I made it! 27 hours traveling door to door but now I am in Valencia, Spain. I flew from Austin to Chicago to Madrid to Barcelona and took a train to Valencia. I thought the train was gonna take 3 hours, it took 4.5. I love train travel though because I don't usually get motion sickness on them even if I'm reading. Things are going more or less smoothly, I had a few little hiccups using the pay phones to try to reserve a place to stay. The ring tone and the busy signal here all sound different than at home and I didn't recognize the busy signal. I finally decided when I got here and I hadn't found anything I would splurge on a Rick Steves pick. http://www.hotelvenecia.com/ My room is HUGE and has air conditioning and they have free wifi.
So far my Spanish language skills are holding up to the challenge. Tomorrow should be easier since I should get some decent sleep. In Spanish in Spain any word with a C or Z that in other places would make an S sound, here they use the th sound. That's gonna take some getting used to, but I'm gonna keep practicing. Also, I've already gotten a compliment on my Spanish. Of course, that's because I'm so obviously a freckle-faced American people are impressed I can speak Spanish at all. I helped a bunch of Americans make our connection in Madrid because they woman just told everyone the gate in Spanish and very few people knew what jota meant.
I've also done some pretty ridiculous people watching. I've seen tons of girls wearing super skinny jeans or short shorts but also several women in wild colored palazzo pants that have elastic at the ankles.
Tomorrow I'm gonna explore a little and try to find longer term lodgings :)