What fresh hell is this?! – June 19

Packed up my things and headed toward the Cadiz train station. Or at least that is where I thought I was. After a confusing attempt at conversing with the woman at the information counter I decided I should probably get some food and coffee. I knew a Burger King was close. I had promised myself I would make the best attempt at a local experience but I just needed some food.

With my blood sugar nearing normal levels I headed back to the station. As I approached I realized what I had earlier thought was the train station was actually the bus station. That explains a lot! Fortunately they are next door to each other. Made my way to the information counter and got my ticket for Granada. Success!

I boarded the train and watched carefully for the stop where I needed to change trains. I was feeling pretty good about my day as I boarded the 2nd train. As we headed toward Granada the ticket checker came around and was telling everyone something in Spanish. He was carrying a piece of paper with the English message and he showed it to me. There is work being done farther down the line and I would have to get off the train and take the bus to Granada. I swear the message said to exit the train at the next station so with a bit of anxiety I gathered my things and walked off the train and through the station expecting a bus on the other side. Nothing. Sigh!

I returned to the station looking and got the attention of the guy in the office. He spoke enough English I was able to tell him I was told to exit and this station and take the bus. He looked at my like I was an idiot and proceeded to tell me it was the wrong station. I should have exited the train with everyone else at Antequera. The next train to get me where I need to be wasn’t coming for 2 hours. I know, it could have been way worse, but that didn’t make me feel any better. I started thinking maybe I’d just return to Seville as my host there had offered a place to stay anytime I needed it. That was going to be 2 hours as well. The guy at the station offered to let me keep my things in his office. I thought it was a nice, but odd, gesture until he walked me out of the station. Guess hanging out there wasn’t an option. The town is so small the train station closes between trains.

As we walked out I asked if there was somewhere I could get some food or something to drink. I only had the sparsest amount of water left in my bottle. “Sorry, it is Sunday and this is a very small town. Everything is closed.” He pointed me toward the center of town and told me “go look around, it is a beautiful place.” Those of you that know me can imagine the look I had on my face. With a heavy sigh and a “fuck me!” I walked in the direction he pointed me.

It was 36 Celsius, which I think translates to about 95, and here I am stuck outside for a couple hours. My poor skin was already pretty angry from my misadventure on Friday. Even with the long sleeved, UV protectant shirt I was feeling the burn. I did my best to stay in the shade and not look too odd. I can’t imagine they get many redheads from the U.S. in Marchena.

I didn’t want to venture too far for fear of not finding my way back in time. That and the heat is just so exhausting. I did make my way to the town center and he was right, it was a cute little town. There was a little park that had some nice flowers, trees, and shade. I hid out there for awhile then eventually made my way back to the station.

As I collected my things the guy reminded me to get off the train with everyone else (not by myself). “Thanks” I say rolling my eyes. I hate when people make me feel stupid.

Off to Granada. The train then bus get me to the station and I’m happy to find a taxi waiting to take me to my host. I’ve been good about walking most places but I just didn’t have it in me.

I arrived at my host, Joan, flat to find he wasn’t home. There was a cafĂ© there and I had hardly eaten anything all day so I grabbed some food and messaged him to find out what was going on. He had stepped out for an errand and was on his way back. Timing worked out well.

I spent a few hours visiting with Joan (from Barcelona), his flat-mate (Venezuela), and the flat-mates girlfriend (from the US). Its funny how much you miss talking when there aren’t many people that speak your language. I crawled off to bed knowing I needed to be up at a reasonable hour for my tour of the Alhambra.

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