A Travellerspoint blog

Swimming in the Sea

R&R Day

sunny 75 °F

May 26th, 2014

Today started with the remnants of jet lag. I was up at 4:30am and there was no way I was going to get back to sleep. Nicole finally fell asleep at 4:30am after being up since 11pm. I finally rolled out of bed and decided that I wanted to go out to our porch, watch the sun rise, and write. Today is going to be a recoup day. It's a shame that we have to use today to recover. We should have done that yesterday in Dublin, but alas, we could not.

Once Nicole got up out of bed, around 7,we started to plan out our day. Nothing really fancy. We decided that we wanted to get up and have good full breakfast at some restaurant and walk down by the main beach. Nothing is open here before 10am! What in the world? No breakfast, no coffe shops, nothing. The streets were very quiet, with only the garbage crews and street sweepers out. We walked down to the beach and saw 2 people on the water enjoying the calm see and already warm morning. It takes us 30 minutes to walk from our little apartment down the hill to the city center, so we made sure to mosey along the whole time. After burning time walking around, a restaurant over looking the bay opened up with English Breakfast. Yes, English. Not Spanish. Something I am beginning to suspect is that this is a tourist town, and it is going to be hard to find authentic Spanish food here. Breakfast was satisfactory and Nicole loved her little coffee. We decided to spend the next few hours walking around the now open town, shopping around and familiarizing ourselves with the area. Finally, we hiked back up the hill to our apartment.

Jet lag was still kicking my butt so, I took a quick 45 minute nap before we decided to head down to the pool and the sea. It was a nice hot day, and I am a very white American. We tanned for a bit and finally decided to check out the ocean. It was a pleasant cold, not a take away your breath cold, but neither of us wanted to jump in. The spot by our apartment didn't really offer a good natural dock or any way to easily get in and out. Also, there are little Black Sea urchins everywhere. Stepping on one of those would end our trip real quick. We walked over to a little beach area that was all on rock. Nicole, was mistakenly convinced that I was going to let her come all the way to the Mediterranean Sea without making her get in the water. I dove in first and it was great! After a lot of coaxing and telling Nicole of the massive regret she would have, she finally lowered herself in the water. We spent a few hours thoroughly enjoying ourselves until the call of hunger took us back to the apartment.

As we started out that evening for dinner (we had groceries for lunch) we found it increasingly hard to find anything that was authentic to Spain to eat. Scottish pub here, Irish pub there, authentic English here. We have learned a few things about Mallorca while we have been here. First, Mallorca is to Europeans as Orlando or San Diego, or Hawaii is to Americans. This is THE vacation destination. I have heard every accent under the sun while we have been walking around. English, Scottish, Irish, Russian, German, Asian, Indian and Norwegian! Which brings me to the second thing we have learned. We are pretty sure we are the only Americans on the entire island. That is actually pretty cool. Or host had said we were the first Americans that had ever visited his apartment, and we have had waiters sincerely surprised to hear our "accent." Anyway, we started to see a dish that was common to many restaurants called paella (pie-eh-yah said super fast). We had no idea what it was, but we knew this was our shot for Spanish fare. We picked a restaurant and ordered it! It is this rice, Mexican curry-like base with corn and vegetables. On top are whole shrimp and mussels, with what I'm pretty sure was pork? It is quite salty and a bit fishy. It was delicious when we first started eating it, however, by the last few bites, salty fishy rice wasn't sitting too great. It was worth the experience, and I would bet that not all restaurants make it so salty, but I'm not sure I would have it again. Apparently there are many different types, and if I did have it, it would be the non-seafood one. The excellent portion of the meal was the sangria they served us. Yum! After dinner it was back up the hill and off to bed.

Posted by hangtime41 10:55 Archived in Spain Comments (0)

Sleep, why do you run from me?

Jet lag is not a good friend.

73 °F

May 25th, 2014

What day is it? Don't look at me, I haven't a clue. We get in airplanes, we fly to tomorrow, and we are awake far too long. What I do know is that we finally landed in Dublin via Aer Lingus. Lovely company by the way. All Irish flight crew, very professional and very friendly. Made my heart ache that we were not going to be staying in Dublin. Instead, we went to find our gate for our flight to Spain. Jet lag is starting to set in, no matter what self talk I do. The stinging of the eyes, the shifting and moving of the floor, oi. I was able to sleep about 2 hours and Nicole slept zilch. I did watch the Secret Life of Walter Mitty though, and its one of my new favorite movies.

