As our plane descended into Madrid, Spain I couldn’t but smile. This was what I had been so excited about for the past few months, if not since when I did a report on Spain in elementary school.
We got off of the plane and then the real adventure and test of our traveling spirit began.
I had my first conversation in Spanish in Spain at a Duty-free store where I tried to explain how we needed change for our euros. After buying some snacks we then proceeded to search for our bags.
Thankfully, they had made it from Iceland to Brussels and then to Madrid safely, but it took us a good hour to get them. Then we attempted to leave the airport. This is the part that shows just how tired we were.
We went through the wrong door somehow and skipped customs entirely. Yep, we kind of snuck into a foreign country without even knowing.
Don’t worry, we told our site coordinator and the wonderfully helpful people at PLU’s Wang Center so it all got worked out, but for a few hours that night I was sure I was going to Spanish jail.
After exiting the airport we spent an hour circling the airport looking for bus number 200. This number will be forever imprinted in my brain because I was chanting it to myself as we walked up and down the same escalator- like ramps kicking myself for not knowing where we were supposed to go.
After we eventually found the right bus stop we got on the bus and were sent a blessing in the form of Dani and Kate.
As I was putting my bags on the luggage racks Kate called out my name and I suddenly regained the joy I had when we first landed in Madrid. We sat with them on the bus and then mistakenly believed we were supposed to get off at the same stop as them.
This is when we did the most common mistake of getting off the bus at the wrong stop.
Thankfully, Dani’s family friend who lives in Madrid was able to help us, thanks again, and after a short taxi ride we arrived at our Airbnb.
There we made food, watched Spanish telenovelas and tried to relax.
The next morning I learned just how important the safety tips everyone kept telling me are.