On a vacation, everything doesn’t always go as you’d planned, and sometimes, you make a wrong plan. Shelley’s and my recent trip to Spain was spectacularly beautiful, but we ran into a few snags along the way. Luckily, though, these misfortunes always had a bright spot.
Snag #1: Shelley and I were meant to arrive at the Barcelona airport 5 minutes apart from each other – perfect timing to meet at the immigration desk…unless you’re at two different terminals…which we were. Once we’d both figured this out, we went on the search for each other. We had no way to communicate since we didn’t have data or wifi, so I crossed my fingers and hopped on an airport bus to Terminal 1.
Bring Spot: Fate stepped in and made Shelley’s flight about 15 minutes late, which gave me just enough time to get from T2 to T1. I hadn’t even made it to the arrivals hall, when there was Shelley searching for the bus to my terminal. Thank you fate for making that easy!!
Snag #2: My trip to Barcelona was long. How long was it? says the audience. From home to home it was about 22 hours. Here was the journey: taxi to the el – el train to the airport – airport transit to my terminal (another train) – wait two hours – plane for 11 hours – bus from the plane to the airport – wait three hours – bus from the airport to the plane – plane for four hours – bus (to find Shelley) – bus into Barcelona – walk (and get lost…)
Bright Spot: I read Memoirs of a Geisha, a really interesting book, watched 4 movies, read two magazines, slept a while, and met a nice German lady. At least I accomplished a lot!
Snag #3: We made a major mistake when booking flights from Barcelona to the south of Spain. There IS an airport in Sevilla, our city of choice, but instead we chose a flight to Jerez, an hour away from Sevilla. In the grand scheme of things, that’s not a big deal, but our rental car was waiting for us in the Sevilla airport, not Jerez. We had to wait 2 hours for a train, get in a taxi, and then get our rental car. This made it tricky time-wise for getting back to the airport as well.
Bright Spot: We had a really nice car and it didn’t add too much onto our time. It probably even saved us a couple bucks by not flying into the Sevilla airport.
Snag #4: Many hostels and hotels have parking, but not in Sevilla. Let parking impossible begin.
Bright Spot: Our hostel knew of a free lot which was a 10-minute walk away. We had to drive around the block a few times, but finally got our bearings. The only thing we paid was 3 Euros for a man to “watch” our car overnight. Otherwise, completely free!!
Snag #5: The parking might’ve been free, but it certainly wasn’t the safest for our poor car. On Day 3, we walked out to the lot and the side view mirror had been broken off, though not completely. It wouldn’t set back on properly and it was a rental car, so it wasn’t even ours to break. Can you say expensive?!
Bright Spot: We put our brains to the test on this one – we used our GPS to find a Volvo dealer in Granada. It was going to cost about $75 for labor and $500 in parts. Luckily (the most luck ever!), the service manager gave it to us for FREE! Yes, I said free! He said he would tell Volvo that the mirror was defective and then decided not to charge us for labor. I honestly almost hugged him (it didn’t hurt that he was attractive, either…)
Sang #6: The ATM ate my money. It gave me a receipt and then it ate my money. And then, my bank said I’d hit my max for the day and wouldn’t let me take money out from anywhere else until it was a new day in the States. The bank who owned the ATM said it would take more than a week to figure out if it my mistake or theirs (it was very clearly theirs). In the meantime, my bank account was down $450 of cash that I never touched.
Bright Spot: Chase Bank is amazing and gave me temporary money the moment I walked into the bank in Chicago. They said they’d get my money back from the bank in Spain. Bonus: they waived all of my fees for every transaction I made over there.
Snag #7: From Marbella to Sevilla, we had to wind our way through mountains (and stunning views) only to have our GPS say that we needed to turn down a dirt road. Everyone always believes the GPS, so we did, too. Not only did we go down a one-way farm road, we traversed under train tracks, and got stuck in a mud puddle.
Bright Spot: Quite possibly the funniest thing that’s happened to me in ages. Shelley and I laughed for a good 15 minutes once we got through the mud. Our car was covered and we’d almost gotten stuck (without a way to communicate, mind you), but once we were free and back on the highway, we giggled about it for the rest of our trip.
So while you’re traveling, remember that things may not always go your way, but they will certainly turn out the way you were meant to laugh at, feel lucky for, or get an added bonus with.