Thursday, June 28, 2012

heat, and the Eurail pass

the heat

I did not sleep well last night at all. It was upwards of 95 degrees outside with absolutely no breeze. Thank goodness it wasn't humid, or it would have just been impossible to breathe. It was too hot to wear anything to bed, so I just slept in my underwear on top of the sheets. I would lie in bed trying to sleep but be woken up every 5 minutes in a puddle of my own sweat, take a long drink of water, adjust the shades/shutters, and flop back down on the bed. I tried alternating between having the windows open to get some fresh air and closing the shutters to trap out the heat, but I'm afraid there was barely a difference between the two. This is me, who sleeps with a comforter in the summer because I like sleeping in the heat, not being able to sleep when it was this hot last night.


My room get sunlight in the morning, during the hot times of day, so if the windows are open in the morning the room heats up instantly. Even with both my door and window open, I can't get a breeze going, since they are on the same side of the wall. As soon as I open my door after a hot night, the slightly-cooler air of the living room is a refreshing change. 

the Eurail

I finally had success in obtaining a Eurail pass today after work. You need your original passport and a debit card to buy it - it's only available for non-EU residents. After going to the Chamartín station, you need to pick an "international" ticket number and wait your turn in line. I got to the station at 5:45pm after leaving work a bit early (it was still a good 20-minute ride on the subway, farther than what I ride to go to work every morning) and still had to wait at least half an hour in line. 


When I finally got to the counter to buy my Eurail pass, the prices I saw on the flyer (slightly lower than the online prices) made it such that the youth pass for any 3 bordering countries of your choice for 5 days was only 10 euros more than a 5-day pass for only Spain. So of course I got the 3-country pass, choosing Spain, France, and Germany, costing me 250 euros. I will definitely be in all three of those countries in the next 60 days (my pass was validated today, so it is valid for any journeys until August 27th, at which point I won't be in Europe anyway), and with the tips and tricks of a Eurail pass, will save me a butt-load of money. If I don't get to try it out this Sunday, I will definitely use it on Monday when I will be in Hannover/Braunschweig for the UAV conference with my lab. 


In a paragraph, here is how the Eurail pass works: with a Eurail pass (valid for n days [however many you bought - 5 for me] in the next 60 from which it is validated [June 27th to August 27th for me]), you can go to any ticket-sale window with a teller and buy/reserve tickets for any rail line in the countries for which your pass is valid [Spain, France, Germany for me] and reserve any ticket on the train. For some train services, mostly overnight or high-speed lines, you need to reserve your tickets, but in that case the tickets cost no more than 10 euros. When a one-way ticket to Barcelona normally costs 150 euros, this is an incredible bargain. Any train station with a ticket window and a teller has the capability to reserve tickets for you with a Eurail pass. 


I hope to have some exciting adventures with this new Eurail pass!