No photos, just bitching about losing my wallet which made my journey to Spain a nightmare.
I completed the 10 hour bus ride from Dubrovnik to Split and boarded another overnight train. I was so pleased to finally get a night train with a bed, although it was the top bunk with about 6 inches of space between the mattress and the ceiling.
I woke up to an employee banging on the door. We had arrived in Munich. Still waking up, I went down the stairs to the bathroom, opening up my wallet to pay the 50 cents required to enter. I left the wallet in my hand, dragging all my belongings into the stall. I must not have put my wallet back in my purse. I again dragged all my things out of the stall, forgetting my wallet which I probably put on top of the toilet paper dispenser. I went back up the stairs and to the luggage lockers. I reached in my purse for my wallet to pay… Where was my wallet? I remembered the bathroom. I bolted back down. It must have been about a 5 minute time period. I yelled to the janitor to let me back in so I could get it. This has happened to me before in life, much more when I was younger. I've become far better at not forgetting my belongings by learning the hard way, but shit still happens. It wasn't there. I hoped for the next best situation, that an honest person discovered it and turned in my missing wallet. I was wrong. In the 4 hour waiting period for my train to France, then to Spain, I went back numerous times to lost and found. Nothing. I could only be thankful that my passport and travel documents were still with me, but it still didn't help the situation of having absolutely zero money (okay I had about 20 cents but you can't purchase anything in Europe for under one full euro.)
I felt incredibly vulnerable being alone in a foreign country with no ability to purchase anything, especially not sustenance. There were of course problems with a Western Union money wiring and instead of being able to receive in minutes, it would take 5 hours. I would be on a train at that point, in fact I'd be on a train all the way into the next morning. I would only have to endure not eating for a good 24 hours, which was disappointing, but thought all the millions of people who starve on a day to day basis. I would be fine. I suddenly realized the predicament of paying for a metro ticket in Paris to transfer trains. All I needed was 1.70 euros, but I only had 20 cents. I would have to beg, there was literally no other way. I thought about how utterly embarrassed I would be, how shameful I'd feel… Then I realized that I'd been collecting coins from every country I'd been in so far. Maybe the currency exchange would take my coins! I dashed over to the counter 20 minutes before departure. They said they'd take my pounds which was converted into a little over 2 euros. I was saved! Hungry, but everything would be okay... Until my metro ticket didn't work.
It happened to us a few times in Paris; the machine says your ticket is good but the revolving bars don't turn. That wasn't going to stop me. I shoved my luggage under the bars and hopped over them, and never was yelled at. I didn't have loads of time to make this transfer either, so talking to a security guard just couldn't be on the agenda, nor was buying another ticket in a line that was getting increasingly longer. I finally boarded my night train heading for Spain with two other British girls munching on a wide assortment of snacks in their bunks. I was too proud to ask for some. Too proud!
The next morning I navigated my way to the nearest Western Union. It was a seemingly never-ending walk, but I could see the light at the end of this tunnel... Until I was notified that not all Western Unions in Spain let you receive money. I sat on the street outside with my belongings in the hot, mid-morning Spanish sun and cried. People walked by and stared. What if the next one to receive was miles away? I couldn't pay for a bus or a taxi. With my phone I was able to find out information leading to a currency exchange that would do it just across the street. The information was wrong, but they were able to tell me that any post office in Spain can do it. Why didn't the first Western Union tell me that? The language barrier can be a real problem. A post office was a 10 minute walk away. I waited in line with an American who had lost his debit card and phone the night before (heavy drinking was the culprit.) The woman didn't speak any English but somehow the transaction was made and I came away with a glorious wad of Euros. Unfortunately, this was the wrong country to carry large amounts of cash in but c'est la vie, or should I say "que es la vida"? I went immediately into a cafe and had vegetable paella to break my fast. It sure wasn't top quality seafood paella from a 5 star restaurant but I had never had paella before. It was one of the best meals I've ever had.