With four travel days to go, had I been smart, I would have been on the 8a.m. train from Madrid, or at the very latest, the 9a.m. That said, I got to the train station at 10:15a.m. for the 11:00 train. I’d spent the night up in my room hanging out with a group of Portuguese 17-yr-olds. They thought I was old.
At the train station at 10:15, I found out I wouldn’t be getting a seat until the 2:00 train, meaning I’d be hovering in Madrid another few hours then on the train during peak sightseeing hours of 2:00-4:30.
Blergh. I went to go store my luggage and saw on the sign there were small, medium, large and extra large lockers. Braced myself to pay for an expensive large one, but… Hey wait… All my stuff fit in the small! Yay backpacking!
Back in Madrid, each landmark is closer to all the other landmarks than it seemed in August. I went running around town, starting at the park.
After the park and other sightseeing, still with time to kill, I ended up in an H&M, so very tempted to buy three shirts for the next three days. I’m ready to never wear any of these backpacking duds again.
I didn’t buy the shirts… But I bought socks! Little known fact, it was very, very cold in Berlin when Erin and I were there, and I had to buy black knee highs because that was the best warm option in the discount store. Then, my jeans shrunk and I had to stick with the less obvious black socks anytime I wore that one pair…
All the black knee highs went in the trash today. Never again.
It’s the perfect time to be going home. I’ve loved every minute of this trip and I’m pretty sad it’s ending/nervous for real life… But new clothes and overall normalcy will be great. It’s not all roses and sunshine. Sometimes it’s rain and it pours – correction, it’s pores. I have the acne of 14-year-old me and I’ve got to get a grip on how to get rid of it fast.
Forget that image. Prettier people.
I finally got on the train and gleefully watched Toy Story 3, in English. Also, watched Spain.
I’m a big, big believer in fate.
About a half hour from Seville, the woman across the aisle saw me drawing the latest line on the map and asked about my trip. I told her about it and she said she is planning a trip by trains with her husband – she hates to fly. We go through the facts that I’m 22 and alone… The usual.
She was amazing.
I have no idea how old she was – mid-thirties? Late twenties? She could comment on here and say early 40s. I have no idea. But she was the nicest, bubbliest woman, full of advice, stories and happiness. She was on her way home from a ten-day trip and had family coming over tonight.
She recently had back surgery and pointed out that her neck is fully supported and reinforced by titanium. Young, bubbly and everything that she is, she needed a wheelchair to get from the train to the taxi, and it never seemed to make her frown. She insisted I take the taxi with her as far as her neighborhood – shaving fifteen minutes off my twenty-five minute walk. Along the way, she pointed out her office, her aerobics place, and we swapped stories. She has a PhD in English literature.
She said, “Someday, you’re going to have two kids and work all the time, but you’re always going to have this to look back at, and be so glad you did it while you could. These are the times you never forget for the rest of your life.”
She was wonderful. My time with her was everything I’ve wanted this trip to be all about.
I’m only in Seville one night, then Cordoba tomorrow. No Grenada – that was an overzealous thought the other night.
Tonight, I went out Christmas light searching in the crowds, got a 10:00p.m. dinner of various tapas, and then retook the exact same photos… without the crowds! The only way I know how to take pictures at night of lights is to lower the exposure settings, and I realize it makes all the cities look like, but for Christmas lights, you’d need a flashlight to walk around… Not the case. It’s just all I know how to do.
Three more days.