OK, for what was supposed to be an uneventful travel day, let’s just say it was kind of the exact OPPOSITE! I didn’t take many pictures because I was, in fact on a train or in a station for the majority of the day. My route was to take me from Dinan, France to San Sebastian, Spain, with a few train changes along the way.
My day started at 7:45 am when I caught my train from Dinan to Lamballe.For some reason I thought this leg of the trip was a longer one so I wasn’t really paying attention when we stopped at our first stop. Oh sh*t, it was my stop, so I grabbed my stuff and hurried off the train as you only have about 2 minutes to get off when it stops. So, the train starts pulling away when I realise that I left my jacket hanging on the hook by my seat. Crap! That’s what I get for trying to be ladylike and hang my coat instead of my usual cramming it into my bag.
I go inside the station ask (in my shaky French) if they speak English. Nope, not a one of them! So, I played my own version of the board game Cranium to tell them that I left my coat on the train. I used drawings, charades, all I needed was the plasticine and I would have been set! Somehow they understood and told me the jacket would come back to the station. I just wasn’t sure of WHEN it would come back to the station, and how in the heck would I then pick it up as I wasn’t coming back to this area again.
I wrote my info. on a post it note and wrote that I might be able to come pick it up in May. They looked confused and managed to make me understand that the jacket was coming back on the very train that I would get on in half an hour to go to my next stop. Yay, yay, yay! I must have some karma points working in my favour! So, long story short, I got my coat back.
I get on my next train and have a short ride to Rennes, then change trains again to go to Nantes. No problems, all is good. From Nantes I was then going to Bordeaux St. Jean. It was the longer ride of the day. I needed to get to Bordeaux by a certain time to make a connection. It shouldn’t have been a problem since there was a ½ hour waiting period, so I wasn’t worried.
For some unknown (and unannounced) reason the train stopped at a small station for at least 40 minutes. We just sat there. I could hear people grumbling, but no one (NO ONE!) spoke English, so I had no clue what was going on. I asked the conductor what time the train would roll into Bordeaux and he said 7:00.
That wasn’t looking good for my connection to Irun at 7:04. Don’t panic, just go with the flow. That’s my new mantra. So we pull into Bordeaux at 7:45. Thankfully I get the one ticket agent that speaks some English, explain my situation to him and he gives me a new itinerary to get to San Sebastian via Dax, only the second train doesn’t take me to San Sebastian, it takes me to Hendaye, in France.
Then he says it’s a tram ride to San Sebastian. A tram ride? At 11:30 at night? I’m starting to worry a little about being able to get a cab when I get there, crossing the border into Spain etc. I get onto my train and I notice this young guy sitting across the aisle from me. An announcement comes on and he sighs heavily, so I ask him if he speak English. He speaks GREAT English so he tells me there is a car across the track and we have to wait for it to move. WTF? Apparently he is having the same crap day as I am, as he was also on the train from Nantes to Bordeaux. He said someone had tried to commit suicide on the tracks, so that was what the delay was about. OK, so now at least I know! We start chatting, he’s a student in San Sebastian and said he had a cab waiting for him so I asked if he wanted to share the cab fare… Good thing because that was a 60 euro fare!
So then the cabbie takes me to my hotel. It’s 12:30am, and I’m worried he’s not going to be there. My worries were unfortunately right. There was a phone number taped to the door so I asked the cabbie to phone for me and see what the story was. He talked to someone, told me to go around the corner and that’s frankly all I understood… There was another hotel around the corner with an open lobby, so I figured he meant go wait there for the hotel guy to come. Thankfully this hotel clerk spoke English very well, so I told him what was going on and he said he’d try calling my hotel as well. No answer. Tried again, no answer. Hmmmm, am I going to spend the night in a hotel lobby? At least I’m not out on the streets, because I’d be freaking out! He gave me the hotels wifi info. so I could email my guy, but he was obviously not coming for me. I asked if I could just hang out in the lobby if my didn’t come to fetch me and he said yes, and even better told me they had a cot in a room in the back for the night staff to have a nap if they tired and I was welcome to it. I really am blown away by the kindness of strangers. Just amazing. Fernanado was definitely my hero of the day, I will never forget your kindness!
I’ll just count my lucky stars because I could’ve been jacketless, looking for a cab, walking around the streets of San Sebastian alone at 12:30 at night, but all’s well that ends well. Safe and sound in San Sebastian.