Day 18 (February 19, 2011)
Itinerary: Public Transportation to Barcelona, find dinner in train station
We have reached that point in our 3 week vacation where we can’t believe that we still have more vacation time. We are completely spoiled by Mark’s rotation schedule now.
Today is a travel day. Bus, plane, and train to get to our hotel in Barcelona. It was a cloudy morning and one of the first cloudy mornings we’ve seen on the islands. Breakfast was a similar buffet style to yesterday and we had time to spare before our big bus adventure. Here we are on the south side of Tenerife, the most popular area of the islands and we couldn’t find a non-stop flight to Barcelona leaving from the south airport.
So, we trekked up to the bus station to spend about 2 hours taking the bus to the north airport. Getting on the bus turned into an adventure. The bus was already full when it pulled up, and not everyone in the line of people at the bus stop was getting on the bus. In front of me, about 4 people got off the bus, but I hammered on and argued with the bus driver to let us stay on. We had a flight to catch after all. =) I didn’t really know what he was saying to me, but he took my money and with Mark sitting on the entry steps to the bus and me crammed next to the driver, we took off.
Mark and I both agreed that if we had been in Peru, the bus would have been half as small and held double the people. The bus driver turned away the folks at the next 2 bus stops and eventually we reached the first main stop, the south airport where many people got off. We were able to scoot back to about the halfway point in the bus where we spend the remainder of the 1.5 hour ride standing in the aisle trying not to elbow anyone in the face.
After being crammed in the bus, I expected to have more stories to tell about the ride, but it was actually pretty dull. We all piled out at the Santa Cruz bus station and end of the line to transfer to the bus that would take us to the north airport. The bus pulled up and the driver got out to take his smoke break. Unfortunately, he didn’t come back by the time the bus was supposed to leave. It was a good thing we built in time for long bus transfers because we left about 20 minutes late by the time the driver finally came back.
Everything turned out fine since our flight was delayed about 30 minutes anyway. The north airport to Tenerife is small-medium sized so there was no security line. Oh, and no check in line either. We breezed to our gate and waited to hop on the flight.
We are sitting on the plane near a single mom with 2 kids. She has a baby that must only be a month old and a 2-3 year old active little girl as well. We played the game of how many flight attendants does it take to help out when Mom needed to use the bathroom. One flight attendant was handed the baby while she went in. The kid stayed in her seat for about 4 seconds before she hopped out to look for Mom. Just then we hit a bunch of turbulence and the flight attendants tried to get everyone to their seats and seat-belted in. 3 flight attendants tried to coerce the little girl to get back in her seat, while the other stood by with the baby. These Spanair attendants do seem more helpful over all than some US ones I’ve seen.
Back in Barcelona, we were here early enough to take our time and check out the tourist information stations of maps and ideas for our visit. At this point, we really had no idea what there was to do in the area, so we will be spontaneous while we are here. All we know so far is that we have tickets to Sunday night’s futbol match starring the very popular FC Barcelona team.
We came back to the same Barcelo Sants hotel located on top of the main train station, Barcelona Sants. We were happy with our room last time and are equally happy this time around. The hotel is very new and is modeled after rooms that you might have on a space craft. Our room was called the orbital room in which several fake bubble windows depicted what might be outside our space craft and gaves us the atmospheric compositions. The shower and bathroom were both bright white with sliding doors and more like compartments on a submarine or spacecraft as well. The furniture was all very modern and the hallways were dark with colored lights. Probably the best part was the prox card hotel room key that we only had to touch to our door in order to unlock it. No messing around with inserting a credit card-like hotel room key in a slot and waiting for the green light before removing it.
Tonight we’ll get some sleep and tomorrow we’ll figure out what we are doing for the next several days.