Somewhat frustrating morning

Trip Start Jul 14, 2011
Trip End Aug 15, 2011

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Flag of Spain  , Valencia,
Wednesday, July 20, 2011

I took a bus to the city center today to explore that area a bit and to buy a book that I need for class.  Tomorrow I am supposed to meet up with the rest of my group at 11:30 am in front of the cathedral and I wanted to make sure that I know exactly how to get there.
Things started off well enough.  When I got to the bus stop the bus I needed was just leaving, but the driver was very nice and stopped again so that I could get on.  I enjoyed the ride downtown because there was a lot of interesting things to see.  I got off the bus right in the center of the city.  It was gorgeous!  I reached into my bag to find my camera, but realized that I had left the camera back in the apartment.  I was disappointed, but I will be back there tomorrow morning and will make sure I have my camera then!  Right then I saw two women who are in my class.  I went up to them and they invited me to go with them to a museum.  I thanked them but turned down the invitation because I really wanted to wander around and get to know the center somewhat.  (I later regretted my decision.)

The first thing I did in the center was try to find the book I need.  I knew that there were 2 different bookstores to check.  I went to the first one which is in front of the train station (a gorgeous building -- I will take a photo tomorrow and put it up).  It was easy to find because the train station is so prominent.  Bookstores have a very different system of organization here which I didn't understand at all.  I spent some time trying to find the book, and finally asked someone.  She looked on her computer and told me that they haven't carried that book since 2002.  I left and found the other bookstore without too much difficulty.  Once again I did not understand the organizational system, so asked someone.  He looked it up on the computer and said that they had it but that it was in a different part of the store that he was unfamiliar with and so I should go ask someone from that department.  The young woman in that section found the book for me. 

When I left the bookstore I decided I should figure out where the cathedral is so that I will know where to go tomorrow.  I went back to the central square where the bus dropped me off.  There was a beautiful building there (the post office).  I went inside to look at it and to sit down for a minute and consult my maps.  The inside of the post office was gorgeous with a big stained glass domed ceiling.  I sat down on a bench to look up at the ceiling and to consult my maps.  After sitting down, I realized that I had sat in a huge puddle of water and that I had also set my pocketbook in it.  Great!  So then I had to walk around with my pants totally soaked.  (I'm sure I looked very strange.)

I found the cathedral, so at least I know where to go tomorrow.  However, I was feeling uncomfortable because my clothes were so wet, so decided to cut short my visit and take the first bus that I thought would bring me back to the apartment.  I got on one and sat down next to an older man.  He saw me consulting my maps and after a bit he asked me where I was headed.  When I told him, he said that I was on a bus going in the opposite direction and that I should get off at the next stop and find another bus.  I did that, but then had absolutely no idea where I was.  I wandered around a bit until I saw a tower that I recognized and headed in that direction.  I ended up back in front of the train station and from there made my way back to the central square where I had started.  I checked each bus stop that I passed until I finally found one that could take me where I needed to go.  I finally found one -- right in front of the post office where I had gotten soaked.  Unfortunately, the bus I needed was leaving right then and I couldn't catch it.  I had to wait about 15 minutes for another one.

I ended up using 3 of my bus rides today due to my mixup.  However, by the time I got back to the apartment, my clothes were totally dry because of the hot weather.  

Because I don't have any photos from today's journey, I am including two I took yesterday of the bike lanes that are all over Valencia.  Bikes have a lane which is totally separated from both cars and from pedestrians.  There are median strips (often with trees) between the sidewalks, the bike lanes, and the car lanes.  Also, there are public bikes all over the city that anyone can use for a small fee -- you pick up the bike in one spot and leave it in another.  Great system!

Tomorrow I will go downtown again, but hopefully it will be a more successful outing than today's!  

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Bill Leonard on

Sorry to hear about your difficulties! It does sound a bit frustrating, but tomorrow's another day, right? Have fun!

Stuart on

I want to biking there!
Especially since the bus system seems hopeless. Good work making the best of a frustrating day. At least you didn't sit on a hornet this time!

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