On Friday, May 25, I left for a two week excursion in Spain. While I was there, I took a few notes.
Getting There is Half the Fun
In order to spend two weeks in Spain, one must get to Spain. Depending on where you are in the world, this can be a fairly easy or thoroughly complex task. Coming from South Brunswick, New Jersey, I will retrospectively assess the difficulty of getting to where my mother and I were staying the first week in Spain to be moderately difficult. This was thanks to a number of complications which came our way in our travels.
Our flight left from the enormous airport known as JFK, located in lovely Queens, New York. Normally a drive to this airport from the New Jersey area takes an obscenely long time thanks to a twentieth century invention known as bumper to bumper traffic. It was thus decided that we would leave considerably early, because sitting in an airport waiting for a flight is a lot better than missing a flight due to heavy traffic. The traffic was surprisingly very light, and we made it to the airport in much less time than we thought we would. I, of course, already missed my fiancée Andrea quite a bit, so when we got there I left her a voice mail message and listened to one that she had left me.
Eventually we boarded the plane. I sat behind a person who, despite being not all that tall felt the need to recline their chair back in such a manner that it was quite difficult for me to get comfortable at all. Lack of comfortable seating for seven to eight hours is not the best way to start a vacation. To make matters worse, the flight was at seven thirty in the evening, but ended up leaving about forty minutes late or so. I can’t sleep on planes as it is, short of one flight when I had the whole aisle to myself, and there was no way I was going to get even a nap here with the kind of position I was in.
Due to the tardiness of our first flight, we missed our connecting flight and had to wait about two hours for the next one. Much of this time was spent waiting in line for passport verification. After getting through a queue longer than the ones a person might see at the box office opening night of a new Star Wars film, we found our way to the terminal where our connecting flight was to board.
The second flight was about an hour, and thus free of meals and films. There were, however, peanuts and beverages. I find it interesting that people who travel are told repeatedly to avoid caffeine and alcohol when flying great distances, only to find on international flights free liquor and coffee. A great long flight can be quite amusing when alcohol is added, although this can be to the detriment of the other passengers, depending on if you drink lightly or more along the lines of Ernest Hemingway on a good day. Upon arriving, we retrieved our luggage and went through customs. Customs is necessary, it seems, because it is never known when an insane criminal mastermind (perhaps me, in their opinion) might just try to sneak in a secret recipe for vegetarian matzo ball soup.
The Car Rental Bureau
We then had to find the car rental bureau. A few airport employees were kind enough to have no idea of what we were talking about, and so we relied upon the multilingual signage. We were greeted at the car rental bureau by a staff that insisted we took the vehicle that consumed the most gasoline in the least efficient manner while being aesthetically horrific and menacing to everyone else on the road not in a vehicle of similar or larger size. Lo, we were given a Silly Useless Vehicle, better known to the proletariat as the SUV. No vehicle is better equipped to move inches at a time in bumper to bumper traffic.
Being in a country that was not the United States, the vehicle was manual. My mother chose to tell me she hadn’t driven a manual vehicle in a number of years shortly before she leaned over to put the key in the ignition. One steep hill leaving from the airport which called for the aid of an employee later, I was a bit concerned about our means of transportation. Fortunately, my mother quickly remembered the fine art of driving stick shift, so there were no such problems over the vacation.
The Small Parking Lot
By this point it was around nine in the morning on the twenty-sixth of May. We were both exhausted, so it followed that three hundred and fifty kilometers would have to be driven to get to our eventual destination. It took about four hours, and we got a little lost, but we eventually got there.
A hint that there might have been a problem with this resort was the parking lot, which held approximately five to seven cars, if two of them were parked in non-parking spaces. All of the spots were taken, so we blocked the majority of the cars in the lot. My mother had to see the room. Sadly, the room turned out to be cramped, humid, and lacking in any sort of ventilation or air conditioning. The receptionist, who despite looking disturbingly like Cameron Diaz was named Magdalene, moved us to another location by the beach. Being by the beach means a nice cool breeze. Granted, our flat was right next to a seafood restaurant (not really a seafood restaurant but seafood is so prevalent in restaurants by the sea that it might as well be called that for the intent of labeling) which meant a smell of seafood at many hours of the day, but I like the smell of seafood, so this was not a problem.
We went grocery shopping for some essentials. Then, there was dinner, a seafood affair at a restaurant in walking distance. (This was not the one exactly next to our flat, however.) Vegans / vegetarians beware, Spanish restaurants are not friendly for Vegans and vegetarians. You might get a pasta dish, if you are lucky. Ham is considered not to be a meat and is included in “vegetarian” dishes, so you might have to specify what you don’t want. We went to bed at around ten at night. That was just the first day, too. (Well, it lasted longer than the average day due to time zone changes, but it felt just like one day.)