Well, we’re finally back! I’m writing this at 1400 on Saturday afternoon (or is it 2100? My body can’t tell!) Overall our trip back to the States went fairly well, with just a few small hitches. We left San Javier airport at 0800, after saying goodbye to our good friends Fran and Teresa. Ernesto showed up just as we were getting ready to walk through the gate, and then when the plane landed in walked in Chema Nagore, a former E.26 pilot who’s now with Air Nostrum (Iberia’s commuter). Poor Teresa started crying, and that set e off. As we walked out to the airplane on the ramp, she was crying a little and saying “great, now I’m going to cry all day!” Thankfully, that turned out not to be true. The wait in Madrid went by pretty fast. e did some last minute shopping, and I had my final bocadillo with Jamón Serrano–the best I’ve ever had at an airport for sure. We boarded the aircraft and then waited and waited and waited. Then, just to do something different, we waited a little more. All-in-all, we waited about an hour and 10 minutes past our takeoff time before we […]
I know I said my travel blog days were over, but I couldn’t resist passing this one along. It would have really helped us out when we went to London in December! Check out ChasingDaisy: Useful travel tips when visiting the United Kingdom. Thanks for finding this one, e!
One of the interesting rules about the Joint Federal Travel Regulations is that federal employees traveling on a foreign carrier must be in business class for flights greater than 2 hours. The rules also apparently favor the major names because I wound up being booked on Iberia even though a shorter flight was available. On the day I traveled there was not an early enough flight from the nearest airport, Murcia/San Javier (MJV), which meant I started my trip with a drive to Alicante. Many people go out of their way to avoid the tolls, but so far I’ve found the quickest way to the airport is to follow the A-37 all the way to Alicante. November is in the low season here so the tolls are only €1.45 each, while they’re €2.50 or so in the summer. In either case I’m glad they finally moved away from the old tolls, which were based on pesetas even though the Euro was already in effect when the road opened. That meant the summer toll was something like €2.49 which resulted in a useless one centimo coin for change every time. Of course by this trip in November I was using the […]
We waited a little longer than expected and soon discovered that our flight was delayed. Unlike the other airlines, AlpiEagles doesn’t bother to update the information board to indicate new arrival and departure times. We found out about the delay because they called an AlpiEagles flight with a similar number at a nearby gate and we tried to board there. The plane finally took off nearly an hour late, and we settled in for the flight to Venice. We landed at 18:05 instead of 17:25, a delay that wound up costing us a lot of time later on. We were able to get our bags by 18:20, and we started walking to the waterbus stop. One thing I hadn’t heard before is that the Venice airport has a brand new terminal, but the waterbus/watertaxi stop is still by the old terminal. As the new terminal is landlocked I don’t see this situation improving. There was a shuttle available, but we decided to hoof it. The old terminal is now used for General Aviation, and although it seems totally dead the place is really open. The waterbus can be a little confusing if you’ve never done it before since there’s no […]
By the time we woke up this morning, Ted and Joelle were already on their way home with stops in Frankfurt and Washington Dulles. We went down for a last buffet breakfast (free for us; €15 for those booked through the cruise) and then headed upstairs to pack. The hotel allowed us to check out at 1300 instead of 1200 because we had a late flight. That didn’t stop the mini bar inspector from letting himself in at 11:55–despite the DND sign–where he got to see me in my boxers yelling “we’re checking out in an hour!” While I checked out, Ellen got us one last hit of euros from the ATM in the lobby. This is one of the best ATMs I’ve seen in Europe as it lets you get large sums of money out in all €20 bills. We live in a small town where it’s hard to use anything larger than a €20, so we appreciate things like that. Anyway, we got in the cab for the airport and watched the meter tick off as we made the 30-minute drive. We toyed with the idea of doing some sort of private taxi/tour on our way out of […]
Hooray for public transportation! While we waited in Alicante, I asked Ellen if she minded at least taking the train to the Barcelona-Sants train station from the airport so that the taxi ride wouldn’t be as long or expensive. She said ok, so when we landed (late) at Barcelona we hurried to get our luggage. Our bags were #1 and #8 on the belt–the best I’ve ever seen! Finding the train was a little confusing because no one tells you that you have to go outside the terminal to get to the train walkway, but we found it and boarded at 23:35. Although Renfe’s website said the cost would be €1.10, it was actually €2.20 per person. The train left on time at 23:40, and we got to the central train station at about 5 minutes after midnight. I had planned to find a taxi since the Metro was supposed to be closed, but several people went for it so we followed. Downstairs it looked closed, but the attendant said line #5 was still running. I turned to buy a ticket, but he told us to just go through! What a nice thing to do for some obviously tired travelers! […]
We started off our little adventure on time and in good spirits. Ellen had our last-minute checklist ready to go this morning, and we were able to check off every item with enough time remaining for me to grill up some steaks for dinner. Not just any ole sugary Spanish steaks, either. These were 100% American Ribeyes we bought in Rota the last time we were there. After a leisurely dinner, we spent our last moments in front of the air conditioner until it was time to go. Our friends Jay and Carmen offered to take us to the airport, which was very nice of them. They showed up promptly at 7:00, and we were in the Alicante airport before 8. After checking in, we roamed the duty-free shops, and Ellen made the first purchase of the trip. She found a little <insert present name here after it’s been given> for her mom that we were going to buy the last time we were in Madrid but didn’t get a chance to. For now it’s time to sit back and wait for the 10pm flight to Barcelona–we can’t wait!
After returning to the airport on the Alilaguna water bus, we’re taking AlpiEagles again to Barcelona. This time instead of paying the €149 price listed on the website, we were able to get a flight pass from EuropebyAir for $99, plus whatever airport taxes we’ll need to pay on the spot in Venice. The flight arrives in Barcelona at 13:15, and then we have a few hours to wait for the trip back to Alicante. We may take advantage of the time to try out the Barcelona public transportation and see if it can take us anywhere cool during the layover. We takeoff for Alicante at 20:00 and should arrive by 21:00, after which we only have the 1 hour drive before finally reaching home. There, that wasn’t so bad, was it? Now that I’ve gotten the itinerary fully explained, the posts ought to be spaced out a little better. Now the only thing left to do besides packing is to select some shore excursions. We can’t wait!
After searching in vain for some sort of free shuttle from the airport to the hotel, I stumbled across Alilaguna, a company that operates a water bus from the airport to the city. According to the website, it will take us about an hour and twenty minutes to get to our stop, Zattere, and will cost €10 each way. We’re also planning on taking this back to the airport if it works out ok, so no separate entry for that leg.
Like I mentioned, we couldn’t do the flight pass, but we did get a fairly good deal through AlpiEagles. We’re flying directly from Athens to Venice for €149 each, as opposed to the next lowest on Alitalia which was over €500 per person with a connection in Milano. The crazy thing is that I found AlpiEagles the same day as EuropebyAir. On that day the fare was €99 (about $115), so I decided to wait to buy the $99 flight pass. 2 days later when I found out the pass wasn’t available, the fare had jumped to €149. Nothing like a €100 penalty because I wanted to save $15.