A Travellerspoint blog

10 FEET IN THE PYRENEES~HAVE BEGUN THE ADVENTURES! july 2007

TO JACA OR NOT TO JACA!

semi-overcast 24 °C

Thus far, Carb and Gas have travelled in/on/through: a van, an Element, airport and train station trolleys, a jumbo jet, a shuttle bus, a taxi, 2 trains, conveyor belts and Gas even had the privilege of passing through security x-ray...by accident, but he still looks the same!
3 days in Madrid allowed for sleep, revamping my Telephonica cell phone, organizing the next and final leg of the journey by train, and visiting with 2 good friends...what a productive pit stop.
I think the Czech Republic train ticket sales guy has a cousin in Spain, working for RENFE...no space for the cat kennels as promised! So I parked my butt on their crates between cars till Zaragoza.
Had mas o menos 12 minutes to connect with final train to Jaca...thank god for 1 € trolleys because the porters on the first train were next to useless.
The train to Jaca, which travelled 1/2 the distance in twice the time, had a wonderful coach assistant who even returned to me, my 1 € which I wasn't about to disembark the train to park the trolley and get my money back...had a visual, running behind the train which was carrying cats and packs off to Jaca without me!
The cat-loving conductor, who showed me a photo of his cat, Miles, (didn't catch the conductor's name) led me to the Jaca train station guy...the only person in the station, who proceeded to drive me to the only Hostal recommended in Let's Go and helped me carry a cat, the smallest one, and backpack, the lightest one...already small town niceness!
Suzanne, of Poland with perfect English...the only English speaker in this city of 10,000 people, runs La Casa Del Arco and accepts Carb and Gas, the only hotel evidently that will, only one glitch, and there's always one, no rooms available the next night! A task to keep my mind busy and one night to sleep between now and bedlessness!
But, things work out...because they always do! My discovered philosophy at age 19 still holds true!
I was meant to come to La Casa Del Arco...as Suzanne of Poland's (NB my last name) mom has just married a Canadian from Ottawa (NB my birth place), has a cat named Diesel and an earring collection! Too many coincidences to ignore. Besides the fact that she is simply very cool and extremely helpful!
So after we discovered our commonalities, she attempted to phone around and find me accommodation for the night and assured me the cats could stay put, in the open-windowed loft room just a leap away from Spanish rooftops and freedom! So it will be the kennels for them! This journey must be never ending in their eyes! After dead end phone calls and the mention that I possessed a sleeping bag and mattress, I was invited to their couch for the night, gratis.
Backtracked to the train station to give the nice train station man one of my 50 "I am Canadian" gift lighters that security missed! Initially, his face read, oh my God, what does she want now? But as I thanked him again and gave him my token gift his face lit up and I think he likes Canadians!
Gas, the stray of all strays, is neither harness nor kennel literate. With all fours braced on the kennel door, Gas growls as I shove, and I've never heard Gas to be anything but grateful, then he meows with a possessed voice. When I need a good laugh, I put Gas in his harness, and as though winding a mechanical toy, he proceeds to slink around the room backwards bumping off the walls and furniture with his butt end!
Upon close inspection of my dirty clothes pile, I am noticing an international flavour, not smell. The few items I have chosen to accompany me this next year(s) have been purchased in France, Ireland, Spain, Czech Republic and Ecuador. I don't often analyze my dirty clothes like this, but I don't often have such free time and a free mind as when I'm travelling.
Located my new Spanish teacher, Antonio, Co-administrator of this Hostal, Bar, and Restaurant who presented Carb and Gas with a gift, a Spanish cat toy, then proceeded to caution me about the crazy old Spanish woman who lives in a room on my floor and EATS CATS! Antonio is very serious and Let's Go never made mention of her!
Jaca is made from really, really old stones. The streets, buildings, everything...but the toilets are porcelain.
Muchas Gracias for all the positive and familiar feedback to my first journalish entry. Has anyone out there noticed the pattern...I only seem to email when abroad...has everything to do with time. Thanks for your patience between trips! Reading about home gives me a high when I'm way over here!
Love always and always,
the crazy cat canadian and her cats,
dana, gas and carb
xoxo

