Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Our Last Days in Spain

Day 79, This one goes out to the dude who closed the windows. Die slow - 9/25
By Jerrad

DING! The incubation chamber alarm had gone off so we got up. We wiped the crust out of our eyes and headed down stairs for breakfast. Free breakfast always tastes better. Once the muffins and bread were gone Shana went back to sleep because her cough was on the verge of plague status. The prescription was more sleep. I, on the other hand, stayed in the common room and let the internet steal my soul. I had stuff to do, but the internet had thought otherwise. Nadine had packed up her things and had come to the common room has well. We chatted for a minute and I wished her well on her travels (from the both Shana and I). I had also done some research. I figured out how to get to the Park Güell. Shana had awaken from the chamber looking like the crypt keeper... I mean picturesque. We headed outside and embraced the UV's.
Our first stop was La Boqueria market to get some fresh juice to combat Shana's illness. As we were exiting the place we noticed a stand that sold glazed nuts. We figured we were going to walk around in the park and we needed the energy. Turns out the nuts were worth their weight in gold and I think the dude thumbed the scale. It was busy as could be and the guy was starting to get mad and people were crowding so we just paid him and got out of there. We got swindled on some nuts... I hoped I'd have a better story to go with the sentence "We got swindled on some nuts", but it ended there. With our expensive nuts in hand we hopped the metro to Park Güell.
The walk to the park was straight up hill form the metro. Fifteen hundred stairs later we made it to the park. The park was filled with building tops that looked like ice cream cones and mosaic as far as the eyes could see. The park was massive. We spent two hours walking around, taking pictures and we didn't even scratch the surface. Once the sun had taken enough advantage of Shana's porcelain skin we hopped the metro and went to the bus station. Now that we had our bus tickets to Madrid we hopped back on the metro and got off on the main strip (La Rambla).
My cousin had told us about a candy spot in Barcelona called "Happy Pills". They priced the candy by the size of container. Well, of course we copped a bottle and stuffed that bottle till the top almost had to be glued on. After Happy Pills we decided to get lost and just wander the streets. 
The funny thing is the one time we tried to get lost we ended up walking around in two circles. Figures. After "getting lost" we caught the hunger again. We wandered the streets trying to find the pizza place we had eaten at the night before. We went up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right, B, A, select start. We ended up at the pizza place with thirty extra lives. The pizza had taken three of those lives each and we walked back to the hostel to pack up. 
As we walked up to the room we noticed they had FIXED THE A/C IN THE ROOM!!!!!!! YES!!!!!!! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!! We packed our stuff in the a room with a reasonable temperature. Our things were packed so we prepared ourselves for a night with no extreme heat wake ups. 
Sixteen people came back at sixteen different times in the night. We were ready for that. What we weren't ready for was one of those sixteen people to open the windows, turning off the A/C and reactivating the incubation chamber. To the person who opened the windows at Kabul Hostel room 501 on September 25, 2013... die slow.

Day 80, Barcelona to Madrid - 9/26
by Shana

We woke up in the 18 person sauna, packed our bags, and headed downstairs for breakfast. We knew we had a long day of travel ahead of us so I did what any classy octogenarian would do; I wrapped some muffins, bread, and apples in napkins and snuck them into my purse for later. Score! We checked out of the hostel and caught the metro to the bus station.
While on the bus we napped, snacked on free breakfast, friendship bracelet-ed, typed, and napped some more. A quick 8 hours later we arrived in Madrid. We took the metro to our next temporary home; Fabrizzio's Guest House. The new hostel overlooked Plaza Mayor (a great, central location) and had a super friendly host. We were happy with our decision.
After showering and doing some laundry we wanted to explore the city for a bit. And by explore, I mean walk around the corner to Mercado de San Miguel for some dinner. I highly recommend checking out that place. It was filled with different food vendors and everything looked delicious. Which is why we got one of everything. We shared mozzarella toast, gazpacho, and a truffle potato (that we got swindled into buying). Jerrad also got a ham & cheese quiche and a burger, that he said was delicious. And I got a single olive with cheese in the middle, which was the best olive I've ever had. For dessert we shared a chocolate covered flakey pastry in the shape of a pretzel. Everything was delicious and appropriately priced.
After our sweet and salty treats we were craving some liquid. Luckily we walked by a super cheap bar that served tinto (lemony soda wine) and tall beers for 1.50 euro each. Yes, please. After quenching our thirsts we walked around for a bit more enjoying the view of street vendors selling knock-off purses and watches. The best part was when a cop car drove by, the vendors quickly packed up their giant blankets like a hobo sack, waited 'til the cop car drove by, and set up shop again immediately. Then we headed back to the hostel for for our 8 hour, night-time nap.

