A few weeks back, a friend from high school saw I was in Spain traveling and messaged me. She asked if I had plans to go to Madrid or Barcelona, so we could meet up. Seeing as I had never visited Madrid, I packed a bag, and spent 2 days in Madrid. My uncle’s wife helped me find a place to stay with a couple she knew . To get there, I used a ride-share program called Bla Bla Car – you basically pay for your seat in someone’s car, someone driving to the same place as you. (It is essentially hitchhiking but with payment, and people leave reviews and such.) Since my family had already planned a road trip, my uncle suggested to meet halfway on my way back in Burgos, and then head on our road trip.
The family I stayed with in Madrid was extremely hospitable– sending me with a bag full of lunch everyday, a Metro card to use, and a room to myself. They live in a cozy apartment, with 5 kids, 1 grandma and a couple. They were so nice, just one inconvenient thing that was uncomfortable. I slept in the bottom part of a bunk bed, which was the girls’ room. They sleep there every night, but it so happened that with my luck, I had nightly visitors. You know the saying, “Don’t let the bed bugs bite.” Well…
I had bed bug bites after the first night, that I didn’t notice until the next day. I did notice some off marks on my wrist during the day, and they were really itchy, but I didn’t think much of it. That night I changed into my pajamas, I noticed large red bites, all around one arm especially, some around my stomach, and two on my neck (about 24 I counted). They appeared out of no where, which is why I started to suspect it might bed bugs. The family didn’t think much of it the first time I mentioned it, because didn’t even know about them and their daughter’s sleep in that room every night. Where did they come from? This is a mystery. I can’t even say it was me because I didn’t have my large luggage with me, and I had already been in Spain a week when I went. Thankfully, I double checked everything to make sure I was right, and yes, I did see them. Once I spotted them, I immediately told the family and they were flexible in changing my sleeping place away from the room. The next morning, I put all my clothes in the dryer, to kill potentially any on my clothes. After that, I haven’t had any problems. BUT, THE FAMILY WAS SO NICE! I cannot express that enough! Also, my arm is back to normal now. I’m pretty sure anyone else would get a hotel immediately or never sleep over a stranger’s home again. Yay for being flexible and easygoing!
I didn’t go dancing in Madrid, since I was staying with a family, and didn’t want to intrude and come home super late from salsa dancing. I was also exhausted by the end of the day – so I was okay going home to rest for the next day. Super content I was able to make the spontaneous trip, and at least say I’ve seen Madrid. Bla Bla Car is amazing and I will forever use this, and hope to use it in other countries, too. Madrid is very charming, easy to navigate, and fun to get lost in. I don’t feel magic everywhere I go, but did feel it in Madrid.
Do you see the power of social media? Literally had the pleasure of meeting an old friend I hadn’t seen in years + explored a new city. It was quite easy and planned in a matter of days. I am quite lucky to have family or friends in diverse places, where I can branch out and see cool places. Next Spanish adventure will be the Arab-influenced south, cities like Andalusia, Córdoba, Granada, etc. (That won’t be for another while.) My next travels after this will be discovering Kentucky! Let’s hope I make friends with cars.
Keep a look out for my next post: about my last days exploring the Basque Country or Pais Vasco.
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Peace from New Jersey!