I started my journey on Thursday and flew from Phoenix to D.C. Next was the transatlantic flight to Vienna, Austria. That seemed like such a long flight. They did a good job of entertaining you—if you wanted it, but all I wanted to do was sleep. That plan didn´t work out all that well. I couldn´t sleep as much as I wanted. By this flight, I had found two other girls in my group. We landed in Vienna and slept for 3 of our 4 hour layover. We met up with the rest of our group—about 14 total, and went on the smaller plane to Madrid. I´ve always wanted to fly in a plane where I had to get on it from the tarmac—this was my chance. It was slightly raining and extremely cold in Vienna—not to mention insane fog! I couldn´t see anything past the airport, and I had no idea how we landed, everything was a cloud.
So, we arrived in Spain safe and sound, no one in our group lost any luggage, and we slowly but surely found our way to the metro. We found our way to the metro, got on and then transferred to another train line. That was where we met some girls who pick-pocketed me. Funny part though, we were buying train tickets at the little machine and those girls were in front of me. One left her change in there and I gave it back to her.
So, it wasn´t too bad. They only got cash, and two letters I had. Usually, they would have taken my passport as well, but for some unknown reason to me I put it in a different pocket in my bag than usual. I thought they had taken my wallet—I went through and cancelled all my credit cards—but turns out I had put that one in a different pocket for some reason as well. And the best part, I handled it all extremely well. I didn´t panic, I wasn´t hurt, and I immediately (well as soon as we got off the train) took steps to correct the situation. I promised myself before I came that if I was stolen from I would not let it ruin my whole trip. I´m happy to report that I have succeeded with that goal. We had been warned in our prep-class about thieves in Madrid, and I definitely took them seriously, but I underestimated how good these people are at thieving. I didn´t notice a thing, and it wasn´t until after they had gotten off the train that I noticed anything.
After we finally arrived in Alcala, all 14 of us--with two massive suitcases in tow--made our way to our professors house (la casa de Shumway). He had offered to put us all up for the night since we came in a day early. It was hilarious to see this massive train of people--it sounded like a herd of cattle, no joke. It was exceptionally noisy--especially since we went over cobbled instead of paved roads. So, the 23 of us (he has 7 kids) squished our way into his town house. It was actually pretty funny. People were sleeping everywhere--couches, beds made out of suitcases, actual mattresses--there were legs, arms, and blankets everywhere. The two boys in our group were on the top floor.