What A Difference A Day Makes.....

Trip Start Apr 18, 2010
Trip End Jul 07, 2010

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Where I stayed

Flag of Spain  , Catalonia,
Monday, May 3, 2010

I had a really great time in Madrid! One of my favorite bands, Iron Maiden, is huge here and fans wear their Iron Maiden shirts everywhere! I wish I would have brought mine. Every time I see a European Iron Maiden fan wearing a shirt I high five them LOL! They're actually headlining the Rock in Rio Madrid festival in August. Man would I love to see that.

The city offers much to see and do and my time here was way too short, but now it is off the the Spanish Coast for some relaxation by the beach. I boarded a high speed train for the short 2 hour trip across the Spanish countryside to the coast. For those of you who think trains are cheap, think again. Each time I've boarded a train it has cost at least $50 and this one was $120! And I had to wait an hour to get my ticket because it was packed! I was told the days of cheap trains are over. But that's ok. It's still easier than flying, and it gives me a chance to practice shooting high speed photography as I fly by small towns with their cool castles and churches.

As I neared the coast I noticed the outside temperature display begin to drop rapidly and dark clouds approaching at 300km/hour. On the news before I left the Spanish weatherman had a little tiny rain cloud graphic over where I was heading, but since the weather in Madrid was so perfect I thought "How bad can it be?" Well, I was about to find out.

The train dropped me off at the outskirts of the coastal tourist town of Tarragona, in the pouring rain! My train car just made it under the covered part of the train station, but everyone behind me was not so lucky. Not really knowing what to do next, I somehow had to get to the bus stop, and speaking one word at a time find out which bus to take to get close to my timeshare. Fortunately a couple nice British ladies knew where I was trying to go and helped me. The bus stop was about a quarter mile from my hotel and as the bus neared my stop, I knew this was not going to be fun.

I was dropped off right in the middle of the freezing rain and had to walk from there. The streets were flooded with 3-4 inches of water and flowing like rivers because they had NO storm drains at all. None! And the sidewalks are made of these very large bumpy pre-manufactured tiles with very large grooves. Purposely! Yes, they look cool, but try walking barefoot on them from the beach, or with luggage in the rain. It's as if whoever built this city was intentionally trying to make it difficult for tourists. Unbelievable! I don't have pictures of all this because my camera was safely packed away.

Soaking wet, I finally made it to my timeshare and proceeded to check-in. For those of you who have ever exchanged timeshares, you know it can be hit or miss with the resort and amenities. I was then given the good news that there was NO internet at all, and worst of all NO laundry facilities! The only public laundry was a good 15 minutes walk WITH MY CLOTHES! WTF? I had not done laundry since I left so I was running low on clean clothes. The woman gave me my room key and pointed back out the door. So, back in the rain I went to get to my room. But it gets worse. I made it to my room only to discover the place has no air or heat, and I was freezing! There was one space heater in the room which barely worked but I cranked it on high and changed out of my wet clothes. And to top it all off I think I caught something down in the Madrid Metro. People were coughing and sneezing everywhere and there was poor ventilation. My throat is kinda sore. So, I am pretty much stranded at this point and not wanting to go anywhere I had nothing else to do but check out what was on television. Up to this point I had been very lucky. In both Portugal and Madrid I had at least a couple of English channels and plenty of news to watch from BBC, Sky News, and best of all a direct LIVE feed of Fox News! To my horror I quickly realized that there were NO ENGLISH CHANNELS AT ALL!  NONE!

So, just to recap. I'm stranded in a crappy timeshare, in the rain, with no heat, no internet, no laundry, and no TV! FOR 5 DAYS!!! What a difference a day makes….
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Frano on

did you get to the part where they tell you there is no hot water, the beach is closed due to a shark attack and the hotel is haunted? Also if you look at the portrait on the wall and the eyeballs start to move- just leave. Viva Espana!

Heather on

Oh NO!! There's no ENGLISH TV in Spain?
What if all the channels in France are in French? What are you going to do?!

john.babinec on

Yes, I know what you're saying, and outside the tourist area I would agree with you. But in an international resort destination like this, where everyplace has satellite dishes, there's no excuse for not having at least one English channel like BBC. They've got a French channel, and also a German channel, why not English? This place is full of UK tourists!

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