Lisbon and Spain • March 2016 / 3
All trips start with a trip to our major airport: Los Angeles International, an adventure in itself. This trip was easy: because our departure time was in the afternoon, we only had to leave 3 1/2 hours early as there was no traffic. Park, shuttle, clear security and we found ourselves in the new Tom Bradley terminal, a huge upgrade from the last time we were here. It’s in the same place, but everything’s fancy, including the treats you can buy. Dave, my husband, is carrying my travel bag for me, and his travel bag is a backpack. This worked out pretty well for us.
Until the time they wanted to board us. We were on one of those jumbo jets with two levels, and unbelievably there was a Southwest-style boarding style, where you line up behind the uniformed gate agent holding a sign for your section. All the people down to the blue overhead sign were getting on our flight, including a high school band (in the green shirts). One sat next to us, and at the end of the trip, he stuffed the airline’s blanket into his backpack and said “Now I’ve got a souvenir for my sister.” Okey-dokey. I’m reading Deep Thoughts. It may not be the best thing to read about dying just before you get in a silver tube and hurtle yourself across nine time zones.
Cute snack crackers, though. I should really start photographing the meals we are served.I was fascinated with these udder-like squirt tubes on the condiments in the Frankfurt airport for their brats and pretzels. Actually a clever way to dispense the stuff, but I felt pretty silly while doing it.Translated signs in airports are always entertaining.Looking out the window of our TAP Portugal airplane towards another of their planes, with Lufthansa’s planes in the background.What I did a lot of, while traveling. There’s not much room on airplanes for anything, but I was able to get this organized. I only lost a spool of thread once, coming home, and Dave located and retrieved it for me. This was the view from our bus in the Sevilla airport. The airline was so excited that we were there early, but that meant that we had no gate to go to as there was a plane in it, so they off-loaded us onto giant people mover busses and take us to the gate. WE arrive there about the same time, even a little later, but for their airplane “on-time records,” THEY are early.Is this the best thing we can export?I’m pretty sure this was in the Lisbon airport. Building design in foreign countries can be so radically different from what we’re used to, and when it’s discovered after a time shift in a sleep-deprived state, it feels positively transcendent.
Lisbon’s check-in stations, enroute to Sevilla. We found a contraband table and chairs (why is it that all the tables and chairs in these foreign places belong to some restaurant nearby) and gulped down our breakfast that the hotel had packed up for us: two white-bread sandwiches, apples, and two bottles of juice (which we couldn’t take past security).Waiting at the gate. Always a challenge to figure out what to do when all the announcements are in a language you don’t understand. Finally, when everyone stood up, we did too and we all boarded in a glob of travelers. As I gazed down on the snow-covered mountains, headed to Frankfurt, I thought more than once of that flight out of Barcelona last year, where the pilot deliberately flew the airplane into the Alps. There’s always a slight apprehension with air travel, as we remember that one that didn’t make it and forget the other millions of trips that are just fine. There’s also a vague worry about our luggage, and will we make our connection and will we get home to Los Angeles, all things I can do nothing about as I power through the air at 30,000 feet.
Okay, here’s a photo of an airline meal. And believe it or not, it was pretty good. The salad wasn’t too rubbery, the chicken, polenta and sweet potato (carrots?) went down easily, and I was thrilled beyond measure that I got a desert that was something other than the hated tiramasu. And look! Real silverware.
I didn’t weep or anything, but this is a nice sight. The hideous lines were not fun, as two jumbo jets had landed at the same time and we don’t have Global Traveler, but we made it through that crush, got our car, paid the parking, navigated the crowded freeways and arrived home again to our lovely house.Home, sweet, home.