Getting onto the plane took forever at least half an hour between when they started to let people board and when I sat down. I always wait till last. Stuff queuing up for ages.
As a result of waiting till last when I got on all the overhead baggage space was taken as no one wants to pay extra to check it in the just carry it on. And I had to leave my jumper in one spot and my bag in another near the back of the plane while I sat at the front. This was a real pain in the ass.
I got straight into reading my book stopping only when the gift cart went through. The man beside me had bought some coloogne, and offered to let me try it. It was good, cheap too and I was tempted but I really didn’t have the space or the need for it.
I was getting right into to book, it’s a realy struggle to read too. You really need to concentrate to understand it. I’ll be honest too, there’s been many words in it that I don’t understand. I stopped half way through the flight and got out my computer to write in my diary. I ended up spending the next hour and a half trying to compose a letter to send to the author. I didn’t get very far either. I was thinking way too much.
After landing in Madrid everyone stood up. My bag was at the back so I just continued reading my book deciding to just wait untill every one had gotton off before heading to the back for my bag. Out of the corner of my eye I noticed quite a few gaps in people walking past me. I turned around and realized that there were a few people in the same boat as me. However instead of waiting they’d decided to just push there way through to the back, further slowing down the process as a whole to benefit themselves. Again I had an episode of losing faith in man kind.
I did get some consolation though, leaving the plane there was 2 directions you could go to pick up luggage. Most people being caught up in there own world went the wrong way. I had a laugh to myself yet my smugness disappeared pretty quickly when I realized that they probably hadn’t checked in luggage in the first place.
I’m screwed. I’m about to get on the plane from Madrid to Porto. I have my over stuffed back pack with me. They’re making every one put there bags in the thing which checks the size. Theres no way mines going to fit. We’ll see how I go.
By the time I walked the half kilometer to the baggage collection I could see my bag. It was on the other side however and about to go back behind the rubber curtains. I decided to just make a dash. I jumped onto the bag slide almost coming a gutser not taking the moving floor into account.
I got through with out having to put my bag in the sizer. Maybe this is another hurdle I’ll have to work out how to pass…
I caught a series of metros to the hostel the only event being one on one we had an old Gypsie lady just staring at me for 10 minutes. I think she’s was trying to get inside my brain to lay her eggs.
Finding the hostel was difficult. We were at number 7 something street and we couldn’t find it. At number 8 however there was a hostel so we went in there and up the 3 flights of stairs.
It turned out to not be the hostel I’d made the reservation at but he still tried to sell me a room. I’d already made a down payment though so I asked him for directions.
His directions weren’t very good at all. He just said next door. I could count so that wasn’t any extra help. I walked outside and tried again. I eventually spotted a tiny sign nothing more then a piece of A4 paper above a door with the name of the hostel on it. I went in and again up the stairs.
After getting to the top I found out I had to go to another building which they assured us was close. Surprisingly it was. And after a 5 minute walk I was in another hostel.
I went through the motions of signing in to the hostel and I was shown to my room. It was huge with a double bed and two singles.
I was absolutely knocked, the previous days traveling had him me. I’ll have to be carefull not to get sick again. I reckon the exhaustion played a big part of it down through the Balkans. I lay there talking for a while before I eventually got up the motivation to have a shower.
I was meeting Vanessa and some other yanks I’d met at a bar nearby and was running late. They’ll be late anyway Vanessa assured me.
The bar of all places was a Hawain bar, and when we got there unfortunately there was a line. My friends were inside so we just pushed our way through and found our seats. The place was pretty cool all decked out like a Hawaiian place, as was the theme and there was a variety of ceramic cocktail glasses shaped in various forms, pineapples, coconuts everywhere. But what took the cake was the drink Vanessa’s friends had ordered.
It was called a volcano as it was a massive volcano with holes in the side for your straws. It was for 5 people. The other funny thing about this place was the straws they gave you. They were huge at least 2 feet long, the idea being that you didn’t have to pick up your drink, just manouver the straw to you mouth.
I woke up on Saturday morning at 830, I couldn’t sleep. My mind for some reason was on over drive. Stupid thinking. I tossed and turned for a good hour before eventually drifiting off to sleep. Untill 1145. I was so angry at myself. What a waste of a day.
First things first I went and grabbed breakfast. But more importantly coffee. I ate at a place around the corner from where we were staying. I had one of the best breakfasts I’ve had since I started traveling. A ham cheese egg and bacon toasted sandwich. Fantastic. I walked out of the door and I almost tripped over a begger. Poor guy had no legs. I couldn’t help noting the cruel irony of the guy who he was talking to. Another begger except this poor guy had no arms. Maybe they’de make a perfect team. Terrible joke, I know.
One of my first things of to do’s for the day was to organise my rail pass for the next few days. I was planning on getting a Portugal, Spain, France pass so headed to the main station to suss it out.
Evenntually I found that after asking 3 different people and getting pointed in a different direction each time that we needed to go to the other main train station of Madrid.
