This morning, here I am in my complacent little bubble – I know where L’estacion Nord is… I have photos on my my phone of the timetables, yes both directions… I’ve even completed User Acceptance Testing on a patisserie en route, so breakfast is planned. I’ve checked my Rough Guide and practiced how to ask for a ticket (of the return variety) to Barcelona Catalunya. I think I’m so good, right?
So I rock up at Mollet Santa Rosa, wander up to the ticket counter, and in my most convincing Catalan accent, I ask for my ticket – just as my train pulls OUT of the station. Excellent. It’s only at this point, I check my watch (for the third time since leaving the hotel) to realise that it’s four minutes behind the clock on the wall in the station. Ah. So maybe synchronising watches on last night’s recce could’ve been a good idea?
At this point, Alonso behind the counter (I choose this name due to my friendly ticket seller having just the one eyebrow) starts speaking to me in English – damn, is it that obvious? Or was my Catalan accent less convincing than I’d hoped? Either way I’m actually quite relieved – I haven’t looked up how to ask what time the next train is, and even if I had, I’d have no idea what he was saying in his response, and there’s no way I’m getting my phrase book out in public! So he simply says ‘next train? 12 and 8 minutes’ and I buy my ticket. In English. Language fail, day one. Poor Rebecca, poor from you. Right, my next communication must be in Catalan – redemption required!