As we discovered again yesterday, learning something while traveling can come with a cost. In this case, the cost was relatively low, but the anxiety was high.
Monday was our final day in Jerez for this year. We finished packing and cleaning the apartment. Our host, Pedro, came over and visited with us for while. He is a very nice person and we look forward to seeing him again. We made our final checks to see if we had our bags (2 pieces of luggage, 2 smaller bags, and our shoulder bags). Six pieces-check. We went to the Jerez train station where we had a wait of about an hour. Shortly before our train was to arrive, we made our way to the platform. So far, so good.
The train from Jerez has always been busy when we have boarded in the past so we were ready for the crush and the race for space to store bags. When we got to our seats, I did not see Patricia’s black bag. When I asked her where she had stored it, she realized it was not on board. These trains only stop for, literally, one minute or perhaps two. I looked out the window and saw her bag on a bench. I raced for the door but it closed before I could get there and we had to watch the bag, sitting by itself on a bench on the platform, disappear.
We travel light, but that means that everything we carry is important. What a disaster! What to do? We had only a few options we could think of. I could try to call the station and ask them to get the bag and hold it for us, hoping no one would take it. I did not think my Spanish could manage that. We could get to Seville and I could turn around back to Jerez and hope that the bag had been turned in because our host in Seville was waiting for us. As I attempted to contact our host, my phone chose that exact minute to stop communicating with the world.
What we decide to do, even though we could not tell our host we would be late, was to get off at the next stop–the Jerez Airport–and get a cab back to the Jerez train station and hope we could recover the bag. We did that, but the ride back to the city seemed interminable. When we arrived at the train station I went inside and looked across the platforms to see if the bag was still there. It was not. I found customer service and sat down in front of the agent. I told him my name and tried to tell him about leaving a bag behind. His face got very serious and he pointed his finger at me like a gun and said bang, bang; Moriarty; Londres (London). I got it. Yes, like Sherlock Holmes. He was really pleased with himself. Then Patricia came in, near tears because she had not found the bag.
The agent reached behind him and lifted up her bag! They had gone through it and found the phone number and address we always leave in a bag and were trying to contact us, but my phone was not working. We, of course, were immensely relieved, and he was visibly pleased that he could help.
One remaining problem: we were still in Jerez and we needed to be in Seville. Trains between the two cities are relatively frequent, but, as I pointed out, also usually busy. The next 2 trains were “completo” (full). Of course they were. On the third train, it was nearly full and we could not get seats together, but that had to do.
Shortly after I purchased a new set of tickets, my phone began to work again. Of course it did. I was able to contact our host in Seville, who was very understanding and sympathetic. We arrived only about three-and-a-half hours late. It could have been worse.
The apartment in Seville is on the 3rd floor (second floor here in Spain). I’d forgotten that it had no elevator. Some huffing and puffing later, we were shown into a very nice apartment in a good location. I am sure we will enjoy our stay here.
No tapas for us last night. We headed for the Hard Rock Café right around the corner and had good, old-fashioned hamburgers for dinner.
So another lessoned learned: Count your bags BEFORE you get on the train/bus/taxi and not after you get going. At least this lesson had no long term consequences and will not harm the rest of our trip.