We have had a lovely 2.5 days in Barcelona. We have relaxed and caught up with ourselves a little. More importantly, we have met friends both old and new.
We met our friend Stefan (we met in southern France) on the evening of our arrival. It was a smashing evening swapping stories from the road and celebrating his achievement of cycling here from Northern Germany – solo – on his first big cycle trip. Absolutely fantastic man and a great challenge.
Yesterday we were very happy to meet François Dumont who is the director of communications at MSF OCBA (operational centre Barcelona). François was absolutely lovely to us . He is extremely busy but took time out to talk to us, hear our story and show us around the OCBA office. He is also putting us in touch with others who will hopefully be able to help get our story out.
While we were with François, we were fortunate to bump into James Kliffen who is the head of fundraising in the UK. It was lovely to meet James again after many years. He told us a very entertaining story about a Toyota Land Cruiser . This is both a fun story and very relevant as our primary sponsor for the final stage is Toyota Gibraltar Stockholdings (TGS) . TGS are helping to resolve the issue James was telling us about. We partner with the best!
In the afternoon we met with Grace. It’s hard to know what to call Grace! She is my dear friends Jo & Jason Coopers daughter but she is also my pal (one time enemy ha ha! ) in her own right. She is living & working in Barcelona at the moment and the three of us met for lunch – it was perfect.
In the evening we had the absolute pleasure of attending a party at my MSF friend Alessandro’s house.
I met Alessandro properly in Uganda in 2005 on my first mission. We had briefly met on our Primary Pre-Departure course in the Netherlands. It was a tough time in Uganda, a lot of rebel activity and insecurity. Regular gunshots on the camps and risk on the roads. It was however an incredible team right the way through and Alessandro and I agreed that it was in many ways the best of times .
It has been 11 years since I last saw him, his partner Rosemarie and their son Matias who was only one when I last saw him. The other guests were just amazing . Friendly, kind , welcoming people whom I felt I had known for years by the end.
Today, we have seen the sights. That was great but I want Barcelona to be all about friends so I’ll leave it there. It’s always the people that make the experience. I happen to know the best of them.