Right, so because someone (mother) gently hinted that I needed to update this again, I bring you the long-anticipated first installment of SPAIN, Part 2: When the Going Gets Tough, the Tough Eat Trail Mix.
So, after a lovely month passed in Ontario, bumming about the cottage, visiting long-estranged family, and having Once Upon A Time marathons with a now-graduated University pal, I hopped a plane Thursday night to return ‘across the pond’. The flight was better than the return flight to Canada, to say the least.
The Friday I arrived was relaxing. No hassle, no fuss. Get off the plane, show passport, grab the transport to the hotel and nap. Yes, I know you’re supposed to let your body adjust and stay awake during daylight hours, but Spain has this lovely thing called the Siesta, which basically translates as ‘nap’.
I spent one night at that hotel and left the next morning to catch my train up north (I type that and think ‘Nunavut’, but that’s the furthest possible thing from the truth)
My train trip up to Logroño is divided into two different parts: Madrid to Zaragoza (Saragossa for you English), then Zaragoza to Logroño. The first stretch from Madrid was as painless as normal. Lovely accommodations, smooth journey, quiet coach. The food was…questionable this time (I think they gave me some sort of…fish dish, and I don’t know what that salad was supposed to be). But the dessert was good.
When I got off at Zaragoza, I had half an hour until my next train was supposed to arrive. I headed straight for the loading area, since it was basically deserted and I could continue reading quietly in peace. About 10 minutes into my reading, one of the station workers came and told me my train was going to be delayed. By an hour.
I began to sort of internally panic, because I didn’t want my landlord to have to wait an extra hour for his wayward resident. However, the man came back 5 minutes later and told me there was another train going to Logroño, leaving at 5:45. I booked it up to the customer relations office and said in somewhat incoherent Spanish that I needed my ticket changed. (I managed to get the “can I change my ticket” part out nicely. It was just trying to explain why where I faltered. I couldn’t remember the word for ‘delayed’)
The train I switched to was more like the Ontario GO Train (…I don’t really know if Calgary has an equivalent, so you Albertans just google that) Multiple stops in tiny towns, no assigned seating, and happy but annoying noises every time we arrived at a platform. I settled down in a seat, basically cocooning myself in there with my suitcase, backpack, and bag of miscellaneous goodies.
The whole time, I was nervously looking at the clock. I told my landlord 7:30, and I was really hoping I’d arrive within 5-10 minutes of that. But as the clock got closer and closer to that time and the town names remained unfamiliar, I began to worry. Would he wait for me? Or did he have super-important Spanish plans that couldn’t wait for the random Canadian?
Finally, at 7:50, we pulled into Logroño and I rushed up to the entrance of the station, looking for my ride ‘home’. No one. He wasn’t waiting in the lobby, he wasn’t pulled up to the curb, he wasn’t anywhere. No faces were recognizable, and no one was waiting.
I told myself not to panic. I went and looked at the arrivals screen, and noted that the train I was supposed to be on wasn’t scheduled to arrive for another half hour. Maybe Mr. Landlord had seen this and was going to return. So I sat outside, perched on my suitcase, waiting. 8:30 rolled around, and no one showed up. Maybe he had parked, then, and I was supposed to find him? I lugged all my stuff to the parking lot and looked around for his car. Nothing. Well, that was just perfect.
I once again headed to the pickup area, dropped my suitcase, and sat back down. I’d give him until 9.
And then 9 rolled around and he still wasn’t there. I pulled out the map he’d given me back in July (thank God I’d taken that with me) and looked for the closest hotel. Luckily, it was only 3 or so blocks away. Once again, I gathered all my stuff and rolled my suitcase to the hotel, ignoring the amused looks of Spaniards (Here is where having some sort of identifying mark would’ve been nice. Maybe a maple leaf on my shoulder, branding me as ‘Out of Town, please have mercy’. It works if I’m wearing tank tops. Something to ponder)
Anyways, I found a hotel that’s got nice rates and is pretty inexpensive (so long as I don’t stay here more than a week, because then I’ll probably be crying). I ALSO USED SPANISH IN A NON-SCHOOL CONTEXT FOR THE SECOND TIME! GO ME! And actually, I think it worked better that time because I knew exactly what to say (incidentally, we did a unit on hotels last year. I should suggest doing a unit on ‘travel mishaps’, just so there are no more incoherent Canadians trying to explain that their train is delayed)
My room is nice (there’s a bidet. This is something I’ve never actually seen in Canada and frankly, I don’t know what to think of it), the Wifi is free, and I’ve got 3 beds. There’s a restaurant downstairs, which I didn’t actually make use of last night because I was so emotionally and physically drained by the time I got to the hotel that I dug up some trail mix and snacked on that.
I also e-mailed the landlord to apologize for the train kerfuffle and figure out when I can actually get my key and have my own room back. However, I’m still in the hotel as I type this. Checkout time was 45 minutes ago and I still haven’t gotten word from my landlord, so I kind of…can’t leave. It’s not all that bad, though. I think I’m going to nap now while I wait for him to wake up, check his e-mail, and rescue me.
ALSO: Scroll down. There are a few post-dated entries that I’ve finally put up, just to make your reading experience all the more enjoyable.