Day 81, Eating little kids and dead bird soup - 9/27
by Jerrad

Waking up early on our honeymoon voyage could only mean one of two things: #1 - We had to be somewhere and #2. Waffles. There were no waffles at the hostel (sad face). Our reason for waking up early is that we wanted to get to the train station and pick up our tickets to our next destination - Fuseta, Portugal. I looked online and couldn't find a legit route. We grabbed a small snack from the kitchen and hopped on the metro to the train station.
The station was nearly empty and we happened to get to the ticket office before they even opened. We saw people lining up to get a number so we jumped in line as well. Twenty minutes or so later the ticket desks opened up and we waited for our number to show up. Our number lit up on the screen and we ran over to the international ticket stand. After chatting with the ticket lady for a while we found out that the only way to Fuseta was to take a night train to Lisbon, then catch another train to Faro, and then another to Fuseta. This actually helped us out because it gave us an extra day in Madrid. We purchased our night train tickets and headed back to the hostel.
Since we only had a limited time in Madrid we decided to go on a free walking tour. This way we could cover more ground and see more sights. Our walking tour departed at eleven at the tourist information center in the Plaza Mayor (pretty much right outside the window of our hostel). 
We headed down to the plaza and the tour was just about to start. There were about forty people gathered around for the tour. The tour lead split up the groups evenly and we started. We found out the tour guides only made money from tips and that's why the groups were split evenly. Our tour started with the Plaza Mayor and how it came to be. The guide said that the plaza smelled really bad for many years. There was a statue with a king on a horse in the middle of the plaza. The original statue was hollow and there was an opening in the horse's mouth. Little birds would fly in the mouth and wouldn't be able to get out. The summers got really hot in Spain and the decay from all of the little dead birdies would fill the plaza with a ripe stench. This wasn't found out, however, until the original statue was knocked over in a battle and the slow baked, dead birdie soup came spilling out of the horses belly. The new statue is sealed to avoid this from happening again. We then walked to different important spots in Madrid and the guide laid some history on us. We saw the "Suicide Bridge" where people whould come from all around to jump off off. We learned about the prior kings of Spain and the great job or real crumby job they did. We also saw the oldest restaurant in the world. In between destinations we asked our guide his favorite places to eat (of course) and if they had any vegetarian options. He gave us some places to check out, but wasn't sure they would cater to vegetarians. On the last leg of the tour we had met a couple from Fresno (a city outside of Sacramento in California). I told them I grew up in Tahoe and they said they loved it there and went often. They also mentioned their favorite pizza place in Tahoe and it happened to be mine as well (Lake Tahoe Pizza Co.). I told them I used to work there and my friend owns the place. We chatted for the last bit of the tour to find out where they've been and where they planned on going next. A short while later we came to our last stop, the Royal Palace. We thanked our tour guide and tipped him accordingly. We then walked back to the hostel to plan our next attack.
We had found out that the Prado (art museum) was free from six until close. We also read if you didn't get there really early (four thirty-ish) you'd spend your whole time in line and if you got in you'd have to run around the museum to see anything. We rearranged our bags in the hostel and headed back out. We wanted to make it there in time to be able to see everything. 
