Saturday, September 19, 2009

Madrid: Surprise, Surprise!

Hi Everyone,

I've moved on to Madrid after a 6 hour train ride from San Sebastian. It appears that I'm going to be holed up in this city for 6 nights instead of 5 due to some train delays. I've also made some changes to my itinerary, forgo-ing Tarifa and Morocco as it seems that it's no longer the best time to go visit as well as having received some strong suggestions from fellow travellers that perhaps I should visit Morocco with a companion instead of attempting to go by myself.

I was glad for the changes because I realized that two train rides, taking an entire day from Granada to Valencia (switching trains in Madrid) was not going to be a pleasant experience - and voila some cancellations and changes, and I'm back on track - errr well, not exactly since it seems like most things are up in the air and I don't have any reservations or a places to stay at this time. *Shrug* I'm sure I'll figure something out.

As I will be here for 6 nights, I'm considering doing one or two day trips to neighboring cities, once I've exhausted everything worth seeing in Madrid, of course.

Today is a day to relax - which means that I'm doing laundry. I swear I stared at the machines for 20 minutes trying to figure out how to use it and NOT lose money (I had a terrible experience with the payphones and admittedly, any other machine I've come across here). I also went out to buy bottles of water, fruit and a towel? Yeah, apparently my towel loved San Sebastian so much that it decided to stay and my brain forgot to ask if maybe I should try and persuade it to come with me (rolling my eyes). So I paid a Chinese man €5.50 for a single towel! I wasn't even able to bargain him down to €5. This is why my Mother has to come with me when we go to markets where bargaining is the name of the game. She tells me that I'm most effective when I play the mute, else I'll lose her money.

Okay, I'm exhausted. It's 12 days into this adventure and my nerves are frazzled from the constant changes and surprises. At least this hostel is amazing. I could do 6 nights here - then I'm off to Granada. For some reason there was a man bunked in our dorm last night, which was supposed to be an all women dorm room. I didn't want to presume anything...but I knew he couldn't possibly be gay because quite frankly, he smelled. Well, his shoes and socks did, which he left to dry on top of the heater right next to my bunk. Not that I know much about gay men and I don't presume to, but of all the ones I've come across, it seems that personal hygiene is something they're very conscious of. This guy slept in boxers, snored, smelled his clothes as if he were rating its level of stench before shrugging and putting it on anyway and finally, he scratched himself...down there...a lot. I could see the motions invading my peripheral (in case you were curious as to how I knew he did all of these things).

I slept well anyway, amidst all the partying going on around me - waking up every so often when I heard people retching, walking into doors, falling out of their top bunks, or when they mistook my bed for theirs. Yeah...I slept as well as anyone would in light of the mishaps outlined above.

This hostel seems much more peaceful and seems likely to adhere to the "all female" dorm assignments.

Below are some additional pictures from my last day's stroll in San Sebastian. I also got to watch an amazing musical parade. I've been trying to load the video but for some reason it's failing. Hmm...I'll keep trying. It was a wet and wistful goodbye to the beautiful city, to my new friends and to Brad Pitt. Sorry I don't have any pictures of him but one of my roomies with her amazing 10x zoom capable camera was able to snap a few.

Thanks for reading! =)

Here's a clip of the small street parade held earlier today.

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