I’m taking advantage of my last guaranteed Internet access for a while and posting this from our hotel in Madrid. (Click the photo to see the most recent pics from the trip.)
Our trip started early on Thursday… actually, Wednesday, because with wrapping up work stuff, packing for this South Africa trip, and picking up the house for our friend who’s coming to house-sit, Kim and I each got about 45 minutes of sleep before a cab picked us up at 4:45 am.
The first leg of our trip took us from Seattle to Chicago, where we met up with Kim’s parents, who flew in from Los Angeles. We were a bit stressed to discover that Kim and I didn’t have seats together due to a late plane-change; normally not a big deal, but it sucks on a 7.5 hour trans-Atlantic flight. Being patient and cooperative with the women working behind the counter at the gate paid off. After waiting in the plane for about an hour, we were finally bound for our first stop Madrid.
I think we both slept about an hour on the Seattle-to-Chicago flight, and maybe just a little more than that, in patches, on the Chicago-to-Madrid flight. In the interim, we were both pleasantly surprised to see that European airlines aren’t as wacky as our own: metal silverware! I almost took a photo.
The flight was mostly uneventful, save for the moment at about hour four that Kim smelled smoke. I smelled it too, as did another passenger. I went to tell an attendant, and none of us smelled it again, leading us to conclude that someone on the plane snuck a cig in the lavatory. Not really a big deal, of course, except when one’s mind starts to think about shoe bombers or electrical frays. I wonder if Europeans are as keyed up about potential terrorism as those of us in the US? Hopefully not.
Due to the time change (Madrid is nine hours ahead of Seattle), we landed at 8 a.m. So that means Kim and I have had a couple hours of sleep within the last, what, 48? It really hit hard once we got to our hotel and checked in. I was asleep in no time – deep, deep, DEEP sleep that blocked out the sound of Bob and Patty knocking on our door. After stumbling towards consciousness, we boarded a Metro train and headed for our day’s sightseeing: the Prado museum.
I enjoyed the Prado quite a bit, even though the style of art there (mostly oils in the 18th and 19th centuries) doesn’t necessarily spin me. Still, seeing an Hieronymous Bosch painting full size, while sleep-deprived, was pretty cool.
We grabbed dinner at La Platería Bar Museo (thanks for the recommendation, Dave!), returned to the hotel, and crashed. Or rather, I’m still typing, but not for long.
Tomorrow, a 10-hour fllght to Johannesburg! Good night.