Welcome to Wine Country

Sign number one that I will be able to survive here: There are barrels of wine EVERYWHERE.

This past week I had a chance to visit my teaching destination in Bollullos Par Del Condado, Huelva, Spain for the first time.  I knew going into it that this was a small town with limited transportation…but man was I in for in adventure.

First error we made:  We assumed that the buss going to “Bollullos” was going to Bollullos Par Del Condado.  WRONG.  It was going to Bollullos de la Mitacion.  How were we to know?!!?!?  So we waited for the ONLY bus to go to Bollullos Del Condado (as the locals call it) at 7 PM.

Second error:  Spanish transportation is unique in itself…it takes a true Spaniard to really know the towns, the bus stops (they will be unmarked, and usually on a street corner), and what times these all happen at.  There is no bus schedule for ANY bus.  Even if you bus ticket says certain cities, the bus may or may not go there, or you will be stopping at a few extra cities too.  Que sorpresa! What a surprise!  This should have been a prelude to what our next transportation adventures would entail.

So we FINALLY made it to the CORRECT Bollullos (nearly 90 minutes after we thought we would get there…damn you Google Maps).  We had a whirlwind of apartment showings, and headed to the only hostel/hotel (we don’t really know what the definition of these words are here…).  We also learned that we will be “the Americans” of the town.  My intercambio (A spaniard that is learning English meets up with me to speak spanish and practice her english) told me to be prepared to be cat called, stared at, and to be talked about.  BUENO.

Here is the “bus stop.” EN SERIO (Seriously).

uvas (grapes). It’s harvesting time! Our new friend Cayote, or Coyote told us the whole history of grapes. All I could understand was that it takes 40 to 45 days for grapes to ferment.

 

The next day we had to go to the city of Huelva to make appointments for our TIE work cards.  Of course the ONLY bus is at 9:30…at what bus stop you may ask?  NO CLUE.  So we stumble upon one, however not the right one.  On our way to the correct one, this old man decided to personally deliver us to the bus.  Oh, but he did not stop there, he preceded to get on the bus with us and continue his delivery all the way to Huelva.  However, his job was not done there.  He decided that he must go with us to the Junta (government) building and proceeds to lead us in the wrong direction.

Nope. Why would it make sense to put a map or a schedule of times on the bus stop sign?

Then became error number 3:  We missed the bus BACK to Bollullos, and of course the next one wasn’t until later and we still had some apartments to look at in town.  So we took the train from Huelva to La Palma Del Condado which is 3 km north of Bollullos.  Sounds simple enough right?  hahahaha, never.  We get to La Palma, the train station closed at 3, the bar next to it is closing, and we see NO taxis in sight. I ask the bar tender about buses to Bollullos, he laughs.  So I ask about taxi’s and he laughs some more at me.  He points to some pieces of paper taped to the wall with two names of guys who are “taxi drivers” (I used quotation marks, because it was literally a guy with his own car who showed up…he could have been a serial killer for all we knew).

Then became error number 3:  We missed the bus BACK to Bollullos, and of course the next one wasn’t until later and we still had some apartments to look at in town.  So we took the train from Huelva to La Palma Del Condado which is 3 km north of Bollullos.  Sounds simple enough right?  hahahaha, never.  We get to La Palma, the train station closed at 3, the bar next to it is closing, and we see NO taxis in sight. I ask the bar tender about buses to Bollullos, he laughs.  So I ask about taxi’s and he laughs some more at me.  He points to some pieces of paper taped to the wall with two names of guys who are “taxi drivers” (I used quotation marks, because it was literally a guy with his own car who showed up…he could have been a serial killer for all we knew).

Finally we got back to Bollullos, but then my Bilingual Coordinator had to drive us back to La Palma to take a train (at an undetermined time…Thanks Damas website for no schedules) back to Sevilla.

In the end here is a diagram of our travels:

Sevilla (bus)—>Bollullos de la Mitacion (bus)—>Sevilla (bus)—>Bollullos Del Conado (bus)—>Huelva (bus)—>La Palama (train)—>Bollullos Del Condado (stranger’s car)—>La Palma (Bilingual coordinator’s car)—>Sevilla (train)

I’m not going to lie, those were the two most tiring days ever.  However, we successfully found a house (con dos pisos/two floors), meet my Bilingual Coordinator, found out that the Junta will contact us about TIE cards, and tested all forms of transportation in the Huelva area.  Success?  Yo creo que si!

Don’t worry everyone, Cayotone (?), gave us his contact information if we want to come hang out in Ayamonte with him on the weekends. Did I mention this guy is at least 65 years old and has no teeth?

3 thoughts on “Welcome to Wine Country

  1. Susan Culver says:

    I’m also happy to see that you also attract the same sort of kindly, but quirky, men that your mother and Grandma Peggy seemed to attract.

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