After ending an amazing week in stunning Croatia and meeting a lot of new and wonderful people, I was very excited to catch back up with my friend Megan in Pamplona for the San Fermin festival. I’d already paid for a Topdeck organized 4 day “trip” (mainly just accommodation, some food and a loosely guided tour of the area and when-to-be-where sort of thing), I just had to get myself to Pamplona. My flight from Croatia to Barcelona was booked, train to Pamplona booked… Then came one simple plane delay and all that went to shit! My Dubrovnik to Barcelona flight was delayed by a mere 90ish minutes and this caused me to miss my train to Pamplona- the last one of the day.
When I arrived to Barcelona, spirits a bit crushed and trying to figure out what the heck to do, I overheard a few American guys in the airport talking about methods of getting to Pamplona and so I approached them and asked what they knew. They were actually 3 guys that were working for a company in Pamplona and had been living there for about a year- they were also trying to get home/get to the festival for the opening ceremonies. They suggested I rent a car with them, as this was our quickest option of arriving. I quickly debated in my head, going over all the things you probably shouldn’t do while being a female and traveling alone in a foreign country, and decided this is what the adventure is all about so I agreed. I said goodbye to my friend, Tim, who was on my boat in Croatia, and went off with the guys, thinking “what a stroke of luck!”.
So we took a shuttle to a train to get from the airport to the main train station in Barcelona, and then waited in some long lines at the car rental place. Then came the shocking news… They wanted to charge us €200 plus gas to rent the car for one way… For less than a day! The boys had already bought an overnight bus ticket and decided to just stick with that and opt out of the car rental.
So there I was. No bus tickets or train tickets left for 2 days, and forget about flying. Everything totally sold out. Ugh, what a major bummer. So I bought the next train ticket and resigned myself to staying in Barcelona until I figured it all out. I figured out which hostel Tim was staying at, shot him a quick email to let him know what happened and did he mind if I stayed at the same hostel (he didn’t), managed to secure a room and showed up to Equity Point Centric with a sheepish smile on my face and in need of a serious hug and some sangria.
After a good nights rest, I got my wi-fi on and made several calls to Megan, my Dad, the trip leader in Pamplona, Topdeck, the airline company and my travel insurance company- to find out all my options. Turns out the travel insurance would only cover the cost of me missing the majority of my trip if the plane delay was due to weather or a few other things- the airline company, Vueling (seriously horrible customer service) stated that the plane delay was due to “technical issues”, whatever that means- it’s not covered. So I could stress and get myself to Pamplona for the last day of the tour I had paid for and meet up with Megan, or I could relax and hang out/see Barcelona and kiss that money goodbye. It was a tough call, but ultimately I decided that I would stay in Barcelona and see what the city had to offer. I sort of regret that now because a week in Barcelona was 3 days too many, but I couldn’t have known that at the time. I had a good time exploring and meeting some cool people, and I think I can say I’ve done whatever Barcelona has to offer to a tourist, haha. … Megan, if you’re reading this, I’m sorry and I miss you!!!… She understood, so no worries. I’ll still try and file a claim with World Nomads for the trip, but I doubt anything will come of it.
First lesson of the road learned, the best laid plans often go awry.
Second lesson, I packed too much crap and now I need to send a box home.