The beginning of the end

The final leg of my year abroad has begun: I’ve made it to Santiago de Compostela, destination of the world-famous camino de Santiago. But, of course, because I am inherently shambolic, the journey was not without its hiccups.

I’ll start with a brief summary of the second half of the time I spent in Granada. Sadly, the friends situation progressed very little – I got to know the other people working in the hostel slightly better but that’s about your lot – and I continued to fill the void left by human contact with coffee, ice cream, and carrot cake. A lot of running also happened because I finally took the plunge and signed up to Oxford Half Marathon. The highlight of the last couple of weeks was a spontaneous day trip to one of Andalusia’s beach towns, Almuñécar, with Violet, basically the only friend I made in Granada and with whom I was put in touch by one of my best childhood friends. It was dreamy.

Look. Dreamy.

Aside from that, nothing really happened – three words which sum up the past month quite accurately, I think. The hostel was cool as a place to work and I enjoyed exploring the city, but I think my mistake lay in thinking that I would be able to make friends in just four weeks – especially given that one of the weeks was Easter, seemingly Spain’s biggest national holiday. Never mind; at least I spoke some Spanish and didn’t spend much money because of my lack of socialising. Swings and roundabouts.

Having travelled all day, I’m now nicely moved into my new room in Santiago. The day got off to a disastrous start. My phone was doing a software update overnight; because of this, my alarm didn’t go off. I woke up at 8:05 for a bus that left at 8:00. Absolutely bloody fantastic. Ten minutes later and I was dressed and out the door, having been waved off by hoards of tearful pals (just kidding). Merci dieu, there was another bus from Granada to Malaga airport an hour later, and so what had initially seemed like an insurmountable disaster actually turned out to be only a molehill. I made it to the airport well in time for my flight – which was then half an hour late (classic). I’ve always been an advocate of Ryanair but the lack of communication today was the most frustrating thing ever, and my annoyance was amplified by my extremely heavy rucksack (which, you’ll be relieved to know, safely made it all the way to my flat in Santiago) and the battle I am still waging against a cold.

The flight itself was, as one would hope, uneventful. Santiago airport is half an hour away by bus from the city centre itself. I arrived at 3.30 and was supposed to meet my flatmates at 4.00. It was raining – something it does a lot here, apparently – and so I texted them to say that I would go directly to the flat and see them there. I waited in the rain for TWO HOURS before they arrived, but they were so welcoming and friendly that I found myself not really minding. Turns out that they’ve spent the last couple of days in Porto and had problems on the roads during the drive back. Which seems like a perfectly reasonable excuse.

I’m going to stop there, largely because I fear that I’m at risk of boring anyone who is reading this half to death. And also partly because I really just want to go to sleep. Maybe tomorrow I’ll venture out of the flat to see a bit of the city – or, you know, maybe I’ll stay here and drink tea under my duvet. After today’s jerking start, staying in bed sounds like a very appealing option.


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