Friday, July 27, 2012

Home Again

Tuesday evening was spent mostly relaxing in the hostel and chatting with roommates. I attempted to get to that castle again but they were still closed! So I decided to try to go early Wednesday morning. I then spent the evening packing my backpack and organizing things so that everything I needed for Wednesday night was at the top of the pack. This way I wouldn't have to go through everything when I showered and dressed that night.

I got up bright and early on Wednesday and saw that I had to check out of the hostel by 11.30am. That would in theory give me from 9-11 to visit the castle, assuming that it would be open. I grabbed breakfast quickly and chatted once again with other travelers before deciding to head out to check out that castle. Unfortunately when I got there I found out that it doesn't open until 11 am on Wednesdays. Why do castles in Europe have such strange opening times? Since I wanted to catch the bus at noon I knew I couldn't visit that castle on this trip. Luckily the castle is about a 2 minute walk from the hostel so it wasn't that big of an issue and it gave a nice brisk walk after breakfast. Plus it was a lovely view to see the port first thing in the morning. I guess since I didn't get a chance to wander around this castle I'll have an excuse to return to Tarifa.

After the castle fiasco I went back to the hostel and checked out. I got to the bus stop a little past 11 in the morning and was able to catch the bus at 12.10pm. While waiting for the bus I met a fellow Canadian who was born in Ottawa but now lives in Montreal. We chatted for a while. My bus showed up 20 minutes late which made me really happy I didn't wait to catch the bus at 2pm. I arrived in Algeciras for about 1pm and my train was scheduled to leave at 3pm. It didn't actually leave until 3.30. The train ride itself was uneventual. The view was amazing though! All of the rolling hills and mountains. The vegetation is a lot more varied in the southern parts of Spain than in the northern parts. It was amazing to see. Especially when the sun began to set and everything had that lovely red glow. That's seriously my favorite time of day, sunset. Everything always looks so pretty, plus it's brilliant for some photography.

When I finally did get to Madrid I had 4 hostels lined up for places to stay. I was told earlier in the week that I couldn't stay with Natalia that night and since I couldn't reserve a bunk before I got there (I didnt bring any credit cards with me, I figured no temptation to use them). So, when I got to Madrid I went to the nearest hostel and got lucky. They had bunks. I asked for the cheapest room and was placed in a 12 bunk mixed dorm. When I got there 10 of the beds were taken. All were men. (Which I didn't discover until later) After settling into the hostel I showered and then ventured out to find food. There was a pizzaria almost right next to the hostel so I decided to grab a slice there. I did struggle with the door to get out of the hostel. There's a button next to it that you have to press but there's a symbol of a bell so it looked like an alarm button but apparently it's the door release. I also had issues opening the door to the hostel room itself. There's this watch thingy that they gave you open doors and lockers. Supposedly you press it on the door and it opens but our door just wouldn't open! (Which explains why it was wide open when I got there and it was empty, guess everybody has trouble with it).
After food I basically went straight to bed. I tried to climb up to the top bunk where I was assigned but the ladder was too painful on the foot so I said screw it and went to the bottom bunk instead. I slept wonderfully until all my roommates poured in at about 2-3am. They were all quite drunk and noisy. When they discovered I was there they all seemed a tad shocked that there was a girl in the room but that didn't stop them from making lots of noise. I got my payback first thing in the morning when I finished packing my bags and got ready to leave for the airport. I made sure to make a whole bunch of subtle noise then.

To get to the airport I had to jump onto the metro and then had to switch lines twice. The metro took me to terminal 2 so I had to get to terminal 1 from there. It's a long walk in the airport. I got to the luggage check-in nice and early and was the 4th person in line! Unfortunately they started it late so it was a loooong wait. After that though it was nice and smooth with the exception of our flight being delayed 2 hours because our airplane hadn't arrived yet! It was flying in from the states and the winds were bad but that meant winds on our side to get there so that would save about 30 minutes of airtime for us.

On the plane I watched the Raven, the Avengers and the first three episodes of Smash. Which is a really good series. We got to Toronto almost 2 hours late. I originally had a 3 hour layover but that turned into about an hour instead. I'm still in shock that I made my next flight. When I arrived in Toronto I had to go through customs, the lady there gave me a hard time. She expected me to have a concrete list of everything I purchased and the exact price for everything listed down as well. I think she was just having a bad day and it didn't help that I was exhausted, hungry, had a increasing headache and I was about to miss a flight. So, customs luckily didn't take that much time and afterwards I had to go to baggage claim to get my pack before dropping it off for my connection flight! Waiting for the bags was brutal. It felt like it took forever. Once I got them though I pretty much raced to get them onto the plane, the guy juuuust let me put them through since apparently I was running out and then I raced to the boarding gate. When I got there I discovered that the flight was delayed. We still boarded on time but we left an hour late. While waiting I was able to watch another episode of Smash. Unfortunately episode 4 wasn't there so I jumped ahead to episode 5. The flight itself went relatively smoothly. I arrived in Ottawa at a little past 8 pm.

It feels a little nice to be home. Good food, good water pressure, and I really missed my cat and surprisingly my bird. I didn't think I'd miss Rocky as much as a did. She looks like she's gotten quite fat over the past few weeks but she was probably that big when I left and I just didn't remember. I'm off to Pembroke this weekend (actually I'm writting this on my friend's computer in Pembroke) so I plan on going through photos on Sunday afternoon, Monday, and Tuesday.

The next destination I currently have in mind is Costa Rica. I wish to see the rainforest and I'd like to see the volcanos there.

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