For each post that I have posted on my Instagram, I put the best image I own along with the best caption I have ever thought, just to satisfied myself there. Barely I told the entire story for each of post. This time, let me tell you more stories behind each moment I captured, more about the challenges.
Madrid, on May 2017.
Arriving in Madrid
How foolish I was, thinking every person in any country that I visited would have understood and replied my (fair) English questions. My unprepared self, wasted about three hours at the main station of Madrid (Estación Sur de Autobuses) for not being able to speak Spanish, nor remembering even a line of basic conversation as simple as asking direction. I got little help from the information desk on how to get to the nearest station to my hostel; however it didn’t bring me anywhere.
Language barrier did exist.
Staying in Madrid
I stayed at one hostel in Lavapiés simply because it was the cheapest place I could find in town. The other two reasons I found right after I booked it and then browsed what the Lavapiés was all about. First, Lavapiés was said as the most diverse area in town, so that was why, I expected lesser conversation in Spanish (meant I would use English more, I learned no Spanish vocabulary at all, which later I regretted). The second, as I called it my bonus, the hostel was close to few main attractions within my walking distance.
I thought I got myself the least requirements to be comfortable enough enjoying Madrid, but I did not.
When I already got frustrated from the previous mess in the bus terminal, arriving in Lavapiés area didn’t lessen my frustration. I got more, instead.
Led by the screen-captured map on my mobile phone, I reached the spot where it was supposed to be my hostel front office. However, nothing showed it was. No big banner telling my booked its name. No excessive neon lamp showed a hostel was standing there. No sign of business building, but common clustered apartments. My mind went wild, as the sky was getting darker. I couldn’t bear the thought of facing the worst case spending my only night outside, such as park across the Lavapiés station.
It took me another few hours for going forth and back between that one spot and Lavapiés station, just to ensure that I had arrived in front of the right door. The whole fussiness stopped when I decided to give my stomach something first and got myself calm down. I ate the oat bar very slowly at the free wi-fi area of this one big market, while considering about my next step; whether to sleep outside, to go directly to the airport and forget all the attraction in Madrid, or book another room. The last option would be an option if only I wanted to skip meals for the next 24 hours.
When I was about giving up, an email popped up on my screen; from the hostel’s staffs. A popped up email was sort of a few seconds hope, until I read it all was written in Spanish. DONE.
I thanked myself for having meeting many people on the road from my various previous trips. I remembered I had a nice Spanish friend. I asked him about the email, and he patiently explained to me that the hostel staff asked if I already had arrived or not. How they could reach me, and also explained the way to get in to the hostel after staff’s working hours. Email was under-control.
I walked back to that one spot. Another good coincidence happened. I saw a guy exited the small door where I stood few hours before. I braved myself for asking him about the hostel and I was right. Despite the big banner on the door, the hostel modestly put its name inside.
May God bless them and all the lost direction customers out there!! Amen.
I got in to the hostel. Finally. Pretty fair deal.
I prepared myself and my left stuffs before going to bed and facing the last hours in Madrid on the next day. Of course with the stomach-ache (diarrhea) after chewing down one-eight part of jamon tortilla without re-heating it, following my Spanish friend’s instruction.
May God bless his kind soul!
You are still one of my kindhearted and lovable friends! ❤
The trip will be continued…
See you tomorrow!