Trying to get to Lisbon

Well, today is the day – international travel is back! (I mean for me at least, its been back for a while, but I was waiting for the right time). Chris and I are meeting in Lisbon tomorrow. I started my day early – around 5am. I was so excited to travel, I couldnt sleep. I slept at moms house last night to make it easier to catch an Uber or Lyft – however, that didnt work out right and there were no Ubers available (it said NO CARS?!) and Lyft was over $75….so mom was kind enough to take me to the airport.

From there, it was an easy peasy flight to DFW. The middle seat was open, and I was able to crash for the last 2 hours of the flight. However, that is when then easy peasy ended.

I was able to get into the Admirals Club lounge because of my status (all that flying has paid off). I sat in there for a few hours, eating far too many purple grapes and cheddar cheese chunks. I downloaded more shows for my tablet, ate some cookies and rice crispies.

I packed up and went to the gate about 5 minutes before we were boarding. However, when I got there the gate agent was telling someone “this is a maintenance issue.” So, I hung out by the gate for over an hour. During that time, I heard the gate agent say that it was a cracked windshield. At that point, I knew we were going to be delayed for longer than 2 hours.

A drunk woman approached the gate agent and the gate agent took her boarding passes because she was too intoxicated to fly. It was great. Major props to American Airlines for NOT letting her on. She could barely walk in a straight line, her words were slurred and she just didnt look good. She also did not understand they were not going to let her on the flight.

I waited for about an hour, then decided to head back to the lounge. When I was walking away they announced it would be at least 2 hours. At the two hour mark I checked the status of the flight, they had switched gates – we got a new plane!

This gate was like a 20 minute walk, so I took my time to get there. Once there the pilots got on board, they had to reissue us tickets because the plane layout had changed. We got our new tickets, they delayed the flight again and then all of a sudden the pilots walked back off the plane….the tower had not agreed to let us go.

Once the pilot crew was gone, they attempted to get us another one, but they knew we werent going out tonight. they issued use hotel vouchers via text or email and I took off with my new friends from Sacramento (Kelly and Bobby). We shared an Uber to our hotel and then checked into our rooms.

We kept texting and calling each other for the next hour – the flight status kept changing and things. We finally got texts about an hour after we got there, our flight had been officially canceled and I was going to Miami in the morning….they were on the same flight, just a day later.

Madrid

Oh golly where do I start with Madrid?

Well I’ll start off by saying I don’t like it. Not any one thing in particular, but just not satisfied with the city.

When I arrived I was excited, first because it was the nicest train I have ever been on (truly like a first class plane ride!!) And second because it was a new city, and new things to explore.

I found my hostel again, no problem. Its a very popular hostel and very well orgainized. It has a bar here 😦 and the bar crawl was the only city tour they offered really!! As soon as I heard that I knew that there wouldn’t be much to do.

But I thought positive and headed to the city center to see what there was to see. And again, disappointment. Algonquin has a bigger ‘city center’ than Madrid. I decided to do the bus tour of Madrid in hopes of finding something to see. I road the bus for one whole loop of the ‘red-old madrid’ line. Then I hopped off and got some dinner, a pizza at a nice little place in the ‘center’ of town. After that I hopped onto the ‘blue-new madrid’ line. And road that around for a while. There was a bike rally, like bicycle, through town, it was pretty fun to watch. It took 2 hours, and I actually didn’t see a thing! It was like a tour of Schaumburg!! What a waste!!

So what I’ve decided to do, is get up around 9, go to the train station, swap my ticket for the 30th, for tomorrow. If they won’t swap it, I’m rebuying, its not worth saving money to lose a day of Europe. My plan is to stay in Paris for 4 nights, go to Normandy one day and London another. Dad, I’m pretty sure I get a stamp for that!! That way, I have 2 half days in Paris to see the city!

Going to bed now, gotta be hard asleep by the time the drunks come back home!!

It’s been too long

Wow, I haven’t blogged in a few days!

Well let’s start with my train ride to Barcelona. I had all girls in my 4 bed car, that was nice, and they were all young. 2 other girls (one from London, one from LA) they were back packing too. They are Jewish, and one is going to study in Isreal! How neat!

These girls aren’t very smart however, one got their wallet stolen in Rome, and they weren’t prepared very well.

We all headed our seperate directions when we got to the station and I headed off to find my hostel. The hardest part was finding the metro. We arrived at the old station, so I had to walk to find a metro!! Once I found the metro, it was easy.

My hostel is neat, in the middle of a neighborhood, with a supermarket right across the street!! The rooms are in flats, with 4 bedrooms, two bathrooms and a kitchen!! It even had a living room to hang out in!!

I was in a room with one boy and one girl and then an empty bed. The boy always seemed to be sleeping, except when I would go to bed, then he would be off somewhere! The girl is from Germany, she was there both nights with me.

I bought some groceries (Fanta Free, jelly, bread, yogurt, cereal, milk) so that I could save money and not buy lunches. However, the first day in Barcelona I decided to try a salad and potato Tapas–both nasty, cold potatoes aren’t my things, and I don’t like anchoives!! Especially not on a salad!!

I bought an open bus tour ticket for 2 days. They covered lots of the city, and you could get on and off as you like. I decided to ride each one around all the way before I decided what to see. It took 3.5 hours to see all the city, but it helped me understand what I wanted to see.

On the first day I went to the Olympic hill and took a tram to the top of the hill. Up on top there was a castle that overlooked the city and the port. I sat on top for a while and watched the ship yard and the cruise ships. I headed back down the hill after about an hour, and got back on the tour bus. I got off at a random station and caught the metro back to my hostel. I had dinner and relaxed, watched some Spanish tv, it was funny just watching their expressions! I headed to bed around 10, but I was exhausted!! I was supposed to rain, and never did, however it was cooler that day.

The next day I got up around 930 had some breakfast and headed back out. I stopped at the Sagrada Familia church (its been under construction for 70-some years! And won’t be done til 2026!!) My tour gave us a coupon book so I got a guided tour for the cost of the normal enterance. The guided tour was nice, the lady explained every detail, the whole church made sense then!!

After the church I got back on the tour bus, and took it to the stop by the mountain. I took a trolley up partway (more coupons!) And then a funicular up the rest of the way. On the top of the mountain there is a amusement park, you don’t pay to get in, you pay for the rides only!! So I sat in the middle of the park, watching the parents and kids argue over which ride is next, and I ate my lunch!! The mountain had a full view of Barcelona and the surrounding arean it was pretty!!

After the mountain I hopped back on the bus tour and headed for the city history museum. It took 45 minutes on the bus, and 45 minutes to find it! The enterance is very hidden, but it was worth it!! I ended up underneath much of the Gothic quarter looking at the old Roman city, the original Barcelona.

It was getting later, but I decided to ride the bus to dusk! It was fun watching the city close down. I got on the metro and after a construction site manoover, made my way back to the hostel. I had some cereal and some ice cream, what a healthy dinner! Haha!!

I got most of my stuff packed up, and hit the sack. However about 20 minutes later the door flew open and 2 people (a boy and girl) were standing there. They said something and left. My roomie said they did this ealier before I got back. 10 minutes later they came back with someone that works there. They asked us if we had reservations, and then left. We thought for sure they would come back, so we chatted for awhile, after 20 minutes we gave up and went to bed.

Apparently the girl came back because she was sleeping in the top bunk this morning, neither me nor my roomie heard her!!

I’m now sitting in the Barcelona train station waiting for my train to Madrid to post. I hope they have better food in Madrid!!