A New Record - hours in the air

Trip Start Nov 13, 2010
Trip End Jul 20, 2011

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Where I stayed
Yolanda Hostel

Flag of Spain  , Madrid,
Thursday, May 26, 2011

A new 'hours in the air in one trip' record……jeez I didn’t think it was possible but…in my quest for cheap flights I just finished a new one day record for me. Had a little sleep and another really long day today – first day in Madrid but want to make a few notes on yesterday just in case I think about booking this route again.

So, started the very long day earlier than necessary.  I had decided to take the really slow 50 cent public bus to the airport instead of  $40 taxi.  Obviously it was waaay cheaper and I heard it went thru the tougher neighborhoods in Buenos aires and I hadn’t seen them, well except for one, but that one was kind of cool.  I had the time because my flight was not to leave BA until 5 pm.  I needed to be there three hours early to jump thru all the international hoops so was aiming at leaving my lovely lovely guesthouse around noon.  Woke up to find a cold rainy day.  Super miserable and it just made me so grateful for having had been blessed by the weather gods for my whole time in South America.  First I had thought about not even coming to the continent because I was worried about the rain, then the stories of crime and risk, then the language issues…..I am so glad I just pushed past those concerns as I would not have had so many amazing experiences.  The weather has been great – no rain to speak of – maybe two or three hours over four months????  Then the crime and fear thing – again, easy for me to say because I was not a victim, others were, but again, for me, no issue.  The language?  Well, it is true – there is very little English in South America – or at least in the countries I travelled thru, but hey – I survived and for sure, it is much easier than China…..

So back to leaving Chillhouse.  Sig (Norway) and Marie Theresa (Ireland) had left a day earlier to head south to Patagonia Chile – yup, hooked back up with Sig from Guayaquil, Montanita and Vilcabamba….part of the Sig, Tony and Deb Excellent Adventure Tour…..Tony couldn’t make it to Argentina cause he is exiled still in Ecuador……..As it was so cold and wet, Antoinne, one of my lovely gay guy hosts, decided I should take a taxi to the bus because of the rain.  Good.  Taxi guy came, kiss kiss to Antoinne and his lovely place, so sad to be leaving Buenos Aires as I really really loved it, into the cab thinking we would be locked up in traffic as usual. Except it was Independence Day and everything was closed, no traffic.  The taxi guy had no business so he talked me into letting him drive me the 40 kms to the airport.  He was so sweet….anyway we arrived there at noon – he was happy to get to drive fast – not very often is there no traffic…..so it took no time at all.

So wait I did, and shop and eat and people watch….by the time I started thru the process I was tired already.  I had packed all my important stuff into my backpack that I was going to carry on as I knew I had tight flight changes and worried that my checked in bag wasn’t going to make it.  And I figured I should get used to carrying some weight in a pack as the long walk is just days away….. nothing like training at the airport!

So this is how the day unfolded –  (Two Air France and a KLM)  and lots of airmiles.

Buenos Aires airport – wait 5 hours to get on plane.

Fly Buenos Aires to Paris – 12 hours – really long flight, packed full, good French movies though.

Land in Paris, wait 1.5 hours, change planes

Fly Paris to Amsterdam – 1 hour but plane is late by 20 minutes…

Land in Amsterdam, wait only 45 minutes, change planes…lucky it was in the same terminal

Fly Amsterdam to Madrid – 2 hours – land in Madrid…..oh so tired but wait….

My bag did made it and it was pretty light…cause everything heavy was on my back…..Figured I could still stand up so I decided to take the subway to try and find my hostel…….cheap cheap.

Arrived in Madrid – 30 degrees, hot hot after being cool, cool for the last little while.  Had directions to the hostel…….ended up, in 5 pm to 7 pm rush hour traffic on the subway……4 different subway lines, change here, change there…so many stairs….thank god for the lighter bag…..this Madrid subway is not as easy as most to figure out.  New and fast but the signage is odd….I think I had been in every subway station, every line in Buenos Aires…really really old – still using the original wooden trolleys from the 1900’s on one line…..old but cool…..and each ride only cost 25 cents!!!  I think the cheapest Metro in the world.

Madrid – 1 Euro a ride – about $1.25, so also a good deal.  I finally came up to the surface at 7 pm…..walked a few blocks, down a side street and voila….an apartment building and when I rang the buzzer the answer was "Deborah???"  Nice.  But the owners of the apartment speak no English – nada, not a word and apparently they do not understand my new found Spanish…must be my South American accent!

So the week in review…..

Monday, Uruguay, Tuesday, Argentina, Wednesday, Argentina, Thursday, France, Holland and Spain…..and it is not even Friday yet!!!!

So, this cheap routing only took 26 hours, bed to bed, I am too tired to sleep but Madrid looks fabulous already!!!!!
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