Monthly Archives: November 2014


What brought me to Andorra? Since my childhood days of pouring over maps of faraway countries I’d been fascinated by the European microstates. Classically there had been six of them: Vatican, San Marino, Monaco, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg and Andorra. I would never imagine that I would be in a position to visit all six, but here I was with only Andorra left. I’d never gotten there before due to the fact that it seemed somehow difficult to reach. The impression you got from researching the issue on the web was that there were very little transport, if any. There seemed to exist a (rare) bus from Toulouse; from Spain the only departure point was Barcelona but the bus times were equally rare and inconvenient. I can assure that this impression is all wrong; it’s very easy to get from Barcelona to Andorra, and buses run by different companies are frequent and quick. The only issue is how to get the information and it seems that the easiest is to look for a bus on the spot. I did so in Sants railway terminal – the main railway station of Barcelona. Arriving at a random moment during the day, I found a bus departing in about 20 minutes and soon we were already navigating the zig zagged slopes of the Pyrenees.
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On letting go

I’ve been thinking these last days about the importance of letting go.

One thing that caused this reflection was of course the loss my camera in the middle of October. To be fair, on this 500-day 39-country trip I have lost an uncountable number of physical objects. I forgot my fancy eyeglasses in a hotel in Los Angeles. I left my favourite winter jacket in a hostel in Adelaide. My big rolling bag broke several times – the wheels of the first bag broke in Tokyo, I bought a new one in Australia, this one broke in Fiji and Nepal and so I finally I bought a new (current) one in Andorra. I lost t-shirts and shoes and gloves and socks and underwear too many times to remember. I’ve lost or broke headphones at least six times (Bolivia, Chile, USA, Australia, Barcelona, Romania), lost or broke iPhone cables and chargers many times – first time in Peru, which rendered my iPhone inoperable for a month, other times in Nepal, in Armenia, in Italy.
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I’ve always had a complicated relationship with Barcelona. And yet I realise that I keep finding myself here. This year was the sixth time that I came to Barça, not counting comings and goings within each visit. For example this time I did a change here on my way from Girona airport to Andorra, then from Andorra to a plane to Belgrade, and another time on the way from Sardinia – but all of this I consider as one visit.

Barcelona is a middle sized city, but it feels like a huge one. You can’t come here unannounced and expect to find accommodation easily, the way I do most everywhere in the world on my big trip. In terms of hotel availability and prices Barcelona is in the same league with London, Paris and New York, despite the fact that it’s way smaller. For me Barcelona is full of unexpected twists that are no problem if you know about them, but that keep disorienting you if you come here as a visitor. Above all it is counter-intuitive: things are not where you expect them to be and clear information is hard to obtain.
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Trip update

Several important developments have taken place on my trip. It pains me to even write it, but let’s get the worst out of the way first. The most unfortunate news is this: my beloved camera is dead. Like an angry god the Atlantic ocean in its utter cruelty has decided to devour it. On the idyllic island of La Gomera in the Canary archipelago a treacherous wave sneaked on me from behind. Some drops of water got onto my camera. But salty water, as I now know all too well, is deadly for electronic microchips. And so several seconds later the life of my camera was over. Trying to dry it did not help. I sent it to the repairs shop and the verdict has already been pronounced to me. Cheaper to buy a used body than to salvage this one with uncertain results. Ah my wonderful 5D Mark II, I will love you forever.

It was a strange coincidence that when our small plane was landing in La Gomera, I had this distinct feeling that my trip is nearing its end. La Gomera is so remote and so rugged that it really does feel like the end of the world. Little did I know that this little island really would spell the end of something I so treasured.
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