Four Days to Prepare; 28 Hours to Fly

The last minute rush. The lists and notes to make sure all items were packed. The lack of sleep trying to make sure work was in order, the house was in order, Bailie’s schedule was accounted for, our reservations were all made (the train tickets provided the most tricky as the site was only partially in English). The organized chaos. Made me wonder why we ever planned a two week trip.

And then we arrived at the airport. Picked up our traditional breakfast tacos at Anthony’s Homeport before heading to our gate. Shuffled down the jetway onto the first leg of our flight. And the idea of two weeks away sounded more plausible. Then we arrived at O’Hare. And identified the “best” place to eat our final American meal of the month. Settling on Wolfgang Puck, we enjoyed a bottle of red wine with our pasta and Asian salad. We were entertained by the lack of enthusiasm from our waiter. And amazed that he was even able to remove the cork from the bottle of Joel Gott Cab. Obviously, he hasn’t opened many bottles.

Shortly after, we boarded our flight to Madrid. The flight crew took one look at Bill and went in search of an open row for us to stretch out. They found us a spot and we relaxed to gear up for a long flight. We decided a movie was in order, but first we spent an hour on the ground. We realized this may affect our ability to catch our next flight. So we watched The Butler, and I took a very broken siesta. Bill claimed he slept for a half hour. Shortly after 8AM, we arrived in Madrid (and our bodies didn’t even think it was midnight). The Madrid airport is rather large. We walked, found the train to our next terminal, made it through the easiest custom check ever, and missed our connection. An agent quickly rebooked our flight to Tenerife. With a NINE hour layover. Whose idea was this again?

Time to make lemonade. We looked at each other, and said “let’s get out of this place”. A little research at the informacion desk and we were on our way to the ATM and bus stop for the express ride to downtown Madrid. It was good to get out in the fresh, damp air. We wandered the streets and found our first “coffee shop”, a cafeteria named “Iowa”. Yes, we laughed out loud when we later came across another called Nebraska. We enjoyed our first meal on Spanish soil: jamon y queso cabrillo for Bill, a chocolate croissant for me. Accidentally, Bill ordered us both coffee; he had wanted a coffee with two shots of espresso. So I sucked it up and drank most of my first cup of coffee (yes, ever).

When we headed back to the airport, it was really about the time we should have been checking into our house in Tenerife. So much for 28 hours of travel. The rest of the afternoon at the airport is a blur. The time dragged. Paint dried. Eyelids grew heavy. We discovered processes are different in Spain. Few announcements are made. People just get in line. And when our plane left the ground, we were both sound asleep. And really didn’t come to until the flight was descending.

Next stop: Icod de los Vinos, in our little VW Polo. I know it sounds like our travel day(s) are coming to an end. However, you are mistaken. The real adventure just begins. As we left the airport, we again called host, Julio, who spoke very little English, to let him know we finally arrived. He again confirmed to meet at the Shell station. About exactly an hour later, we pulled into the station. No sign of him and after waiting five minutes, we called again. He seemed surprised that we were there and started a conversation in the background while hanging up (we weren’t sure if that hang up was on purpose). So we waited and tried to check out the area…like 50 feet in either direction hoping each car that came by stopped to provide keys. Bill even helped another couple figure out something under the hood of their car. We called again. He would be there in 20 minutes. Seriously tired, we decided to head to the grocery story down the street. We picked up the important things like eggs, ice cream, ham and orange juice. Luckily, he was there when we returned to the Shell. After quick introductions with his wife and one of their mother’s, he beckons follow me up the hill, about 10 minutes. So we take off. And hang a right. Then at the top of the hill, a left. But it’s not the top of the hill. And we climb. And wind. And climb some more. Then the street narrows, cars parking on either side into the driving lanes. And we weave. And climb. And climb. After two rounds abouts, a hang left at the Y, a tunnel, and a few more curves, we enter a one lane road with rock walls on either side. Oh, and only first gear is an option by the point as the climb continues to be that steep. The rock wall turns into a few houses. Somewhere between a two lane road and one lane road, we realized we were only driving this once a day. By now, we are not sure we will leave the house. Finally we veer to the left onto a stone and grass road and turn the corner into our driveway. Taking a deep breath, we have finally arrived at our destination just about 9:30.

In the end, it would be close to 38 hours from when we left home until we sat in our home for the next five days. I would have imagined we would go straight to bed, however we instead opened our first bottle of wine. Then proceeded to sleep until after noon.

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Author: sheilashultz

Search marketer by day, full-time Mom by night...always looking for ways to find a few moments of "me" time.

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