Before arriving in Brussels to stick some plaster & paint on the old Bolivian embassy, I had quite an adventure getting there. It started off by leaving my job in London, going to Wales and getting a crewing position on a yacht with a guy I'd never met before, sailing to Spain , and hitch-hiking up through Europe. Here's a little extract from the diary at the time, (1985!).....
"Monday 10th June 1845hrs. Sitting on the pavement in a no horse town called Benahadux, approx. 8 km N.E. of Almeria. I checked out the Malaga hostel on Sunday morning, went back to the yacht to collect my gear & have a good-bye drink with everyone. Got to Malaga about 1900hrs. They'd put all the international travelers in one room. I was sharing the room with Peter, (Argentinian), Flavio, (Brazilian), a Dane, a Yank, and an Italian guy. The Yank spoke high speed Californian Spanish to help him get by. Peter was penniless, and was trying to get back to Argentina. We talked about The Malvinas, (The Falkland Islands), and how he had just escaped conscription by leaving the country before his notice arrived. (Consciption was done alphabetically using the last few digits of the Argentine National Insurance number). I advised him to check out the yachting situation. (I could have got on a yacht to Rio, back in Benelmadena. A salty old sea dog I met there told me that "....If I don't stop now, I never would again...." - it was a bit early in my life to be giving it all up for sailing the high seas, although it was an exciting prospect.)
Had coffee & rolls for breakfast, and got a couple of buses to take me to the other side of town, heading east out of Malaga. Two hours later, after a 3 km walk, and posing for a photo with the milkman's donkey (!), I got my first lift in Spain. Actually, the vehicle was stationary when I approached it. In fact, it was broken down! The driver had his head in the bonnet, trying to fix it, when I attacked him with my phrase book. Somehow, I managed to get a 20 mile lift and another breakfast, (free), out of it. I was at a place called Nerja. It's a good hitching place from there because around the corner was 50 km worth of the most treacherous winding cliff roads ever! I'd been there half na hour when a Dutch guy pulled up & gave mw a lift to Almeria, some 120 km. And then I go the bus here. It's very Sierra-Nevadaish around here. Lots of chalk & brown hills. the main street looks like it's a forgotten set out of a Spaghetti Western. I'll try a bit more hitching now, and doss down somewhere later on. I'll head for Murcia - 220 km away...
Tuesday 14th June 1400hrs. Start of siesta time! Strange things do happen. I walked out of Benahadoux, 8 km to the next no horse town called Rejo. This was getting very desert like. And Lo! - there I met a VW camper packed with Aussies. the three girls and a guy had just spent three weeks coming from Belgium on their way to Morocco. Naturally, the fridge was full of 'cannies', so we had a few, and exchanged useful information. I told them about the cliff roads before Nerja, and they advised me to stay the night in this God forsaken hamlet because a movie was being made a couple of miles outside the place, and they were shooting some scenes early tomorrow morning. I approached a bunch of of peasanty types, who were drinking and chatting away. I attempted to break the communication barrier with the help of my exceptionally well worn phrase book. It didn't work. One of the group had a cousin who was French, so I ended up explaining to him that I wanted a room for the night. We understood each other perfectly. As soon as they got the message - nobody wanted to know. Maybe because he felt sorry for me, or because I was ruining a good afternoons drinking session for him, but the man with the French cousin decided to help me out. He said I could sleep in his half built house, which was only fractionally better than sleeping in the middle of the desert.
Evening drew in quickly for the artists, and they moved from the bar around the corner to the street with the lampost in it. I sat with them for a while sorting out my pack, had an orange for dinner, and retired to my newly acquired abode for the night. But it didn't last long.........MOSQUITOS!! I braved them for about half an hour - with me curled up in a ball inside my sleeping bag. But the noise of the buzzing, and the thud...thud...thud as they dive-bombed me, all became too much. Anyway, this was the middle of summer - and I was roasting to death inside that bag! I valiantly leapt out of my bag, grabbed all my stuff, and dragged it across from the ruins of my 'hotel' across the street to the safety of the lampost. They had gone to bed by then. The mossys didn't come near me - they just fizzled themselves out on the street light. This was a much nicer, cleaner, quieter place then I'd just been laying in. So, I stretched out my bag, and much to the amazement of some of the old folk who were looking out from behind their shutters....I went to sleep in the street."
It was quite a fun trip. Meeting people can be very rewarding, just avoid some of the no horse towns in Southern Spain :)