San Francisco to Madrid in 25 Hours

December 10 – Nothing but Delays

KLM Airplane by Justin KornWhat a way to begin a trip. Jeff and I had it all planned out: We’d catch the 12:03pm bus to Glen Park BART, catch the 12:35pm BART to SFO and be at the airport at 1:00pm, 2.5 hrs before our flight.

Well, as we were walking out the door, I asked to be sure Jeff had his passport and plane tickets (wouldn’t want to forget either of those). Even though he was sure he did, since I asked, he still had to check delaying us about a minute. Out the door and walking down the street to the bus, we see the bus drive off without us. The NextMuni sign is displaying “73 minutes” until the next bus arrives which certainly isn’t going to do us much good. We decide to wait 15 minutes…no bus. We then hail a cab as the bus pulls around the corner. At this point, we decide to take the taxi to the Civic Center BART station thinking we could make it onto the next train. We head to the Civic Center BART station, buy ourselves a BART ticket, stroll down the escalator and as we get to the platform, an SFO train pulls up, the backup train we were planning to catch if we missed the first one…perfect!

We arrive at the airport, found the KLM Airline desk and wait in line to check-in. On the sign above the desk, we notice that it reads, “KLM Flight 606 DELYAED” – is that our flight? I pull out my documents and sure enough, it is. A few minutes later, the sign changes to read, “KLM Flight 606 DELAYED / Departure 19:00” – we are delayed 2.5 hrs. Just so you know, we were originally suppose to fly into Amsterdam and have a 1.5 hr layover before moving on to Madrid. So, while waiting in line, we are starting to wonder what is going to happen with our connection flight. We get up to the desk and the lady sees we have a connection and moves us onto the next plane out of Amsterdam to Madrid which is at 5:45pm. This flight puts us into Madrid a bit later, not ideal, but not the worst that could happen either. We move through the process of checking in and it turns out, our bags, which we planned to carry on, are 1 – 3 pounds over the 21 pound limit. Crossing our fingers that our luggage makes it through the connection, we check our bags and proceed to waste the next 5+ hours eating, walking around, taking pictures (just me), playing cards, listening to music…really anything we could think of.

The flight to Amsterdam was surprisingly easy. First off, I was pleasantly surprised to find that each seat had their own individual TV with a wide selection of movies, TV shows, music, etc. Jeff and I played one of the multi-player games for the first few minutes before dinner was served. I ate the airplane dinner, watched Pineapple Express, took a sleeping pill and passed out for a few hours. When I woke up, we had about 2 hours left so I watched Wall-E.

December 11 – Still Traveling

ING in Amsterdam by Justin KornAt the Amsterdam airport, Jeff and I had another 4 hours to spare. We wandered around the airport until the “Mind Your Step” announcement coming from the end of each moving walkway drove us crazy and settled down for an ordinary slice of pizza from Sbarro (seriously, we walked around for awhile and couldn’t find anything else). With two hours left till departure time, I decided to sit down and begin this journal.

One thing I will note about the Amsterdam airport, it seems to be sponsored by ING. Advertisements for ING are plastered on every single gate and for the first time since I opened an ING account, I found an ING ATM and was able to pull cash directly with no fees (or so it appears for now).

We finally boarded our plane for Madrid at 5:20pm. While waiting for the plane to take off, I passed out again and was on and off sleeping for the entire 2.5 hour flight. Once we arrived in Madrid, we decided to take the Metro system into the city. 2 Euros and 3 trains later, we amerged into the city of Madrid. At this point, we really wern’t sure which way to head. We stopped into the first hotel we came across to ask for directions to the Santo Domingo Best Western. We headed in the direction we thought they sent us, but apparently we went the wrong way. We found a Best Western, but not the Best Western. We stopped in that Best Western and they put us on the right track. Apparently we were right around the corner in the first place…oh well. We check in and headed up to our room to find only one queen bed…no bueno. At this point we are tired and sweating and just want to unload our bags. We head back to the front desk and without an issue they change our room to one with two twin beds. All in all, it was a 25 hour trip door to door.

Zahara Cafe by Justin KornAfter taking a shower and taking a minute to ourselves, we headed out to find a quick bite and a much needed drink. After walking around a little, we came across a Ribs place that looked good, but they were on the verge of closwing, so we decided to go to a place around the corner, Zahara Cafe. This place was nothing to write home about, but we relaxed, had a drink and had some food. Afterwards, we headed back to the hotel for some much needed sleep.

Till next time…

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Categorized: Travel Diaries