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How’s this for multi modes of transportation in one day? At 6:30am I rode a bike to a local café in Marina di Pisa (Italy) to print out a boarding pass. I then dropped the bike at a friends flat, walked to the bus station where I took a 20 minute ride from the beach to the central part of the town of Pisa. I caught a second bus which took me all of 10 minutes to the Pisa airport. Arriving at 8:00am I waited for my first Ryan Air flight (a common EU based air carrier that operates close to dirt cheap). By 10:05am I was in air, destination Madrid, Spain. Arriving at Madrid aeropuerto I took a bus to get from the international terminal to terminal 4 which is where I would catch the metro to the more central train station (Madrid Chamartin). When I say I caught the metro, I should clarify as it was actually 3 separate metros – all of which totaled about 1 hr. Arriving at Chamartin station I realized that instead of printing out my train ticket for my upcoming trip to San Sebastian (north coastal Spain) I thought my iPhone screen shot would suffice. It would not. So I booked it on foot out of the station to a handful of different internet cafes in an attempt to find one that had a printer and access to US Gmail. No luck. I then headed back to Chamartin station and found the Eurail customer service office. My dilemma; the train to San Sebastian was sold out, the ticket I purchased was through a third party vendor and therefore my reservation was not showing up in the Eurail syatem. I also paid 120$ for the ticket and another $120 for a room for the night in San Sebastian. Not being able to go would be slightly annoying. Also, I had a ticket the next day from san Sebastian to Pamplona that also cost me about $30. This was turning out to be an expensive little oversight on my part.
A very nice Spaniard at the customer service office allowed me to access my email, and not only print out the pass for todays ride (Madrid to San Sebastian – 5hrs) but also the next days pass (San Sebastian to Pamplona) and then a third pass only a few days later (Pamplona back to Madrid). As far as vast array of transportation modes go, I have yet to ride in a cab today but that shouldn’t be a problem once I arrive in San Sebastian. I also realize San Sebastian is a coastal city so if I can commandeer a ship then I will have land, air and sea all covered in one day. So to recap, one bike, two buses, one plane, four trains, foot, and the chances of ship/sail, while not high, cannot be ruled out. I will update if I can best the quintella I have already reached. Also, none of this includes the SFO to JFK to LON to PSA and twenty-four hours of various travel means just to get to Italy the day before yesterday in the first place. Yes, I am tired.
It was summer 2002 and I was concluding a semester of law school abroad in a small town outside of Madrid, Spain called El Escorial. It was one of the highlights of my academic and personal life to be sure. In my book “Jiu Jitsu Jurisprudence” I actually discuss the experience as it pertained to my excitement in preparation for a career in law. At the conclusion of the semester one of my closest friends who attended with me and I headed out to explore the rest of Europe. The first place we stopped was Seville, Spain and from there we went to Pamplona where we ran with the bulls. I should clarify what I mean when I say ‘ran WITH the bulls’. It was more like I ran and hid from the bulls, sliding under a make shift fence as they came lumbering by me out of fear, anxiety and stress. I climbed the fence I slid under, watched as the trailing bulls passed by taking pics as though I was convincing myself I actually ran with the bulls. Which I did not. To take it a step further, I then slid back under the fence back onto the cobblestone street and attempted to make my way into the stadium (the ultimate goal of every runner). By time I arrived the doors had been shut (when the last bull arrives the doors are closed and those in the stadium are free to interact and engage the bulls while those who do not make it in must enter the stadiums stands and watch free from harms way).
We departed that next morning (before the start of that days run) and so my “Running with the Bulls” experience was both fleeting, unsuccessful (based on not reaching the stadium plus chickening out and jumping off the course) and left me with this sentiment: If I ever get the chance to do this again, I will. And I will not let rationale get in the way of doing what my primal self was meant to do, run with bulls with horns.
In one week I will be stationed somewhere on the 1/4 mile course, probably closer to the stadium doors. I will be documenting the before, during and after for Exploration Travel Magazine as part 1 of a four-part article on my experience in Europe.
In the event things go horribly wrong, I’d like this to be the record of my last words.
“When we get out of the glass bottle of our ego and when we escape like the squirrels in the cage of our personality and get into the forest again, we shall shiver with cold and fright. But things will happen to us so that we don’t know ourselves. Cool, unlying life will rush in.” – D. H. Lawrence. Oh, and please buy my book. Elton needs to eat.