A day in my life

Some Basque words: the language is seen everywhere here in Bilbau.


This morning, so far, I only ventured out to the grocery store and that’s it. My roommate from Madrid told me the grocery store was a five minute walk, and Yanira Napoles, from the hostel reception said ten minutes. I figured fifteen would be about right for me.

So off I went, down the street to the crosswalk; wouldn’t try it without the crosswalk as the hostel is close to the train station, the subway and the industrial area. Car traffic is intent, and moves quickly along…like it does in any big city.

Then up a hill to another street and there was the cafe I found on the first day, so I stopped in there to get a real cup of coffee, as the hostel only serves instant…that is NOT coffee. I was greeted warmly by the man who either owns the place or is the manager. He’s a tall handsome guy wearing wrist jewelry and some bling around his neck. His sleeves are rolled up to his elbows; guess that’s for the elbow grease needed to wipe the counters and clean the cups, saucers and plates. He moves quickly, serving, taking money, washing the dishes and joking with the customers.

An older, and large man stood at the counter eating a croissant and dunking bits of it from his fork into his cup of coffee. That looked good, but I settled for the cafe con leche and took it outside. I really like the small cookies or chocolate that accompanies the coffee in nearly all European coffee shops.

After indulging in the coffee, I headed up to the grocery store. There were no sidewalks to walk on, so I wove in and out of cars and trucks to the store. It isn’t a welcoming front door, but no matter, it has groceries and that’s what I wanted.

The store offers large baskets that you have to pay a coin for, but you get it back after you’re through using it. There are other smaller plastic basket with wheels for smaller purchases. I took one of those and vowed to purchase only what I  needed for today, passing up lots of other items which took discipline. After all, I would have to walk back with it, and besides I don’t want to waste food.

Another coffee shop near the museum/not the one in the story

I purchased a tortilla – the kind I’ve mentioned before – a salad mix, a can of tonic water, and creme for my coffee. It’s unusual to me to find milk in cartons not stored in the refrigerator but stored on shelves near the clorox and soap boxes.

One of those would only add to the weight of the grocery bag, so I purchase creme from the refrigerator.

At the checkout station, you must either have brought a bag with you or you must purchase one. This keeps the plastic from flying around on the streets and in the trees.

Yanira gave me the itinerary for tomorrow; we will leave the hostel at 2 p.m. and go to her small town, where I can see a small Basque village, and then we’ll pick up her mother and they will take me to a travel agent, then back to the hostel.

She wants her mother to meet me, because “you are unusual” she said. When I left on this journey over six months ago, I wasn’t giving my age a thought. The journey wasn’t about that. But now, because I hear so often how unusual I am,  I guess I’m beginning to believe it. It’s amazing to think that people my age assume they cannot do the same thing I’m doing.

Okay, now I must tell you the reason for the travel agent. I will be in Granada next week. A gentleman who was in the Vaughan program is from Granada and he told me that as long as I’m in Spain I should see his beautiful city, and many people have agreed. But, here I am in nearly the opposite end of the country, and how will I get there from here?

Yanira has lots of friends and one of them is a travel agent. When both she and I got frustrated with trying to get an answer, the travel agent had the answer for us. One, I could fly there for over $200 or I could take a bus for around $50. My option, of course was the bus ride. So on Tuesday morning, I’ll begin a twelve hour bus ride. 

There will be a change in buses in Madrid, and several short stops along the way. Guess I need to buy a book.

I’m working on another exotic place to go after I leave Granada as long as I’m in the area, but more on that later…

The subway and the old town is calling so I must go. I’m posting some photos of the Richard Serra exhibition and a huge dog that sits outside of the museum and is made of plants and flowers.

Richard Serra exhibit inside the Guggenheim Musuem

A huge puppy made from plants and flowers. It stands in front of the Guggenheim Museum

4 Responses to A day in my life

  1. Laureen…..a twelve hour bus ride !!! I know about a good book……but I think you have already read it…..
    We miss you……how about handing your camera to some one and have them take your picture…hugging a statue, eating a tortilla….or just standing there smiling ?
    You make our mornings special…..as we read of your on going adventures.
    Paula and Bud

  2. Laureen, Laureen
    Thanks for giving us another day like your recent “Day in my life”. We remain thankful for all your days. Watch those bus rides. Paula sends her love.

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