Monday, November 12, 2012

There's Always A Story- Puente~ing- País Vasco

Hey Hey Everyone, 

  Sorry for the slight pause in posts, things have been getting slightly hectic, and of course I'm going out and living the Spanish life, not only writing about it. 

I want to take a slight detour before I get into what's been happening. I've come to the realization that... I'm happy. With all of the things I've had to overcome in this last year, that's the very reason for this epiphany. I'm finally at a point in my life where I really enjoy my job and my co-workers (also that I'm blessed that I have a job), I'm healthy, I'm really living the dream here on the other side of the world and trying to take advantage before the sand runs out of the hourglass. Life isn't perfect, but for now I'm really happy. Ironically, after having this realization my sister posted on facebook that she was having a similar revelation which only makes the smile on my face even bigger. 

Now... with all that being said... even though things are good, that doesn't mean I stop being Cathy, because like the title of this blog says there's always a story....

Here in Spain they call long weekends puentes because often times if a holiday falls on a weekday, they'll connect it with the weekend. November 1st was All Saints day, therefore it was a 4-day weekend four most, but 5 days for me since this year I have Mondays off. So I decided to take advantage and go check out the Basque country. Originally I was supposed to be going with a friend but last minute plans changed, and I decided to go on alone... sort of. A few other friends were making the same trip, but because they work on Monday my trip was kind of a day behind theirs so I wasn't alone the whole time...

Photo courtesy of my good friend Matt
I made it to Bilbao after sleeping pretty much the whole 6 hour bus ride, since we had our 1 year roommate anniversary party at my house the night before... and people were still going by the time I headed to the bus station. I was greeted by rain, and taxi-ed over to my hostel. Met up with my friends, and some of their friends and then we were off to see what kind of pinchos Bilbao had to offer, but not before heading to the view point to see the city. 1 euro to take a trap to the top of a hill, at first with the rain and the gloominess it was apparent why they only charged 1 euro but as the sky calmed a bit, it was a beautiful sight.  

The next day my friends headed to San Sebastian, and I had the day to myself exploring the Guggenheim, and wandering around the city a bit. When I got back to the hostel, the other people there didn't really seem that open, in a kind of un-Cathy way I decided I wasn't going to try to make friends, and it was too cold to go off and venture alone, so I just went to the grocery story, and read for the rest of the evening. 

Saturday Morning I woke up ready to head off to San Sebastian, when i notice that I'm kind of itchy, when I finally make it over to a mirror I see that I was bit by a mosquito ON MY FACE!! A huge red spot right above my eyebrow and on my cheek. I mean, I've been bitten by insects a million and one times in my life but the face is such a sacred place! Luckily my hair was already swooped over to that side, so I could try to be as normal as possible. 

When I arrived at my hostel in San Sebastian, it wasn't the same kind of trendy venue that I'd slept in Bilbao, actually it was some lady's apartment that she'd turned into a hostel, but it was clean, and a place for me to sleep, so it'll have to do. The guy in charge was really interested in talking to me since I could speak Spanish well, and he was tired of being surrounded by all of the English speaking tourists. I cut the awkward conversation short though to go and see where my friends were. 

We had a nice lunch, and then went looking around the city. I found a little store that everything was 3 euros so I bought a necklace and some belts. At that point I was out of cash, one I needed an ATM. My friend couldn't remember where she saw my bank, but at that point, to me I didn't mind the fee of a few bucks compared to wandering the streets all night to find my specific bank. So the first ATM we see I decide to hit it up. I put my card in the machine, I put in my code, and the machine is processing for a while, then comes up with the message "This card is suspect of fraud, please call your bank." SERIOUSLY?! It was Saturday night, so I had no hope of coming the next morning to have them open it and getting my card. So I called the number, and all they said is that they could cancel the card and I'd have to go to my bank to order a new one. At this point I wasn't too stressed out though, because I have two debit cards for my account, I just don't keep them with me because I figure if I'm robbed I'll always have the other one. The trick was just making it through the rest of the weekend. Fortunately my friend came to the rescue and lent me some cash money... CRISIS AVERTED.

My friends left back to Madrid and I still had one day in Pais Vasco. One of my friends from studying abroad in Puerto Rico is from a little village close to San Sebastian, so I was off to go meet her and spend the night in the mountains. As I was headed to the train station from my hostel, I stopped at corner that had a sign that pointed in the direction of various points of interest, just to make sure I was headed the right way. Then I hear "Guapa! Necesitas ayuda?" I turn and I see two guys walking and they're asking me if they can help me find where I'm going, I politely say no, and cross the street in the direction of the train station. I walk down the street and a few minutes later, there the guys are again asking if I'm sure they can't help me find my way, I assure them I'm alright, and I can make my way, then I make a sharp left to get away from them, and as I'm continuing down the street I realize I'm not entirely sure of where I am now, so I sit on a bench to check my map, figure out my bearings and get up to head to the train station. Again I'm greeted this time by only one of the guys asking if he can help me to find where I'm going. Again I say no, but also weary that this fool might go crazy (just like the pizza boy) I put up with him walking and talking with me to the train station. He comments on how I look like such a nice girl, and how we should go for a walk or for a drink, but I insist my friend is waiting for me in the village, so I must go. We get to the train station, and say our goodbyes, and I'm off to the pueblo. 

While on the train i realize that I didn't take that good of a look at what the stops were on the way to Zumaia, and I'm struck with a brief sense of panic as I'm not sure if I got on the right train, and there's no signs anywhere about what the next stop is... luckily I was alright. Then it was wandering around in the rain with a dead phone (my smart self left the charger at home) and asking around where the bar my friend worked at was... luckily I made it, and we had a wonderful time. Her family is beautiful, her 10 year old sister drew me some pictures when I arrived, we got all nostalgic about Puerto Rico, and the mom packed me a lunch for my bus ride back to Madrid. 

An interesting weekend of sorts and a good time.

Thanks for reading,

<3 CathyArely

1 comment:

  1. 'trying to take advantage before the sand runs out of the hourglass'
    --love that!
    & love your stories as always, you need to write a book with all your random adventures.