Since I will be living and working in Spain for an extended period of time, I have to apply for a visa in order to be “legal”. If you’ve never had to deal with applying for a visa (especially a Spanish one), consider yourself extremely lucky. Let me tell you, it’s no walk in the park. We’re talking police background checks (now FBI background checks), medical reports, proof of insurance, financial means, employment, and a $100 “processing” fee. Not to mention travel expenses to get to the consulate that has jurisdiction over your state of residence. Sheesh! Did I mention you have to apply AND pick up your visa in person?
Anyway, this last Friday I traveled to Chicago to begin the process. I went via the Megabus since they just started servicing Des Moines. Granted, the only route is Des Moines-Iowa City-Chicago, but hey, I’m just grateful to have cheap transportation and someone else to drive. I was able to get a round trip ticket for $30- pocket change! My only gripe is that the free wifi they claim to provide was definitely not provided. After talking to seasoned passengers I found out the wifi rarely, if ever, works. Next time the laptop stays at home!
Since my visa appointment was at 9:30 am on Friday, I had to travel on Thursday and thus needed accommodation for the night. Me, being the adventurous world traveler that I am, decided to stay in a hostel for the night. You really can’t beat a $30 night’s sleep in downtown Chicago within walking distance of everywhere you’d want to be. The hostel was clean, the staff was friendly, breakfast was provided, and it served as a pleasant reminder of the great hostel experiences that are sure to come in just a few short months.
While I don’t have the same nice things to say about my experience at the Consulate, they did accept my application and I can only hope they have my visa and passport ready before I depart on August 22nd. Fingers crossed.