Through happy circumstances, my flight from Chicago to Madrid was full of other CIEE students. I’d say the flight was 90% college students and 10% businessmen giving us dirty looks because they thought we were going to disrupt their peace and quiet.
I was the only one from my specific CIEE program on the flight as I didn’t actually have to be in Sevilla until Tuesday. The others on the flight were on a program that required them to arrive by Monday night, thus, we all ended up on the same flight.
The flight itself was…interesting, as only international flights can be. Our plane took off 45 minutes late (due to de-icing and other such official business). This caused problems for a majority of the other students as they had booked a connecting flight to Sevilla for an hour after our original arrival time.
Through a series of misfortunate events, my original plan to take an afternoon flight to Sevilla was discarded and I bought a train ticket the week before I left, thus ensuring that I did not have any connection issues due to our delay in Chicago.
I was graciously granted funds so that I could finish “watching” the Colts game through twitter. It was extremely difficult to contain my glee. I will admit to swearing really loudly at the TV earlier in the game at the Chicago airport when I forgot that I was not in the safety of my home. Sorry once again to all my fellow passengers.
We had dinner, which was disgusting as international plane food usually is. Because there were so many of us going to the same place with the same group, we were all chatting merrily away and I learned so many people’s names that I have no idea who the people sitting directly next to me were.
The excitement wore off fast and we all focused in on our movies and music. I tried to sleep for about an hour and a half but gave up. Of course, my chair was broken and reclined about an inch before refusing to give way any more. I can’t sleep straight up and down so I gave up on that.
The coolest part of the flight was that we descended into Madrid during the sunrise, which made for absolutely breathtaking views, even through craning my neck from the middle aisle seat.
The second coolest part of the flight was that we also got breakfast, which consisted of fruit, a bocadillo (n. sandwich made with Spanish bread, not prepackaged, with any variety of meats and condiments. This particular bocadillo was ham and cheese. Read on). , a muffin, and a Kit Kat bar. Yes. You read that correctly.
The third coolest part of the flight was someone bizarrely, but wonderfully, deciding to put Christmas music on over the speakers as we descended.
In Madrid, there was a mad scramble as all the students on the connecting flight fled the plane in a desperate effort to make it through customs in time. I don’t know how they fared.
One of my seat partners and I had later plane/train departure times so we had the benefit of meandering through the silent and almost-empty Madrid airport at 8:30 in the morning.
This is about the time that I also realized that I probably should have kept doing conditioning after dance ended because I was not prepared to lug a carry-on, a personal item, and a suitcase around the country.
I grabbed a taxi outside the airport (BRILLIANT system. You have to get in line for a taxi and some very nice airport worker points you to a taxi when you get to the front of the line. So no pushing, shoving, or fighting to get a ride. Very smart people, these Spaniards).
This taxi driver asked me where I was going and then ignored me the rest of the 15 minute drive to the train station while playing American classic rock music.
*Excuse me while I remember casually passing a church whose sign informed me that it was older than my home country*
At the train system I fell into company with a girl from IU who was also traveling to Sevilla for a CIEE program on the same train. We had three hours until our train left so we went to a café in the station to get some food and waste time.
We both got bocadillos there, too. Mine was of unknown meat and was decent but not great. Hers was ham and was the single best thing I’ve tasted possibly ever (as she was overwhelmed enough to share and with good reason).
“If bread tastes this good in a train station, what must it be like in the real world?”
We also spent a fair amount of time admiring the 25+ turtles in the enclosed jungle that was just casually placed in the middle of the station.
Unfortunately, we were in different cars for the train to Sevilla but we met up again briefly at the station before going our separate ways.