Our trip so far has involved some nature as well as city life. We've managed to hike around a bit, in mountains, forest, and beach. It's nice to get away from a high density of humans for a while, to take a break from being the talker. Since I'm the one with some--well, a little--knowledge of Spanish, I have to do things like ask for tickets to Tarragona at 8:46 or inquire whether the patatas bravas have mayonnaise on them (which is anathema to Rob but surprisingly popular here).
So the occasional breaks have been nice. It was especially nice on Tuesday, which started in Figueres at the Dali Museum. Figueres was a somewhat depressing town in the sense that its main attraction seemed to be the Dali Museum and little else. And then there was a highly disturbing incident at the bus station while we were just arriving to wait for our bus to Empuries (environs pictured below). As we walked up, we saw a teenage guy and girl, part of a large group of teenagers, having a verbal altercation, perhaps a spat of some sort. Then it got ugly as the guy actually smacked the girl in the face with an audible pop. She looked at him in shock and brought one hand to her nose. After a moment, another guy came to her defense or at least tried to keep more from happening, and the first guy just wouldn't calm down. Meanwhile, the girl's nose had started bleeding all over the place, and by now the station guard had come out and taken the guy by the arm. After Rob and I found a quieter spot MUCH further down the platform to sit, we noticed the police and an ambulance show up--thank god. With no small amount of pathos, this was also followed by the cleaning lady coming out with a mop and bucket.
As you might guess, we were pretty glad to head out to a totally different town after that. But first, we had to survive the Bus Ride of Doom. Obviously the driver knew what he was doing, but tearing around really winding roads at extreme speeds, in a BUS, seems a little scary to me. Rob and I kept cracking up a bit hysterically when we'd careen to one side or another, which the locals probably thought was a little strange. The bus driver then dropped us off on a semi-deserted road at a stop that was little more than a sign on a pole. Fortunately, another helpful sign informed us that the ruins of Empuries were just up the road, but it was a little disconcerting at first. After only about 10 minutes' walk, we arrived at our site, which contained both Roman and Greek ruins overlooking the Mediterranean Sea.
Speaking of the Mediterranean...I'm finding it continually disconcerting that the sea is to the east and not the west. Having grown up entirely on the West Coast, where the sun SETS over the ocean, I find it funny that it doesn't do so here. It's also disorienting. I keep thinking that I'm facing south with the coastline to my right, when I'm actually facing north. It's just ingrained in me to feel that the ocean is west of me.
Well, enough observations for today. (For more stories, check out Rob's blog.) Tomorrow night we're taking a night train--the so-called "Trenhotel"--to Seville, leaving at around 10 pm and arriving around 8:30 the following morning. This should be interesting. Allegedly we have our own bathroom in our cabin.