The rucksack saga: a happy ending

I am still in a state of disbelief about what happened yesterday morning. After almost a week of desperation, panic, and fear that losing my laptop would ruin the rest of my time in Spain and, to top it all off, result in me failing finals, the mystery of the missing rucksack came to a very happy ending.

I decided to go to the lost property section of the town hall for a final time, expecting nothing and fully intending to console myself with a trip to H&M afterwards, and there, perched behind the desk occupied by a very kind woman, was the bag. The woman informed me that she had called the hostel to say that it had turned up but, alas, my refusal to pay EE’s extortionate prices for the luxury of having 3G abroad meant that I hadn’t received the news via WhatsApp (which, by the way, the Spaniards absolutely love). But there it was, with all of my possessions still inside, including my MacBook. I’m regarding its reappearance as nothing less than a full-blown miracle.

After endless phone calls to taxi companies, several attempts at retracing my steps, and even getting 15 copies of a poster offering a reward for the laptop’s safe return printed, the feeling of relief has not quite left me yet, and probably won’t be doing so for some time. Nor has the gratitude to whichever kind soul found the rucksack (apparently on a bus, who knew) and took it to lost property, seemingly without even opening it. I spent last night syncing my files and photos to GoogleDrive and iCloud – that lesson has been very solidly learnt.


So. Without being overly dramatic (and apologies if I’ve come across that way), I can now start enjoying the second half of my year abroad without having that particular shadow hanging over me.

It turns out that Granada is actually a very cool place. Despite being at least four times the size of Laval (the benchmark of city sizes from here on in) in terms of population, it is by no means too big: so far, everywhere I’ve wanted to go has been accessible on foot. It’s got a huge student body, a lot of whom are here through Erasmus exchanges, and everything seems very cheap. Also, cool fact: the name Granada is the same as the Spanish word for pomegranate.

Granada is perhaps most famous for being the home of the Alhambra, a Moorish palace and fortress dating mostly from the mid-13th century. Tickets for any given day can sell out weeks in advance; having been warned of this, I bought my ticket before arriving in Spain and visited the UNESCO World Heritage Site on Thursday.

Despite its popularity, every aspect of the palace has been impressively well preserved. The intricate stonework and painstakingly painted tiles both remain largely intact, with the best bits of both found within the Nasrid Palaces, the only part of the complex for which visitors are given a time slot. My allotted time was 4pm and, having been at the Alhambra since 10.30am, I was somewhat flagging by then – but enjoyed seeing the palaces in all their glory nonetheless.

It was a day – and more than €15 – well spent. I will probably try and visit again before I leave – I might have appreciated it even more if my mind hadn’t been constantly wandering back to my lost rucksack.

Life here differs to life in France in a lot of ways. I’m working far fewer hours than I did at Langue & Nature, meaning that I have a lot more free time to explore the city a bit. The work is a lot more relaxed and a lot less structured; I’m not yet sure whether this is a good thing or not. I’m yet to make any friends (or even acquaintances) outside of the hostel, but one of my friends has put me in touch with two of her friends who are also doing a year abroad here, so there is hope yet.

I’m hoping that having more free time means that I might be a bit more dedicated in terms of writing blogposts more regularly…but I’m not making any promises.


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