“The journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step” –Someone
I’m not sure when or where my first step was exactly. The last few weeks have been a blur with my internship wrapping up, my car dying, and busing and flying back to Florida to quickly pack.
But as much as like to rant about how crappy Chevy engines can be, the important stuff for this blog is probably my travels to Madrid. I’d like to consider myself an expert traveler buuut nothing quite prepared me for my first intercontinental flight. Packing for four months is stressful; my main two pieces of advice are to pack light and that Publix scales are your best friend.
Getting through an airport can be typically be broken down into three main obstacles
1) Baggage Check
3) Boarding the actual plane
I was traveling with my friends Sarah and Esteban who both kind of (really) over packed. After a few trips to Publix, a long night of rearranging luggage, and some tough clothing cuts we hoped that none of us were over the dreaded 23 kg limit.
Reaching the front of the bag check line, it was the moment of truth. My bag went on the scale first and read exactly 23 kgs. Sarah’s bag was next and read….exactly 23 kgs as well. But Esteban’s bag had been the problem bag all along, as we went to put his bag on the scale the suspense was building……….and when the scale read a light 22.5 kgs we all breathed a sigh of relief.
Getting through security was annoying but no big deal. Boarding the plane is usually no issue but we were all stretching/breaking the whole “backpacks are fine as long as they can fit under the seat” rule. But the flight attendants didn’t seem to mind and as we strolled to our seats and prepared to cross the Atlantic. Sitting down with my complementary pillow and blanket and seeing that “Keanu” was on the in flight movie menu, was the most relaxed I had felt in a long time.
On our flight to Madrid we had a layover in Lisbon for 8 hours. I guess all the traveling and packing had distracted me so walking off the plane in Portugal is about when it hit me that this whole study abroad thing was really happening. We took a taxi to the Rossio Square and got out and it was just kind of surreal.
It didn’t matter that it was overnight flight that I couldn’t fall asleep on or that the city of Lisbon turned out to be a series of seemingly never-ending hills, we walked along the bay and then what felt like every inch of downtown. Making it to a park on one of the highest points in Lisbon the view was breathtaking.
The trip wasn’t quite over though. After another round through security, another flight, gathering luggage, and Uber to the hotel we were safely in Madrid around 7 pm local time. Exhausted and jet lagged we we’re going crash when we got to the hotel and live to fight another day, but we we’re too excited. It would have been easy to go to bed early but that’s not how our first night in Madrid was ending. As we headed out to explore the city, I felt really optimistic about the upcoming journey.