Sancho and Quixote travel with Captain Roque and his band for three adventure-filled days and nights. They part in Barcelona, which amazes the two friends with its ships, fanfare, and glamour. Roque’s friend and some other gentlemen ride up to them and welcome them as the genuine Don Quixote and Sancho Panza from Cide Hamete’s history. But as they ride alongside the gentlemen into the city, some boys put burs under the tails of Rocinante and the donkey, who throw Quixote and Sancho in the dirt. They pick themselves up, bruised and embarrassed, and ride to Roque’s friend’s house.
Other than the mock-society of the Duke and Duchess’s court, the episode in Barcelona is the only part of the novel that takes place in thick of society. The city is large and overwhelming, full of mysterious rules and hierarchies, and it pulls the two friends in by the collars. When the upper-class gentlemen welcome Don Quixote and Sancho Panza as the real adventurers, their fraudulent doubles hang behind them like shadows.