So, after a tiring fin de semana (weekend) away in Barcelona, it was great to come back to San Sebastian with my sister, Michelle, and take it easy for the week. It still, however, was a bit tiring for myself because I still had 3 hours of class every morning and however-many-hours in the evening of work on top of entertaining her and making sure she knew how to get wherever she needed to go for the day. Fortunately, work had slowed down quite a bit that week, which was very helpful because it freed me up more to spend time with her. Michelle was in town with me in San Sebastian at my apartment that Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and half of Thursday (March 31 – April 3). During the days, we walked a lot around town and snapped pictures of the beautiful city, hiked a little, and just had a good time. I felt bad because it rained most of the days, but we got lucky to be out-and-about for the few hours each day that it actually cleared up. The week was relaxing somewhat, but the constant walking sure wears your feet out fast! Oh yea, and I made Michelle (and myself) try pulpo (Octopus) which is extremely extremely common in SS and Spain in general. It wasn’t too bad!–but it was pretty “scary” in my mind and I’m not sure how many more times I’ll really want to “try” it again!
I’m happy that Michelle got her taste of the very hospitible-San-Sebastian-folk here as some old man spent about 20+ minutes walking with us, telling us the history about San Sebastian, showing us things to take pictures of that we might not have known about, and using our cameras to take pictures of the both of us together. I was pleased/proud that I understood maybe 60-75% of what he said (which was all in Spanish) and pleased once we finally got away from him becuase he kept talking and talking and talking!! She also encountered a really nice woman in a shop who was trying really hard to speak English to her and help her out. Michelle said she really liked SS and it was one of her more favorite cities, awesome!
On Thursday (April 3), after my class and after dropping Sonny off to the girl who was watching him for yet another weekend (I was lucky to find a girl that works at the school who was EXCITED to watch Sonny and insisted I NOT pay her for it), Michelle and I went to the San Sebastian aeropuerto (airport) to catch our flight to Rome, Italy (Roma!). Ugh, I didn’t realize what a NIGHTMARE I was about to face!
So we walk up to the counter and we are told that we need each of our credit cards that we had originally booked our seats on for the flight. We booked these tickets months ago when I was still in the US and for my ticket I used some random credit card that has extra travel insurance coverage. Well, Michelle had her original CC no problem, but of course I DIDN’T have mine with me. I figure they would make an exception or help me out somehow. NOPE. NO LUCK. NOTHING. They didn’t care. The woman basically tells me I cannot get on the plane without showing them the CC or if I pay another 400+ Euro for a new ticket!! WHAT THE HECK??? I already had paid WAY too much for my ticket in the first place! Of course nobody speaks English well, and I’m finding it incredibly hard to express my frustration in Spanish and to try to BEG them to help me. And they honestly don’t really care. And there is only one hour until the flght leaves. Sheesh….like my Italian friend in class said, “That’s the damn Spaniards for you!” UGH!!!!!! So I’m in the airport and tears are starting to form and I’m feeling like I need to throw up, I don’t know what to do, and we are trying to see if I can check in anyway through the kiosk. Meanwhile, I call my poor roommate, Dani, have him embarassingly dig through my underwear drawer–where I currently have been hiding my extra credit cards, etc—and BEG HIM to jump in a cab and bring my credit card to the aiport. Well, $70 euro later (for a round trip cab fare), on the verge of tears, a load of frustration, embarassment, stomach-in-knots, lots of sweating, with TEN MINUTES TO DEPARTURE, my roomie arrives with the card, I run into the airport and give it to the woman so we can go ahead with getting me en el avión (the plane.) Phew, I’m saved now, right?
Then she tells me THEY SOLD MY TICKET!!!!! WHAT? THEY CAN DO THAT??? So she puts me on standby, and I race through security and watch as the last people get on the plane and as Michelle yells to me the name of the hostel we are staying in Rome so I can somehow try to find a way to meet her there. Did I mention I dont have the address or really know anything about the place? haha! Well, with barely a minute to spare, they finally wave me on and I get the absolute LAST seat available in the plane–in first class. Phew!
Ugh. Anyway, so after 3 hours of flying we arrive in Rome late at night to a sea of Taxi drivers who are following us through the airport and trying to scam us. One guy even goes so far to pretend he works at the airport and tell me the train we planned to take is not running this late (even though Michelle looked up the info earlier and knows for SURE it is still running). The guy then tells me he has a shuttle service and for “only” 25 euro each he can take us where we want to go. This is one reason that COMMON SENSE and GOOD INSTINCT is an absolute necessity when traveling. Because, we we go on and igore the idiot, we find that the train IS running, and for 11 Euro we get to our hostel safe.
The weekend ended up being pretty wonderful after all that commotion! The weather was “decent” most of the weekend, we saw SO many gorgeous things– The Colosseum, St. Peter’s Basilica, Trevi Fountain, The Pantheon, etc etc, and many other buildings, monuments, churches, etc, and MY GOODNESS we spent like 6 HOURS in the damn Vatican museum, yikes! Even though you aren’t supposed to take pictures of the Sistine Chapel, we couldn’t help ourselves and got some great shots 😉 Once again, I couldn’t believe how touristy yet another city had gotten, which is sad, and what was even MORE SAD was the fact that to get in/out of the ancient Roman ruins, YOU HAVE TO WALK THROUGH A TURNSTILE. You know, those metal turn-y things you walk through that count the number of people. Seriously?? Ugh. I couldn’t believe it! Man, this world changes every day I swear.
Our hostel was actually pretty good (for a hostel) and we only had 2 girls for roommates and there was a bar downstairs so we met a lot of people and had a great time. More than anything, though, I was sooooooo excited for THE FOOD in Italy!!!! By far, I think Italy has the most wonderful and amazing food, and I was SO EXCITED to eat as much of it as I could! AND even more, I love sitting at those lovely outdoor cafes sipping wine, eating bruschetta and some red-sauce-and-cheese covered pasta dish or pizza. 🙂 Mmmmm!
As much as Roma is a beautiful city, I think I have definitely had “enough” of the city—since this was my THIRD time there, at one point in the trip I had reached the, “I’m over it,” point. Yes, I know that sounds horrible and I’m not ungrateful. I just know there are a billion more places in the world that I havent been to so many times, and I am anxious to discover them!
But Roma definitely has a BIG place in my heart . . . I have oodles and oodles of fond memories there, including some very Romantic days/nights there in the past! 😉 Ahhhhh….. ROMA!
My time with my sister came to an end on Sunday (April 6) when it was time for me to jump back on a plane to San Sebastian, and she would stay for another night in Roma and return to Germany on Monday to catch her flight back to the US. Fortunately, my flights back to SS went without a hitch, but then OF COURSE I arrived back only to face more headaches and frustration. The story is FAR too long and complicated to get into details, but let’s just say the dog-sitter changed meeting-plans on me last minute, I didn’t have a cellphone so I wasted a lot of time and money on payphones, was giving shitty directions that didnt make sense, missed the last bus of the night but didn’t know it was the last one so I sat out in the dark at a creepy bus stop FOR AN HOUR at night, ended up paying yet another $35 euro to get home WITHOUT THE DOG, and went home and just crashed. Oh yea, and I kicked the bus stop sign, yelled angrily, and cried. I had just HAD IT at that point!
Hehe . . . but ANYWAY! —For now, let’s not let that take away the beauty of . . . ROMA!!!!!!!!! 🙂