Hello! I apologize for the delay, but here I am, in Toledo! Whew. It is hard to believe. The trip was uneventful and as pleasant as an 8 hour flight + 6 hour time change can be! (Although, first class did look mighty comfortable!). I didn't sleep too much on the plane, so I was definitely worn out before I even left the airport.
However, I can gladly report that there were no tears of pure fear in the airport this time. (This is quite different from my arrival last year, haha). I think I only had a few tears of frustration when I couldn't reach my family. But I was more concerned that they were worrying unnecessarily about me.
After asking for help, I found a bus to the Madrid train station, a train to Toledo (only 30 minutes!), and a bus that took me close to my hostel. However, the last half mile or so seemed to be the most difficult.
I got off the bus near la Plaza de Zocodover (the main plaza in the city). The bus stop was at the beginning of a hill, so I decided (for no particular reason except to avoid climbing said hill) to walk the opposite direction to the plaza. There, after studying the map and street signs, I realized that my hostel was a the top of the darn hill, after all:
I know, I know, it doesn't seem that daunting. I will argue that it was bigger than it appears, and longer than you can see. Especially when you factor in my backpack on my shoulders (I probably stuffed 30 pounds in there!), and this (about 65-70 pounds):
(Just say you feel sorry for me and I will stop whining).
It took a while, stopping occasionally so my arms wouldn't break off (Dramatic? Maybe.), but I made it to the top! And who did I see but an old friend I made on my first visit to Toledo! Also, sorry for the green blur, it's due to the cover I had on my phone.
Ha. But don't worry, I do know him:
(This picture is from 2010; we are old friends!).
Anyway, it is a comfort to know God has a sense of humor. And, as further confirmation of his HILARIOUS sense of humor, I followed the directions to the hostel, and found this:
My hostel is at the bottom. A man standing nearby laughed and said: "If that's where you're going, and those are your bags, you have it bad." I forced out a laugh and trudged down. (In his defense, he did offer to help. In my fatigue and confusion, I declined before I realized I did). But, I made it to the hostel! However, I was early for check-in (when am I ever early?!), and my room was being cleaned. The nice owners told me to enjoy a walk about town, and to leave my bags there. So I walked in search of an internet shop so I could send an email. Being Sunday, it took awhile to find one open, but I finally did.
I returned about 45 minutes later to an inviting bed, and settled in for a long "descansa" (rest). I awoke (3 hours later) feeling slightly refreshed and very hungry. I asked directions for a good tapas place and had a bite to eat before wandering to the cathedral for mass at 6:30. I then went back to the hostel and just relaxed for a bit before bed.
The owners of the hostel are lovely people, which is a great comfort right now. Today, I went to Sonseca (the pueblo where I will be teaching) and spent the afternoon there. I will write about that in another post.
It is still hard to believe I am here. Tomorrow I will begin the search for a place to live. Although, that task sounds so daunting that the hostel is seeming better and better....just kidding (sort of).
I am happy to be here, though I already miss everyone from home!