Jumping fences in Barcelona

In Barcelona, I’m sitting at the front of the queue for my ferry to Majorca. The ferry is operated by Trasmed. I booked it through cheapferry, and through trial and error I can guarantee you that it was the most useful website for planning this trip. None of the other ferry companies let you see the timetables, so you have to proceed as if you want to book a ticket before they give you a limited overview of the sailing times. That website allowed me to project forward into an itinerary. Worth adding though that the Google maps pin they give you will send you to the centre of Barcelona. Not helpful. You’ll need to use your cunning to find the Trasmed departure point, hidden as it is in a maze of badly signposted one way systems and angry cars. It took me nearly an hour.

Nevertheless it looks like I’m almost in a place where I can chill the fuck out. Finally. I was bombarded by ear mosquitoes all night last night, then woke before dawn to record my self tape. Pro-tip: Open Camera lets you film yourself while playing WhatsApp audio in the background, so long as you start the audio before you start the filming.

Once it was sent, I drove through sunshine to Barcelona. I even had to turn the Aircon from full heat to full cold. Beating low angle sun. A memory of warmth.

Spain only recently stopped being really freaked out about COVID. They had a pretty rough ride at the start, I think. Now it’s open but they are still recovering their confidence. I went to see Park Guell. It’s a park. It’s outdoors.

I parked in an expensive underground car park cos furniture. Then I walked to Guell only to be told that the park has sold out. Too many people in the park. Computer says no. Damn and I was only in town for two hours plus I’d already paid for the car park…

“Just sneak in,” says Lou. She’s right. I look at the footprint on Google maps and follow the line around the edge until I find a gate left open by a construction crew that might lead to the edge of the park. I walk in with confidence, striding quickly past chickens in coops and people’s front doors, tracking steps upwards ever upwards with false purpose until I hit a gate. It’s locked. It’s about fifteen foot tall but there’s a ten foot wall next to it. I clamber up and it is right by the guard post for the entrance. Silently I pull myself up, controlling my breath and using stomach muscles. I wait as somebody passes and then manage to drop over, catlike, behind him. He doesn’t turn round, despite it being a pretty pregnant cat. I immediately get my phone out and attempt to look like I was always there.

It takes me about five minutes to work out that I’m STILL on the wrong side of the barrier. Fuck it. Idiot. Damn.

I climb up and inspect the fence proper. Lots of piles with gaps too small for a head.

I walk along the wall, testing how well driven they all are as if I can lift one for a moment I can get through. They are, of course, all well driven. I’m not gonna be defeated by a closed park dammit. A park? Sold out? Come on.

I spot a big group. Six Spaniards striding with confidence to the entrance. I match their pace and body language and they march straight past the guard, but she chases the leader. Much talking in Spanish and he gets his phone out. I stand, hands on my hips, scowling with his friends as she looks at his phone. Nobody from his group clocks that I’m matching them, I’m positioned well. She beeps six QR codes. He thanks her and our group of seven starts to move before *damn* I watch her finger go counting. She shouts again. We stop again. I remain standing as they establish I’m not part of their group. I smile roguishly. I leave. They go in. If I spoke Spanish I might have observed mildly that she could easily have overlooked me on that one. It’s not like I was trying to avoid paying the ten euros, although that would have been a side effect. I just object to a closed park.

More climbing takes me up the sheer side of a building backing onto the highest point of the park, and there I find a fence that has been bent by previous villains. It’s a foothold. To gain entry I will have to use it to get both my hands on top of a stone column and then koala myself up. I check my pockets as this is car key lost forever territory, not to mention what happens if I slip. I try to time it well but I’m gonna be looked at however I play it so I go for it in plain sight and everybody just laughs as I haul my bodyweight over it like a seal climbing a ladder and I’M IN.

I land inside and again pretend immediate nonchalance even though it’s blindingly obvious I’ve just jumped the fence. Time to explore this strange park.

It is only on leaving that my whole plan almost falls flat. They are checking tickets on exit??!! How do I escape? I switch my phone off, and shift the cover so the buttons don’t push. Sad face. Pushy button. “Too many photos. No battery.” *Winning smile*

They don’t send me to touristprison.

Author: albarclay

This blog is a work of creative writing. Do not mistake it for truth. All opinions are mine and not that of my numerous employers.

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