Monday, June 20, 2011

Train Travels

June 11, 2010

We began our adventure to Alicante! We had to take a train from Paris to Barcelona and then Barcelona to Madrid to meet our professor who would then take us to Alicante. We arrived at the train station for our 8:40pm train at around 7:00pm. We got in line to show our reservation to get our tickets. Once we got to speak to a representative they informed us that you have to print off your ticket and that the reservation does not serve as a ticket. When we made our reservations we were under the impression that the reservation sheet served as the ticket, but obviously it didn't. We were informed of this at 7:30 pm. The worker told us we must find an internet cafe to print off the tickets or beg the conductor of the train to let us on. So we rushed out of the train station to find a place to print them off. We walked and walked and walked. We couldn't find the internet cafe that the worker had told us about. Finally at about 8:00 we decided to head back to talk to the conductor, since the train began boarding at 8:10. Once we got back around 8:20 we talked with several people on the train who then lead us to the conductor. We explained our situation and he said that he was not going to let us on the train. We kept trying to beg with him and continued to show him our reservation proving that we had payed for the tickets. Finally, after a little crying from me and praying from Anna he let us on the train right at 8:40pm. I believe this was my culture shock moment that made me realize I was traveling abroad and had to be responsible and work out my own problems. Traveling definitely will teach you many lessons!!!!!! Once we got calmed down, we got dinner on the train and quickly got ready for bed since we were drained! While getting dinner we ran into a man from Alabama and one from Flordia! The man from Alabama was so nice and really helped us to feel much better after the horrible ordeal with the tickets! It was so nice to run into some Americans that we could talk with!!! After a dinner of ham and cheese sandwiches (no surprise), chips and kit kat bars, we went to sleep in the tiny sleeping train cabin!

June 12, 2011

We woke up the next morning around 7:30 since our train was to arrive at 8:20am. However, we shortly learned that our train was not going to arrive in Barcelona until 11:00. This meant that we would miss our connecting train to Madrid at 10:00am. But, some positive news was that Anna had found the tickets!!! We showed them to the conductor and he kind of rolled his eyes at as! What an awful experience for nothing! Oh well. Now we had to try to contact our professor to let him know that we were not going to make it to Madrid. We called him and informed him and he suggested just getting a train ticket from Barcelona to Alicante. He then said he would either have someone there to pick us up or for us just to take a taxi to the hotel. Therefore, once we finally arrived in Barcelona, we got our tickets for Madrid refunded since the train was late and purchased new ones for Alicante. We then had a 3 hour wait so we decided to grab lunch and hang out in the Barcelona train station cafeteria. We soon realized that we were both very dizzy and unbalanced. We assumed it was a little bit of vertigo from sleeping on the moving train all night long! Not a pleasant feeling! However, we finally got on our train to Alicante around 3:30. I absolutely loved this train ride because it was all along the coast of Spain and we had gorgeous views the entire train ride of both the ocean and mountains! We had not heard back from our professor so we assumed that we were supposed to take a taxi to the hotel. When we arrived in Alicante around 9:00, we walked quickly to the exit and caught a taxi! After a full night and day of traveling, we were exhausted!!!! We were so glad when we finally got to the hotel and got checked in! We were unpacking and organizing our room when we heard a knock on the door. It was our professor, he said that he had been at the train station to pick us up with 2 other people from the university! This is crazy because the Alicante train station is so small!!! He said he brought the two University employees because they were trained american spotters, but we must have blended in so well they missed us! (Laura, I know you will be proud of this! ha ha ) He then took us down to dinner and introduced us to the rest of the group! We were so happy to have dinner and then so tired and ready for bed! We were both excited to finally be in Alicante and ready for class the next day!

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