After negotiating the massive station I eventually found the information desk. Getting the pass was no problems. It was one of the first times that things actually went better then I expected them too, so I decided to come back the next day, as I might want a different pass and I thought I’d give it more time.
I went back to the hostel via a corner shop to get a boccadillo. These things are a simple roll with one filling, cheese or a couple of different meats. But the most important thing is they only cost 1 Euro. Cheap as chips.
Although buying it turned out to be a little more difficult then I’d expected. I stood there for about 15 minutes, admittedly the place was packed, while I waited for a waiter to look at me and then ask what I wanted. Turns out you have to hold up your hand to show that you want to order something. To the waiters I must have just looked like a freak who was staring at them
Once I finally ordered my one boccadillo. The counter man spun a heap of Spanish at me I just said Si and nodded. He came back with 7 boccadillo’s. I held up one finger. And that sorted that out.
I went back to the hostel and shifted my gear. They wanted us out of the massive room into a smaller one, which was fine with me anyway. I was desperate to do some laundary so after putting my gear in the next room I grabbed out my computer and checked around for a laundry. I wrote down a few possible solutions and set off looking for them.
I had no luck and just walked home. And co-incidently found a different one down a back alley after I’d given up looking. But it was going to cost me 9 Euros. So I just decided I could deal with living in dirty clothes.
I needed a charger for my phone too coz mine had died and I found a shop that sold them. Except it was 450 in the arvo and the owner was away on his Siesta. Damn Siestas are such a pain in the ass!!
So I went to grab a coffee to pass the time in a small bar nearby. That was uneventful but leaving the place I looked to my immediate left and there was a hooker there. She was dressed in the most provocative clothes I’d ever since at 5 in the arvo. I seriously think that I jumped back in surprise.
I headed back to the hostel with a new charger and the news that I needed a shirt for the nights bars. Mine was still dirty from Milan but I got it out and gave it a sniff. Not too bad, and you cant smell anything here over the cigarette smoke anyway. It did need ironing however so I grabbed an iron from the hostel owner and forced the crinkles out of my shirt with a towel over the mini fridge acting as an ironing board.
I was feeling super lazy, apart from all the walking I’ve been doing I hadn’t done any exercise in almost a week. My legs were sore so I did pushups. Sets of 30, it was great and an hour later I’d done just over 500 of them.
Feeling pretty good I decided to open the bottle of Schnapps that Nadia had given me over a month ago, I needed to drink it because weight was going to be a problem on the plane the following day. The only thing was after I’d downed the 100ml of the 40% schnapps I was feeling well and truly happy and was worried I’d peeked to early.
1730 (Nov 23)
My alarm went off at 9. And I hit snooze a few times eventually getting up at 930. I wanted to go to te flea market so I forced myself out of bed
It took me ages to get to the flea market. Getting there via a massive spiral. As a result I pretty much had to leave straight away to get back to the hostel, pack and be out of there by 12. Again I had to dodgy up my packing by stuffing as much as I could in my back pack so it took a little longer then usual.
From there I still had heaps to do on the internet so I set off to star bucks to use the WIFI. The only problem was I think this star bucks is the only one on the planet that is devoid of WIFI. Luckily though after sitting down I was able to latch onto another unsecured network from somewhere else. So I grabbed a coffee and went with that.
I suddenly realized at about 1 that I still needed to get my rail pass from the station on the other side of town. I didn’t want to risk not being able to get it in Portugul so I hightailed it across town to Charmite station.
Buying the pass was pretty funny. I’m not even sure that I’ve got the right one. The guy who sold it too me didn’t speak any English so theres a possibility that I’d just thrown 300 Euros down the toilet. But I hope not. Haha.
I decided I may as well just go to the airport and wait there. But first I went to the boccodillo café and I grabbed another 3. One for lunch which I ate immediately and the other two with the intent of being eaten for dinner.
Next I went and grabbed our bags from where I’d stored them in the hostel and parted. It wasn’t until I’d got on the first of three trains to the airport that I realized that I’d left the boccodillo’s in te Hostel.
At the airport I lined up to check my luggage in. Ryan air is such a beurocracy. I’d already checked in online and had printed out the form. But this wasn’t enough before I could check in my luggage I had to line up at another service desk with my passport and my print out to have it stamped for authority before lining up again at the baggage desk with my passport and stamped printout again. I hope for some reason this makes it easier at there end, coz it sure as hell doesn’t help for us.
I hit my first snag at the baggage counter. Mine weighed 16kg’s I had my 2nd jeans in there and my trench coat so I took out the trench coat, turns out this thing weighs almost 1.5 kg’s so I was able to put my other jumper back in the bag.
I went though security, slowly and moved to a café. Expecting to pay 3 euros I was surprised to find that the coffee only cost 1.5 Euros. This temporary bliss delayed the whole “you pay for what you get” logical judgement section of my brain. I probably shouldn’t have been surprised when I sipped the coffee and realized that it was probably the worst coffee I’d had since the Vietnamese mix I’d had in Kuala Lumpur almost 4 months previously.