Mmmm is it Friday already? I woke up this morning feeling a little fuzzy, probably something to do with the 5 glasses of cava I managed to polish off yesterday, before the litre bottle we popped last night… but they do say that a good wine gives no headache the following day, and I’d agree with that. The rest of my body, however, feels otherwise, and I’m not as excited about my forthcoming journey as I usually am. That said, I’m relieved I planned said journey yesterday, otherwise I could easily be found on a station somewhere, looking as lost as Paddington Bear, just short of a marmalade sandwich.
Planes, trains and almost a trip to Dublin
Staying out close to the circuit has its benefits, but getting from there to the airport then requires some planning. The one fixed time is my boarding time – 10:50 (yes I checked my boarding card this time!) so I work back from there. I can get a train to the airport from Barcelona Sants in the city. And I can get a train to Sants from Santa Rosa. With transfer time in between and the somewhat unpredictable reliability of the Spanish trains, I need to allow enough leeway. So I leave the hotel at 7:45am, wander down to Santa Rosa and experience the joy that is the Spanish commute – a chap in a suit, 2 girls wearing trackies and an OAP with a shopping trolley.
AN: why does everyone over here wander round with either a dog or a shopping trolley? I don’t mean a Tesco style trolley, but one like my Nanny used to have, an upright rectangular bag on wheels, with enough room to fit me inside. And it’s not just the women, the guys have them too – one delightful looking chap yesterday was wandering through Mollet wearing baggy pants, trainers, a string vest, flat cap and wheeling a trolley (without a bag on it) – he was about 70-odd. *Bemused*
Anyway, the commuter traffic got no busier, even in Barca itself; we pull into Sants around 8:50am but there’s little sign of anyone other than tourists. I know the economy is in turmoil and unemployment is high over here, but is this it? Or do they start work earlier than this? *Stumped*
I head up the escalator into the main concourse and over to the ticket desks to purchase the next leg of my journey – the Aeroport train. Of the 20 or so tickets kiosks available, numbers 17 and 18 are open – I say open; they’re staffed by Pedro and Manuel, neither of whom look especially awake, but both of whom have lovely long queues of customers just waiting to annoy them by asking for tickets. So I queue up; after about 10 minutes I reach the counter, ask for a single to the airport, and Manuel behind the counter shakes his head and points to the right – so I must buy my ticket from his friend next door? Why? Whatever. I join the queue for Pedro’s kiosk.
You guessed it – when I reach the front of the queue, Pedro also shakes his head (I’m sure they were laughing at this point) and he also points to his right… about 10 metres further down the hall is another row of ticket kiosks, identical in appearance to those of Pedro and Manuel, with just the one kiosk open, staffed by an older, but immaculate looking lady. I count to five, in my head, in Spanish, and keep my cool, then wander down to see Maria, in the desperate hope that she will sell me a ticket to the Aeroport. By this point, my leeway is about used up and I have three minutes before the 9:09 train I’d planned to catch was due to leave. Maria sells me a ticket, simples. “Via si us plau Senora?” She points and says “Platform 9 Miss” in perfect English. At this point, I’m past caring about trying to speak the local lingo; I just thank her and pelt it down to the platform, just as the train pulls in. Spot on.
Next challenge is the airport – there are two terminals (termini?) and they’re miles apart. There is a shuttle bus connecting them, but this time luck is on my side – the train drops us at T2, I wander straight through security, without even setting the beeper off, and I’m airside. Sweet.
By ‘eck you smell gorgeous love
I’m female, which means I’m genetically unable to walk through duty free without at least smelling one perfume, right? I remember mum asking me to get her some scent or other, that she can’t get in the UK. Right, I know she’ll ask me when I get home, and as she’s giving me a lift back from the airport, I can hardly turn up empty handed, can I? But what was it she was after? Oh Lordy, I’ve no idea! Something musky? But there’s loads of musky ones… This is going to be fun. So I follow logic and look for all the perfumes I know she likes, and manage to find one with a ‘musk’ edition. But hang on, if this isn’t the right one, I’m going to be stuck with it. What does it smell like? I’m already clad in my usual Coco Mademoiselle, so can’t spoil my Chanel. So I wait for a poor unsuspecting chap to walk past and I spray a little onto his jacket – ha ha! Know I shouldn’t but it made no difference, his jacket still smelt of leather. I’m none the wiser, so I call mum. No answer. I leave voicemail. She calls me back, whispering… “I’m in the toilets at Sainsbury’s!” Too much information, so I try to keep it short… Is it the right one? Yes, how much is it? It’s €77. How much is that? It’s €77! No, in real money? That is real money! In Sterling! About £66 I think? OK, I’ll have it please! Done. Purchase made, now down to the gate.
Which flight are we queuing for? Dublin. Ah.
Unfortunately, by this point, with just 10 minutes left before boarding, the information boards are still showing my flight as boarding from area M5, but gate number tbc. So I wander down to M5, where there are 10 gates numbered 50-59. All but one are in darkness, with a queue of Brits standing at gate 52. Without any signs showing flight numbers, I’m assuming this will be my flight then? So I join the queue, conscious that, at some point, I’ll need to check. After a couple of minutes, at the time our flight is meant to be boarding, gate 54 starts showing any signs of life. I ask the couple in front which flight this queue is for, they respond Dublin but I’m preoccupied with realising it’s the musky-smelling chap from Duty Free, who’s now being interrogated by his wife about why his jacket smells of perfume. #Awkward. Ladies and Gentleman, Jet2 flight 232 to Leeds Bradford is now boarding from gate 54… I’m outta here!