Spain at last

We left Brussels one morning on a train to Paris where we would change to a train headed for San Sebastian, Spain.  It was POURING when we got to Paris and our shoes were completely soaked by the time we walked to find a quick bite to eat and a grocery store for some snacks for the rest of the trip.  Five or six hours later we found ourselves at a train station where we would make our last switch for a 30 minute train ride across to Spain.  But a few things just didn’t add up…this place still looked very French and we hadn’t seen any water.  So I stop in the office and ask when the train is leaving for San Sebastian.  The woman is very confused and at first I think it may just be the language barrier so I ask again.  She says, “Do you know where you are?” And the truth is that I do not…I just know that this is the station I change trains at.  She kindly takes me over to a map and points out a city in the center of France…definitely not 30 minutes away from Spain.  ”This is where you are now…and this (pointing to a much smaller looking town) is San Sebastian.  I think someone has made a mistake in selling you a ticket.”

Oh. No.

We are an overnight train away from Spain.  And that train is sold out except for two seats.  And those two seats will cost 171 Euro each.  Somehow this lovely wonderful French woman working in the office gave us the tickets and didn’t make us use one of the days on our rail passes.  I could have kissed her feet.  So we have quite a few hours to kill in this little town and we find the one place that is open to grab dinner.  It was a Sunday unfortunately.  Off we go again!  But we get on the train and see two people sitting in our seats.  We talk to someone working on the train but we speak no French and their English wasn’t great but we eventually get it figured out and they lead us about 7 cars down and open up A SLEEPER CABIN for us!  Again, I could have kissed their feet.  On all other overnight trains I have been on, you sit in the same uncomfortable airplane size seat that you would on any other train ride but sleeper cabins have six bunk-style beds.  AND it was empty except for us.  We changed trains around 8 that morning for a quick jump across the boarder and finally finally finally…we arrived.