My Journey to Become a Skydiver. Part II- Spain

Now that the money had been raised, it was time to start working on the dates. Having already checked a few locations around the world, I narrowed down to Freefall University in Spain. But actually getting there was going to be a task in itself. I finalized my dates: 23rd March 2014, paid a majority of the fees and booked my tickets. The institute sent me a confirmation letter which I had to submit while applying for my visa. I got all the paperwork done, got my travel insurance and applied for the visa. In the mean time I brushed up my photography and filming skills and learnt a few more.

Two weeks later my passport came back but my visa had been denied. Now I was in deep trouble. The reason was that they could not determine my reason for going to Spain. I mean, it’s clearly mentioned in my application that I’m going to learn skydiving. For heaven’s sake. Now what do I do? I’d already paid most of my fees and I wasn’t sure if they would refund it. I called up the visa office and they said that I can appeal for the visa. Quickly I reorganized all my documents and filed for an appeal. This was my last shot. If it got rejected again, I could only reapply after a few months with a considerable financial loss on the tickets and visa fees. Now all I could do is wait and hope they would approve my visa application. Luckily another guy (Sahas Reddy who I met in at the institute) had also applied to learn skydiving around the same time as I did. So when the embassy saw two applications for visa for the same course they called the institute and confirmed.

After ten days of waiting and hoping my passport had arrived. When I went to collect it, they handed me a sealed envelope. Now it felt like I was opening my final exam report card when I was a kid (I wasn’t a bright student growing up, failing all the time). Without any hesitation I quickly opened the package and opened up my passport and there. THERE was the visa, my entry into Europe. Ecstatic, I walked out and treated myself to some nice biryani.

My Room
My Room

After a few days of planning and packing I flew to Spain. Damn that was a long flight (never been on such a long flight before). Finally I reached Madrid and with my guide manual in my hand that David had emailed me I made my way to Aranjuez a small town 45 minutes from Madrid. Once I reached Aranjuez I was picked up and taken to my hotel, Hostel Real with very friendly people working there. Hostel Real is very centrally located in the small town, 2 minutes walk from the palace so I knew I wouldn’t get lost.

Over the next few days while roaming around in the town, I noticed a lot of things were called Real. Hostel Real, Café Real, Real Moneychanger, etc.

Sunrise at Aranjuez
Sunrise at Aranjuez

Also little did I know communication would be quiet a problem but I had come well prepared. With an offline version of Google Translate on my phone, wherever I’d go and I wanted to ask something, I’d type it on Google Translate and read it out in Spanish. The people were very pleasant and helpful. In India, as a pedestrian the vehicles would always bully me and not let me cross but there the cars would stop for me to cross. The first time I was waiting to cross the road an oncoming car stopped right before me. After a while when I looked at the driver, he was frantically signaling me to cross. So now I didn’t want to run to the other side of the road nor did I want to take a leisurely stroll and inconvenience him, so I gave a very weird quick walk to the other side. I realized what I’d done and it cracked me up, when I looked at the driver to thank him, he was smiling too.

Breakfast
Breakfast

Rice! I’m a heavy rice eater. But Spain being a bread eating nation it was very hard for me to find rice. Now I hadn’t eaten rice for almost 10 days and my craving grew by the day. So one evening when someone suggest we go to a Pakistani restaurant, I was very excited as I was sure I’d get rice there. While they were very happy eating roti and curry, I sat quietly in one corner and devoured my chicken biryani. Even though I ate rice just that one time I was more than happy to eat their staple food.

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2 thoughts on “My Journey to Become a Skydiver. Part II- Spain

  1. Hey, I am also planning for the aff course for skyfall university, I have one question regarding visa like what is the minimum bank balance required in the bank statement and if I deposit the minimum required amount in my bank account then for how many days I should wait for applying the visa.

    1. Shengen Visa is a little tricky issue. You’ll need a salary slip for the past few months and alzo bank statement for the past few months.. Freefall uni will email you a letter that you will have to submit along with your visa application. You’ll need more than 2 lakhs in your account. You can keep it there till your visa comes.. Visit the visa website for the full information.. Feel free to contact me if you have any further query

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