It's Friday, July 14th. Today, I'd planned to stop in Aranjuez to eat some of their famous strawberries then be on my merry way to Cuenca. When I went to check what time the next bus to Cuenca leaves, imagine my surprise when I was told LUNES!
What?! I know Spanish well enough, I suppose, so I know Lunes
is Monday in English, but still... Anyway, I asked 4x just to be sure. I even left, then went back to the window & the frustrated attendant pointed to a calendar for me. Oh well, I guess I'm spending the night. Thank GOD a hotel wasn't far away. I checked in for €21.
|Single Room - €21|
This room only has one bed so it seems larger than the others. It has a sink and a fan, too! The fan is most welcome since the last room had no A/C. After washing some items, (Yippee! The sink has a stopper) I went out to see what else Aranjuez has to offer besides fresones
(large strawberries). I made my way to the tourist office where the attendant spoke a little English. He was more than happy to practice on me. When I left there with map in tow, I visited some gardens left by royalty past, and walked around the city in general. I found some fresh strawberries con nata
(with cream) and they were awesome! Definitely worth the trip.
|Strawberries with Cream|
During my continued exploration of the city, I saw a woman of color who looked like she could be American. I've been in Spain long enough to know that you rarely find someone who speaks English, so here I go. ¿Habla, usted, inglés o español?
Her response: "I'm from New York. " I was overjoyed! She was a teacher on a three-week language program in Madrid and was in Aranjuez on a day trip because it wasn't in her guidebook. She wanted to go someplace different. She asked me how to get to the bus station, so I walked her to it. I'd been here all of two hours. I'm directionally challenged, so this was a personal triumph for me. (Finding my way around Spain by myself, without anyone to rely on, really helped my map-reading skills.)
Next, I walked to the train station to check on trains to Cuenca. Too expensive, so I'll take the bus to Madrid instead. At the station, I met a girl from Sweden. She was in town for a two-week work camp for people with AIDS. She was so excited. Shoot, how I can get involved in activities like the Swede and the New Yorker?
After sight-seeing and before grabbing dinner & returning to my room, I went to get water from the market I'd found earlier. They were out. No surprise at .45/1.5 liters, so I had to find another store. Outside, I met Juan (looked like a brotha) from Portugal. Between my broken Spanish & hand gestures, we exchanged names & info about where we're from. He kindly walked me to the supermercado
, which wasn't very super, but it had my precious water.
Note to self: Learn to speak another language. Juan spoke Spanish, Portugese, and French and my Swedish friend spoke at least two.