Latex Gloves and Strippers

Trip Start Dec 16, 2009
Trip End Jan 09, 2010

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Flag of Spain  , Castile-León,
Monday, January 4, 2010

Up at 9:00 AM and shortly after, it was off to Springfield to see the extremely rude manager about those missing 40 Euros. I walked up to her at the sales counter, with her barely making eye contact and acknowledging me. I asked if she had counted the money and she only said "Yes." "And? ..." I questioned.

Her only reply was "Receipt?", which I handed over. She started digging around in some drawers, scribbled some stuff down on paper and stamped my receipt, before handing over 40 Euros. No apology for making the mistake. No apology for the inconvenience. No apology for being rude. No apology for acting like I was a thief trying to rip her off.

I put the money into my wallet and was ready to walk out without saying a word; my original plan was to ask for the complaint book that I think most Spanish businesses keep. I know it wouldn't amount to anything, other than make myself feel better.  About to turn away, I paused and said "In the future, you need to treat your clients better." I can't remember exactly what, but she muttered something that sheepishly acknowledged a mistake. As I was halfway out the door, she said something else which I didn't catch at all, and honestly, I didn't care what she had to say to me anyway.

We had a quick breakfast as we wanted to see the university before noon, since it is free on Monday mornings.  I told Mary that we should try and find the English Theology department, as it was where a certain beautiful Spanish girl once studied, but most of the university is off limits, with the exception of one building.  Interesting note - during their annual migration, storks build nests and shack up in the University's bell tower.  Smart birds, recognizing that Spain is a great place to stop for a vacation! 

Next up was the convent, which one of my guidebooks mistakenly said was also free Monday mornings - we didn't bother paying the 3 Euros to enter. We walked back to the aparthotel to finish packing up and checkout before noon - a great thing about Spain is that there is never a rush to wake up early and vacate the building before 10 AM. Given that we had a lot of time to kill before our 1 AM night bus and that it was very cold and rainy, we sat around the room right up until noon to maximize our relaxation time.

A bit of shopping was in order not only to pass the time, but also because I needed another pair of undies, hopefully some that don't end up costing another 45 Euros! Over to Pull and Bear, a fairly inexpensive clothing chain where during the past few visits to Spain, I have purchased some really cheap t-shirts. I like the chain simply for that reason, but I now love the chain for the clientele that it attracts. A Spanish senorita fitting my vision of the ideal woman happened to be shopping there. I wondered if she might have been visiting from Cordoba ... sigh ...

We wandered over to the train station, hoping to get out of the cold and check out its attached shopping centre, but that didn't last long as the number of shops was greatly less than what I remembered from my first time here. We checked out some show times at the movie theatre, in case we decided to spend a few hours watching a movie. However, it was likely that none of the movies would be in English, as Spain usually dubs North American films.

Back to the old town for a bit more shopping before the rain started coming down really hard, which is when we decided to take shelter and have lunch at El Zaguan. We sat next to the bathroom, so every time the door opened, we received a waft of that great bathroom freshener smell, further enhancing our meal. As we ate, we saw the receptionist from our aparthotel walk in for lunch and realized that he looked like a Spanish Josh Groban, complete with frizzy and curly hair.

After lunch it was off to see both the old and new cathedrals, where we took shelter from the rain inside the new one. Some really melancholy music was playing as we sat for a while, killing some more time. The day was starting to drag on, as since checking out, we had only killed about four of the 13 hours we needed to pass before our bus departed.  Walking around, coffee drinking, and some shopping brought us up to dinner time.

We made our way over to Reloj de la Plaza for another evening of tapas, and noticed that one of the bartenders looked a lot like a Spanish version of Vinnie Jones, an actor famous for playing hitman-type roles  We had a couple of glasses of their excellent house white wine and a few assorted tapas. 

Within twenty minutes, the entire bar had turned over, with us the only two people besides the bartenders, who had stayed any longer. You wonder how they actually make any money given the super-low price of 2 Euros for a glass of wine and a healthy-sized tapa, but it must be because of this turn over, which results in a high volume of sales.

We wandered a while, searching for some more tapas, but not really finding anything that looked good. Eventually, we ended up at Restaurant Rua Mayor, partially because the selection looked slightly better there, but also because of the pretty bartender :)  Spain ... how I love you ...

At this point, we both felt quite full, probably not because of the amount of food we ate, but likely because of all the wine sloshing around in our stomachs, so we decided against trying a third tapas bar tonight. Instead, we walked around a bit more before stopping at Cafe Novelty for a tea and dessert.

Back to the aparthotel to get our backpacks from the Spanish Josh Groban, before heading off to the bus station. We wanted to give ourselves plenty of time to get there, which ended up being a bad thing - the guidebook suggested it was a 20-25 minute walk from Plaza Mayor, but it ended up taking us only about 10-12. Another hour to wait before boarding the bus ... which ended up arriving 20 minutes late, so more time to kill ...

We quickly settled into our seats, hoping for a good night's sleep before arriving in Santiago de Compostela but alas, sleeping on buses is never easy. I miss bus travel in Argentina and Chile, and their beautiful luxury coaches!!!
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