So, there I was, in the backseat of a taxi with the Spanish driver and the Middle Eastern passenger in the front seat. It was inconceivable to me that for a majority of the day, this was the only way to travel from Spain to France. I kept trying to ask about this, but each time I spoke the driver would look at me through his rear view mirror, the Middle Eastern man would turn around and stare at me with open curiosity, and they would go back to their conversation. I decided to sit back and enjoy the ride.

And it was enjoyable, for a time. Port Bou is a sleepy, hilly little border town that could be described as cute, in its own way. Border towns fascinate me, especially ones in the EU. No longer called upon to defend or even acknowledge the border, they still have an air of importance about them, a kind of defensive pride that I can’t help but adore.

Then we started ascending the mountain that marked the true border between France and Spain – and I was caught in my own personal nightmare.

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