Friday, 12 January 2018

 Larnaca, Cyprus (Nicolaides Sea View City)

At 1:00 a.m. I was wide awake. Had set my alarm for 2:00, so I must be ready to get out of bed and start packing – regardless of getting less than two hours of sleep. But first, I needed coffee. Was nice to have leisure time before leaving. The place was clean and bags packed by 3:00 – just needed to take down the garbage to the bin on the street, confirm that I had everything packed, and wait for the taxi driver. I went down the elevator at 3:40 and found the taxi driver waiting for me. I can cross that off my list! One thing that I forgot to do before leaving was to check-in online and confirm my seat reservation.

The trip to the airport was quick since there was almost no traffic on the road. I tipped the driver generously to thank him for picking me up so early. Before I entered the terminal I checked into the flight on my phone. Discovered that I had be assigned a middle seat on both the flight to Athens and from Athens to Madrid. Oh, no! Figured I was early enough where I could request a change once I got to the airline check in counter. Thankfully, I was able to get an aisle seat on both flight segments.

Had time to sit down and have more coffee before going through security to the gate. By this time I had had a lot of coffee, but was still tired. We boarded the flight and were on our way. The layover in Athens was going to be 5 hours.

When I arrived at Passport Control, I saw that it was going to be a long wait. This should take care of at least one hour of my 5 hour wait.

The meal served for breakfast on the plane was not edible so I was a little hungry as I walked through the Athen’s terminal. As I was looking around for a place to eat I saw a McDonald’s sign. After breakfast I needed to walk around and went outside to enjoy the cool air. From a prior visit, I remembered that there was a business lounge where I could plug in my laptop, but I couldn’t find it again. I decided to go back to McDonald’s, order a tea and work on my travel pictures via the laptop.

As I was going through travel pictures I found one of me that I thought might be suitable for putting on my Facebook page. Between updating Facebook and going through travel pictures, it was about time to board the next flight.

Updated Facebook Profile Picture

The flight from Athens to Madrid was almost 4 hours. I used the time to play a few games of pinochle on my phone and to watch an episode of Ken Burns’ Roosevelt series on my iPad. Also nodded off a few times. As we approached Madrid I listened to a few movements from Beethoven’s Ninth.

No long wait at Passport Control here. Because I was checked into the EU at Athens, I just walked through into the terminal. I had thought about taking public transportation to the hotel, but opted for a taxi.

The hotel is located in the center of Madrid and surprisingly it didn’t take long to get there from the airport – given it was almost 5:00 on a Friday. The doorman and front desk staff were amazingly professional and helpful and the room was perfect. I didn’t unpack. I just needed a nap!

It was almost 8:00 when I decided to find something to eat. Of course in these situations I just go to McDonald’s. The one nearest the hotel gave me an opportunity to walk around the city. Madrid is very beautiful at night. Reminds me of Budapest where the old buildings really stand out at night.

On my way back to the hotel I saw a huge fountain and took some pictures. It was the Fountain of Neptune. Also nearby is the Congrese De Los Diputados – Spain’s national congress.

Because I had a good nap earlier I wasn’t too tired. Watched a few shows on Netflix and went to sleep.

Looking forward to walking around Madrid tomorrow. I’d like to find a place where I can arrange a Segway tour.


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