Category: Europe

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Serendipitous Encounters

When I entered Mad Hostel, I noticed an attractive, Indian-looking girl at the front desk. I asked her in Spanish where she was from. "Los Estados Unidos," she responded with a thick, American accent. I laughed and teased her in English that she needed to work on her accent. We started chatting while she waited ...

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Return to Madrid

I set out this afternoon for one last jaunt around Valencia.  I stopped by the Central Market and had Paella at a nearby restaurant before heading to Hollywood Grill to see Naty.  Then I picked up my luggage and headed to the main train station.  There I caught a late afternoon train to Madrid. Back ...

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City of Arts and Sciences

The motorists in Valencia, especially those on scooters and motorcycles, are a crazy sort. They don't stop at red lights. They squeeze between cars into the tightest of spaces. They cut across sidewalks. At first I was intimidated by their recklessness. By the end of the night, however, I became one of them. I cut ...

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Lost in Valencia

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 ...

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A Series of Misfortunate Events

I think everyone has an internal "panic button," which when pressed sets us into a frenzy.  It helps us vent our angst when faced with tough situations, but on the whole, it just causes a lot of needless anxiety and stress.  After learning that my debit card was lost, I felt myself reaching for that panic ...

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Train to Valencia

A day train through Spain is alone worth the trip to Europe.  A mosaic of brown, green, red, and yellow lands sweeps past.  Trees (olive?) stand in neat rows.  The gray and brown outlines of mountains loom in the distance.  A lone house stands in the center of a vast field.  Suddenly a town appears, ...

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Piece of Cake

My first attempt to get a train reservation to Valencia earlier today failed because I had forgotten to take my Eurorail Pass and passport with me.  Unlike in France, in Spain the railway system requires reservations, and if you have a Eurorail Pass, you have to show it.  So I returned to the hostel emptyhanded and tried to figure out my travel ...