how we got from poland to spain. otherwise known as “yeah…about that…” (part 4)

Friday, June 3, 2011



someone must have combed the streets of alicante, collected every un-showered, questionably sane, seemingly dangerous individual and asked them to congregate here – was my first thought upon entering that bus station.  caroline and i had burst through the station doors, sweaty and haggard, duffel bags in hand, only to immediately stop  -- dead in our tracks -- as every eye (each belonging to a male, mind you) became fixated on us.  saying a prayer of deep, deep gratitude that i was not alone, i ushered caroline to the ticket machine, where we attempted to order our bus tickets.  caroline pressed buttons on the screen, frantically, while i, with trembling fingers, fumbled for the ticket money as discreetly as possible; holding an open wallet on display didn’t seem like the safest of ideas.  neither of us had good feelings about being in the train station -- something felt off and as hyperbolic as it sounds, it felt like danger was just....in the air.  the station was well enough lit, but it's not as though there was help nearby should we need it.  it was the middle of the night and the only people surrounding us were strange men.  just a very vulnerable position to be in...

thus, my hands began to shake as i sensed someone approaching.  i lifted my head slowly, only to meet the eyes of a very dirty, splotchy, boil-covered face now inches away from mine.  i nearly screamed, and not because of his appearance, but because of the way he was looking at me.  i backed into caroline, who whipped around and grabbed me out of protective reflex.  this very large man, reeking of alcohol and urine, nearing ever closer to me, reached out to touch me and knelt on his knees, muttering something under his breath.  i jerked my hand away, barely grazing his fingers and caroline and i – still intertwined— took slow, careful steps backward until we burst into a bit of a run. 

thankfully, we spotted a cafe at one end of the station – still open! – and we scurried inside, where we watched through the window with bated breath until the man was gone.  glancing around the cafe, i let out a deep sigh of relief upon spotting a policeman drinking a coffee and reading a newspaper in the corner.  believing that help was within reach if needed, we snuck back over to the ticket machine and bought our tickets in peace.  granted, there was a young man standing nearby, talking to himself and shaking uncontrollably, but the touchy, creepy man was gone.  feeling relieved, we ran to the bus platform and boarded the bus, thinking the worst was over.  we took a quick glance around the bus, however, and instinctively grabbed hands – once again, somewhat terrified.

i turned to caroline and asked, “wait – are these  the same men from the bus station?”.  she answered in a whisper, “i think they are different, but they look just as dirty….and just as scary”.  there wasn’t a single woman on the bus – not a single one!  i scanned the rows of the bus and spotted 2 conjoining seats at the very, very back.  as we walked down the aisle, both grimacing from the smell (really, it smelled like not a single passenger had bathed in weeks), every head turned and most offered cat calls as we passed.  "this is my nightmare", i said to myself, as we took our seats as quickly as possible and huddled together (still holding hands, might i add) as i whispered yet another prayer of thanks that i was not alone in this situation!  having caroline next to me made a huge difference. i knew fearing for my life was unnecessary – in theory, nothing traumatic should happen to us.  the driver was within earshot if worst came to worst and we needed to scream or call for help, which might sound dramatic but at 1:00 in the morning, your mind can wander pretty far.  however, even reminding ourselves of this didn’t add much to our overall level of comfort.

the man in front of us, for example, had turned completely around in his seat.  he stared directly at us, shamelessly, for the next 5 minutes (no exaggeration).  i averted my eyes while caroline shot him death glares until he got bored with us and turned back around.  still holding hands, and with our purses buttoned beneath our jackets (our duffels were stowed beneath the bus), we fell asleep. with our hoods covering as much of our faces as possible.  and with our seatbelts on (see mom?  this story shouldn’t scare you!  i was wearing my seatbelt!). and when we awoke, we had made it safely to granada – precisely 24 hours after leaving poland.

i don’t know if there is a sum of money you could pay to relive those 24 hours.

our stay in granada, however, was delightful.  and not at all stressful!  so i will start posting about that now.  and every one can exhale.

