Missing Train

Trip Start Aug 29, 2006
Trip End Dec 22, 2006

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Flag of Spain  ,
Thursday, October 12, 2006

After an earlyish wake-up, we headed out into town to buy our yogurt for breakfast. However all the shops were closed. Thinking we were too early for the Spanish, we spent some time browsing some markets that had appeared overnight all over the main square, all manned by people dressed up in special outfits. We then noticed a shop that had its opening hours in the window, and according to the sign, it should be open, but wasn't.

Finally we saw a sign in another shop saying it would not be open on the 12th. It slowly dawned on us that it must be a public holiday (and we worked out later that it was National day). In the end we found somewhere serving breakfast. The rest of the morning was just spent soaking up the celebratory atmosphere in town.

At 12:30 we picked up our bags from the Hostal and walked to the station, arriving well in time for our 13:50 train. A train pulled in shortly after, and I went to check where the train was going. I worked out from the electronic board in the station that it was the 13:20 train to Seville. So we sat back as everyone else piled onto the train.

When it came to 13:30 and the train had still not left, Megan went and checked the board, and came back with the news that it had been delayed 15 minutes. People were still squeezing on to the train, with only standing space left. Finally at 13:47 I went back to check the board, and to my horror noticed that the train to Seville was actually at 11:20, and had come and gone two hours before, but they left all the trains of the day on the board. So I ran back to Megan just as the doors of our train closed.

I can't say it was a very pleasant next little while. Anyway, luckily there was another train, but only at 17:45. However it would now mean that we would get to Algeciras at 11pm, and not be able to get a Ferry to Morocco the next day.

By the time the next train came we had begun to laugh about our mishap, and at least appreciated that the train was a lot emptier than the earlier one. It was also another amazing Spanish sunset as we slowly made our way down south.

The only line in the Lonely Planet that stood out about Algeciras was "Keep your wits about you". So arriving at 11pm, with no accommodation booked, or any map of where the station was in relation to town, made us more uneasy the closer we got.

But in the end there was no need for worry, as it was a very short walk through desolate streets to a whole row of Hostals. The first one we tried had a cheap room available. The room was dirty, and the bathroom even more disgusting, but at least we did not have to share it.

After dumping our bags and valuables, we walked down to the Marina to work out when the earliest Ferry would leave in the morning. There were still some ticket offices open, and we were told 7am.

We then finally went to bed just after midnight.
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