Posted by hiitsdana 10:09 Archived in Spain Comments (1)

10 FEET IN THE PYRENEES~LET THE ADVENTURES BEGIN! july 2007

MY MADRID!

sunny 25 °C

NOW I'm excited, for all of those who have been asking for months. NOW it feels right and I can´t stop smiling. All the work toward making "this" a reality. Thanks to each of you for prodding me along and assisting me in my journey before the journey. The getting here is as memorable as the "this". And those helpers are never forgotten!

My moment of paradise is stimulating all the senses! The bluest of skies above, the dry desert heat of the Spanish sun pouring through my open balcony door...into my air conditioned room that allows cats, an accordion player below in the street serenades me for free, sipping my café and once again reunited with my journal. What a glorious first day abroad.
Birds speak an international language to cats...Carb just saw his first Spanish bird from our 2nd floor balcony in the heart of Madrid.
The wonders a ducha, siesta y café can instill in the weary traveller.
Carb is nestled under my bedsheets and Gas is cowered in the farthest, darkest corner under the bed. Are they having fun? If asked, in perspective, compared to 2 international airports and a cargo hold for 7 hours plus, I think they're thinkin' this is paradise!
So now that I've tested the waters, rest assured, 'twas a piece of cake, so you too can now all come over and bring your cats!
Security on both ends was a joke. I carried my unconcealed lighters through security and was able to immediately have my post-flight smoke in the taped-off floor section of the Madrid airport. Mac was completely ignored. At customs, the "cats were scanned" by a nonchalant vet who wouldn't acknowledge my tagged ears and away we rolled with our teetering trolley piled high with cat kennels and packs.
I'm going to send the tourist information señora a Christmas card...she made the final path of our day's journey flawless. Makes for dull journaling, but after many months of toiling with the "what if's" in my mind, dull is a Godsend. She arranged a shuttle to a 2 starred Hostal in the heart of my old stomping grounds.
I anticipate the cats will sleep for the next 3 days, revitalized just in time to up heave the peace they've found here.
Carb has a love/hate relationship with his kennel...the provider of his security. At Pearson, while unloading my "oversize luggage" backpack from the top of our cat tower, his kennel flipped off backward and overish! Pinned beneath towel and kitty litter box...it stopped his meowing!
No one ever talks about the gas that builds in a pressurized bowel flying at a 30 thousand plus foot altitude. I'm certain I'm not the only one who suffers this. After the first test of a jet's efficient air filtration system, I'm certain I'm not the only one releasing. Maybe this is why they don't allow lighters in carry-ons!
A good night's sleep with my right un-depressurized ear down to the pillow and my puffy ankles elevated, I think this 46 year old body with history will be ready to venture out into the Spanish version of the Western World.
4 siestas in my first 12 hours after arrival, followed by a 12 hour sleep! And do I feel good!
My stress growth, which I duly named Margaret, has disappeared. Now I have a blister I named MJ.
Bought the cats Spanish cat food...it's called Ultima, so of course they like it.
Retracing steps in Madrid of three years past. Cool to begin in familiar territory. Minimal changes, favourite cafés and stores still here. Lots of tourists, Spaniards still short.
Cats are disgusted with their portable cat box, for rear ends only...but we're all maintaining regularity.
I have achieved peace of mind, that state of mind when the heart is content. I soooooooooooo love my life, the choices I've made and the people who have dared cross my crazy path!

My cell phone is re-simmed! My new phone number is:
(34 = Spain) 676275521

En route to the mountains in 2 days...until then,
love always,
dana, carburetor and gasoline
xox

Posted by hiitsdana 09:50 Archived in Spain Comments (2)

(Entries 26 - 27 of 27) « Page 1 2 3 4 5 [6]