Home is where you make it

 “It is in the shelter of each other that the people live.”  ~ Irish Proverb

We hop through the Chicago Blue Line train doors and look for seats.  I glance over to a solitary figure in the corner back seat.  He makes eye contact, gives a smile that shows his missing teeth and gestures that I may sit in the seat next to him.

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I am usually chatty and he is, too.  We immediately engage in lively conversation about Chicago, the sites to see, etc.  He is a wealth of information as to free events going on in the city. My goodness, I must be sitting next to the Good Will Ambassador of Chicago!

As our conversation continues he volunteers information about himself.  He is 60 years old, spent five years in the Air Force, moved to Chicago with his parents at age three and lives on the Chicago subway train system. Yes, this is what he calls his home since it is much safer than the homeless shelters.  He says that a 60-year-old man is a target on the streets and in the shelters, so he feels safer on the train.

I ask my new friend, Nate, about his family. His parents both lived to their mid 80’s to 90’s and his mother died from Alzheimer disease.  We have this in common so our conversation never lags. He entertains me with stories of his mother’s forgetfulness which I can relate to.

Nate shakes his head and laments the fact that so much food is wasted in America, but it’s to his advantage if good food is thrown in a dumpster or somewhere that he can retrieve it.

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I am aware that Nate is working me for a handout, but that’s O.K.  Interesting conversation, information about the sites and events in Chicago, and a little insight to another world that I am fortunate not to have experienced.  Maybe he isn’t homeless and it’s just a scam, but I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt.  I give Nate some money and a cold bottle of water and he seems genuinely appreciative.  He has his eye on a pork sandwich from a vendor he knows, that is a good value and lets me know that the cold bottle of water I gave him is such a treat.

We arrive at our stop and the train doors open.  We say our goodbyes and walk through the door, continuing to play the role of tourists.  Nate, on the other hand, stays on the train hoping another nice tourist hops on the train and finds a seat next to him.

High Speed Train to Segovia ~ All Aboard!

We head to the charming train station in Santiago so that we can proceed on to Segovia.

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Spain-1040787Petite Kathy appears even smaller in comparison to all of our backpacks.

Spain-1040780Killing time until the train leaves.  People watching is my activity while this gent smokes his cigarette.

Spain-1040799Almost time to hop on the train.

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Spain-1040805BYOB party?

Spain-1040836We see many wind farms along the way.

Spain-1040819What to do while riding on a train? Look out the window? nibble on snacks? sleep? I choose to take photos of our reflection in the window. To each their own, right?

The Segovia train station is a few miles from the city, so we need to take a cab or bus.  I had read about the city bus line that shuttles to town for 1 Euro.  A cab pulls up and is quickly filled.  Our new friend from the train is so helpful with our questions as the bus pulls up to load. We opt for the bus and enjoy the night views of the city.

129081858.ksrRHIey.SegoviaAqueductnight[1]Oh, what a spectacular sight as we enter Segovia with the lighted aqueduct in the distance.

We search for our hostal, Don Jaime, only to find it near the bus drop off spot. Oh, well, the walk did us good since we had been sitting on a train for the past few hours.