I am absolutely exhausted. Don’t get me wrong, it’s an after-effect of a plethora of interesting events, but let me tell you, it’s been a heck of a day here in Alcalá.
It began with a beautiful morning run throughout the city. Those few minutes just as the sun is rising up behind the buildings are my favorite of the whole day.Today was our first day of classes beginning at nine, but as it turns out, instead of class we were surprised with a few hours of placement exams, both oral and written. In all honesty they weren’t that bad, but I certainly felt like a fool when I told the professor in my oral exam that I was turning 30 next week and didn’t catch my mistake until she gave me a weird stare for a few moments. Whoops.
Many of the girls did not bring euros and have a fair amount of US dollars on hand so I went on a trek with a few to find a way to change the money. After trying three different banks and waiting in ridiculously long lines, we got to one that said they would change the money but that we had to have our passports with us. Good thing there’s always tomorrow, right?
After that briefly frustrating escapade, we had just enough time before “la siesta” began and everyone retreated to their beds to visit the cathedral in Alcalá where Cervantes was baptized. Although it hardly compares to many of the other cathedrals around the world, there was still something about it that left all of us struck by it’s amazing beauty.
This particular cathedral has some creepy history though – something related to decapitation and children, and perhaps even decapitated children. In all honesty I’m not exactly sure and I need to google it because the woman telling us about it spoke impressively quick.But this is all meager rambling in contrast to what happened following a short siesta. We have religion class at the church on Mondays at 5. On Sunday, Alex and I rode the bus to church because we were told it was rather far away, but today we were feeling adventurous and asked Blanca for directions and headed out the door half an hour before class was to begin feeling very optimistic. This was our first mistake, because apparently neither of us can either 1) follow directions very well, 2) read maps, or 3) understand spanish. My guess is a bit of all three, because half an hour later when we ended u at the north of the city (in the complete opposite direction of the chapel), we felt rather foolish.
Whatever the reason, I personally would like to blame google maps for giving terrible directions, because it was very clear that the address I put in was NOT the place that it directed us to. By the time that we realized we were way off course, we also realized that we had left our local phone at home so we had no way to get ahold of anyone or let them know where we were or that we were going to be late. I promise you, BOTH of us aren’t blondes. Being the incredibly intelligent and resourceful young beings that we are, we pulled out a city map that we had in one of our bags, re-set our destination, and continued on our way….into an extremely sketchy part of town that consisted of cement walls, train tracks, and over-grown casitas. Buckling down and trying to ignore all of the piropos (cat-calls) as we hustled down the train tracks, we eventually made it back to familiar territory.With a slight boost of confidence and a resolution not to check our watches because we knew that we were already ridiculously late for class, we pressed forward. We began to see sights that we were sure were on the way to the church, and also happened to pass the missionaries that we had met on Sunday. Perhaps we would have said hello, but the entire time they were just staring at us with these weird looks on their faces as we passed, so Alex and I figured they were giving us the stink eye because we weren’t in class. I’m sure you can start to see a pattern of all of the things we did wrong here.
Spain is famous for it’s convenient lack of street signs, so we just assumed that we were going the right direction and continued onward. Until we realized we were pretty much walking on a freeway, so we used our best judgement and asked a storekeeper who pointed out that we had walked all the way across Alcalá…in the wrong direction. At this point, we weren’t even frustrated, but rather started laughing because we realized how ridiculous we must have looked to the missionaries and to the rest of the good people of Alcalá, and then turned around and began retracing our steps. Mind you, at this point we had already been walking (briskly, might I add) for an hour and a half.
…all of a sudden…
Ladies and gentlemen, I kid you not…an angel came to our rescue.
Okay fine. He didn’t really look like this. And he was fully clothed. More like this:
I kid you not, my good people. It was Chris Hemsworth’s doppelgänger dressed in an extremely well-fitting police uniform. This guy had everything going for him: Dark, clean-cut hair that seemed to say, “yeah that’s right, I may look like I’m all business but I know how to shake it out”, deep blue eyes, pleasantly tanned skin, a chiseled jawline that wore some sexy-looking scruff… yep everything about him read “I’m a MAN!”. Oh yeah, he also had a romantic voice that made the spanish theta sound nothing short of the most beautiful accent in the world.
Also, he was driving this:Seriously, I’m not even exaggerating. He came up to us saying “Necesitáis ayuda, chicas? Parecéis muy perdidas.” Yeah. We were lost. And yes, we did need help…from this beautiful specimen. Alex was so smitten that she couldn’t even speak, and finally I mustered up the courage to ask him (in español, thank you very much) which way we needed to go. He smiled, pointed us in the right direction, told us good luck, and sent us on our way.
So basically that’s the end of the story. I mean, what more is there to say? Other than the fact that we missed the entire class when we eventually ended up at the church, but thankfully the professor was very understanding. Such an encounter just can’t get that much better than that and all I can conclude is that we were meant to get lost so that Señor Guapo could grace us with our presence.