A weekend of adventures that came with both hiccups and excitement. Dreamy train rides, new friends, one of my oldest friends, four course lunches, and feeling the empowerment of wandering alone in a foreign place.
When I landed in Madrid, I was full of apprehension and butterflies.
My nerves were immediately calmed as I got into the taxi of a sweet, smiling, gentle-eyed older man. Regardless of the fact that he didn't speak a word of English and I speak very limited Spanish, we chatted the entire time. He was beyond patient with me; speaking slowly and repeating himself, pointing out every building, monument, and park in Madrid. He dropped me off at the train station, wished me safe travels, and told me I was simpática and bonita. I hugged him.
Then, wandering around the train station feeling slightly overwhelmed (and annoyed at my insanely heavy suitcase), I ran into the Javier Bardem look-alike I sat next to on the plane. It was equally surprising and comforting to see a familiar face in such an unfamiliar setting. We ended up talking for hours, until he showed me to my train (which led to the realization that I totally would have gotten on the wrong one had he not been there). I felt infinitely grateful for these small acts of kindness and genuine, brief connections with people because ultimately, isn't that what traveling is all about?