More notes about random stuff

Trip Start Jun 06, 2009
Trip End Aug 31, 2009

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Flag of Spain and Canary Islands  , Catalonia,
Sunday, June 28, 2009

Warning: Random thoughts and poorly constructed.

The keyboards in Spain at least have all the right letters in their respective spots.  There are a few new ones though: Ņ Ļ ŋ € Į Ą Ž š Š At least I can type properly and not have to resort to two finger typing.


This is the longest I have ever been traveling for continuously.  Itīs been exactly three weeks now and there have been both ups and downs.  This way of life actually has some getting used too.  When you take a vacation for only a week, you probably like to fit a lot in in that week because you have limited time and you want to make the most of it.  But as you know I am doing a 3 monther and it would be neither good for my health or my wallet if you go all out all the time.  I am slowly learning to pace myself and how to sustain this kind of traveling so I donīt wear myself out.  I think what I am doing is a contributor to going maybe a little too hard and being kind of worn out.  I know what youīre thinking(on work PC)...your a putz who is complaining about being on a long ass vacation that many dream about.  But let me explain, traveling like this isnīt easy.  Every 3 or 4 days and sometimes as little as 2 days, I have to get up and go to another city and start over.  Iīll tell you itīs not easy.  Each time I move, I have to figure out where I want to go, how to get there, and where do I go once I get there. 

Figure out where to go next: I have a general idea of where  I want to go. Easy
To get there: I have to go to the train station and buy a ticket to my next destination.  I bought a 15-day in 2 months flexi pass before I came over here. That sounds easy enough.  But the problem is I have to figure out if I should use it at all on some journeys because traveling by train is really expenisve.  You wouldnīt use 1 day of the pass if you are just doing a day trip an hour away.  You want to use them on a long leg.  But you canīt just show up on departare day and hop on the train with your pass.  Most of the trains Iīve been on require a reservation which means the earlier you reserve the seat the less you pay.  And since I donīt really know where Iīm going until about 3 days prior, a few trains I wanted to go on have been filled up.  Am I on the right car and seat #?  Iīve more than once been in a wrong seat and had to move.  Iīve since learned what they mean in the language.  Moderate
Where to go: Since IĻm doing the hostal thing, I have to find a hostal to sleep in before I get there because this is the summer and a lot are filled up quite frequently.  So I have to book one before I go.  And if you donīt book enough nights you might be forced to walk around trying to find an open bed.  Then I have to figure out what to see in the city itself.  So that means getting a map and asking the people at the hostal. 
Misc worries: Each time I get off that train, how do I get to my hostal?  Did I remember to write down the directions because I canīt print anything at hostals.  Am I in a bad part of town because I donīt really know the city too well?  Does this hostal have lockers big enough for EVERYTHING because people steal all the time from hostals.  I have heard from so many people about missing laptops, money, clothes, and anything else.  Am I going to have enough cash on hand to pay for it?  What or where am I going to eat all day and every day.  If I were to eat out every time, I couldnīt last 3 months.  Thatīs why hostals usually have full kitchens and you see groups making food together.  Iīve only done this a few times thus far and really need to do more of it to save cash.  If I do cook, where is the supermarket?  Being this is Europe, you donīt have the mega everything stores here like in the US.  You have these small mom and pop bread, meat, and whatever stores everywhere.  They do have a few big stores but can be sometimes hard to find.  Each time you walk into a store, restaurant, or whatever, are you going to be able to get what you want?  Bottom line-do they speak English well enough or is your crappy 2nd language and some hand puppet motions going to cut it?  Iīve surprised at how well a lot of people know English here.  Even the lowly guy at McDīs can speak it pretty well.  I feel kind of like an ass when I have to resort to English for whatever.  And Iīm in his country.  Itīs kind of a mixed blessing when they know English because sometimes you are just too hungry or tired to play charades.  Some people who you think definitely know English sometimes just donīt have a clue.  Then sometimes those hidden fluent people come out of nowhere with it and lend a helping hand.  Every time you change countries you have to stop using the 15 words that you know and switch to a whole new language.  It sadly took me a few days to drop my poor French.  You also have to learn new words in that new country because things like train, exit, arrival, departure arenīt always in English.  Am I going to meet anybody to hang out with in my new destination, or will I be seeing the sights alone?  I find that if I take a little 2 hour free tour of the city, you can usually meet somebody.  Or just by hanging out in the common room of the hostal you can meet somebody.  But a lot of the time they have seen what you havenīt already or are just leaving or something.  Iīve found that Iīve told the story of myself and about my travels probably about 50 times at least.  Itīs a good way to get the ball rolling and also a good way to find out new info about somewhere you want to go.  But with me only staying somewhere for 3 or 4 days, you can only become acquaintances up to a certain level.  It is what it is though.  How much does this cost?  Currently Iīm paying 1 € an hour for internet time.  That doesnīt sound too bad except for itīs in euros and not $.  10€=$15  So that 7€ burger at Burger King really costs about $10.  Dam...Europe is expensive!  I really need to shop at supermarkets for food more because it really can save you a lot of money.  If I were to make a big portion of whatever, then I could eat it for 2 days.  How am I going to wash my clothes?  I admittedly arenīt as hygenic as I am back home.  Back home I wear shirts for only 1 day and probably wash my towels and sheets often.  Here-my beach towel is also my shower towel and Iīm just glad when I get sheets included in the price of the hostal.  And I wear clothes until it smells or has stains on them.  Paying like $10 to wash your clothes once a week can get expensive.  I try to handwash everything if I can but it sure doesnīt get that new car smell in them like a good old washing machine.  And How do I get around my new city?  Which means learning the metro system all over again.  Iīve been pretty lucky and havenīt had any trouble picking it up quite quickly.  Probably from being in DC.  Should I get the all day pass for the museums, metro, or whatever?  Is it going to be worth my money to get this?  Sometimes it is, sometimes it isnīt.  HOw am I going to save my pictures?  I brought a 4 GB memory stick that is already filled up.  I have spent so much time in internet cafes just trying to get my pics up or transferred.  The PCīs here definitely arenīt the same as back home.  Besides the different keyboard, the internet is generally slower.  And the PC itself is so old by PC standards that it is falling apart or doesnīt have working USB ports.  And I have to pay money for usage unless the hostal has free internet.  Which means waiting behind privileged kids who check Facebook all day long.  So that can get annoying at time as well.  Keeping track of your money-I have done an okay job of keeping track.  Which means writing it down for each expense.  But really Iīve done nothing with it but crunch the #īs.  Thatīs really all I can think of for now. 

See, you all thought Im drinking Mai Taiīs and watching topless women play volleyball on the beach all day.  There actually is a lot of work involved in this.  Íīve met some people who are doing long trips and stay in one place for weeks or a month at a time.  I kind of envy them because they can get to know the city/place intimately and not have to do what I do daily or every few days.  But there is just too many awesome places to see in Europe and though I have 3 months to do it in, it really isnīt all that much time. 

Thatīs all she wrote for now...
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quinn000 on

Well I finally figured out how to use this and see your log. Hey....things take time ya know! lol
ANyway, glad you are having fun and learning alot about the world and yourself! I am enjoying reading and looking at your pics. Had your Dad and Sis here for a few days for the wedding. Would have loved for you to be here too but...maybe you can make us a stop on your travels. ;-) Have a blast....don't take chances and be safe!!! Love to you. Auntie!

cwald on

How do you have time to enjoy yourself?
I had no idea how involved your trip was! I know you're used to this kind of thing, but it sounds like you spend as much time figuring out the details as you do enjoying the sights. Very good to know this kind of stuff. Stay safe ;-)

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