Trip Start Jun 22, 2009
Trip End Jul 20, 2009

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Where I stayed
Yellow Nest Feetup Hostel

Flag of Spain and Canary Islands  , Catalonia,
Thursday, July 2, 2009

So when I last updated, the five of us were optimistic about the future and ready to take an overnight train from Paris to Barcelona, leaving Paris at 9 p.m. and arriving in Barcelona at 8 a.m. We got to the train station and, after standing in line for f'ing ever, the not very nice French man told us all the trains were full because it was the beginning of holiday and that there was no way we were going to get out of Paris until Sunday. As you can tell from the location of this blog, we managed to end up in Barcelona today. How did we do this, you ask, if there were no trains? I will tell you the fascinating story.

After being dismissed from douchebag French man's company (get the French joke? Ha.) we returned to our hostel to mull over our plans for the next day. Luckily, we didn't have a hostel reservation in Barcelona for that night since we were planning on taking an overnight train, so we didn't have to cancel or change anything. We tried to find flights, but they were all around 200 euros, which we broke travelers clearly don't have. We also thought about renting a car, which would be incredibly scary but also incredibly fun, but the high price of petrol in Europe made us second guess that option. Finally, we decided the only thing we could do was get our stuff and go back to a different train station to talk to a different person about getting a train anywhere but Paris. We found a nice woman, surprisingly, as the French tend to frown upon people who don't speak French, who booked us a train to Montpellier that evening, yesterday, at 6 p.m. Clearly, grumpy French guy was just to lazy to find a train for us. The plan was to go to Mondpellier and get a train to Barcelona at 7 a.m. this morning. We wasted our last day in Paris in the Gare de Lyon train station, which was incredibly hot and had only a pay toilet. Our train was nice though, and we got to Montpellier at 9 p.m.

Now we should have known by now that plans don't always work out. We were planning on the train station being open 24 hrs. and us being able to sleep there last night and wait for the ticket offices to open this morning so we could get our seat reservations. However, we were kicked out at midnight by guys with big guns and a scary German Shepherd and ended up on the mean streets of Montpellier. I'm just being ironic, because Montpellier is a tiny town that is brightly lit and might have been the safest city we've been to yet. It also has only one hostel and a handful of hotels. We tried every place we could find and no one had vacancies that we could afford. The hostel wouldn't even let us hang out in their building because there were too many of us. At this point I should add that we found three Austrian guys, Alex Patrick and Martin, who were in the same situation of we were and we joined forces. After finding no place to sleep we decided to hang out in front of the train station till it opened again at 4:45 a.m.

Now parents, don't be alarmed. Including the Austrians and two Finnish boys who came to hang out with us, we had seven guys and three girls. We were a veritably army. There was no one to bother us except drunk crazy homeless people. One of the more interesting characters we came into contact with was a German who spoke French, German and English quite well and was able to curse exceptionally well in those three languages as well. He also had lace up jeans on. Quite the mental image. He didn't want to leave us alone so we pretended we only spoke Spanish, though none of us actually did. He finally left, and a stream of other interesting men of the night came to hang out with us. We did not encourage them, however, so they didn't stay long. All in all it was a very fun night spent outside the train station waiting for 4:45 a.m. to come so the station would open.

At 4:45 we got back into the train station, only to be told we couldn't sleep on the floor. So we killed time, met some cool Swedish girls, and got in line for tickets at 6:30 a.m. when the booth opened. Only, again, to have our dreams dashed by f'ing France. The train to Barcelona at 7 a.m. was full so we'd have to take a later train. More time in the God forsaken place that is the train station of Montpellier. We got McDonalds for lunch at 10 a.m., which was really like dinner since we hadn't slept since 8 a.m. the day before, and killed time until 11:55 a.m. when our train came. Hurry up and wait to the extreme.

We changed trains at the Spanish border and had to have our passports checked (but not stamped) by crazy gestapo looking guys, this time without guns. Got on another train and finally got to Barcelona at 6:36 p.m. Barcelona is so much nicer/cleaner/more fun than Paris. Most would disagree, but our circumstances made it difficult to really enjoy France very much. Tonight, we had a nice Spanish dinner and finally washed our bodies and our clothes after a very long 36 hours of travel. Tomorrow, maybe the beach; maybe we sleep late. The good thing is we already have our train reservation for Saturday so that's one less thing to worry about.

Update tomorrow night, if anything interesting happens. Hopefully we won't be stranded again!
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