Not much to tell as we numbly boarded the plane and caught a few half an hour snatches of sleep on our way to Palma de Mallorca, Espana. Extremely windy as we got off the plane and made our way to the busses. Oh the joys of being in a foreign country. No idea how, okay very little idea, of how to get where we a going, but we jumped on a bus and went anyway. At first neither of us were impressed. Palma looked much like California and Mexico meshed together. Dirty and unimpressive actually. The lack of sleep made us that much more apathetic. As the ocean sprawled into view, our spirits lifted somewhat. You have to remember that in 42 hours we have had 5 hours of straight sleep with snatches of it here and there, no longer than 30 minutes at a time. For me, this is not great but I can function. For Nicole, we are on the verge of a warp core failure. Memory systems, life support, and shields are going offline captain. We jump off in the middle of Palma trying our best to find the intermodal whatchmacallit bus station. We had to enlist the help of a quad lingual Russian woman at an information booth. Love those information booths. Life savers really. She very plainly told us where we needed to go and which bus to take. We took the 102 to Santa Ponsa. Even now I am having a hard time recalling the details. Foggy, very foggy in my mind then. We offloaded in this gorgeous little town! Not dirty and yucky like Palma, but quiet and quaint. It was probably mid 70s out and sunny. Nice booking Nicole! We walked along the turquoise water on our way to our villa. It was a 3 mile walk with our heavy bags, but we made it to our place without a hitch. Being sleep depraved, hot and hungry, I hadn't really felt I was anywhere except California. That changed when we met our host Angel.

He is a very upbeat, well spoken Spanish man with a pep in his step, he seemed very excited to meet us and showed us all around our little apartment. He is every bit of what I pictured for a true Spaniard. We have a magical view of a little bay along with our own pool. He had fruit, juice, snacks, water and wine all stocked up and ready for us. It was great to meet him! After he left we zombied our way to a grocery store for some lunch. We ate it on our porch overlooking the water. We ate quickly then fell on the bed. It was 3pm at this time. We tried to get up once at around 6pm, but it was like we had been chained to the bed. We could not get up, no way. I tried and tried but the sleepy time, she comes. Neither of us slept the entire night through. Nicole was up at 11pm for a few hours before falling back asleep finally at 4:30am, and I slept straight through to 4:30am finally getting up at 6am.

Posted by hangtime41 09:58 Archived in Spain Comments (1)

New York Tour? Fahget about it.

Making the most.

sunny 72 °F

May 24th, 2014

Good morning New York City! Now that our night is over, and we know how we are going to get to Europe, it's time to start enjoying the opportunities that are in front of us. It has be one of the most valuable lessons of travel. Roll with the punches. Yes, be intense and deliberate to figure out what you need, but once the inevitable has passed, figure out your new direction and look for the good you can make of it. When you travel, you spend good money to be away from your routine and daily life. You going to waste that dollar or get your money's worth?

Today at 10am, my long time friend, Krystle Jenna Dookoo (whom I call Countess Dookoo) is going to pick us up from our hotel for a whirl wind tour of New York. Funny thing is, I've never met the Countess in person though we have been friends for 10 years. I cant even recall exactly how we met. Or why we became such good friends over the Internet, but, I value her friendship very much! Shes lives and works in New York, but is from Trinidad. I forget that we have never met before and it seems like old times to give her a hug and introduce her to Nicole, when she arrives at our hotel. We never got a chance to see our Idaho friends from the night before, but we sent them all a Facebook message wishing them well on their trips. Nicole and Krystle hit it off right away and we made the decision to spend our time in one location, rather than trying to see everything. Nicole picked Central Park!

