Sunday, February 22, 2015

Spain Part 1: The Part Where I Was Sick and France Lied to Me and We Woke Up Earlier Than Necessary

Before I dive into all the details of Ewelina and my trip to Spain, I'm just going to sum the whole thing up in a word: awesome. I really, really loved Spain. It was early-Spring sunny the whole time, the history was fascinating, I had great company, we met a lot of cool people... I couldn't have asked for more. Like any trip, there were moments of exhaustion, a disappointment here and there, but overall it was definitely one my my favorite trips. 

On the other hand, if I had to single-wordedly (not a real word, I know) describe the days leading up to our trip, I would probably use something along the lines of "sucky." Sometime between the evening I picked Ewelina up at the train station and the next morning, my body decided to stop functioning and I got sick. Really, really sick. I already wrote about this in my last post, so I won't go into detail, but I will say that I kept feeling like death until the night before we left. 

And then France decided it was going to join in and make things complicated, as it tends to do. 

A while back I published a short post about the time the trams stopped running. Someone had hit a driver and here, that meant that all the tram drivers had the right to stop working for the rest of the day (and if you tell a French civil servant they don't have to work, there is no way in hell any of them are coming in that day). Well, apparently the same thing applies to trains. You know, the things people rely on to get to the airport to catch planes they paid $1,000 for, or to get to work, or to visit a dying family member to watch them take their last breath (sorry, morbid. Still bitter). I guess France really wanted Ewelina to see it in all it's grève-ey glory, because this happened the day before we left. I called SNCF to ask if the trains would be running the next morning. Yes, of course, the lady said, the strike is only for a day. Okay, great, we can calm down.

Then at 10:30 pm my phone buzzed. I got a text from SNCF saying that my train will not be going to the Lyon airport, like it was supposed to, instead it would be going to another train station in Lyon. Cue panic. And cursing France and all its flaws. I scrambled to figure out what to do. It was too late to call anyone, too late to buy a shuttle bus ticket (at least those always function), and too late to go to the train station and exchange our tickets. So, with a sigh, we decided we would get to the train station insanely early and try to catch another train. This meant getting up at 4:00 am. Argh. 

Waiting at the tram stop way too early

Violent aggression against two train drivers, and other BS useless information

Will it run? The question of everyone's mind as we stared up at the screen
We got there and tried to exchange our tickets at the machines, but they didn't work. I explained the situation and asked a conductor if we could hop on another train to Lyon with our tickets. Technically no, he said, but don't worry, the train is most likely going to run normally. No guarantees or anything, but probably. And then he smiled and rode off.

Sigh... so we went over the the information desk and asked. There was more confusion, but finally we got an answer: our train is running as scheduled. And the text that nearly gave me a heart attack and cost me a night's sleep? Well the night before they weren't sure if the trains were running. But now they are sure the trains are running. Silly us. Translation: if France functioned like a normal country we could have spent two more hours in our beds instead of a McDonald's.

So Ewelina's first impression of France was a little bit skewed.

But, in the end everything worked out, as it often does. We were just a bit (very) tired. 

Finally got on the train. Ewelina I'm bored, entertain me. 

Goodbye snow, hello Spanish sun

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