Pozuelo, Spain – August 31, 2009
Today was our first experience traveling abroad as a family. We actually left Washington, D.C. on the 30th, although it was a little dicey. The first hurdle was to weigh all of our luggage to ensure we would be underweight when we checked in at Reagan National Airport.
At the airport, we checked in with no problem. The next order of business was to exchange some dollars for euros. It cost us about $368 to get 200€, our first of many encounters with exchange rates. After getting the money, we sat down at Friday’s to get some lunch before we boarded our plane.
We made it to our gate at about 14:00 for a flight that was to depart to Atlanta at 16:00. They had already begun the process of boarding the plane for the 14:30 flight. After several minutes, I noticed the airline employees were asking all of the passengers to get back off of the plane they had just boarded. I discovered that was because Delta was experiencing a ground delay in Atlanta.
After the second false-start, I could see the writing on the wall. If that flight kept getting delayed, then our 16:00 flight would be delayed. That would cause us to miss our flight from Atlanta to Madrid. I decided to stand in line and try to get standby seats on that earlier flight. Luckily I was able to get the four seats we needed. That 14:30 flight actually pushed away from the gate at about 17:00, just 2:30 late! We arrived at Atlanta, at gate A32. From there, we needed to go to gate E1 for our Madrid flight. We only had 50 minutes to make that trek. We barely made it, taking our seats only 20 minutes prior to departure.
Our luck did change for the better, briefly, once we were on the plane. I was seated on the two-seat side without a passenger beside me. That made the eight-hour flight fairly comfortable.
We arrived in Madrid around 09:30 a.m. on the 31st. We had our diplomatic passports stamped for the first time there. Shortly after that, our luck changed for the worse again. We went to the baggage claim area. We stood there for quite a while waiting for my final bag. We finally realized it was not going to arrive. That bag contained all of my suits for work! How fortunate!
During our wait, I decided I should call the person that was supposed to be picking us up at the Madrid airport. That is when I discovered I had lost my cell phone! It must have fallen out in the overhead compartment.
While we were waiting in line at the lost baggage counter, we called AT&T and were able to cancel my cell phone. I figured that my bag did not make the plane because of the delays and the change of flight. At worst, I thought the airline would deliver my bag the next day since that flight came in once a day.
We finally met up with the person that was there to greet us and were taken to our new home in Pozuelo. What a beautiful place. We are extremely fortunate!