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Sightseeing Madrid, then My First Day in Calatayud – Day 21

20 November 2009 No Comment

Sunday 2nd August 2009 – Spain

Loud music, laughing and shouting from a nearby tent kept me awake until 6am, and at 7am, the talking began again as people started to wake up, so one hour sleep for me. It was doubly great as I had a long day ahead of me, and I was already shattered from the lack of sleep from many previous days. But I guess this is all part of travelling, and at least I was having a good time and seeing many things along the way. I have a nice tan at the moment as well which I hope I can keep for a while.

Statue in MadridI started off in the direction of Madrid, and could only find an underground car park in which to keep the car for a while as I visit the tourist information place. It was quite expensive here so I didn’t want to be parked here for long. I headed up to the main square and was pleasantly surprised with the surroundings. It looked very nice and I took a few pictures. I found the information place, and spoke to a very nice girl, but she could only give information on the one camp site in Madrid. It didn’t help me, but I liked the girl. We started talking only to be interrupted by a group of tourists wanting their own info. I said goodbye and left. Its strange for me to understand why I’m having so little joy with information places, and why I find it so hard to find people who speak English in these places. All the guides I read tell me that info places are easy to find, have English speaking staff, and can help with all sorts of accommodation throughout that country, even in the smallest of towns. So far I’ve found them hard to locate, difficult to find English speakers, and impossible to get any information about camp sites at all. Am I doing something wrong? With this in mind, I drove to the Real Madrid football ground for pictures, then headed off.

I carried on in the general direction I wanted to go, blindly looking for a camp site, and finding one in a place called Calatayud, near Zaragoza. It was cheap, but very out of the way, and not much to see or do, but it would have to be my home for the next few nights at least while I wait for my card. It turns out I have no credit on my phone, which is strange as I had £3 on there yesterday, and haven’t used it all in one day. I also have less money left than I thought I had, no food left apart from the remains of the pasta, and no fuel in the car. I used what little fuel I did have to go into town and try to get a phone card or use the Internet, but being a Sunday, everything was closed. I tried to ring or text the folks with no joy. I couldn’t contact them, not on either Sim card that I have with me. I phoned the company on the freephone number for the travelers Sim card I have, and asked if they could give me an emergency top up of credit, which they said no. when I explained the situation, they said they would phone my folks for me and ask them to top up my phone for me, but obviously, my parents wouldn’t know who this person was and wouldn’t just give their details to her. So when I got a text from mum asking if it was true, I couldn’t reply, and I felt helpless and useless. There was literally nothing I could do.

Later that evening I got another text from the parents saying they were worried, but again I couldn’t reply. I sat dejected in my chair, wondering what I could do, wishing I hadn’t moved on so much and spent so much money since loosing the use of my card. Overhead, helicopters frequently passed by with attached buckets swinging wildly beneath them. They were tending to the nearby bush fires that were sweeping across this part of Spain. The journey here lead me past some burnt out bushland. We weren’t near enough for it to be a concern to us, but it made me put things into perspective a little. I may be without some things I need, but at least I wasn’t battling to save my home from a wild fire.

Here on the camp site are a few people who live all year round in their trailers. One lady was English, and it was she who informed me earlier on that day about the wild fires. She was friendly, but didn’t want to be living there. She was desperate to leave, but unable to. There were others dotted around the site, but I hadn’t been introduced to them yet, and at this moment in time, I had no intention of changing that fact.

I boiled the water to use up the remaining pasta that I had left. I sat and watched with a careful eye as the water boiled, and turned only momentarily to get the pasta when a gust of wind blew the cooker over, spilling the water everywhere. The pot rolled around picking up as much dirt as possible, while the cooker, still burning, rolled toward the car tyre. Narrowly avoiding a burst tyre, I picked up the bits, much to the amusement of the Netherlands couple who were sitting nearby watching my little one man show. I had to wash up the pot and lid and start again, using more water that I couldn’t afford to waste. The camp site was small, and the tap water wasn’t for drinking.

Later, I got a text from dad asking to text back the camp site phone number. I couldn’t text anything back, and the reception was closed anyway, so I felt even more helpless. I hate being useless and helpless. I wish there was some way I could get myself out of this mess.

Click here to view more pictures from today, and throughout my trip around Spain

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Written by Daniel Stevens,
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