The park is huge! I had been in New York before for a half a day, but we never made it to the park. There are paved paths leading everywhere with every type of person, display, nationality and act everywhere you look. There are massive rocks, the size of homes, smoothed and rounded by the people who were clambering all over them. There are small amusement park rides, portrait artists, musical acts and play places. There are horse drawn carriages, people on bikes and fitness classes taking place right in the open. I knew this was a fantastic choice and perfect for our limited time. We walked around and laughed and talked and took pictures. I even was pulled into into a show from the crowd to get a fun New York experience. These street performers that pulled me in we're marketing geniuses. There were 7 guys or so that were dancers and flippers. The reason I say they were geniuses was for several reason. First, I'd say their show was very short. Not a lot going on. Each of them did some break dancing for about 2 minutes and then lots of walking around and talking to the crowd. They were very smart and had a set routine of humor and crowd interaction. Its hard to describe in writing so ill just say this, the show was only a 6 out of 10, but they new how to pump the crowd for money. It was crazy. They made a ton of money just by sheer humor and smarts with their interactions and hardly had to really perform. Ask me about it when we get back.

The next stop was to find a bank and get some cash so that Krystle could take us to a New York Pizza joint, and so that I could report our travel to the bank. We were supposed to be in Ireland today and I didn't want our cards to get shut off if we bought something in NY. This was one of the highlights of the day for me. We walk in and are helped by what I envision to be the stereotypical true New Yorker. This guy has the accent and the look....and he was the nicest guy in the world. He was shocked to hear we were from idaho and actually had a great working knowledge of the state and where we lived in relation to the shape of the state on a map. As we chatted about our trip, he commented that we seemed like very nice people. He seemed genuinely shocked and pleased at this discovery. He congratulated us on getting out and enjoying life saying that the NY lifestyle can suck you in and make you forget there is more out there to see. I looked down at his name tag and you wouldn't believe his name. Joe Montagne. Seriously? Authentic New York baby! He gave us the low down on the best pizza joint in the area, told us to ask for Phil in the Rangers cap and tell him that Joe sent us. Are we in a movie? I asked Joe to join us for lunch and he almost accepted, but then thought he had better finish his work first. He told us to look him up if we were ever back in New York City and catch him up on our travels. He was absolutely sincere in this. As Nicole and I walked out with Krystle I commented on how much I wished he was our banker back home. He had such a welcoming and friendly way about him. I would bet he is a fantastic representation of what most New Yorkers are like. Back home our bankers are nice, but in such a reserved way. Joe acted with abandon and gusto and made me feel like I'd known him for years.

Joe was true to his word. The pizza was fantastic. Krystle treated us to lunch and wouldn't take any back talk about it. It made me so happy to see her and Nicole instantly click. Ah what a fantastic way to have missed our flight! All too soon it was time to get to the airport for our 5:30 flight. We hugged Krystle goodbye promising to visit again soon and for longer and made our way to the gate. This is basically the end of the story for today as the rest of the night will be spent flying and trying our best to get some sleep.

Posted by hangtime41 22:07 Archived in USA Comments (1)

A Chance To Be An Intrepid Traveler or a Whiner

overcast

May 23rd, 2014

I've come to believe that in order to take a really good trip, you have to get up at some obscene hour. This of course, after you have spent the entire evening before, intending to go to bed at 9pm (because dang it we are gonna be rested tomorrow) and finally setting your alarm at 1am to get up at 3am. This morning didn't start that way. In fact we were even in bed by 10:45pm. This feels weird, something isn't right, but, it was a sunny beautiful morning. We will take it!

We ran Dexter to work to drop him off for Ashley and checked in to our flights online. After a good bye to Ginny it was off to pick up mom and dad and on to the airport. Today has been sliiiightly stressful. Our flights have been changed a bit to give us very little time to change planes in both Salt Lake City and New York. Also, for the nearly seven hour flight to Dublin, Air France (how fitting) decided to change our seats. Instead of sitting together, we are now seven rows apart. I'm not sure yet what we are going to do about this, but it would be a major bummer to take that leg of the trip without Nicole next to me.

As we sat and checked our Facebook in the Spokane airport a friend of Nicole's, Kindra, urged us to find a way to visit her in Prague. The ol' travel wheels started cranking in my head. How exciting, a possible unplanned trip to a new country and famous city. Hmm, I do believe we should figure this out. There are a few extenuating circumstances that need cleared up, and I think we might be able to swing this! These are the types of moments that excite me as a traveler more than anything else. It's always the unplanned surprises that, if you have the guts to pursue it, turn out to be the best memories. Now to land this blasted plane.

