Friday, 2 February 2018

Granada, Spain (Eurostars Washington Irving) 

It was an early start to a busy day today. I was up by 4:00 a.m. getting ready to leave for my 5:30 ride to the airport. It took a couple cups of coffee to get in-gear, but was at the hotel’s front desk by 5:20 for checking out. The taxi driver was waiting for me. Very much appreciated!

The airport is about a 20 – 30 minute drive from the center of Granada. As we were driving, I watched the taxi’s meter and was wondering how much the fare would be. It ended up to be close to 50 Euro. Oh well, I was happy to be at the airport well in advance of my flight.

Being early was even better because I could get a quick bite to eat before going through security and boarding the flight. I had a warm croissant filled with cheese and ham, coffee (americano with milk), and freshly squeezed orange juice. I should have taken a picture of the juicer. The juicer took whole oranges, that were stacked one by one in a rack on top of the juicer, the switch was turned on, and each orange was pressed until the juice was released. Not too many things taste better than fresh orange juice!

After security we were put into one of two waiting rooms, based on where we were sitting in the plane, then released for boarding. It was quite a haul to the plane which was parked at least a half a kilometer away from the terminal. (Granada’s small airport only has four gates.) It was still dark when we were boarding at 6:45. Nice to see the sunrise and moon on the way to Madrid.

After we arrived in Madrid I looked for a place to write my blog post and have a little more to eat, knowing that I probably wouldn’t eat until dinner time. Just had yogurt, a cup of fruit and water. But I was able to get my blog post completed and published. I still had almost two more hours before my flight from Madrid to Tangier. I used the time to walk around then sit down again and start my blog post for the previous day.

Saw a woman feeding her dogs outside the terminal. Thought it was picture worthy.

About an hour before my flight I decided to start heading towards the gate. What I didn’t realize that the gate was 20 minutes away, according to the estimates on the signage. After security, and a delay in my line caused by a family that didn’t remove various containers of liquid, we took an underground train to the “S” concourse. From there we went through Passport Control, which took another 10 minutes. By then my flight was already boarding and when I arrived at the gate, everyone had boarded. I was pointed down a ramp and it forked onto two other ramps – both ended up as dead ends. I had to go back and get further instructions where I needed to go. Turns out I needed to board a bus through a side door that I didn’t see. No matter. I was one of the last to get on the bus and we were on our way to the plane via a shuttle bus.

The flight to Tangier was only about an hour and soon we were landing. I still wasn’t sure about where to get local currency, what to do about getting a SIM card for my phone and hailing a taxi for the hotel. And I needed to find a toilet.

After going through Passport Control, had no problems getting my stamp to be admitted to Morocco. Saw a place to get local currency, but was having communication problems with the person behind the counter but got what I needed and then found a restroom. On the way to the taxi I received a text from Vodafone saying that I could get connectivity in Morocco (with special instructions and fees) so will take care of that when I get to my room, and also found out, via TripAdvisor (using the airport’s free WiFi, how much I should pay for a taxi from the airport to the city center. I knew that it would all work out if I was patient – and it did.

The taxi driver at first took me to the wrong Hilton, but it was just around the corner from where I had my reservation. Of course he backed up in traffic. Yikes! But safely delivered me to the Hilton entrance for 200 MAD ($20 USD).

Was funny at check-in, where they started part of the check in process and then was directed to the Executive Lounge to complete the remaining steps. (Not sure why, but guess that is the way it’s done here.) Was given a free upgrade (a nice perk) and shown to my room. It is beautiful and nice-sized, but not too big. About 15 minutes later flowers arrived for me. Nice touch!

After getting settled, I took a nap. I ate some of the snacks that were left for me. Later I went for a walk before it got dark. Took some pictures along the way.

                

Walked almost 15,000 steps today! Watched a couple of programs on Netflix then went to bed early.

I arranged, while checking in today, a driver to take me on a four-hour tour of Tangiers tomorrow. I’m defiantly looking forward to see the layout of this city.

 

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