Piece of Cake

My first attempt to get a train reservation to Valencia earlier today failed because I had forgotten to take my Eurorail Pass and passport with me.  Unlike in France, in Spain the railway system requires reservations, and if you have a Eurorail Pass, you have to show it.  So I returned to the hostel emptyhanded and tried to figure out my travel plans for the next few weeks.  I have decided to go to Marrakesh to visit Faical (the guy I met on the train to Basel from Paris; see “Next Stop: Basel,” July 23, 2007) and his family, but I still need to buy the tickets.  I couldn’t find any reasonable fares online.

As I was checking different travel sites, a girl staying at the hostel came by and sat down in the common room.  She struck up a conversation with me and in between checking flight details, I chatted with her.  Her name’s Shauntel.  She’s from Holland, and she’s in Malaga studying Spanish.  Back home, she works at a casino.  I can tell that she’s a bit older, probably in her mid-30s.  I finally settled on a plan:  I would take the train to Valencia, stay there a few days, and then take a train to Madrid.  From Madrid I would fly to Marrakesh on the 19th.  I didn’t buy my ticket yet because I want to first receive confirmation from Faical that he’s in Marrakesh and that his invitation still stands.  I dropped him a quick email.  I told Shauntel that I had to head back to the train station, and she suggested we grab dinner later.  We agreed to meet in the common room around 9:00pm.

This time I took a bus to the station, and I made sure I had both my passport and my Eurorail Pass with me.  At the station I spoke to a different woman than before.  She suggested I could take an early morning train tomorrow to Madrid and transfer to a Valencia-bound train there.  This sounded better to me than staying two more days in Malaga and taking a night train to Valencia as the first woman had suggested.  I also made a reservation from Valencia back to Madrid on the 18th.

Shauntel and I bought some sandwiches at a small shawarma place and then walked around until we found a nice restaurant for dessert.  I told her about my disappointment at not finding chocolate cake on my birthday, and she offered to join me for some tonight.  I made sure the restaurant had the goods before we sat down, and then, finally, two days after my birthday, I had my chocolate cake.

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