The Most Expensive Pair of Undies Ever!!!
Trip Start Dec 16, 2009
25Trip End Jan 09, 2010
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Where I stayed
Off to the bus station - Michael was heading to Granada today on a 10:30 AM bus but decided to head out with us, despite our bus to Salamanca departing 30 minutes earlier than his. Over to the nearby bus stop - we were a little concerned when we had waited close to 25 minutes and no bus had come; this particular bus runs every 14-21 minutes. We were even more concerned when we saw two buses running in the opposite direction come by in a span of 15 minutes.
It finally showed up - the driver must have been behind schedule because he was taking the corners pretty quickly, and was likely the Spanish cousin of our minivan driver during our tour out to the Sahara
We said goodbye to Michael and boarded our bus, and it was then that I realized I would one day return to Cordoba. It's a nice little town and La Mezquita was amazing, but I wouldn't come back for any of the sights - well ... I suppose you could consider them to be sights ... I'm talking about Cordobesas, the local women! I've always had the vision of the ideal woman in my mind, which is essentially my vision of the ideal Spanish woman, and she was sitting on our bus, but unfortunately with her boyfriend :(
We lucked out in a way today, finding a small little bus company that does cheap runs between Cordoba and Madrid, from where we can catch another bus to Salamanca. By bus, our only direct option cost 42 Euros, and was a 7:30 AM bus that arrived in Salamanca at 6:30 PM - that would've made for a very long day!
By train, we needed to first go to Madrid and then change train stations there via metro, in order to catch a train to Salamanca. A few days ago, there was a cheaper train available for 65 Euros, but now there was only a train available for 85 Euros!. Train travel is a strange thing in Spain, as it is contrary to the simplicity of train travel throughout the majority of Europe - it's not very convenient in Spain, as it often takes longer than buses, and is almost always more expensive
Our option ended up costing only 30 Euros, a pretty significant savings over the other choices. The bus to Madrid took about 4.5 hours and surprisingly, never stopped for a restroom or food break. The day before I picked up a big pack of bananas, knowing that there were too many to be eaten today, but figured that the leftover bananas could be eaten the following day. We were quite thankful for the extra bananas today, as we didn't have lunch until arriving in Madrid at 2:45 PM, and polished them all off.
The next bus was only three hours, and I passed the time with a quick 10 minute siesta, and a bit of blogging and sorting through pictures. Expecting some very cold and damp weather, we were pleasantly surprised that it was relatively nice out. We walked the twenty minutes from the bus station to our accommodation for the night, since we couldn't find the bus stop.
We checked in, quickly got settled, and headed out - I needed to do a bit of shopping, as I was running out of clean clothing, and there were no longer any nearby laundromats, the one good option having closed its business. I popped over to Springfield and bought the most expensive pair of underwear I have ever purchased in my life - it ended up costing me about 45 Euros!!
Why so expensive? Well, I had purchased that and a shirt that cost about 4 Euros, for a total of 10 Euros and change, and handed over a 50 Euro bill to the cashier. She only gave me a few coins back, and I asked about the change. She told me there was no change because I had given her 10 Euros. WTF??? Worse still, was that she was incredibly rude, treating me almost like I was a thief trying to scam her.
What do you do in that situation? Am I supposed to stick my hand in the till to get back my 40 Euros? I kept telling her that I gave her a 50 and to check, and she continually maintained that it was only 10 Euros. I asked her to count the money in the till, but she refused, saying she couldn't until the end of the night which I understood, to a certain degree. I was getting pissed off, and started having troubles communicating in Spanish; I normally need to concentrate 100% to remain coherent when speaking it, and also to understand it. I asked in Spanish if she spoke English, and she snapped back that she only spoke Spanish.
I asked to speak to the manager, and she told me she was the manager, and that I should come back in the morning
The discussion was going nowhere, so Mary and I went off for a walk before having dinner, starting at Plaza Mayor and strolling down the many busy streets that radiate outwards from it. It was the prime paseo hours with certain streets completely clogged with people, which is both a good and a bad thing because it results in a great vibe, but also prevents you from walking at a decent pace.
We walked down Gran Via, and then over to the cathedral before heading back to Plaza Mayor via Rua Mayor. It wasn't as crazy as I remember from my first time here over four years ago, but that was during early September, when all the students were back in town to start the academic year. I have some really great memories of Salamanca, and how John and I seemingly stumbled upon something new around every corner - an outdoor tapas area, a food festival, and a free concert in Plaza Mayor
We took a quick walk around Plaza Mayor to scope out some dinner options, making note of a couple of very busy tapas bars on the east side of the square. Not finding anything better, we returned to Reloj de la Plaza, one of the first places we saw. Salamancan bars still adhere to the old Spanish tradition of providing a tapa with every single drink, making for some very cheap eats here. Interesting note - the bartender called them pinchos, which I thought was a term for tapas used only in the Basque country.
We're a couple of lightweights, so we ordered a third tapa separately, instead of getting it free with another drink. It definitely wasn't enough to be a full meal, but it was a good start since the pinchos were much larger than we expected. It cost us just over 6 Euros including tip, for three tapas and two glasses of wine. You can't beat that!
A couple more tapas bars and then a bit of a walk - the streets were pretty dead at this point with most pedestrians gone, perhaps to the bars, which usually start filling up around midnight. A bit of blogging and watching latin music videos rounded out the night at our aparthotel.