Trying desperately to remain open minded, I held my breath as we climbed the decaying staircase in the building's entryway. Once we were in the apartment, the man who was there to let us in did a lot of fast talking (99% of it in Spanish) as he walked us through our accommodation. Luckily, we had not paid any money yet, because when I looked up, I saw that the ceiling was covered in black mold! Really?! Really. It was disgusting and not something that even the most open of minds could overlook! Bill called Lena, the woman he had originally spoken to about the rental, and explained that we would not be able to stay there as he feared that we would all get sick. She wanted to know if a discount would help - yeah, right. She then told us that she has another apartment for rent but it would cost us 50% more (an offer he graciously refused)!
So, after spending 5 1/2 hours on the train from Malaga, we were left in Barcelona tired, hungry and without a place to stay. Knowing that we wanted to have a great experience there, and the possibility of that was now greatly compromised, Bill and I made the decision to head back to the train station and book a train back to Valencia. Barcelona and all of its glory will need to wait for another, more suitable, time. We got to the station at 3:30 and were just in time for the 4:00 train. We were so relieved - both to not have to wait long for a train, and also to be getting back to someplace familiar. Bill called Anthony and arranged for us to stay in one of his other apartments until the 31st (when our apartment becomes available).
We are in Valencia now and are looking forward to relaxing. Though we are in a different, less familiar part of town, it is only for a few days and will allow us the chance to see some other neighborhoods. I keep saying it, but having Anthony here to help us has really made all of this more 'doable.' Venturing out and taking on so many new things at once has left me feeling especially vulnerable. Once we get some language instruction under our belts, I hope that we will rebuild some of our confidence and spontaneity, but for now, I am grateful to have an angel like Anthony to guide us (poor guy).