May 9, 2023

I’d gone back to Madrid, excited to see what changes democracy had wrought. What I found was a modern-day city with modern-day problems, as harried and impersonal as the place I’d come from, its small-town quaintness and intimacy vanished without a trace. I was astonished to see pornography plastered on newsstands on every other corner, to learn that the crime rate was soaring, to find that my fellow roomers at the residencia, where I stayed again, now kept to themselves—no longer ate meals together or went visiting from room to room. On the plane I’d met a young woman from the Bay Area—Alana—who told me about a fishing village north of Barcelona called Cadaques, where she’d lived with her enigmatic lover the year before…until she became ill and had to return to the states. Lonely and disillusioned after only a week in Madrid, that was where I headed. And to save a little money—I was traveling on a shoestring—I decided to hitchhike instead of taking the train.