Day 1… Day of Departure. The early morning goes smoothly; little is left to do. I have been sufficiently compulsive and organized enough that everything that had to be done in preparation for the big trip has been completed and the little box next to each item has been checked off. The ride to the airport is uneventful. We book two large bags at the curbside check-in and I dutifully watch them travel down the conveyor belt until they awkwardly drop into a deep dark hole which will—if all goes well—tunnel them all the way to Barcelona, Spain…maybe.
We have two flights this morning. One from Fort Lauderdale to Atlanta, Georgia; the other from Atlanta direct to Barcelona. The highlight of the latter leg is focused on the contemplation of what it takes for all the kazillion parts in the engine to function in perfect order for an uninterrupted 8 hours and 37 minutes. This is a hard concept for me since I can barely function in moderate order for 8 minutes.
The first clue that this may not be an easy trip was evident upon boarding and taking our seats on the first flight. There is little room between rows to allow the blood in our legs to circulate. I make little of it. It’s less than a two hour flight so I can handle it. Besides, I reassure Rosemarie that the next flight will be an all-nighter and an international one at that. I am sure on those kinds of fights they will not cram us in like sardines.
Well, as it turns out, my sardine analogy is anyting but accurate. The seats on the second plane were jammed together even closer than on the fist flight. That’s an uncensored picture of my legs just before they went numb. It had to be the most uncomfortable plane ride I’ve ever been on. Delta Airlines, you should be ashamed of yourself. It amazes me how greedy airlines have become as they talk out of both sides of their mouths saying how important customer satisfaction is while squeezing together the rows of seating in their planes until blood clots begin forming.
There were two meals served on this flight: a dinner and a boxed breakfast of yogurt, orange juice, a cheese Roll and a few other things I’d like to forget about and did. The other meal was described by the flight attendant as “hot chicken with vegetables.” Yep.
A century or more passed and we eventually landed in Barcelona. The landing, thank goodness, was scary enough to help keep our minds off the excruciating pain we had to endure while we extricatedd our mummified legs from the tiny chambers in which they had been stored for the past nine hours.
Two challenges remained that would help make our journey of misery all the more memorable. After going through Customs we were channeled into a large room
where we were supposed to find a young man holding a sign with my name on it. Said young man had been reserved and paid for weeks previously. His assignment was to pick us up at the airport and drive us to the hotel. There were many of his colleagues doing the same, although he was nowhere to be found. Two phone calls and several nervously muttered what-do-we-do-now’s came and went. I spent the time thanking God for granting us repossession of our luggage, it having successfully popped out of the other end of the great black hole it had tumbled into back in Fort Lauderdale.
Our man with the car finally arrived and after a reasonably normal ride we finally arrived at the hotel (see picture), exhausted with a wee bit of jet lag and looking forward to a corresponding wee bit of a nap. It was not meant to be. We were told our room was not ready and wouldn’t be until 3 o’clock. It was 10am. We had only four hours to kill. Sure.
Just prior to leaving the airport we had met up with another couple who were part of our informal group. Their room wasn’t ready either so the four of us walked to a small restaurant down the street and camped out there for awhile. BTW, one quick way to confirm you are in a major city in Europe is to simply count the motor scooters. You can’t….too many.
Okay, I will admit the rest of the evening went more or less trouble free…until I began attempting to put this posting together. For some reason, WordPress’ blog programming doesn’t like my new laptop. Nothing was working right. I battled it out for several hours past midnight and finally surrenderd. A battle lost, but maybe I was just having a bad day…yuh think?