So Your Spanish is Awful? Have Fun in Poland!

We’ve decided to leave Valencia on Tuesday and make our way to Italy. We’re going to take the trip slowly, stopping in different cities each night along the way. We had this all planned out before we went to the train station, list in hand.

The problem is, no one at the Renfe customer service desk speaks English. Now, I trust our Spanish when it comes to ordering food, but getting tickets is a bit trickier. I’ve got a pretty solid vocabulary, but I struggle to conjugate an entire sentence and while I can ask a question, I don’t always understand the answer. Unfortunately, the answers are rather important when it comes to train tickets.

Ticket agent #1 worked with us to get tickets to Toledo on Monday but when we told him we needed “mas billetes” we were quickly handed off to ticket agent #2. Things went smoothly until we told him we needed to get to Marseille. He told us it was impossible.

Us: “por que?”
Ticket agent #2: “porque!” **bangs on computer screen**

Enter ticket agent #3 who says ticket agent #2 is wrong.

A Spanish ticket agent points to a paper and explains things to a manAgent #3 printed off what we needed and promptly sent us to ticket agent #4 who, if the agents were dwarfs, is definitely “Grumpy.” “Give me, give me!” he ordered as we approached his desk. He then began conversation with agents 1-3. I only picked up pieces of it but I’m sure it went something like this:

Agent 4: “Why me?”

Agent 2: “If you can’t make them leave I’m going to start singing La cucaracha!”

Agent 1: “I don’t like his beard.”

Agent 3: “why is it so patchy?”

Agent 2: “La cucaracha, la cucaracha, ya no puede caminar!”

Agent 4: “that’s it, I’m sending them to Poland.”

A Spanish ticket agent workingAfter about an hour of linguistic gymnastics we ended up with a fistful of tickets.

A big pile of train tickets for a trip across EuropeStay tuned, it’s about to get even more interesting – and don’t rule out a post from Poland just yet.

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