Wednesday, October 14, 2009


We didn't have class on Monday, giving us another long weekend. Up until Friday afternoon in phonetics class, I had planned on hanging round Madrid, getting some homework done, and such.

Between phonetics class and literature, Izzy and Mike had swayed me to come to Alicante with them (and about 6 others) for the weekend. Their bus left at 6pm that evening. We had class until 2.30pm. Thus, immediately after class, Iz walked with me to the metro, which we took to the bus station nearest our apartments. This bus station was busy and crowded with many people and plenty of luggage. I waited in line for at least ten minutes, as a never ending list of what-ifs bombarded my consciousness. What if the bus is full? What if the bus on the way back is full? What if the hostel is all booked? Etc. etc.

Amazingly, both bus tickets I needed were available. After taking the metro back to my apartment, I had just over an hour to book a hostel room and pack, before I met Iz outside at 5 to head to the south bus station. Went to the website for the hostel, tried to book 3 nights, but it said Friday night was full. Quickly booked Saturday and Sunday night, in case they filled up, then decided to call. Again, amazingly, I was able to add myself to Izzy's reservation of 5, making 6 in our room, and delete the online reservation I had made minutes earlier. Packed, bought a baguette for the bus ride, and we were off! There were a decent amount of students our age and younger on the bus, whom were talkative and friendly. Just over an hour into the bus ride, one of these guys shouted up to the bus driver and asked if we could stop. The bus driver asked why, and the guy said because he had to pee. The bus driver laughed and said that he had to go too, but he had to keep driving. Maybe 45 minutes later, as we were passing through a town, the same guy again told the bus driver that he had to stop. So the bus driver slightly pulled over right in front of some building. The guy ran off the bus to relieve himself in front of the building, within clear view of the bus (though by thi s time it was fairly dark out) and the bus driver shouted at him "Ay ay ay... hay mujeres!" (There are women on this bus!) Then my friend Mike ran off the bus to go, followed by at least 5 other guys, each about 10 seconds apart. It was pretty entertaining though, because the bus driver was a tad bit bothered, and would say something after each guy left, which all the rest of us passengers were laughing at. Then he honked the horn and told them to hurry up -- it was a very brief stop.

We met a Spaniard on the bus, Jose, who exchanged numbers with Mike before we parted the bus station. We got to Alicante around midnight (6 hr bus ride) and took a taxi to our hostel. The man checking us in said there wasn't a room for us. Asad explained to him that Izzy had made a reservation for six beds. Kim (WIPer) and her friend Hillary (non-WIPer) had reserved a 2-person room in the same hotel, and had checked in just fine. It seemed like the man was mixing these reservations together or something... Asad explained to him again that two people got a private room together, and had their key, and the six of us had a reservation in an 8 person dorm room. The guy kept telling us to stay calm "tranquilos, tranquilos". We were calm, just making sure he understood that we had a reservation. He said he'd go call the girl w ho had taken down the reservation. So we waited in the lobby for about 15 more minutes, hoping we'd have a place to stay that night. The man returned and said he'd figured out what had happened, and that yes, we did indeed have a room for the 6 of us.

After dropping off our stuff, five of us walked down to one of the beaches, and the other three went to explore the "downtown" area and find something to eat.
W e returned to our room around 2-3ish to crash.

We spent all day Saturday at the beach, and it was wonderful!
Saturday also included two trips to a supermercado, since all grocery stores are closed on Sundays, and they'd be closed again on Monday for the holiday. Hence, we all ate a lot of bread that weekend. Here's what Izzy and I ate Saturday night for dinner (bread and hummus):After dinner, while hanging out outside of the hostel, we met four Swedish students that were staying at our hostel for the weekend too (and are living in Madrid for the year). Jose (from the bus) and one of his friends joined all of us at the hostel, then we headed out for the night.

Sunday after waking up, with books and bread in hand, we headed straight to the beach again. Jose and his friend Bruno hung out with us at the beach that day, too. That evening, we took a shuttle to downtown Alicante (our hostel must have actually been in San Juan, right next to the beaches). Asad won 60 euro at the casino on the coast; he's the only one who wanted to pay the 3 euro entry fee.
The rest of us sat on the shore, listening to this great folk band from the UK, Uncle Meat and the Highway Children. At first sight - well, you can look for yourself and make your own assumptions.. but their music was so relaxing; many will say listening to this band was a definite highlight of the weekend.Reluctant to leave, we finally dragged ourselves from the music to eat some dinner. We ate at a Chinese restaurant with cheap prices. We finished dinner at 11.45pm, but weren't even phased; it felt completely normal to be eating dinner at that time. After dinner, part of the group met up with the four Swedes/Jose/Bruno, while others just walked around downtown.

Monday was a sad day, as nobody wanted to leave the gorgeous weather nor the beach. Izzy and I went out to the hostel's pool for an hour before we had to start packing. (Did I mention this place was only 10 euro / night?? Excellent price - and we were only blocks away from the beaches)
Then we all took the tram to downtown Alicante, got a quick lunch at Subway (haven't seen these in Madrid... Alicante is quite touristy, which explains many of their dining options), and walked to the bus station. Highlight of the bus ride home would be that a member of the band (guy in the bottom right of the picture) was on our bus! He told us they're coming to Madrid on December 3. We're all going.

This was by far the best weekend I've had in Spain thus far. It was relaxing, the sun was wonderful, met some Swedish friends, and I got even closer to the friends I traveled there with. And as usual, there are some more pictures up on my shutterfly site.

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