My fiance, however, had a very good day. He was offered a job here:
Since we're going to be working on opposite sides of town now, we're going to have to make some changes to our daily routine. We won't make any decisions until Al finds out more details about his job (he's going to make some day trips to the Barossa Valley, but he's not sure how often). As of now, Al will bike or take the bus to work, and I will drive his car. There's only one teeny tiny problem, though. I don't know how to drive a manual car! He's been driving me around since I moved here, because we're too lazy to learn. My friend Shona has been giving me some lessons in her car, but I'm going to have to learn fluently at an accelerated pace! There's also the small chance that Al could sell his car and buy an automatic, but it seems like a headache. We'll see what ends up happening....
My Favorite Travel Adventure
I'm a member of 20-Something Bloggers, and they're doing a contest where we submit our favorite travel stories. The winners get a year-long subscription to LiveMocha, which teaches online language classes. Hey...I certainly wouldn't mind brushing up on my Spanish lessons! Well, I've done a lot of traveling, and I love to talk about it. Why else would I blog about my time in Australia?
If you're familiar with Ryanair at all, then you know that they never use airports that are anywhere near your destination. You may buy a cheap ticket, but you'll probably make up for it with the money you spend on getting from the airport to your hostel/hotel. Our airport, as expected, was at least an hour outside of Brussels. We took a long bus ride to the city bus station, and then we finally caught a cab to our hostel. By this time, it was past midnight.
We were exhausted after all of this travel, to say the least. All we wanted to do was check in, find our beds and pass out. We walked in the front door, only to find that the reception desk was closed and locked. We looked around for any idea about how we could get our room keys, when another group of girls from our bus walked in behind us. As if rehearsed, they grabbed an evelope that was taped to the reception window. It evidently had their names on it, and all of their keys were inside. Apparently, the hostel left these for late arrivers. They walked off to go to sleep, leaving us in the empty entryway. There were no evelopes remaining.
We looked at each other, baffled, Why did those girls get their keys and not us? We looked over Mariel's confirmation letter again and again, looking for some obvious error. All of the details were there on the page. The deposit had been paid. Our names were on it. The date was correct. The address matched. Our arrival time was 12...OHHHHH!!! Poor Mariel made that same error that I'm sure many Americans have made while traveling to European countries that use MILITARY TIME. She listed 12 as our arrival time. In her head, she meant midnight. The hostel where we made the booking, however, expected us to come at noon the day before. We were **gulp** homeless in a strange city.
Poor Mariel. She called the hostel owner, who basically called her a foolish American and insisted that he was not getting out of bed to let us in. Bummer. There was nobody around on the streets, and we had no clue where to go. We literally wandered aimlessly in the dark, not sure if we should be thinking this was hysterically funny or downright scary. Honestly, I think we were all too exhausted to feel any emotion one way or another.
We finally found a hotel with a lit reception area. Sitting at the check-in desk was a grinning gap-toothed English-speaking receptionist. He immediately took pity upon us and allowed the four of us to stay in one room. He also offered to make us pancakes.
We spent our holiday in a lovely hotel with a free continental breakfast for a cheaper price (one room split by four) than we would have spent on our hostel. That weekend, I fell in love with Belgian beer, ate waffles sold on the street, met the mannequin piss and basically had one of the best times of my life.
Isn't it funny how a terrible situation can turn into something wonderful? And it's all because my friend wrote 12 instead of 24....
By the way, I was torn between writing about this or the time that we missed our train to Perugia after flying in from London and had to sleep on the ground with homeless people outside the Rome train station. I'm glad I wrote about this one, though.