Boarding our first flight yesterday, it occurred to me that I had not been on an airplane for almost 2 years. A sort of shocking revelation considering how much travel I’d had in the last decade plus. MLW of course hits the horse show circuit a couple of times each year, but outside of that, neither of us had been anywhere that didn’t involve a car. But like every other ingrained skill, traveling just comes right back to you the minute you start doing it again.
And it helps when things just go according to plan.
We caught the tiny jet out of Albuquerque and then spent some time hanging out in the Admiral’s Club at DFW before boarding the big jet to Madrid. Nothing really new to report on those legs, on time without incident. Landing in Spain, we hied our way for what seemed like from one end of the airport to the other, before rounding the bend to find immigration completely empty. We were off the plane and into a taxi in less than a half-hour, some sort of record I imagine. Our driver was a great fellow, we had an excellent conversation about Uber, the lack of a homeless problem in Madrid, the expense of apartments and the low, low unemployment rate. It’s always a blast to have these off the cuff meetings, you learn so much while practicing your foreign language.
The cascading lack of challenges meant we had extra time waiting for our train in Atocha. In the past, I allocated about 5 hours between landing and train departure, but this year I shaved that back to 3 and even with that bold choice, we ended up spending close to two of them drinking coffee and people watching in the cool shade of the station’s incredible indoor botanical garden. The train left on time and we cruised across the great Central Spain Plateau to the never-ending rhythm of the cell phone ring (crying baby) of the woman in the row behind us. One thing that has changed during my travel hiatus, cell phone usage. It’s gone through the roof. I was almost grateful for her time on the phone, because it took her attention away from touching up her nail polish with what was almost certainly a bottle of the “heavy on the acetone” version that I hadn’t encountered in years.
But at least we got in on time and found our apartment with another good taxi cab driver who spent a good portion of the drive commiserating with us about reckless bicycle riders.
A trip to Corte Ingles for some breakfast basics and a fine dinner on our street (patatas bravas and baccalau frito) followed by an early evening stroll through the Jardin Murillo rounded out the day.
Now, with heavy lids it’s time for bed.