This very moment, all our stress points are coming to a head. We are circling JFK Airport at this very moment, due to weather. This is particularly sweat inducing considering our layover is only 50 minutes from the time the plane lands. Now we are taking away valuable minutes with each massive circle the plane makes. We found out that we will have go change terminals to get to our gate, and on top of that, if we even catch our flight, we won't have time to address our seats not being next to each other. We are both going to be super bummed if we can't sit next to each other.

Time to search for the silver lining. Bottom line is that we will not be making our connecting flight to Dublin. We have been circling JFK for over half an hour and the pilot says we have to land elsewhere due to our "fuel situation." In no circumstance is it okay, ever, for the pilot to say "fuel situation." We have been diverted to Newark (shudders) and the word at the moment is that we will stay on the plane and refuel. Then we will take off again for JFK. The silver lining is that, well there is no silver lining yet.

We circled Newark for another 30 minutes and then landed at around 8:50. This is when the most fun began. During our flight, I had kept my ear perked up for fellow travelers going on the same connecting flight to Dublin that we were. I figured we could band together to make sure we got to our connecting flight on time. As it turned out, a lady next to us and her freshman-in-college daughter were going to Dublin for a One Direction concert followed by a 9 day tour of the coast. Right in front of them were a young couple with their 3ish year old son and a 6ish month baby. All of us had a connecting flight out of JFK at 9:25pm. It only took moments after landing to realize there was no way we were going to make it back in time for that connection. The hope was alive in all of us that we could make the hop back over to JFK and catch the later 11:25 flight at least. We all began to chatter and bond as the following events played out and grew more and more dreadful:

Ridiculous situation number one: After we are sitting there hoping to take off for 15 minutes, the pilot comes on and says, "Flight attendants, prepare for departure." We are all excited. Yes! For sure we will make it back. The minutes begin to drag by. I texted my friend Krystle, who lives in New York, to see if she could be on standby to help us if the situation didn't get resolved. Five minutes turned into 20 minutes and we weren't moving.

Ridiculous situation number 2: We still aren't moving. Some voice comes over the intercom and tells us that, "Some people have been asking to get off the plane here in Newark, as it is their ultimate destination. Unfortunately, according to regulation, if we were to let anyone off the plane now, we would have to cancel the flight and let everyone off. We are going to confirm with the head office in Atlanta?" Okay, that's fine, makes sense. Seems as though we will be taking off soon. This is good. We still have time to make the flight and catch our flight to Dublin, we can make it! Five minutes turned into 20 minutes and nothing was happening.

Ridiculous (and blood boiling) situation number 3: Some voice comes over the intercom, "If Newark is your final destination, can you please grab your bags and exit the plane." What the HUH? I thought it was regulation not to be able to do this. Now we can do this? What selfish person (more on this later) demanded this and caused, what by now we knew to be, many people to miss their connecting flights?! We are talking Liberia, England, Ireland, and parts of Africa from what I heard. We can still make it if the Newark people hurry their butts up and get off the plane. So. Slow. It was like....it was unreal. 10 people would exit. Then a few minutes later, a few more would get up and exit. There were probably 5 separate slows groupings of people that took their sweet 15 minutes to get off the plane. Okay okay, now push back and let us go! Five minutes turned into 20 and still we weren't moving.

Ridiculous...ah, you get the point, number 4: All of us Ireland people now know that we will not be making the flight out tonight. The bonding grows. Nicole is nearly in tears because the next flight to Dublin gets in AFTER our scheduled flight to Spain leaves. This is particularly worrisome because the flight into Spain that we booked was very hard to get. Then our flight to Germany will leave from Spain. It's a cascading fall of badness, yes badness. Some voice comes on over the intercom, "The flight attendants need to come through and get a head count so that we can compare our manifest and make sure that everyone is accounted for." Our poor flight attendants must have known this was a ruse. They took a good 10 minutes to count us over and over. The flight attendants had now become the targets of ire and anger from all the people realizing their missed flights. It's too bad because they really have no say on what is going on. The counting finishes. Five minutes turns into 20 minutes and we are not taking off.

