6:00am. The air is cold and I know that soon the wind against my face will have a familiar bite. All packed up and ready to leave the medieval country side of Montepulciano. Today has been declared a day of travel and soon we’ll be gliding through the early morning twists and turns on the magnificent machine they call the BMW 850RT. We will ride through Pienza, and beyond Siena, bypassing the beautiful Chianti region that we passed through on our way down.Arriving back in Florence around 9am to return the bike to the mustached Italians who kindly rented it to us.
From there we’ll make our way to the train station to catch a train to Bologna. Then a bus to the local airport so that a plane may jet us us across the sea to the land of Barcelona. There we catch a shuttle to the metro and finally to our room in the Gothic Barrio of the city, where a cocktail will be waiting for me in some fine local establishment of our choosing.
We left the room and walked down the stairs and part way through the lobby when Mel realized that she forgot something in the room. I handed her the key as she ran back up, then bought a cup of coffee from the machine in the lobby. I walked outside and sat on a small curb in the narrow streets. I sat there for a while watching the locals and tourists pass by as they went about their day, all the while enjoying my hot, and rather small, black coffee (cafe solo). I took the last sip of coffee from the paper cup, wondering what might be taking Mel so long. Just then an old Spaniard women approached with her hand extended towards me holding something. Gold colored coins, Spanish money. The kind woman was giving me money, thinking I was a beggar, a man on the streets. With my dirty traveling clothes and empty cup in hand I understand her reasoning. So, being a bit off guard and not wanting to offend her, I graciously took the sweet woman’s offering of cents. Feeling embarrassed and a little confused I quickly stood and walked away, hoping nobody really saw what had just happened.
I now no longer sit on curbs with an empty cup in hand.
BTW. The money has since been given to other homeless folk or street musicians.
Im sitting on a bed at 5pm in a hotel in the the middle of Bilbao, Spain thankful for the day. Everything (almost) is closed today due to a general labor strike throughout the entire country of Spain. Admittedly unprepared for this historic day, we wandered the city for a while in search of food, not knowing if we would be able to eat anything today besides the half of a cucumber and chip remnants sitting in our room at the hotel. We staggered through dark, barren alley ways looking for anything to abate our hunger and trying our best to fight through the pangs of malnutrition and aching gut. Just as we collectively thought was our last moment of breathe, we turned a corner to reveal what is sometimes referred to as “the last shining light of all mankind”, Chinese Food. And it was abierto.