Valencia is an interesting place to live. Set aside the festivals, the variety of shops, huge amount of museums and places of cultural significance, it is constantly changing. A quick walk around the campus where I live demonstrates this perfectly on a daily basis. I spend a reasonable amount of my time searching for something that I know was there the day before but has somehow vanished overnight.
I found a spot on campus that is ideal to take my guide dog to the bathroom. There’s a small area of earth near a row of large bins so I can pick up after her and dispose of it immediately. To put this in perspective, there must be at least 5 of them and they are as tall as I am.
The other day I went out and turned right, cutting across the cycle path. The path dips down, a good indication, and I knew I was then in the area. I could see something in front of me, which logically I assumed was one of the bins. Isla however stopped and would not move any further. I encouraged her forward, it wasn’t that close to us, just in its usual place so I didn’t see why she would behave like that…but still she stood, looking straight ahead at the object and not moving forward.
Sighing, I dropped the handle of her harness and began to walk, keeping her lead in my hand. About 2 feet in front of me I discovered a parked car. This is not a big space, in fact, there is literally just the room for the row of bins, and so you can imagine my surprise when I found that a car had taken their place.
I stood for a few seconds, thinking about what I should do next, and contemplating the strangeness of the situation. Luckily there is another bin nearby, and earth separating the pavement from the cycle path, so I did have another place to take her. However, this area is one neither of us enjoy. Isla will be peacefully squatting to relieve herself and she will hear a bike come by very quickly behind her. There isn’t a chance that it’s going to hit her, but I totally understand why it makes her nervous. We have so many near misses with cyclists, but more of that for another day, I understand her concern.
A day later, in the middle of the afternoon I went out again and the bins had magically reappeared. In the two months I’ve lived here this has never happened, but it’s not my first time finding random obstacles in my way. Whether there are random barriers on the pavements, or the crossing I need is being dug up there is always something to be avoided, alternative routes to be calculated and as a pleasant consequence, new things to be discovered.