….until then!


^^ The Granada Bus Station, where we arrived....and daylight!!  Our favorite friend.

25 comments:

Jamie @ charmingly ordinary said...

So scary!! But Granada is beautiful. One of my favorite places in Spain (Seville is probably my favorite). But probably NOT worth all of that?!

Jessi @ Life: The Epic Journey said...

OMG, that is so scary! I think I would have just said "forget it!" and stayed with the nice policemen at the airport. :)

Anonymous said...

Ummm...I think I might think it's scarier than you. You seem to be kinda laid-back about it!

And does anyone else think the hood picture is really pretty? I do....

Miss A said...

OMG that sounds terrifying! Glad to know you guys had a great time in Granada after going through all of that.

Pretzel Thief said...

Yiiiikes! Night of the Creepies!

Thankfully all was well and you arrived safely in España.

::thumbs up::

By the by, found your (awesome) blog via Nat the Fat Rat!

Also, I must tell you that I'm über-jealous of your Europe living. I wanna! Heh heh.

Ashley said...

Scary!! So glad you arrived safe and sound!

Inessa said...

I felt my muscles getting tense as I continued to read on. I wonder how much the Taxi driver would have charged you for the drive to Garanada? Glad you two made it through a smelly and scary bus station and ride to your destination in the end.

Gentri said...

Whew!!! I don't think I took a single breath while reading that. Haha! What a scary experience. I am such a baby that I probably wouldn't have handled it nearly as well! Can't wait for the happy stories now! Haha!

Antoinette said...

OMG what an absolute horror story! This really gave me the creeps. I am so pleased you girls survived!!

Tucker said...

oh gosh i did just breathe a big sigh of relief. you have no idea how scared i would have been too. and yes, at 1 am ... the mind plays their tricks.

Megan said...

your last two posts totally stressed me out. i would have been FREAKING at the bus station..lets be honest..i get scared walking to the corner of the road by my house.

#american

Anonymous said...

The picture of the two of you looking out from under your hoods looks like a gothic fairy tale. Well done!

erica marie said...

I would have been freaking out...so scary.

Alex said...

Aaahhhh! I would have been convinced of my impending death in this situation. Bravo for handling it so well!!

Mighty Burns said...

LOL i turn into like a ghetto fighter at times like these. My defense isnt like to go by unnoticed its more so the look of death caroline seemed to have given that guy and a general low tolerance for any funny business lol. its weird. Scared=billy bad ass lol. you guys did everything right though it sounds like and there wasnt much you could do about the situation. cant wait to hear more!!

Wendy said...

I'm so glad that you guys are okay! You should really turn a lot of your posts into a book. Really, you should! I love your blog so much! =)
xo,
Wendy

Rebecca at Cotton+Wood said...

I hope the trip back was uneventful!!

s + b said...

haha, traveling is such an adventure. train and metro stations are either amazing or super creepy.

awesome blog, i'll definitely be back :)

Ashley said...

Man, well at least you'll have that story to top other peoples horror stories in the future!

I really like your blog and I was wondering if you would be interested in following each others blogs? xx

Nikskie said...

whoaaa....i love traveling, so i'm officially jealous with yours.couldn't say much.love your blog ....

Taylor said...

Oh I do love a good travel story! I feel like a variation of this has happened to my sister and I a number of times traveling... for some reason there are always creepy men around and there are always the stories where we are running late to something and have to run aimlessly to our destination even though we have no idea where we are going... I LOVE TRAVEL!

Jenny said...

While reading this, I kept thinking the feelings I was feeling felt familiar. Then, I remembered the walls that didn't go all the way up to the ceiling in Budapest. And then it all came together. Your fears were actually rational though, and therein lies the difference.

Ahn said...

glad the tale ends with a good time in granada at least. also, you two look HOT in your hoods. i would stare too.

Jan said...

Ok for now, but I'm already wondering how you got back home.

Cloie's mom said...

Jennifer! Bless your sweet heart!!!