After the whole pub crawl debacle I came back to the hostel around 2am last night and proceeded to stay up until 5am catching up the blog.
It was actually the latest I’ve been up since I started this trip and considering my waking hours pretrip that is quite impressive as I used to go to bed at 4 in the morning or later every night.
So, naturally I slept in. Ha ha! Yeah, right!
I was up 4 hours later as I wanted to head out to Segovia – a popular stop for tourists (similar to Toledo last week) about an hour from Madrid.
I went downstairs and skipped the ridiculously lame breakfast the hostel was offering and went down the street to have a ham/cheese pastry and a fresh squeezed OJ. Once again I felt like a rude tourist not knowing how to communicate my order and ended up doing it by pointing and sign language.
At these moments I feel very embarrassed and want to apologize to them for not knowing their language. Of course I can’t communicate the apology but that’s how I feel every time I order something in a restaurant. I am determined to take some language classes when I get back to real life. Sure it would have been better to do that before the trip but c’est la vie <– french!
Anyway, back to the day trip.
I headed on the Metro to the bus terminal and took the hour bus ride out of the city. After so many nice warm days in Morocco I had forgotten that the weather in Madrid was rainy and grey. I broke open my 3rd umbrella for the trip (thanks Muge) and explored the city.
As with Toledo last week, Segovia is a tourist destination but, even still, it was nice to walk through the ancient streets and seeing the architecture and older buildings in the rain. It had a very relaxing feel to it which is what I kind of was looking for.
I walked down the narrow cobblestone streets stopping to take in the vast Roman aqueduct (1st century), the Cabildo cathedral (16th century) and the fortress Alcazar (12th century). I still marvel at how old everything is as we simply don’t have this kind of history back home in North America. I find myself stopping several times along the way to just take in the majesty of it all.
I headed back home in the early evening (not getting lost this time, thank you very much!) and was hoping to meet some people back at the hostel and find some of them to join me for dinner. Alas, that didn’t happen so I planned to go by myself instead.
I just wanted to quickly look up info for my next stop tomorrow – Granada. I checked out the hostel, read some tourist info and went to book my bus ticket online for the early morning 5 hour bus ride the next day.
Enter the STRESS!
I had completed my booking process and went to finalize payment when the site told me my bank had declined the order. Ugh! I knew what this meant. My card had been blocked by the credit card company and I would have to make a collect call to them in order to unblock it.
I soon discovered that this minor inconvenience was exasperated by the fact that making a collect call in Spain isn’t as easy as it would seem.
First I had to locate a phone. Even though it was a free collect call the front desk at the hostel wouldn’t let me use theirs and instead directed me to the Metro station two blocks down the street. So, I dejectedly went out in the rain to said phone.
I pressed zero.
No ring, no nothing. Hello? Operator? Where are you? After standing there trying to figure out the Spanish instructions next to the phone I headed back to the hostel to get some help.
“Oh, you must dial 1005 and then say Una llamada a cobro revertido“.
Fine. So, I headed back out in the rain to the Metro station again.
I dialed 1005.
No ring, no nothing. Oh, c’mon! At this point I was extremely frustrated and it probably didn’t help that I had no sleep the night before, was out in the rain all day, and all I wanted to do was go out and eat because I was starving.
So, I gave up. I decided instead to see if I could just buy the ticket at the station the next day and I would figure out the whole credit card thing later when I was in a better state. I did a Google search to see and sure enough it wasn’t a problem. More amazingly, however, was the fact that right there in the same search there were comments from other people who had had the same credit card problems on the website.
As it turns out, all the attempted collect calling was all for naught as it wasn’t even my card that was the problem – it was their stupid website. Argh!
And back to relaxation…
After that whole debacle I headed down the street and went to an overpriced all you can eat buffet but, frankly, I was so hungry and high strung that I just wanted to eat and I didn’t care about anything else.
Earlier in the day I had received a Facebook message from someone I had met the first night I was in Marrakesh earlier in the week. He was making an unexpected stop in Madrid that night as was wondering if I wanted to meet up for some tapas and sangria.
Right up my alley and exactly what I needed after all that stress.
So Tuhin and I met at 10:30 and went to the place I’ve raved about a few times, el Tigre, for a huge glass of sangria and a whopping plate of tapas:
A great way to end the day. Thank you Tuhin for saving the day!