After returning from hiking in Benasque I tried to clean off my muddy and soaked boots, jeans , socks, and shirt, and I hung them to dry overnight. Unfortunately, overnight was not nearly long enough for them to dry, so when I packed up to leave Benasque the next morning I wrapped the whole mess inside of my jeans, and stuffed the damp package in my suitcase. Hopefully the wet and somewhat stinky mess would not be able to infect the rest of my luggage too much during the 12 hour trip. I’d certainly have to wash everything again when I got to Ireland, but hopefully it wouldn’t be too nasty.
I then put my luggage on the bus from Benasque to Barbastro. The bus to Barbastro is a local bus, stopping at every other street corner for the two hour trip down the mountain. Each time the bus stopped, it opened its luggage hold, people got on and off the bus and put luggage on and off. When I got to Barbastro, unfortunately, my luggage was missing --- lost or stolen. I tried to communicate the situation to the bus staff, but being that my vocabulary in Spanish consists of only “hamburgesa” and “cerveza” I was not very successful. The bus to Barcelona left only a few minutes later and I knew that if I waited for the next one, I would miss my flight. So I jumped on the bus and started making a mental inventory of what was lost and what I still had with me.
What I still had with me:
Red t-shirt with an hbar on the front of it
Laptop and Charger
Wallet (including several credit cards, and some euros)
One novel, unopened.
What was lost:
One new suitcase (Delsey was recently replaced)
One pair of wet and muddy Vasque hiking boots
Some jeans (one pair now wet and muddy)
Two nice shirts and a sweater from banana republic
A bunch of cruddy shirts
One snoopy tee-shirt (“borrowed” from my ex girlfriend)
One flying-spaghetti-monster tee-shirt
A bunch of mostly cruddy tee-shirts (one muddy)
One tweed jacket (old)
One pair of “Grinch who stole Christmas” boxers
Nine other pairs of nondescript boxers
One travel iron
One travel alarm
Razors, toothbrush, etc.
Looking at the list, the most valuable thing lost was probably the hiking boots and the suitcase itself (and the emotional value of snoopy, FSM, and the Grinch). If the luggage was actually stolen, I think the thief would be a sorely disappointed with his haul.
Late that evening I arrived in Ireland, and the next morning I stopped at the cut-rate department store and got myself some replacement shirts, boxers, toothbrush, etc. 2 euro for a t-shirt. Maybe I’ll buy a few more of them!
I tried to write to the Bus company in Spain, but I did not hear back from them (again, my limited knowledge of Spanish was probably a bit of a detriment, but with Google translate, I’m pretty sure I can make myself understood). I also wrote to the staff of the physics center in Benasque to see if they could help me. No progress yet.
I don’t know if my luggage will be recovered or not. Each hour it is gone, however, I imagine my wet and muddy hiking gear is fermenting just a bit more. Perhaps after a few more days of nasty growth, the damp jean and boots will be able to walk home by themselves. Or maybe they will be classified as a biological weapon and will be put on the no-fly list.
Update Monday Night: I just got an email from the Benasque staff saying that the bus company thinks they found my luggage! Yay!
Update Tuesday Morning: They discovered that the luggage is not actually mine. Boo!
Further updates will be posted as the story progresses.
Update Tuesday Afternoon: Reversal of fortune #2 : They think they have my luggage again. Yay!