After our little bus adventure through all the outskirts of Valencia, some walking, a helpful policeman, and another bus ride, Mr. Gren, baby Rana and I ended up at our hotel, Hostal El Cid. The lady who ran the hotel immediately fell in love with Rana. “¡Que muñeca eres!” Apparently she was the most adorable baby in Spain because everyone we met ended up proclaiming her doll-like cuteness. We were led up the stairs to our room where we could finally put down the suitcases we had been lugging for hours. It was a small room but clean: a bit cramped with two beds in it, a small shower in the corner and a sink next to it. The toilet was down the hall. After we had had some time to settle in a bit, we realized that there were no towels. Looking back, I don’t know why we didn’t just go down and ask. I think we must have chickened out, thinking that perhaps we were supposed to have brought our own? Obviously, we hadn’t. We decided we’d just have to go buy a towel from somewhere. Again, don’t look for logic in any of this. Baby Rana also needed diapers and we may as well go explore the city a bit.
While we were winding our way through the city streets to get to our hotel, we had noticed a tourist information center not too far away, so that’s where we headed this time. I asked the lady at the information desk if there were a store around where we could buy diapers and bath towels. She whipped out a map and highlighted a department store a few blocks away called El Corte Inglés. Off we went!
We found the store and then ended up walking all the way around it trying to find the door. They didn’t make that easy. We had been hoping for something in the Target price range. This store ended up being more in the realm of Macy’s. Have I mentioned that we were on a shoestring budget? Maybe even less than that. More like, half a shoestring or dental floss budget. Our eyes popped out when we saw the price tags on the bath towels. But our other options were 1) air-drying after a shower, or 2) not showering for ten days. Neither sounded appealing. There was no way we could afford regular sized bath towels, so we looked at the next size down which were about the size of a welcome mat. At 10 euros a piece these would have to do.
You know how new towels have that fabric softener stuff all over them to make them nice and fluffy in the store and virtually impervious to moisture? Yeah, we had failed to take that into account. After the first shower, using our little towels we discovered that there was not a lot of absorption going on. “Drying off” consisted of wiping the water down our bodies with our oversized chamois cloths, leaving us nice and moist. Ok, not so nice. Mr. Gren and I are pretty good at making the best of things, so we continued toughing it out with our tiny towels and damp skin, hoping that eventually they’d start absorbing more.
A few days into our trip, a set of bath towels magically appeared in our room. Apparently, it had just been an oversight all along. Towels were provided! We felt a little bit silly then, but it was a relief to finally be able to get dry.
We still have our little overpriced towels and, after multiple washings, they still don’t really absorb. But I doubt we’ll get rid of them — they’re one of our few Spanish souvenirs after all.