17.11.2008 - 21.11.2008 8 °C
It's 1AM, and I am in my little dorm room in Madrid. We never intended on coming here since it's freezing this time of year, but we had to go to the embassy so Ruaridh could get his passport. No big deal- from here we only planned on seeing Porto and Lisbon, and we have over two weeks to go. But anyways, Valencia:
After a few hours on a train, we arrived in Valencia, another city, it looks like. The train station is surprisingly pretty though. We pass the rows of enormous ancient doors until we get to our hostel's door, also some enormous wooden thing reinforced with massive metal strips. We realize that they carved a little door out of the big one (cute) and walk up the windy staircase to hostel reception. Our hostel is so great- it's more like a bed and breakfast, since all the rooms are doubles and there are only 11- but everything was cozy, and our room was nice and comfy- asian themed, for some reason. We were pretty trapped in Valencia at this hostel until Ruaridh's package arrived- his mom sent out a new debit card and some documents he'll need for the embassy- and we thought this would be the perfect place to waste some time. So later at night, we wander around looking for a good restaurant, and settle on this place called Pepe Pica. It was pretty good, we had fun, whatever, but when I went to pay with my card it was declined. I said I would go to an ATM- sometimes card readers are just fussy- so I ran down the street, tried a machine, and out of nowhere- slurp- card withheld. Please contact your bank. What the f**k?! Luckily we had enough to pay for dinner in cash, but just- we were really SOL, sitting, broke little ducks, until that new card arrived. Good thing our hostel provides free breakfast.
After trying the useless closed bank that stole my card, we talk to Ruaridh's mom, and, like a godsend, she wires us some money through Western Union for the few days we would be waiting. Insanely relieved, we go grab lunch at some American-themed restaurant by the post office. It was pretty hilarious- I really think visiting an American-themed restaurant is a unique European experience. After hanging around over our drinks for a bit, we head back and chill out in our hostel.
We saved the one big attraction in Valencia for today (it kind of dawned on us there isn't anything to do here) the massive Oceanographic/Science/IMAX center. All of the buildings were massive and modern and pristine, and the IMAX theater is designed to look like a human eye ball. We went to the aquarium- the best I've ever seen in my life. They had adorable little otters and those giant rock crabs off the coast of Japan that can become larger than a person. All of the tanks were massive and towering and they had a bunch of those long tubes you could walk through... yea, I'm a total loser for these things, I realize. The IMAX movie afterwards was nice, they give you these big bulky earphones that strap all the way around your head for the different languages- namely, French, English, and 4 types of Spanish. The english on our headphones was out (haha) but it was fun to be in that huge thing anyway. We stayed in to cook dinner and had a chilled out night.
It's Thursday, December 20th now, and we have 4 weeks left to our trip. This day was spent waiting in our hostel for those damn papers, since on the FedEx tracking website they claimed that they attempted a delivery but "customer could not be reached or business wasn't open." I saw no point in staying, but Ruaridh was understandably freaking out, so we hung around. It finally came later that night after we and the receptionist tried every possible way to contact Spanish FedEx- I guess something got through, since it was after another "failed delivery" notice. We are pretty excited that we get to move on Granada, via night train, tomorrow. We spent the night hanging out with people in the hostel kitchen- a guy from Cork, Ireland, a girl from Korea, the receptionist, and an English girl in med school. That was more or less everyone in the hostel.
We checked out in the morning and went to the train station to leave our luggage. We decided to go hang out by the beach, and of course it was freezing, but pretty nice. We had a nice drawn out lunch and just hung out in the general area, watching the sun gradually sink behind the city. At night we bounced from cafe to cafe until it was time to catch our train. Honestly? Not the worst way to spend a day. In the morning we will be in Granada.