Back in the States
I was excited to go back home, yet wished I had another week in Spain. A week where I could sit for hours in a Cafe, sketching, writing, thinking. Don't get me wrong, I had a BLAST with my friends, but I also would have liked to have had solitary time doing my art and another week there being on my own part of the day and meeting up with friends for dinner. Not everyone wants to sit for two hours and meditate on a ruin or landscape, lol, though I bet I could get Dana to do that with me :)
I was glad that I was traveling with Annie as it made it so much fun to have someone to go and share the experience with. We traveled well together, and Dana and Daniel were great hosts and this has given our friendship an even more exotic spin.
The trip helped me lose some of my travel fears. Thought it is hard to be in a country where you don't speak the language, and they don't speak much English, my questions eventually got answered by someone somewhere. As a fiercely independent woman, it was very odd to be reliant on others for communication in ordering food, getting directions, asking questions, etc.
What a good life lesson for me, to have to give up control over so many things.
I also relinquished some of my money issues. I don't have a lot of money in the bank. I know that one is supposed to have 3-12 months of savings in the bank in case of an emergency, but the money we make doesn't allow us to do that if we are to put money in retirement accounts! I am not going to spend my life in fear of not having enough money, nor am I going to live it worrying about every dime I spend or turn down a trip that will change my life. So far I have never starved, rarely had my utilities shut off, (and that happened only because I spaced out and forgot to pay a bill) and have managed to do OK. If something happens, I will deal with it then.
I will be writing about the trip over the next week or so as there are so many stories to tell, and things to share.
I do have to say that KLM is one of the best airlines I have ever flown. I had Northwest on part of the trip over (food sucked and no movie/headphones and the plane was OLD) then the journey from Holland to Madrid was via KLM, and then all the way back it was KLM!!!! The planes were modern, had private movie screens and tons of choices. (I watched The Wrestler, Revolution Road, and Vicky Christina Barcelona on the trip back!) They fed us the entire time and had FREE wine/beer/ and later cordials. The food was quite good too; my choice was an African vegetarian dinner that ROCKED.
The Amsterdam Airport is really nice, clean and very techno. Here is a photo of Cees at this very cool bar in the airport, shaped like a geodesic dome (best way to describe the place). He was very funny and entertaining, and when I commented on his happy attitude, he said "every day I make this my Disney World". Great attitude and he poured a great drink.
Perhaps I will go again. I could find my way from Madrid via the 8 to the 10 to the 1 metros to the Atoche station, and hop on the train to Valencia. Once there I know my way to Dana's apartment. Who knows, perhaps I will fall into some money for the more expensive summer airfare, and go at a time where one can go to the beach. Oh and take the train to Barcelona, spend a day or two there, and also get to the Prado in Madrid. What do you think Dana? lol
Patti O Valencian
Photo of the marble in the bathroom and of the toilet/bidet at the hotel Melia Barajas, in Baraja, a little town outside of Madrid which is near the airport. It was 95 Euros for the both of us which converts to about 126.00 USD. Not bad when you split it!