A Travellerspoint blog

day 14: an unplanned holdup! (not the robbery kind)

in which your author endures two travel-related headaches and bids a fond farewell to another travel adventure

semi-overcast 45 °F

Well… apparently Nick and Sydni's wish for me, which concluded my last post, didn’t quite stick. I should probably draw a big line here to indicate that my real trip ended with the absinthe night, and the travel difficulties which ensued and extended my trip an extra DAY AND A HALF (thanks Delta!) felt like an anomaly. Loooong story short (OK, somewhat short), we sat on the runway for an hour and a half before being pulled off and told that there was a mechanical issue with the engine. We wait another two hours in the airport before they cancel the flight and send us to a hotel downtown. It’s a huge hassle all around, with hundreds of annoyed and under-informed passengers placed on busses, and I’m already exhausted when I get back and have a meal at the hotel. I end up sitting with two cool gents, and we share our travel experiences; Patrick is a recent college grad/offensive lineman (no kidding!) from San Diego (and new Facebook/Twitter friend!) and Sebastien is a suave former model and fashion designer living in Miami. Without having had my daily coffee yet, I make the crucial mistake of having a beer with lunch, which ignites a small headache which over the next few hours would slowly develop into a migraine like I haven’t had in years. I walk up toward Montjuïc and the Palua Nacional (one attraction I hadn’t been able to see) and walk around, though I don’t pay the admission fee into the Museu d’Art Catalan. It looks impressive, but I’m no longer in full-on art-appreciating mode. (The gift shop indicates plenty of highlights, and as I had gotten rid of every last Euro in the duty free shop earlier, I’m doing what I can to not spend more!) Outside, I take lots of photos, but am fading fast and walk back to the hotel, where I take a few scenic shots out of my window before collapsing into a heap and falling asleep around 8pm.


The next morning I’m awoken by a surprise phone call at 7am saying the shuttle is leaving for the airport. I leap up, rejuvenated, pack in two minutes and we’re herded to the gates; I stop to repack my already bulging backpack with the wine and beer I purchased at the duty-free shop the day before. (Annoyingly, thinking I was finally in the clear I bought more at the shop, then had to do this again upon reaching my transfer at JFK the next day!) Though we arrived at the airport at 7:30, our flight doesn’t actually take off until 3pm. (So, over eight hours of waiting at the gate, while the part doesn’t even arrive until 9am, and takes six hours to install – why did they bring us there so early, you ask? To save from having to pay for another hotel day, I would imagine! Boo, Delta!) During the time waiting in the airport, I witnessed more angry, impatient older travelers than I ever care to again – the people who were actually scheduled for the flight that morning were really put out by the fact that the people from our flight doubled their waiting times in line, of course completely oblivious to the fact that we had waited over 24 hours longer than they had. Some of the shouted comments of the angry mob in line behind me made toward the ticket workers were so nasty I wrote them down in my phone: “Get that girl out of there! She must be the dumbest person in the world!” Yikes! Note to future self: don't ever get angry, old, and entitled.

Once on the plane, we fly over the mountains of Spain; uninhabitable jagged mounds of brown dust topped by a thin sifting of white snow covering only a selection of the peaks. We fly from the edge of Europe to the edge of North America, and I watch the wobbly wings cut through the cottony clouds as we descend to JFK airport, where I wait another two hours for my transfer, finally, to DC.

With the possible exception of the final 36 hours, this was another terrific travel experience, such a unique mix of creative energy, new and fascinating friends, and places I’d always wanted to see. I don’t know when my next major trip will be; I certainly never would’ve guessed last summer that only six months would pass before making it back to Europe, so who knows. Suffice to say I’ve made enough of a habit of this travel writing thing that I expect to continue doing it. I think it’s pretty amazing that over the life of this blog I’ve received close to 22,000 hits (14,643 on my July trip plus 7,207 on this one, not including this entry!), so I thank all of you who have checked in with me. If you write it, they will read it, I suppose? I wish you all the best in your own life adventures, and stay in touch!

Posted by coolmcjazz 12:43 Archived in Spain

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Nice post... I had the same experience but was at least fortunate to get a direct flight from Paris to SFO. Luckily I was also able to travel Air France on the way back which I was really pleased with the service!

by Patrick Thompson

Sweet man! Wish I'd had more energy to hit the town in Barcelona that night. Glad you got your voucher from Delta - and for the record they wouldn't budge to give me anything more than that. Let me know if you're ever in the DC area - my flag football team could use an offensive lineman! Cheers, J

by coolmcjazz

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