I’m sitting in the kitchen with my ever-present companion at my side: a steaming cup of Respirar hot tea which I am hoping will help rid me of my nasty cold that has been developing all week. I’m finally done with all my midterms! Finally. And I don’t have to go to school again until next Thursday because Fallas is finally here! About every minute, I hear the pop of a firecracker outside reminding me of the spectacular fireworks show I am going to see tonight at 1am. (Yes mom, my camera battery is charging as we speak).
Today, before I spend the next several days out in the street enjoying all the festivities of Fallas, I wanted to take a minute to fill you in one of my favorite days in Spain which happened last Friday.
It all started with Paris, France. I was sitting in the basement of the school, listening to some of the other girls plan a trip to Paris when Rachel and I decided that we should plan an adventure too. So, we got busy on our computers looking up little towns and came across Xativa, Spain. We knew absolutely nothing about Xativa, except that they had a castle. That was good enough for us. We decided to leave at 7:30am last Friday morning and spend about twelve hours exploring. Lindsay decided to come too.
And so the adventure began.
I woke up at 4 am, checked the weather, got ready for the day and headed to the train station around 5am to buy my tickets. I had never ridden a train before in Europe and figured that it was probably like an airport, and that I should get to the station more than an hour ahead of time. That makes sense right? Wrong. Trains in Spain are like buses. You don’t need to be at the station until about 20 minutes before your train is scheduled to leave, and if you really want to have an adventure you can get there about ten minutes before departure and still make it on the train.
So I sat in the beautiful train station taking pictures and watching the trains come in to and depart from the station. Sometime that morning, I had pressed the wrong button on my phone and locked it. I couldn’t use it to make any calls and the number that I needed to unlock my phone was sitting on my nightstand, forty-five minutes away. I realized that this meant I had no way to contact Rachel or Lindsay and no way of knowing when they were planning to arrive at the station.
I waited and waited and waited. 7am rolled around. The train started boarding. There was no sign of Rachel or Lindsay anywhere. I decided to board the train and figured that since I had bought my ticket that morning, perhaps I had bought the wrong time. I figured I would wait for them at the station, and hoped that they would board the train without me.
About ten minutes before the train was supposed to leave, I was looking out my window and saw Rachel and Lindsay running at a full sprint past the train I was on. I had no way of warning them because my phone was locked and they were running so fast that by the time I could have gotten of the train, they were gone. I pressed my nose against the window hoping to see them turn around and silently praying that God would help them get on the right train.
The train took off from the station. Without Rachel and Lindsay. I looked out my window again and noticed them sitting happily on a different train. Oh no. I had no idea where they were going and I later discovered that they were wondering where I was too.
I arrived at the train station in Xativa and discovered that there was another train coming to Xativa from Valencia about five minutes after mine. Thankfully, they were on that train. (We later discovered that they were supposed to be on my train). We headed into Xativa with literally no plan and ready for an adventure.
The rest of our day was spent…
Sipping tea and chocolate at a cute cafe.
Visiting the tourist office.
Climbing up a mountain and old castle walls. (That tiny black dot on the wall is me).
Spending 4 1/2 hours in this beautiful castle. Hardly anyone was there, so we felt like we had it all to ourselves.
Eating Magnum bars and having great conversations in the local park.
Shopping and exploring along the winding streets of Xativa.
Stepping inside an apartment building to view this gorgeous ceramic staircase.
It was a wonderful day of relaxing, great conversation, breathtaking views, learning, and fun.
We arrived to the train station at the end of the day exhausted in the best possible way. And we all made it back on the right train to Valencia.