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Will I Get My Bank Card Today?? – Day 29
Monday 10th August 2009 – Spain
Well, here we go again, the waiting game recommences. I had a call early on this morning from FedEx themselves, from England, telling me the card was in transit. He seemed amused about the situation, and the fact that the campsite was taking care of me, but assured me he was on the case today, and wasn’t going to let anything go wrong again. We’ll see.
Mum and dad were on holiday today, and were chasing the delivery every step of the way from home. Its dads birthday today, and what a way to spend the day.
I turned up at the Calatayud campsite in the morning, joked with the guy about whether my card would turn up or not, then set about making my tent again. People who had been on the campsite since the first day I had arrived were curious as to my return, some offering help where they could with food and water etc, which was very nice. I washed my clothes, had breakfast, and adopted my usual position in the fold-up camping chair, which by now was beginning to fray at the edges. It wouldn’t be long before it ripped completely, dropping me onto the dirt on my backside. It was something to look forward to.
The moment I had been waiting for finally arrived, my card was here. The courier turned up and dropped it off at reception. I took the package and opened with joy as the card stared back at me. I could have kissed it, but for the small crowd of onlookers. They were happy for me, and I was grateful for their support. The Netherlands couple, who had laughed at my attempt to cook pasta on my first day, smiled at me and wished me luck for the rest of the journey. They are nice people. I also offered to pay back the campsite for what they had given me, but they wouldn’t have it, so I popped a bit of money on the counter for the son, who resembles ‘Jack Osbourne’ a little in my opinion. He was grateful.
I still had the best part of the day left, so I decided to make the most of my remaining time in Calatayud, and head for the town with my camera. I put on my hiking boots and set off, much to everyone’s surprise, as it was a long hike, but its what I came on this trip for. There was suddenly a spring in my step, and I felt as though I could walk for miles, not caring any more about anything, but just enjoying the freedom I now had.
I visited the modern part of the town, and was pleasantly surprised. It wasn’t as bad as I thought it was, my initial judgement lacking in knowledge. I then entered the old part of town, which was dominant in this part, and thought I had walked into a war zone. The place was a mess, a dump, and the people seemed unwelcoming as I trudged through with a big smile on my face, looking every bit the tourist. I had to pass through to get to the castle ruins on the hill, and couldn’t help but notice the poor living conditions all around me, and the numerous adult shops that lined the dark alleys. Returning my attention to the road ahead of me, I continued onwards. I was glad to be ascending the road up the hill and out of the town.
The road was steep, but the ruins loomed up ahead of me and I pushed on to explore the grounds. The place made me feel uneasy, and I wasn’t sure I wanted to be there. Maybe it was the shacks built into the side of the hill surrounding the castle, or the dark roads at the foot of the hill, or maybe it was the police car that frequented the roads around the castle that put me off a little. It felt like crime central. The ruins themselves didn’t do much to dismiss those feelings either, as the walls were decorated with obscene drawings and graffiti. Dirty magazine pages clung to the soiled floor in the enclosed areas of the ruins, a few pages danced across the walkway in front of me, stopping briefly as a branch from a plant reached out to snag the paper. The smell was too much in some places, and I felt like I had seen enough before too long. The squatters and kids had done well in ruining what should be a nice historical attraction. Some other tourists turned up briefly, but left before much time had passed, probably equally unimpressed.
The panoramic views from the summit were extremely impressive though, and it didn’t seem like a waisted afternoon any more. The vast landscape, although very dusty and desert-like, left me speechless. I took a walk around the ruins on the guided route, and enjoyed the quiet atmosphere. Tables and picnic areas covered much of the area, although none were in use today. It didn’t strike me as the best place to have a picnic in all honesty.
After I had seen and done enough, I retraced my steps back down the hill and through the town towards the supermarket. Its always on the way back from somewhere that you realise just how far you walked in the first place. By the time I had visited the supermarket for my evening meal, my legs and feet were in agony. I still had the hour long walk back to the campsite to complete at this point. I collapsed once I had returned at the site, but I didn’t mind, I was happy to be exploring again.
I sat and rested in the evening, thinking and planning out the rest of my trip in my head, anticipating what was ahead, and looking forward to it all. I was determined to make the most of the trip from here on in, as I didn’t want every body’s hard work back home to have been in vein.
Written by Daniel Stevens,
Founder of Roundtheworldtrip.org.
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