My third time on a plane, my first time in Europe, luckily just one easy stop in Heathrow and then off to Barcelona. I left Halifax with a view out my window of familiar scenery, a sprinkle of snow and the dark midnight sky. After a less than sleep filled, night flight across the Atlantic, I saw sunlight peek through the window just too far up for a comfortable look. I opened the window all the way (to the displeasure of the people around me) and at first was surprised, we were circling a hilly area, coated in eerie fog, dead grass and clusters of houses that looked like their own small towns from up there.
Not quite what I had expected of London.
As the plane circled around (what I had been warned was a lengthy time waiting to actually land on the Tarmac) I enjoyed my first gourmet European meal:
Breakfast which was INCLUDED in my flight (I was shocked, I asked her three times how much I would have to pay).
It’s safe to say I get airline food jokes now.
It wasn’t grandma’s cooking but it was free and I was happy to munch on pancakes while watching the city finally form in front of me.
Skyscrapers, buildings that looked like art pieces, tiny cars, little water running through like a hybrid coastline for British gondolas. It was incredible. There wasn’t an inch of area unclaimed by something.
The airport required a bus ride just to get to the area that my gate (and any many others) was in, along with a Zara, Gucci, Mulberry, Tiffany and Co, a cute Cafe, oyster bar and Italian restaurant, plus many other establishments.
I enjoyed a Cliff bar and awaited the gate announcement of my final flight. Luckily departing in daylight this time with my own two very visible windows (I’m a window seat person).
This short two hour flight went by very quickly, with downloaded episodes of The Good Wife as the background (thank you Netflix for making shows downloadable finally!). I watched the waves crash many many meters down from me, like the small waves in a glass of water.
The Finally a coastline approached the window, a sandy beach, houses that looked like sweet old fashion villas and people so small they were specs on the sand.
I watched landscapes pass under me until finally Barcelona was visible. As we began our descent, and I packed up my things I started to get excited.
This was quickly squashed moments later when I arrived at my luggage pickup. Two suitcases, a backpack and a carry on is not what you want to have to lug on a journey all the way from Barcelona to Vic (if you go abroad, even for a long time never take more than one large suitcase). The heat it side left me sweating in moments as my hair frizzed larger every second. The damp sticky air was no friend to my dry mouth, or my aching body from carrying my bags only across the airport. I realized I had to get to terminal 2 to meet the other students, but I was in terminal 1. All of the signs were in Catalan, or Spanish and I could not read either. I asked a few people but no one seemed to know. I dragged my bags around the airport until finally I came across a bus station to switch terminals. A kind man helped me lift my bags into the bus, and I ensued a ten minute ride full of many almost falls and stumbles as the bus turned around sharp corners.
I got off of the bus and asked the girls where they were and they said they were outside a cafe inside the airport. The cafe ended up being on the other end of the airport from where I was. So I grabbed my things and started the long walk over to them.
I met two kind girls from Holland and Vienna who waited for me to land. We went to the train station and managed to get ourselves and all of our luggage onto one heading to Sants, still not 100% sure this was where we needed to go, or how to ask anyone if it was the right way. Thanks to some friendly locals and English speaking tourists we found our way on two trains to arrive at Vic at 9:00 pm their time after two and a half hours of train travelling.
We found a place by the train station to eat, where they sell something called Kebabs (eerily similar to the donair) and other items. After a quick bite we all found taxis to take us home (we could not walk another moment with the luggage).
Arriving at the door of RUVIC (the residence and my home for the next five months), all I wanted was to finally take a shower and sleep (it had been many hours since both). I walked straight to the doors only to find that they wouldn’t open for me. 10:02 p.m. seemingly without a place to stay I began to panick slightly. I knew I could find a hostel or somewhere to sleep but where? And how much? And how close? Luckily a kind local living on the building came to help me in the limited English he had. He went to find a girl, another Erasmus from America who came and let me in. She then went to get a woman who took me into an office that had closed at 7:00 p.m.
As she frantically spoke Spanish to me, I could do nothing but stare in confusion and say “Perdone Perdone, no habla Español”. To which I got more Spanish as a response. The American student came to my rescue, Breanna, and I don’t know what I would have done without her. She translated between the worker and I until I had a key, a room, the wifi password and a blanket for my bed.
Finally now at 11:30 p.m. I got into the shower, only to find that the curtain did not function well. After finishing the shower I stepped out into a flooded bathroom floor. I quickly used the only clean towels I had brought to sop up the water from the floor. I hung them up and realized my body and hair were still dripping.
I used some clothes to dry off my body and hung them up to dry themselves. I then reached for the adapter and converter pack I had brought with me to use my plugs. I found the converter and put it into a plug next to my mirror. As I tried to insert it, I heard a clunk. I tried again and again but the plug would not go into the wall. I finally realized that it was because the plug was inside a circular indent in the wall, as were all the plugs in Vic. My converter was a large square plug, which wouldn’t fit in the circle to get to the actual plug in the wall.
Well, that’s unfortunate.
I was now met with a dead laptop, an almost dead phone, half charged tablet, and dripping wet hair and no way to charge or use any of my heat products.
I tried all of the adaptor pieces, even tried plugging them into each other. But nothing worked. Until finally one labelled Great Britain (shaver) that fit in the circle plug and would allo me to plug my phone and tablet charger.
One problem solved!
It would also fit my hair dryer but without a converter I was risking blowing the adapter with Wattage problems. I braided my hair and called it a night.
I was finally safe in a bed, clean and in one piece. My arms burned from dragging my things across the city, and I hadn’t slept since two nights before, but I was in Europe, living in Spain, setting an alarm for a 9:00 a.m. orientation meeting, where I was meeting my new friends. And who knew what the next day would hold? I sent s last goodnight message to friends and family and closed my eyes for my first sleep in my new home, excited for what would come.
So it’s safe to say that my adventure has begun, and it wasn’t off to a smooth start. Nothing so far has been easy, or worked out as it was supposed to. But really,
Where would the fun be in that?