A snail with a guitar
My plan to travel away from Lugo started with a train journey through Galicia and many other places while. I hopefully slept and ended in Madrid where I could catch a flight to Rome. Four friends walked with me to the train station. When I said I didn’t mind carrying more stuff, James replied, ‘you’ll get plenty of practise doing that later on’. Which I couldn’t argue with.
We’d just been for a drink or two in my favourite bar, Ho! Gruf and amazingly I’d bumped into my friend Susana who joined us. She was one of the people I thought I wouldn’t have time to say goodbye to before I left so when she appeared at the bar, it was pretty good.
As I got onto the train, I was carrying my small backpack on my front (valuables and books), a big backpack on my back (clothes), and my guitar. I had tried to live without it before and I missed it more than my own bed. So I looked like a human snail with a guitar. The conductor said I needed to go through the carriage with the café and the cabin would be in the next part.
When you’re traveling, I think one of the things that makes it so interesting is the fact that anything can happen and you’ll face problems you can never foresee.
I soon faced my first problem: I got stuck in the narrow passage of the train. Mainly my guitar got wedged against a fire extinguisher and my bags didn’t allow to move my arms as much I normally would. The only solution was to execute a comedy backwards plod and running the risk of bumping into someone. I also had limited backwards vision. I realise now, that I should have bought some beepers from a lorry before I left. Anyway, eventually I found my cabin, but I wasn’t sure to go in so I decided to wait for the conductor. Of course in the time that I was waiting, someone else appeared who needed to get past. So I snail-plodded along the carriage bumping into almost every cabin and apologised as I did so just in case there were people inside. I then got wedged at the other end where I decided to wait for the conductor. This was the first time I saw ‘the toilet’.
When the conductor arrived, I must have looked like I wanted to leave the carriage with my cabin in. He said, ‘no, it’s this way’. I thanked him for his good sense of direction and executed the reverse plod back along the carriage. He was not as amused by this as I was. I squeezed in and one by one removed my bags and found space for the guitar under my bunk (I was in the bottom bunk, not putting the guitar in someone’s bed. I found space for the big bag and then took the small bag, hoping to finish my book.
I returned to the carriage with the café, ordered a beer then sat with my book but I found my head was buzzing too much to read or write so I looked into the darkness of the night, which was mainly the reflection of the café.