I moved out of the Purple Nest Hostel yesterday and am now crashing at Naty’s apartment. One of her roommates is out of town so she has a spare bedroom, which she graciously offered to me for the sake of reducing my lodging expenses. She herself is a veteran backpacker, and she understands that every little bit helps when you’re traveling on a budget.
The plan today was to rent a scooter in the morning, check out the Calatrava buildings in the City of Arts and Sciences, and then pick up Naty from work so she could take me around Valencia. I got out of bed too late though, and by the time I headed out of the apartment it was already around noon. I took the compass I picked up at a thrift store in Granada, consulted my map of Valencia, and headed southwest.
After an hour of walking, I knew for sure that I was lost. I found myself in a vast, tilled field with my access to the west blocked by a busy freeway that had no pedestrian crossings. I thought about turning back and starting over from the apartment, but I couldn’t bring myself to do it. I’ve noticed this tendency in me before. I appear to have an almost overpowering aversion to turning back. Wherever I’m headed, it seems that I would prefer to continue moving forward and find a way there rather than turn around and start over. This attitude can get me in trouble or exacerbate a bad situation, as it did now.
I was literally walking through someone’s farmland. My feet sank into the tilled soil, and I caught sight of watermelons and squash growing in patches. A moment ago I had been in a bustling metropolis! I plowed on. A small canal now obstructed my way west, so I walked southwards in order to get around it. On and on I went. I didn’t know where I was on the map anymore. Without any landmarks to pinpoint my location, I was completely lost. Still I marched on, determined to find a way.
I finally came across a paved road. Exasperated, hungry, and tired, I stuck out my thumb to try hitchhiking. As before in Marseille, here, too, no one stopped. I plodded up the road until I came upon a little house where through the open front door I could see some people watching TV in the living room. I asked the grandmotherly señora how I could get to the Ciudad de Las Ciensas (City of Sciences). She pointed in the general direction I had been walking and drew me a little map. I thanked her and continued on. Again no luck with the hitchhiking. I finally arrived at a more commercial area and asked a man in a restaurant for directions. He confirmed that I was headed in the right direction and showed me where I was on the map. I had a long ways to go! I bought some junk food — I hadn’t eaten all morning! — and continued my now epic journey. Soon I resolved to take a taxi, and after another fifteen minutes of walking, I hailed the first one I saw.