mis Amigos

When it comes to travel, momentum tends to be a decisive factor. Though, it doesn't always seem like it when you're on the road. In fact, it's easy to get tired and start looking for excuses to drag your feet. Nevertheless, momentum comes into play when you consider three things: one-way trips are cheaper than round-trip tickets, you don't have to worry about paying rent in one place once you've moved to another and, because you don't have anything keeping you in one spot, it's easy to just keep moving! Once you have a job, and finally find a place to rent, it's hard to imagine spending more than a few days on the road. This leads us to a sort of contradiction: while you're traveling, work, and the security that comes with it, sounds pretty good. But, after you start working, it doesn't take long to realize that having a job doesn't leave much room for travel!

Nevertheless, there is a way to balance the equation - do as much travel as possible before and after starting work. After my visit to England I continued my whirlwind tour of Europe. On Sunday, the 24th of September, I landed in Madrid and picked up my rental car. After just catching the church meeting, I went to a Chinese buffet with some of the brothers that I hadn't seen since a year before. I then grabbed a sim card and went to the weekly couchsurfing meeting. Finally, after making some new friends, I made my way to a hostel for my first night back in Spain.

The next morning I picked up a motorcycle helmet and battery for my bike up in Switzerland (cheaper to buy in Spain) before heading down to my old stomping grounds in Castilla-La Mancha. There I saw my former colleague Cristina after paying a visit to my mechanic friend Luis. Cristina and I went to the local cafe to catch up - she had actually moved to another pueblo, but we met there in beautiful Belmonte for old-times' sake. That evening I found my way back to Julio's in Pedro Muñoz then joined him and the others for a walk.

Over the next four days I went back to Las Mesas as a guest teacher, visited with more colleagues, met with my former employer from the academy in Las Pedroñeras, and joined Maria Jose and her family for a basement fireplace barbecue similar to the one I had been to with Luis and the guys at the racing circuit the year before.

The next weekend, Julio took me to Tomelloso to see the Museo del carro y aperos de labranza. We saw a lot of cool historical farming artifacts as well as a old-timey dwelling called a Bombo. A Bombo is a traditional structure specially designed to house shepherds and farmers, along with their farm animals and their farming tools - no joke, they slept alongside the smelly animals! This old-school barn was reconstructed with more than two million stones, cleverly arranged one above the other without any mortar between them.

The next day I drove back to Madrid to return my rental, then spent the next two days hanging out at the hostel waiting for Stefan to arrive for another trip up through France and back to Switzerland. Thankfully, this time we would not be doing it in a 41-hour straight shot!

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