Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Europe 2002 Trip Reports Part 3 Paris to Madrid

This is the 3rd of a series of posts recalling my trip to Europe, using e-mails sent at the time. Unlike later trips, I didn’t e-mail people everyday. Trip reports are largely as I wrote them at the time with two exceptions: 1. I was usually pretty rushed due to Internet fees in Europe, so I’ve cleaned up my e-mails to make them more coherent, which wasn’t a priority at the time. Also, in some blog posts I’ll add additional thoughts with the hindsight of nine years later or to add further clarification. I’ll use “NOW” in such cases.

This 3rd report covered a tiny bit of Paris and then my arrival in Madrid.

I realized at last minute that train I thought left this eve left yesterday eve; I couldn’t get the extra hostel money back but did catch another train; I only had to repay for part of reservation because my reservation got screwed up by Eurways.

[NOW: If memory serves, there was a connecting train somewhere, and the train from Paris arrived the day after the train it was supposed to connect with].

In fact this left me in a smoking car for seven hours even though cigarette smoke makes me a bit ill. Survived that and made it to Madrid. No time to do anything before dark but at least I’ll be all set for tomorrow.

[NOW: Of all the really big cities, Madrid was the city I had the most trouble with due to the language barrier].

Will explore Madrid tomorrow, Lisbon for maybe two days, then Madrid for another day maybe before going to Barcelona (using night trains to save money, only have to pay reservation fees).

[NOW: This was because I already had a Eurail pass at the time. More on that later]

My guide book warned this hostel is near the red light district. In fact as I hiked here from the train station I counted 11 possible prostitutes. The street is big but not that big. There´s also an amusement park nearby. I´ll pass on the obvious joke.

[NOW: The hostel and the prostitutes were mainly in the same park, Retiro Park, if memory serves. I may have used the subway part way from the train station to the hostel but can’t recall for certain.]

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