Number 5: Some voice comes on over the intercom, "Ah, um, ah we have been trying to calculate the crew hours for today. According so some department of blah blah regulations blah blah, which our hours are something blah blah, our crew has timed out. We are now going to cancel the flight." You guys are so on top of it! Fantastic! Well at least we can get out of the plane and try to get some information. Our little band of 8 has bonded to the point that we have now banded and become a force. We have all vowed to stick together until all our flights are figured out. The local time is 12:30ish pm by the time we get off the plane. Remember my friend Krystle that I texted earlier? A few minutes later I called her up. She was on board with helping us out any way that she could. Whether that be to get us from Newark, New York and take us for the night, or to help keep us company if our flight didn't leave until late tomorrow, she was ready and willing. What a relief to have a such a good friend close by in a situation like this. Off to Deltas desk to get this figured out.

As we walked up to the Delta agents, Nicole and I made sure to watch each of them. After only a few minutes, we knew exactly which one we were going to. We let people go in front of us to the other agents until she was ready to help the next person. This was important and we weren't messing around! Little did we know that this choice would end up saving our entire crew of people from heartbreak. By now we had a finally learned each others names and where we were all from. This is the best part. We are all from Idaho! Haha! I didn't know anyone else from Idaho even went to Dublin. ;) Justin and Megan live in Pocatello with their son Liam and daughter Kathryn. They had each spent several years in Ireland and were headed back for 5 weeks. Liz and Amber were the two going to the One Direction concert and are from Middleton! So back to the story, Megan and Liz were working with one agent and we got to our agent, Ashlynn. Ashlynn was amazing. She felt SO bad for all of our situations and worked very hard to help us. Our situation was a bit sticky because of our need to connect to our Spain flight. She was on it. We looked at tons of options. The other agents only cared about the original destination, that being Dublin, but we had special circumstances. They also only checked the Delta flights, which were extremely limited. Ashlynn hooked us up with an option with non partner Lutfhansa and, with some help from another agent named Clarence, got us the perfect fit with another non partner of Aer Lingus. No cost to us, and a hotel voucher to boot. We are missing an entire day in Dublin, and will have to eat the cost of the lodging we paid for, but that is great considering the circumstances. At this time i gave the thumbs up to Megan who was on her last bit of strength. She and Liz came over to find out what we booked. I told her it was a direct flight to Dublin and she completely was crushed. Her kids had been troopers all day, her and Justin have a great way with their kids. But, her agent had booked her on a non direct flight, and with already tired kids it was just too much. Liz was livid at hearing our news too. This is where the choice of waiting for Ashlynn saved the night. We introduced Ashlynn to Megan and Liz. She found both families direct flights and completely saved everyone's sanity. At long last (this took 2 hours) we made it to the shuttle. Our little posse laughed and talked and commiserated all the way to our hotel in NYC. Megan and Justin even had some dirt to spill on Delta after having a conversation with a head management person. As it turned out, some jerk face was demanding to be let off the plane in Newark and was saying (also tweeting) that he was being held hostage against his will. Even better is that the flight crewing timing out was a farce to make an excuse to cancel the flight. Delta rocks!!!. Exhausted, we checked in, dealt with a coin toss between us and Liz who gets the room with the broken toilet, helped Justin haul their luggage up, and crashed into bed at 3:30am. Silver lining? We made some great friends as only travel can create, Nicole and I now get to sit together ob the long flight, and WE GET TO TOUR NEW YORK WITH KRYSTLE TOMORROW! I'd say that classifies as silver.

PS: I apologize for any errors or lack of continuity. You'll get the gist of the story and I wanted to post it before we board, which we are right now.

Posted by hangtime41 13:54 Archived in USA Comments (0)

By the seat of our pants

sunny

Today we received word from Anna (our friend in Germany) that she would not be able to host us as long as she thought. Her University just sent her the date for her one and only exam for the entire term, and it happens to interfere with the time we are there. She was really sorry and not happy about the circumstances. Such a bummer, but you just have to figure it out.

This will give us a chance to do some exploring, and some last minute lodging searches. Worst case is that we have to sleep in a bus stop. That isn't too bad right?

Update: On top of that, her friend is also in the same predicament with exams. We planned to stay with him as well. It has made this a frantic day to say the least!!!

Posted by hangtime41 19:40 Archived in USA Comments (1)

(Entries 11 - 15 of 16) « Page 1 2 [3] 4 »