|I was on a mission this morning to buy my last two train tickets of my stay in Spain, and I didn't want a repeat of last Monday when I was waiting in line for a long time, so I thought I'd beat the crowd, get to the train station a lot earlier than last, and be in and out. I did get to the train station a lot earlier than last week, but I had a different experience than last time.
I got to the Atocha Train Station at 11:15 and was relatively pleased with how early in the day it was. Certainly there wouldn't be a lot of people waiting to buy a ticket... WRONG. I walked in to the ticket sales area and saw very long lines of people waiting to buy a train ticket, but as I looked at which lines they were in, they were all standing in lines for same-day travel, which wouldn't apply to me. So I quickly ignored all the people waiting. In order to buy a ticket for an upcoming trip, you have to get a ticket with a number on it and wait your turn. I saw that they were now serving number 28, so I felt like I was early in the queue of people waiting. I told the ticket attendant that I'd like a number for 'una venta anticipada', and she hands me a ticket with the number 132. I took the ticket, stared at it for a second, and then stood there some more. I loved how at the bottom of my ticket it said "You have 104 customers waiting in front of you." I had no other plans for the day, so I decided to wait it out.
The ticket was issued at 11:21, and it was 1:17 when number 131 was called. Last week when I did the 'ticket sale raffle', I made the mistake of remaining seated until it was my turn, and I almost missed purchasing my ticket because I didn't get to the counter quickly enough. This time I made sure I was ready to go to whichever taquilla (ticket booth) I needed to. As I was standing there, quickly eyeing the taquillas to see which one would turn to 132, I felt my heart beating so fast. I don't know why it was doing that. I guess it was a rush knowing that after exactly two hours of waiting that it was my turn to buy my train tickets.
I was beckoned over to taquilla 17 where I conversed with a very nice woman who helped me purchase my train tickets to Salamanca and Málaga. I've noticed that a lot of public workers aren't the friendliest of people, so I didn't know who I would get or how they'd receive me, but she and I got along very well, and I told her how much I appreciated her once it was all said and done. It felt glorious to walk out of the venta de billetes area, especially since I knew that I WAS DONE WITH TRAVEL PURCHASES!! These train tickets were the last items I have to purchase for doing any sort of traveling while in Spain. My apartments and flight home are already paid for, and now with the train tickets taken care of, I'm officially set for the next 11 days. That's a really great feeling!
Today is a designated laundry day. I've just about exhausted my attire, so it was time. Not that doing laundry is interesting, but something unique about the experience of washing clothes here is that the washing machine is located in the kitchen, which isn't out of the normal. The main difference in washing clothes here versus in the States is that I have yet to see a dryer. I had seen a lot of people hanging clothes off their balcony or on lines connecting to other buildings, and it's literally how it's done everywhere. Paul has this nice drying rack that I use to dry my clothes, and thanks to the dryness in the air here, it doesn't take too long for clothes to dry.
I can't say today has been too exciting, which is okay. It's not like I have to be doing things every day, and I certainly took care of sight-seeing yesterday when I went to Segovia. I think I need this day to relax and decompress before getting back to it tomorrow. I have a museum in mind I'd like to check out, or I might go to the zoo. Who knows what I'll end up doing!?