Today I did a day trip over to Toledo which is a town about an hour southwest of Madrid. The town pretty much consists of just hotels, restaurants and souvenir shops and because today was a Saturday, it was packed with tourists. I didn’t really know much about Toledo as I only decided to make the trip last night at two in the morning. I didn’t look anything up about it and figured I would just get there and walk around and see the sights.
The focal point of the town is the old city that’s surrounded by castle walls. The town has alot of winding roads and at the end of it all, there’s a monastery. Inside was quite beautiful and serene and definitely a sight to behold. After touring the monastery, I was ready to head back to Madrid so I started walking towards the bus depot.
And that’s where the title of this blog entry comes into play…
In a little over a week of travelling I’ve discovered something about myself and that’s that I can get lost very easily (I know – some of you have been telling me to get lost for ages).
With narrow streets in angular patterns and foreign streets names that all look the same, it’s very easy to lose your sense of direction. It also doesn’t help that asking for directions is a challenge as most people don’t speak English. The result? Well, it’s me walking around in circles until I find a street or a landmark that I recognize.
Unbelievably, that happened to me three separate times today. Let’s just say I got my exercise in today.
The first was when I was heading back to the bus depot in Toledo. A simple 10 minute walk turned into an hour trek because I kept going straight instead of turning right onto the street to the depot and ended up doing a big loop around to other side of the city.
I had the following conversation with several people today:
Habla Ingles? (Do you speak English?)
(of course they would shake their head no)
Um, donde es estacion d’Autobus? (Where is the bus station?)
Of course my pronunciation was horrible but the funny thing was they would always answer me and talk to me in Spanish for 2 minutes explaining how to get there. I would just shake my head, gesture with my hands and say “so, I go left?”
After asking about 6 different people, I finally made it to the bus terminal. Yay! I had 20 minutes until the bus left, so I decided to treat myself to an ice cream. I headed out the door and looked for a shop nearby but couldn’t find any. Then I saw it – an ice cream vending machine! Well, wouldn’t you know – I put 2 euros in the machine and nothing came out. No ice cream. No 2 euros. Yeah, it was that kind of a day…
The second time I got lost today was a few hours later back in Madrid. I went out for tapas and sangria and then, inexplicably, I ended up in another part of town that I hadn’t been to yet. Rinse, repeat. Half an hour later and I was back at the hostel.
The third time I got lost today was the most brutal though. I was going to do the pub crawl tonight at 10pm and I left the hostel just after 9pm giving me time to stop for a bite to eat as the meeting place was only about 20 minutes away. Well, long story short, my 20 minute walk took an hour and I ended up missing the group and headed back home.
I did stop for ice cream though…