Granada, October 16: I left the hostel at 8:30 a.m. by taxi. Joana called it for me a bit earlier than my original intentions, but I was up and ready so why not leave.
At the bus stop, a gentleman saw me walking with my two bags and the computer bag, with a camera and purse slung over my shoulder. He followed me to where I thought the bus would stop. He motioned for me to watch my bags. I sat down and put everything near me, and when two middle eastern men walked up, he looked over at me and winked.
I took that to mean he thought that meant extra caution was necessary.
Then he began to talk to them, and I could tell by the body language and facial expressions, the men were being asked surprising questions and they were doing their best to answer. A women dressed in a red shawl and head covering joined them, and she began to argue with the man who thought I needed protection.
It all blew over, when the protector lost his confrontational stance, and the middle eastern men must have disarmed him. And whatever that was about, came to an end.
So, the bus took me to Madrid (the big, bad protector sat in front of me), with one break along the way, through greenery, pine trees, rolling hills and sheep, gardens, crops and cattle.
I actually saw a sheep herder moving his sheep down a road. That put me back to Vallecito, Colorado where we would have to move our car carefully through the herd of sheep, while on the road to Durango.
Then in Madrid, I had a two hour wait in the terminal and needed a restroom. I couldn’t leave my luggage, but the restrooms were upstairs. I could see that the escalator wasn’t working, and I couldn’t see dragging my luggage up there or finding an elevator so I sat and opened up the computer to use the wifi.
A gentleman in back of me tapped me on the shoulder and asked if I knew the password, and I did, from asking a bus driver a bit earlier.
He appeared to be a professional person, with a three piece pin stripped suit – like what my dad wore for about 15 years – and he carried a briefcase. So, I asked him if he planned on staying there for a few more minutes, and he said yes, that he would leave in one half an hour for Barcelona.
“Would you mind watching my bags for a minute? I need to go upstairs.”
“Of course,” he said and moved to my side of the bench, while he kept working on the computer.
It took me about ten minutes and I was back. I thanked him.
Later, he got up and moved to the bus heading for Barcelona and waved a good bye to me.
Then, it was time to board the bus to Granada and a bus sat in front of me with the ultimate destination and the name Granada on it, but so far a driver didn’t appear. I saw an African man standing near the bus and I asked him if he was also waiting for the Granada bus, and he said yes.
“We should just sit here and wait.” He moved over to the benches.
“Yes, good idea. I wonder where the driver is?”
Other people who looked at the bus sat down as well. But time went on, and it was a few minutes past the time to leave. I looked at the African man with a question on my face, and he looked at his ticket, leaned over and showed it to me.
“We’re going to the same place. See? My ticket is just like yours. So you might just as well sit and wait.” He looked at me as if I was a ‘nervous nellie’. I tried to explain to him that I have missed a bus before when I thought I was waiting for the right one and it turned out to be another one and I missed it.
“Look, he said, and pointed again at his ticket.” As if to say, dummy. Stop worrying.
Well, the people I saw who were looking at the first bus began to move to a bus parked in back of us and I decided to go look at it.
“I’m going to look at the bus over there.” The African laughed at my silliness.
“Is this the bus to Granada?” I asked the driver.
I had taken all of my luggage with me, and I didn’t look back, and instead, just put the bags in the luggage hold, along with everyone else. Soon, the African came along, looking a bit sheepish. I just smiled at him and shrugged my shoulders.
On the way to Granada it put me in mind of Southern Colorado and northern New Mexico. Miles and miles of ranches, wide open spaces, an occasional windmill as described in Cervantes’s Don Quixote, a rest stop here and there, and then huge rock formations.
Then greenery of trees and bushes on rolling hills, before the sunset. The sky turned fucsia, orange, purple and flashes of gold. Soon, trees were silhouetted on distant hills. Then after a break, we got into Granada, and a taxi took me to the hostel where I found my room would be four flights of stairs, with the last two twisting as if it were a castle.
I asked for a different room and was told I could get one the next day.
This is the next day, and for eighty dollars more, I’m in the first floor (which is the second floor, according to American’s way of counting floors of buildings) and there are still stairs, but fewer.
Breakfast was a bowl of pureed tomatoes, bread for toast, olive oil, jam and small cupcakes. Coffee tasted like it was made inside a dirty pot. The building is very old but interesting with windows and shutters, old door fixtures and lots of wood, marble and tile. I cannot wait to begin the exploration of the city so many people have told me about.
The hostel is on a tiny street near the center of town.