If I begin to tell you how my day has been in detail my story would just never find an appropriate ending. So I’ll try to keep it short and to the point – plus I’m exhausted and I need to get enough sleep in preparation for tomorrow!
Left the South Ken flat at 4.30am with an encroaching flu (which is an official one now) and a very soar throat and headed to London Heathrow to catch my flight to San Sebastián (Spain) via Madrid. Made it to Madrid but missed my flight to San Sebastián – the first flight I’ve ever missed in my entire traveling life.
In Madrid, I had an argument with a very rude Iberia representative who accused me of purposely missing my flight and wanted to charge me for the new ticket which won’t actually take me to San Sebastián! (Let me give you some advice – if you ever travel via Madrid do not trust Expedia with one-hour connecting flights). It took me an hour and a half to get to my gate after going through passport control and security check all over again. There’s no concept of ‘Express’ track for connecting flights in Madrid. The ‘Express’ voucher wasn’t an express one at all. I waited a good 30 minutes in line and it took me another 45 minutes to reach the terminal after security check and a tram ride and another 15 minutes to get to the actual gate. Was huffing and puffing by the time I reached the gate.
Anyway, as you know I missed my flight to San Sebastián and got a ticket to Bilbao instead. My Bilbao flight was scheduled for 15.45. That didn’t happen. There was a mechanical problem with the plane and after a long delay we were redirected to the other end of the terminal to catch another plane. Finally made it to the new and ‘functioning’ plane. I’m generally a nervous flier and the uneasy turbulent flight made me more nervous. Reached Bilbao. Took the bus from Bilbao to San Sebastián city centre. One and a half hour bus ride. When I reached San Sebastián I took a taxi from San Sebastián station to San Sebastián airport. Another half an hour. Why the airport? Because my suitcase took the initial flight to San Sebastián – the flight I missed. Reached San Sebastián airport at 8pm. No one in sight. The airport was deserted and baggage claim was closed. The only human movement was found at the Hertz Car company kiosk. I needed my bag. I had to find my bag. Went to the security office then back to Hertz then back to security. Knocked on doors. Found Iberia security eventually after panicking and telling myself not to panic because nothing really bad has happened. Worst things can happen I told myself. The security person was a woman. She unlocked some door and there was my bag! I hugged the poor woman! Couldn’t contain my excitement and relief. Took a taxi back to San Sebastián city centre and checked into my hotel at 9pm. A matchbox awaited me with no windows.
But I’m happy. Why? Because along the way I met two lovely American women who joined my fight against Iberia. I met another sweet Spanish woman who advised me on the best route to San Sebastián. She was beyond helpful. I met a guy from Costa Rica who told me about the ‘Express’ voucher. The guy sitting next to me on the flight to Bilbao was a nervous flier just like me yet helped me inhale and exhale away my fear! The security woman at San Sebastián made my day (she had my precious suitcase)! God is everywhere. He really is.
Now you might be wondering why I even bothered taking a super early flight to San Sebastián? I could have avoided all of that, right? So I can enjoy more of the city and experience one of its many Michelin star restaurants before tomorrow happens. Naturally, I missed that. Instead, I had lovely tapas at one of its many tapas bars. And what about my obsession with my suitcase and why am I here in the first place and what’s with ‘tomorrow’? I am here to do my fourth Camino de Santiago trek and everything to do with that is inside my suitcase! That starts tomorrow! But more on that tomorrow! And more on beautiful San Sebastián manãna! For now, goodnight everyone! I’m dead tired. Tomorrow will come, and will be told.