We rushed to the Prado and made it there around four forty-five and there weren't that many people hanging out (stupid internet). There was a spot for the people to line up who wanted to see the museum for free, but that line wouldn't open up until five-thirty so we had some time to kill. I ran back to a small store we passed to get some snacks. We had missed second breakfast, elevensies and first lunch. When I returned there were more and more people gathering around waiting for the line to open up so they could start filing in. A little past five there were two older couples who tried to get in line before they had opened it up to everyone. The person working came over and told them the line wasn't open yet and she'd break their hip, tear their arms off, and wear their skin as a robe if they tried anything like that again*. The group looked pretty salty and disgruntled and got out of line. The ladies in the group had what you call RBF or "Resting Bitch Face", meaning that when their standard everyday normal everyday expression, while resting, had a very bitchy tone/vibe to it. They decided to make a line in front of where the line would be so they could be first. This caused some other people who were sitting down (and had gotten there way before them) to get up and form a line behind behind the two older couples. This started a chain reaction of people getting up and forming a line for the line. Shana and I didn't want to get played so we followed suit. As the pre-line got situated they opened up the ropes to the actual line and redirected people trying to cut and such. Shana and I were playing around and laughing pretty loudly to pass the time when a gentleman approached us. He asked us if we'd like his tickets to the museum. We said "Of course", followed by "Thank you so much. You're awesome!". Shana went to the front to ask an employee if the tickets were legit while I held our original spot down just in case the other tickets didn't work. The employee said they were real tickets and she flagged me down to come join her. As I passed the old ladies in the front of the free line I flipped them the bird and said "EAT SHIT AND DIE YOU OLD MAIDS"**.
We ran to the entrance and grabbed a pamphlet. Shana saw that one of her favorite art pieces was here and we rushed to room fifty six to check it out. As we got to the room we stood in front of "The Garden of Earthly Delights" by Bosch. Shana was ecstatic and we stared at the details for quite some time. I checked out some other works by Bosch while Shana was soaking in her favorite piece. Unfortunately the two pieces I wanted to see from Bosch: "Crossing the River Styx" and the "The Seven Deadly Sins" were on exhibition someplace else. DAMN IT! We did happen to catch a really sweet painting I hadn't seen before. It was  "The Triumph of Death" by Pieter Bruegel, and I loved it. We checked the time and saw six o'clock was steadily approaching. We wanted to see some more gems before the free crowd came in. We speed walked to room 67 and checked out "Saturn Devouring His Son" by Goya. He did this painting during his dark phase and it was amazing. So were all of his other dark phase paintings. After we soaked in the Goya's we strolled through the rest of the museum to check out what other masterpieces it contained. We walked around the museum until closing time. The Prado was by far our favorite art museum this trip (suck it, Louvre). As we came out of the museum it started to drizzle so we headed back to the hostel to escape the rain. 
Upon returning we informed our hostel host that we would be taking the night train the next day and asked if we could keep our stuff there until we had to leave. He said it wouldn't be a problem. All we had to do was be out of our room by twelve thirty the next day so he could clean it. He said it might rain and we could stay and hang out in the common room if it did. We thanked him so much for his hospitality and we headed to our room to pack up and sort things out for the next day.
It was getting late and we wanted to walk around Madrid more, but the rain thought differently so we did the next best thing. We went to our favorite bar, grabbed a tinto (Shana's favorite new drink), a beer, and people watched. The rain started to get a little heavier and we thought it would be best if we called it a night before the storm hit. We walked back to the hostel, brushed our teeth, and said our goodnights.                                                                                

