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During my travels, my compensation for free accommodation for one night, was for me to write a daily travel diary. Of how I got to my next location, the people who would host me, the food I was offered and everything else. Below you find the archives of the highly extensive reports. Know that English is not my native language and most reports were written at high speed around midnight. Enjoy.

Sunday, 30 December 2001
--> Barcelona (E) Christmas story part 4

“Eeh… Gerben, can you write something for I told everybody I’d be off the line for two weeks. Come on, be a good friend, hehe!” When Ramon asked me this question, my predictable response was: “But I wouldn’t know what to write!” With Ramon resistance is futile, so here is PART 4...

The Christmas Story: – PART 4

reported by Gerben and assisted by Mirjam, Justine, Irena & Munk

It seems to me I’m constantly talking about food. But I’ve got to share our dining experience at the Barcelonian top restaurant Can Fayos.

It was ‘orgasmic’ (the key word during this little week). The food, the wine and the atmosphere were superb.

My father and a colleague had arranged a dinner for which we didn’t have to pay. The bill went directly to APC Europe. Thanks dad. We had a Rioja wine to die for. The maître welcomed us as old friends and directly put a carafe of Rioja on the table. Strangely enough the carafe had my fathers name printed on it. He obviously knows how to enjoy himself when he’s in Barcelona!

It was a night of romance, warmth, ambulances, farting and a bit of vomit on a cab door. More about that below. Mirjam, Munk and I went home to have some more wine and – finally - a good rest. Ramon and Irena went to discoteca La Paloma again. The place where their romance was born, BUT I’ll let Ramon tell all about that particular area of his life.

The three of us at home enjoyed each other and emptied another bottle of wine. I share a king-size bed with Mirjam and basically we were up all night: evaluating, pillow-fighting, farting and enjoying a beautiful sunrise.

These nights with her have been very special to me. Everybody should have a best friend like Mirjam. She gave me one of the best massages I ever had but the restlessness wouldn’t go away.

There were two other reasons why we couldn’t sleep: Irena and Ramon. They had clearly found each other at the bottom of a few bottles of wine.

What a couple. I can’t help but smile every time I see them together. And I hope they’ll keep me smiling for a long, long time!

Today was recovery time for Mirjam, Irena and Ramon. Munk and I made the best of our last day in Barcelona. We took two bikes and went up the mountains in the north of the city. What a view and what a city!

Munk is an amateur photographer with a lot of talent. He has been allowed to study photography at the [url=]Rietveld Academy[/url] in Amsterdam, a very prestigious art institute. He won’t go of course: “Too pompous and fake”, he says.

I followed his moves today and made some pictures on my own. I’m very curious to see our results. After a great lunch we did some more shooting. This time we went to Sarría, the beautiful district in Barca where the apartment is located. Barcelona has many faces: old and new, tacky and stylish, clean and dirty. On the surface you could say that this city is too new to have character and style, but I don’t agree.

The uniqueness and the mosaic layout turn every walk into an adventure.

We are preparing to say goodbye to Ramon and Barcelona. It is hard to let go. We’ve all had an incredible time. Sometimes you have the feeling that you’ve made friends for life. We all were ready for a break and we knew that we would have a nice time but this was something special.

At the moment I feel like I’m on top of the world. We all feel like this. Intimate friendship is as important as breathing. Ramon has another while to relax before his travels will occupy his mind again and we on the other hand will be returning to our ‘life as usual’-mode.

I don’t know how to end this report without becoming melodramatic. Don’t get me wrong: I’m not going to cry because there’s nothing to feel sad about. I’ll end it like it ended in Barcelona.

‘Ramon, Irena, Mirjam, Munk and Justine thanks for everything. I love you all. Let’s love life and it will all turn out well.’

Your true friend,