Europe 2014

Europe 2014 Day 3: Madrid to Madeira

Sunday December 28, 2014

Before I knew it the alarm was going off and it was time to get ready. Took a few minutes to figure out the Oscar Shower, but it felt so good to finally clean up and shave. Packed up and headed down to check out just as the airport shuttle arrived. We picked up another group on the way after he went around in circles for a bit. At first I thought he was just showing me the sights. I did notice that a homeless guy I saw last night asleep was still in his doorway. It occurs to me that he or she had more sleep in Madrid last night than I did!

Arriving at Terminal 2 I can tell you it is not nearly as nice as the stunning architecture of Terminal 4. Thankfully, it was still pretty early so there weren’t too many people around. Since it only took us 30 minutes to get to the airport, even with the grand circle tour, I had to stand at the TAP check in desk for 30 minutes to wait for them to open. There was an obnoxious group of want to be rough guy teenagers that were generally annoying the line but I used my patented blank stare when they approached me so I didn’t have to deal with them.

After clearing security, it was time to try and find something to eat. After going almost the full length of the terminal, I found the world market section of the food stalls. There was a croissant and coffee place with a huge line, but since I had plenty of time to kill I sucked it up and waited. I had two pan au chocolat, which made me miss Paris and the little cafe that Daniel and I discovered back in 2007. Food devoured and a little waiting more and it was off to Lisbon.

I had seen lots of Lisbon sights on TV so it was nice to recognize them on the flight into the airport. The flight from Madrid was just over an hour so it felt like flying to SF from LA. It was a small Fokker 100 and I’m glad I got a seat on the two-person side. My neighbor was nice enough to take some snaps out the window for me. I had a 3-hour layover at Lisbon so I spent the time exploring the shops, getting some duty free booze for the people staying at the villa, and resting. I found this quiet spot near the McDonalds and a Portuguese food stand with nice comfy chairs and relatively quiet. I chilled there and enjoyed my 30 min complimentary Wi-Fi and then a delicious McChicken sandwich. It wasn’t until I was mid-sandwich that some people started milling about and killed the vibe. Thankfully, they finally announced my gate assignment and I then purchased the booze and headed to board the plane.

I was quite tired by this point and did some hard-core head bobbing and snoring on the flight. Thankfully, the others in my row were doing the same thing. The approach to Madeira was beautiful! I wish I were back in the smaller plane with the nice guy taking snaps for me, as I would love to have seen more. After landing and disembarking the aircraft on the Tarmac, I was reminded of Bora Bora and their tiny airport. At baggage claim, I was happy to get my bag (first on, last off no doubt due to my layover) and then finally me up with Nathan. So good to see him after so many years.

We caught up and headed to the village had rented for the week. Due to people canceling, we all ended up in separate rooms in the huge place. We chilled and chatted and relaxed for a while and then headed down to this local beer garden Pancho do Calvario for dinner. We had two huge plates of food – beef with a mushroom sauce and chicken in the same sauce and both with fries. It was very delicious! After eating, we headed back to the villa and finally crashed. So glad to be here but also glad to finally sleep!!