On a sunny Sunday, we decided to take a break from the city and travel to a small town an hour out of Barcelona. We were going on an AVE train – though we didn’t realise that when we purchased the tickets – known for its high-speed luxury travel. Not disappointed we both relaxed and took a deep breath as the train speed towards our destination at 200km per/hr.
Arriving at Girona station, we set off to explore the central historical centre. The riverside was lined with colourful houses sitting right at the edge of the almost dry concrete river bed. Large fish struggled to not to rub against the bottom of the shallow waters.
We continued walking, up and down paved narrow streets (which we found out later to be known as the set for certain scenes of Game of Thrones, very cool). We sat outside the cathedral listening to the beautiful metal bowl musicians, accompanied by a flute. We visited an art museum, not understanding much as the exhibition was only in Catalan and French, and went to a renowned ice cream shop, Rocambolesc. It was a ‘must’, supposedly. Though it was just soft serve with some toppings. Too much hype lifted our expectations, I think.
We then followed the trees and found a large park where we walked around, remembering the gum trees of Australia. We lay in the grass and thought about where we were a year ago. In Australia, our first days as a travelling couple. We couldn’t have imagined that we would be here, over the other side of the world, within the year. The magic of being on the road.
After drinking a nice cold juice we started to make our way back to the train station legs tired, and feeling hot. We arrived an hour early and tried to find a spot out of the sun to wait for the train. I was looking forward to the direct train back, with aircon and a comfortable journey. A relaxing end to a lovely day.
As the train arrived and we boarded it, we struggled to find our seat. Coach 7, Seat 7C and 7D. It didn’t match up with seat 121, 122, 150, 151. Confused we slowly realised it was the wrong train. We had been waiting at the wrong stop. This train scheduled for 18:19, the train on our ticket – 18:11. We ran out and went in search for the other station. But we were too late. One thing about AVE trains, they are always on time. There was a luxurious spacious cool waiting area that laughed at us while searched for the office to see if we could change the tickets. It was our problem. They couldn’t do anything.
We looked at getting a ticket for the next AVE train, but there weren’t any tickets available until 9 pm. Another 3 hours away. We went back to where we had been waiting for an hour and got a ticket for the next train. It wasn’t much cheaper than the AVE train but it was definitely a downgrade.
It wasn’t long before we were at the same spot as before, feeling stupid and disappointed that we had to pay for more tickets.
But soon enough we were laughing at our stupidity. We boarded the train. It was less busy than the one before, we found some seats, the aircon was on, and we passed by the same landscape. We listened to music and drew cartoon characters.
The lesson of the day: mistakes happen. Not much you can do once it has passed but laugh at yourself. And get back on the train.