I was in Madrid trying to get to Toledo, a small town out in the countryside of picturesque renown. I realized how small when I was told that the only mode of transportation was a rickety old bus that hobbled over a country lane. I stumbled upon one of these by sheer dumb luck. I was looking for a train and none was to be found. It was too late to rent a car so I hopped on a the precarious bus with all the farmers, boxes of stinky cheese and overripe tomatoes, and chickens, squawking to death. This was no luxury air-conditioned vehicle. I wasn’t sure it was going to make the trip to Toledo. After a painful hour on this cracker box of a bus, we reached Toledo, a sight for sore eyes. It isn’t comfortable riding a broken-down bus. The price was right at a few cents. It was a major adventure and for that reason, well worth the trip. I had never come so close to the country folk. I think when fortuitous things happen to you while traveling, it is the most fun. As long as things don’t get out of control. Better than going the luxurious route in fact, if there even is one. You can’t brag about your odd experiences if they are just standard fare. You want to remember the chicken that sat next to you that was going to be someone’s fresh dinner that night. I accepted a swig of local wine and a paring of cheese and lunch had been served.
On that particular day, I had managed to get to the Costa del Sol in southern Spain by sheer dumb luck once again. I had hitchhiked to the Alhambra to see the wonderful Moorish architecture that I didn’t want to miss. I was so close I tried to get a train to Marbella from there where I was supposed to be staying that night. The train was full and I hopped on anyway without a ticket. I expected to be thrown off in due course but out of sheer dumb luck, the conductor missed me and I was able to take the last train out to the coast. I was a little panicky all the way but I didn’t want to stay overnight in Alhambra not even knowing where there was a nearby hotel. There probably wasn’t one in spite of the tourist attractions. People came for the day alone often by car and returned to other destinations. Sometimes things we don’t plan turn out all right in spite of ourselves. The best travel experiences seem to be this way. My train ride though stressful was comfortable and thoroughly enjoyed. Latecomers have been known to stand for hours when they don’t have a seat. Reaching Marbella was heaven and I vowed to plan my transportation more carefully after that when returning to Madrid by conventional means. I just had to stop a few days to enjoy the beach in spite of it being off season and virtually vacated. The restaurants were still open as were the various sights.