—25-26 April 2012—
Up at 6:00 AM to prepare to travel and do final packing. Bijou and Boo were not happy – Boo especially. He showed me so by impaling my finger – ouch!
Super Shuttle picked us up right on the dot at 8:25. We made one stop and got to the airport about 9:15 – plenty early for our 11:05 departure. After check-in at American Airlines, we had a breakfast sandwich at McDonald’s and then passed through security.
The flight was uneventful. I sat next to an interesting young man named Damien Wilson, an extreme in-line skater of some repute. We talked 2/3 of the way to Dallas. I looked him up on YouTube after we got off the plane. We split a sandwich in the terminal, added juice to our iPhones (charging stations everywhere), and I made my last call to Mama. Hate being off the grid, so to speak. Jerry talked to Carla. We got to our gate for our British Airways flight to London before boarding started. They boarded back to front, and we were in Row 46, so in the first group that didn’t have special status. We walked by the 1st class folks in their sleep cubes and felt great envy
The flight was full and HOT and cramped. It was hard to reach to remove my sandals! We pushed back a little late due to late arrival of the crew. We were well fed and entertained. About 3 hours into the almost 9-hour flight, we’d already had beverage service and dinner (chicken or lasagna). Each passenger had a personal entertainment screen for movies, TV and music. Even a little video showing exercises to counter effects of the long flight Jerry watched Mission Impossible 4, I listened to iPod.
We both tried to sleep but it wasn’t very restful. I found the cabin just too hot. Cabin lights came on about 90 minutes out of London and breakfast – drinkable yogurt, muffin, whole grain “bite,” raisins with choice of beverages was served.
We deplaned at Heathrow and walked quite a ways to another terminal (#5) for our flight to Barcelona. We had to show passports at one station and went through security again before entering the new terminal. My bag beeped, so we had to wait for manual screening and a bomb sweep. It appears my Kindle was the culprit – now classified at Heathrow with larger electronics. Once finished at Security, we proceeded to monitors to discover that our inbound plane was delayed – 11:40 AM vice 10:45. We had to wait to 10:50 to get a gate number. In the mean time, Jerry discovered that he was missing his boarding pass, and back-tracked all the way to the security check point where he found it on the counter where my carry on was screened. Lucky! We finally reached our departure gate and boarded expeditiously. We ended up sitting for an hour before push back – my best hour of sleep on the whole trip. Almost broke my neck!
The last leg to Barcelona was uneventful when we finally got off the ground. We finally arrived in Barcelona about 5:00 PM. Weather was like San Diego on a good day – sunny, clear and 72F. I was taken with the outside seating area at the airport and all of the travelers taking advantage of the sun and fresh air. Nice.
Taxi and bus were options into town. We picked up a city/metromap at Tourist Information and decided to take the Aerobus – very convenient and about 1/4 the price of a taxi. The bus dropped us at Plaça Catalunya. We had a bit of difficulty getting our bearings there . After circling the plaza and asking twice, we were able to get on track for the 2 blocks to our hotel, NH Calderon. We were still pulling 3 suitcases. Check-in was easy and we were quickly in Room 441. I could not wait for a shower and a change of clothes!!! But first, the electricity. We finally figured that there was a slot for the room key card next to the entry door – no card, no electricity. Card in, lights and AC came on as if by magic.
We cleaned up and donned fresh clothes and went in search of dinner. A block away was a teeming cervizaria and tapas restaurant named Ciudad Condal. We had to wait about 25 minutes to be seated, but it was worth not walking farther. We ordered 4-5 different tapas, wine for me and beer for Jerry, and ended with the Catalan version of creme brulee. We walked back to our room about 10:30. The WiFi only served the lobby, so I went down and did a bit of email and Facebook. I hated being disconnected!!! We turned in about 11:30. I was amazed I was still functioning!