Europe 2014

Europe 2014 Day 8: Madeira to Barcelona

Friday January 2, 2015

Woke up and packed everything up. My suitcase is just this side of beginning to get that everything is dirty clothes smell I attribute to my sweaty jeans from yesterday’s hike. I’m sure they will get more rank as the weekend drags on. I piled all my stuff in the back of the car and bid farewell to Nelson who decided to show me where the water was seeping out of the side of the building from the great flood of 2014. I half expect to get a bill in the future. Before heading to the airport we headed up to Nun’s Valley to see where the nuns hid out for hundreds of years.

Along the way we decided to keep going to the top of the mountain to a lookout (insert name). We actually went past it thinking we were close to one of the peaks, but the road kept going and going and Nathan was really sweating the narrow roads with the Fiat. At our highest point, we were over 4800 feet. We retreated back to the lookout and got some photos before finally coming down the hill altogether. We found our way to the Nun’s village which, to be honest, was a bit of a disappointment. There really wasn’t much to see and we stopped in the center of the village for lunch. I’m not sure if we missed the big tourist draw in the area, but all we had time for was the long lunch where they forgot to bring us more bread until it was too late. But hey – at least they had free Wi-Fi!

With great sadness it was time to head to the airport. We made it just in time for check in for my flights. I bid Nathan and Mark goodbye and gave them some money to make up for my lack of lunch contributions so hopefully they either had a good dinner or more wine. I could not believe how long the check in line for TAP was until I realized they had two flights to Lisbon with only 15 minutes separating them. I barely had enough time to get through security and get some snacks for the plane before it was time to board. The weather was a perfect mix of clouds and sunshine as I boarded the plane. As we took off, the last bit of Madeira I saw was the point San Lorenzo where we had our walk yesterday. It disappeared just through the clouds like it was all a dream. No more perfect way to end a visit to the island.

The short flight to Lisbon was dominated by my napping and pleased to report I’m still perfect for having a screaming baby on each flight. We cruised into Lisbon just after sunset and I just had enough time to eat some food and do a spot of shopping before it was already time to board the flight to Barcelona. I thought it was going to take forever, but the connection really flew by and I was actually worried I wouldn’t get what I wanted before leaving.

The Barcelona flight was a bit longer on an older, smaller plane, but nice nonetheless. It was 11pm local time by the time we arrived and I was off the plane. I was stuck by how much nicer the Barcelona airport was – I guess hosting an Olympics will do that for you. Of course, being as late as we were, everything was closed in the terminal. Down at baggage claim, my bag was one of the last ones off the flight – almost a full hour after we landed. I’ve never seen a baggage claim that slow! On the plus side, the taxi stand was close by and I got a racecar driver who was doing 75-80 into the city. I made it to the hotel in only 25 minutes and I think some of that was just trying to find it.

Finally arrived at the hotel Banys Orientals (recommended by one of my Mom’s friends in the Born area of Barcelona) well past midnight and I just wanted to crash. I have to be up before dawn to walk to the place where my tour begins. Luckily using the Wi-Fi I saved it on my phone so that should help tomorrow. By the time I unpacked and was able to fall asleep, I only had 4 hours before I needed to get up. I did notice a lot of noise from outside of the hotel when I was trying to sleep. I hope it’s not like this all the time!