*I was pretty far away and don't know too much Spanish and don't really know how to read lips, but I'm eight percent certain that's what she said.
**I said it with my eyes, not my words.

Day 82, Midnight Meat Train to Lisbon - 9/28
by Jerrad

Hey morning, how are you today? Good? Really? That's awesome. My new wife and I wanted to check out some of the other cool things Madrid has to offer. What's that? Rain is coming over? His friend Wind is coming too? Huh? You said Rain is mad at us? Why? We didn't say that. His mom IS sucky though. Uh. Fine.  
The morning had come and along with it came the rain. We had plans to visit the some other places in Madrid (Crystal Palace, Botanical Gardens, Royal Palace, etc...), but the rain thought otherwise. This might have been a good thing though because Shana's cold had taken a turn for the worst. Her cough had gone from the verge of plague status to full blown bubonic (see crayon drawing: Yuck!). We hung out at the hostel and packed up all of our stuff. There was a break in the storm and we decided to take advantage of it. We needed supplies for the midnight meat train to Lisbon so we walked down to the nearest "Supermarket*" and grabbed some snacks and a liter of orange juice. The storm was starting to come back from its break and was ready to ruin people's days again. We charged back to the hostel. 
We got back and made sure all of our stuff was cleared from the room so our host could clean it. We posted up in the common room and waited for another break in the storm. While we were waiting for a break we both downed the OJ like it was Gummy Berry Juice (I was preparing my body for the onslaught of sickness that would inevitably take over my being). The rain never broke. It rained liquid fury until we had to leave. I asked my host if I could have a trash bag to cover my backpack so my stuff wouldn't get wet and grow mold. We covered our bags, thanked our host profusely, and hit the road.
The metro was a hot and humid mess. We had to catch the one train to Charmander (how we remembered our stop, "Chamartin"). The two train and the five train were off line because of the weather and people had to take the one train to catch other trains to get to their destination. This meant that there were at least seven times as many people on the one train as there needed to be. As the train pulled up (already armed to the teeth with humans) we stormed in. We managed to squeeze in the corner of a car and I had to face the wall for three stops. I couldn't move because our backpacks made us two people wide. By the third stop, more than half of the train unloaded to catch another train, and I was free to face any direction I wanted. We finally made it to Charzard station. Shana and I walked around until we found our night train, but it didn't have a platform number. We were told the train wouldn't get a number until about fifteen minutes before departure. We sat in anticipation looking at the board until a platform number showed up. Nine forty pm hit and like clock work a platform number flashed up on the board. Little did we know how popular the night train was. We all formed a line and ran onto the train. When we bought our tickets we were told they separated the bunks into boys and girls. Shana would be in the room next to me with three other girls and I would be in a room with three other boys. Cruddy. We got on the bus and complete chaos erupted. Imagine a kindergarten class organized... anything. We got to our car number and Shana's room was occupied with three strangers that told us that you could sit anywhere you wanted and the numbers on the tickets didn't matter. We looked at them strange and walked to my room where there was a seat for Shana, so we didn't mind that much. As we got in the three foot by three foot** room we met another dude and a guy with a family in the room next to mine named Tom. We asked if they cared if Shana stayed in the room and of course they didn't have a problem with it. Guys will always say yes when a beautiful girl asks them if it's "ok". We were all sitting in the room, literally one inch from knee to knee. Tom found out he was switching rooms to hang with his family and a he said his goodbyes and a girl walked in right as he walked out because she didn't have a seat. The beds were locked into wall and we had to ask the train dudes to let them down. They were having enough trouble keeping the chaos contained so we thought we'd wait until the dust settled. Forty minutes passed by and the train employees came by and asked for our tickets. They saw that Shana and my tickets were different than the other's in the room and they asked us to follow them. We said goodbye to our roommates and  followed the train employees. Turns out our tickets were more gangster and Shana and I got our own room with the beds already unlocked and in the full and downright sleeping position. We thanked the train guys for their help and celebrated our brand new private room. We brushed our teeth and tried to sleep in the tiny moving room on pre-school bunk beds. 

*Supermarkets in Europe are more like medium Fresh and Easy's at best
**Probably closer to six by six, but still real small

obviously a Yoshi Gaudi mash-up
Jerrad could totally be a model. Anyone hiring?
super cool street performers

definitely saw a girl drinking wine from a carton at the hostel.

goodbye Madrid!

our view from Fabrizio's Guest House in Madrid

tinto <3

Mister volunteering on the tour

the Royal Palace

some more cool street performers

garden of earthly delights

my new Bosch tattoo (just kidding, dad)


the triumph of death

Jerrad's first authentic Paella


our honeymoon train suite


  1. Well, I warned you about those Spanish train rides. You fit a lot into the time in Madrid. Really good pics, too. Bosch........very disturbed person. Person who likes Bosch.......very disturbed as well. Tattoo....best and weirdest I've ever seen. Looks good Jerrad. Tinto....I want dat!!

  2. Surprised you encountered that storm in Madrid. I had been told that the rain in Spain fell mainly
    on the .......well, you know.