Day Ninety Eight: Eduardo’s Road To Fitness

The man with the tuba was trying to help two lost tourists with their map. It was an unusual scene, one that I would have taken a photo of, had my iPhone not been tucked into a pocket that was buried beneath several layers of clothing. It took me a couple of seconds to realize that Tuba Man was wearing nothing more than a vest, whilst I was wrapped up like Ray Mears on one of his forays into the frozen wastelands of Siberia. Tuba playing and portage must work up a sweat I thought.

I was on my mountain bike. But was far from the mountains. I was in central Barcelona. Why? Well to be honest I’m not sure. I suppose I wanted to do something different, to escape for a while and at the same time see something new.

It was working. My legs were tired when I had started, the result of a tough off-road run the day before. My plan was to do a nice relaxed spin on the bike up the coast away from the city but, like many of my planned rides, it changed as soon as I stepped outside. Now almost an hour later my legs had loosened up and I was feeling good.

I had decided to ride straight downtown. There was to be no messing about, no taking quiet side streets, no rat runs. Just onto a main arterial route, headed smack bang for ground zero. Plaza Catalunya.

The weak winter sunshine made for a high contrast view of the tall trees that lined the wide avenues. I was riding along the cycle lane, sharing it with the many Bici Bikes, roller bladders, long boarders and other urban bikers that cruised through town. I was in city mode, alert, watching for acts of random motoring madness but I was happy.

Tuba Man also looked happy as the tourists wandered off staring at their map. He looked up at me and nodded, aware that I was watching his good deed for the day. He shifted the broad leather straps on his tuba and began to walk towards the beach front in La Barceloneta.

La Barceloneta is a funky part of town, a neighbourhood in the Ciutat Vella district of Barcelona. Triangular in shape, it is an area popular with those that enjoy sun, coffee, music and food. It seems to be a magnet for the wild and the wacky, and is no doubt a highly photographed part of Barcelona. There are plenty of Kodak moments to be had, from the iconic Peix d’Or sculpture that Frank Gehry rustled up during a creative burst of fish inspired activity, to the wide sandy beach with its long boardwalk.

I turned up the iPhone as La Roux’s track ‘Bullet Proof’ began to play and set off home, pleased with what had turned out to be a great ride through the city.

I leave you with a track, BulletProof by La Roux, its been on my playlist for a while now..

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Day Eighty Five: Eduardo’s Road To Fitness

“Wow”. I woke up and that was the first thing I said. Not particularly erudite I know, but it worked. You see, I’d just had the most lucid dream. It was so incredible, it stayed with me all day. Kept popping back into my head, testing me, making me think, trying to unravel the complex plot. Freud would have loved it. I’m not a dream analyst, but perhaps one of you out there on the web are. So here’s the dream, laid out for you in full colour.

I think it was meant to be Casablanca. It was certainly meant to be some incarnation of Morocco. I was in a bazaar. Or at the very least, what I think a Moroccan bazaar would be like, for I’ve never been to one.

It was hot, which, I suppose, if it was summer, is probably factually correct. It was dusty. I had a stone in my shoe. It was bugging me but the tiny, crowded alley with all the people hustling along, deterred me from attempting to stop and take off my shoe to get rid of the stone. I would have caused a human traffic jam. I carried on. I could smell onions and garlic. It was noisy. People were shouting to be heard above the noise.

In front of me was a girl. I knew she was pretty but I hadn’t seen her face. It was odd. Just one of those dream things, where you know it doesn’t make sense but accept it anyway. So she was gorgeous. I was stuck behind her. I wanted to overtake her so I could confirm my suspicions as to her being beautiful. In a way I was ‘testing’ my dream. I knew I was dreaming and I recognized the fact that you can’t tell someone is gorgeous without having at least seen them front on. Anyway, I was trying to overtake her but it was impossible.

The alleyway was brightly lit by the sun. The walls were a peachy orange colour, some sort of sandstone. There were doorways on the left and the right. I was thinking about overtaking using a doorway as a bit of extra space but the girl was walking too quickly. I’d have risked bumping into her if I tried a reckless over-taking move.

Then, like in most dreams, the scene changed. I was in a bar. Well, a bar of sorts. I was sat on a long table. There must have been sixty people on the table. Next to me was the girl. She spoke perfect English. Everyone else was jabbering away in Arabic and I was just sitting there with a stone in my shoe looking at this girl. Just amazed at how pretty her eyes were. They were light brown and they sparkled like the sea at night under a full moon when she smiled.

She was wearing a red dress. It was long, it looked sort of traditional, almost Spanish in a way. Definitely not local Moroccan attire. Almost like a flamenco dress. But it was her eyes. They bore  straight into my soul and made me smile. Then suddenly I was on a bridge trying to take a photo of her. She was in her red dress, smiling at me and I was trying to figure out how to take the photo. It wasn’t my camera and I was struggling to figure out how to take the shot.

The dream changed again. I was in Hong Kong, next to the house that I used to rent. I was on the beach, sitting on the sand. I was barefoot and was pushing the wet sand between my toes. Scrunching it up and enjoying the feeling of the sand. She was sitting next to me. She had a map in her lap and was making busy making notes.

The dream gets a bit confused then. For a moment I was talking to a good friend of mine Heinz Stucke, a famous cyclist that has been travelling this planet since God was a boy. He is, quite possibly, the most travelled man in history. That is some claim. Anyway, he was sitting next to me talking about how best to annotate the map to show where you camped each night. And then he was gone and I was back with the mysterious girl in the red dress. She was so beautiful. I remember thinking that as I woke up. What a pretty girl…and that was it….the dream was over and I was in my bed, listening to the cats playing in the hallway, the sunlight streaming in through the window. Blinking my eyes trying to adjust to the bright morning light.

Dreams are superb. I just wish I could understand what it all meant.

Answers on a postcard please.

– Eduardo

Oh yes, sorry I went for a ride today. 3 hours, bumped into the Agritubel boys. Tore past them on a descent, reckon they think I must be mad. Judging by my dreams, perhaps I am. ☺ I have a 3 hour ride planned tomorrow, hopefully it’ll be sunny again. I love the weather here, it lifts your spirits like nothing else. Except possibley a good Mexican meal and a glass of Rioja.