Yesterday was a strange mix of a day! It began with a very bumpy and exciting downhill ride in what’s called a “tuk-tuk.” These are small, open, 3-wheel vehicles a lot like a golf cart. I made arrangements the day before for a tuk tuk driver to meet me when it was time to leave my rental and take me to the train station. Truth is, what I really needed was help with luggage. The idea of climbing up the 111 steps with my bags didn’t appeal! So, with me in the backseat with open air all around, we first went to the top of the highest hill in town, then zoomed down and around curves until in about ten minutes we were at the station at the waterfront. It really was kind of fun!
Then my day became really boring because I had to wait in the station for more than ten hours for the train. It was an overnight train from Lisbon to Madrid. Before leaving home I had booked a berth in a 4-females room. Without realizing it I’d arranged for an upper berth – one that I really didn’t think I could manage.
My roommates were a mother and her young adult daughter from Brazil who were touring Portugal and Spain for two weeks with two humongous suitcases, and a young woman from Switzerland who had been studying in Lisbon for six months. She was kind and switched bunks with me so I didn’t have to figure out how I could get out of a top bunk in a very small, very crowded space.
This was a very long train. It rattled and shook all night – I thought rails must be missing here and there. It felt a lot like being on the Star Clipper, the sailing ship I sold cruises on, though the ship was usually much smoother and very much quieter. Periodically the train stopped for a few minutes – presumably to let another train have the right of way though I never heard one pass up during those stops. Around 7:00 I woke up but everyone else was still sleeping so I lay there in the dark, keeping quiet, until the porter knocked on the door just before 8:00 and let us know it was time to get up. There was no way I could move in that room! The train arrived in Madrid at 8:40 and that’s where I am now!
Madrid is a beautiful city. I’ll be here only a short time and I’ll tell you about it tomorrow.