July 9, 2014
Yesterday, we took the bus from Santiago back to Muxie to stay for the week on the coast. The beach is beautiful. White sand, clear blue water. Perfect. We also found a hostel to stay at for 22 € a night x 7 equals 154€. About $200 U.S. ( less than what I would pay for camping on the beach in the U.S.) It has a full kitchen a TV and a washer/ dryer. Plus it is a new place that a family owns. They are very friendly and helpful and they speak English. We like it.
We ate at a bar/ cafe a couple of hamburgers. I thought I had paid with a 20€ bill! but the man gave me change like I had paid with a 50€ bill! which was about $60 in return change. Neither Abby nor I speak enough Spanish to get it straightened out, but we had determined that I had paid with a 20€ bill and that he had given us the wrong change. We went to the counter to explain and lucky for us a woman sitting there was able to translate our concern. Both looked at us and upon hearing the story they both shook their heads in disbelief that we would return the money. No one would have done this if they had been locals they agreed and yet here we American tourists are doing it. We told them that we were very honest and did the right thing. We know what is the right thing to do. This man would have lost a lot of money and he could have lost his job over this missing amount.
We are taking the bus from here to the main bus station in Santiago in order to catch the over night bus that will take us to Madrid to fly out on July 16. It should all work like clock work. We ride the bus down from Muxie and arrive at 5 pm, in time to catch the 9:30 pm- 6:30 am bus to Madrid and from that bus station, catch a bus to the airport and have plenty of time to make our 12:30 pm flight. Well, I got to thinking that I should figure out the bus situation and make sure time wise we would have enough time to catch the bus to connect to an airport bus upon arrival in Madrid. I have enough time in advance just in case I need to rearrange plans. I put my questions out on American Pilgrims on the Camino seeking advice from others who had done so. I received a whole lot of information. More information than what was told to me from the one bus agent. Turns out that there is a bus that goes directly to the Madrid Airport and I won’t have to unload and find another bus. Great! This should work out. But then I found out that I need to reserve my seat in advance just in case it is sold out. Uh-oh.
This morning I went on the computer to the ALSA website, filled in the information, found the bus I needed, completed the form, typed in my credit card amount and nothing happened. So I did it again and still it didn’t go through. I remembered someone had said they could pay using PayPal. So I completed the form again and put in my passport number for id purposes and once again it wouldn’t go through!
I’m getting frustrated. There are only 10 seats left on the bus. I am going to have to go back to Santiago in order to book directly at the bus counter and turn around and come back. I was thinking of the bus schedule to Santiago and trying to determine if I should just take a taxi there this morning and catch a return bus late tonight. Ahhhh!
Then Javier, the employee who was helping us out last night with our laundry came in. He said no problem that he could figure out the website and get my tickets booked. Well…long 2 hour and call to the main ALSA office later, it was determined that my Visa card did NOT go through, even though the seats showed that they were taken ( the seats are placed on hold for 10-30 minutes in order for transaction to occur) AND since I had a foreign card I was directed to another bus site ( http://www.movelia.es) to pay there. So we went to that site, selected the seats, completed the form, paid with Visa, only for a message to come up from my credit union wanting my password. I put it in. Nothing. Access denied. I put in my other code. Access denied. Javier and I look at each other. He says, ” no problem, I pay with my card and you pay me” well…3 attempts later- meaning filling out the forms again, and again and again- it finally went through! We printed the tickets. I received an e-mail confirming the purchase and Javier and I jumped and shouted with joy. We had a bonding moment.
In the end, I booked the remainder of the week with him to stay at the hostel. He even gave us two large towels to use at the beach.
Which is where we are sitting at now. In the wind. With the sand blasting us. But we don’t care, because we are at the beach on vacation and letting the waves wash our stress away.
“See mom. I told you it would all work out,” said Abby.
When I’m on the plane heading back to the States, THAN, I will totally relax. Until then…I’m trying not to think of all the little things that could still go wrong and screw us up to have us miss our flight. I am NOT going to project my unspoken fears, just in case the fates are listening and think it would be fun to mess with the end of our trip just as much as what occurred in the beginning.
Please send good karma and thoughts and prayers our way that NOTHING goes wrong to interfere with this current arrangement. And keep reading, cause you all know there is going to be more to this adventure.