So yeah, traveling around to European capitals is fun and all, but there's really nothing like coming home. Especially when home is Barcelona. And ESPECIALLY when you have a really cute French guy waiting for you upon arrival... with a "veggie explosion" in the fridge.
And of course no trip of mine would be complete without some travel issues, namely:
1. After a very easy (too easy) train ride on the EuroStar from Paris to London, all I had to do was jump on the Victoria line at King's Cross station and get off at Pimlico, where my friend Lisa lives. But upon arrival, after waiting in a tube ticket line for a while, the announcement on the loudspeaker went, "Please be advised that trains are not running on the Victoria Line between King's Cross and Victoria due to a person under the train."
I'm not kidding. Apparently this is part of a "transparency initiative" to keep people fully abreast of such situations so they don't freak out over terrorism or something similar. As I approached the entrance, I asked a transit worker if there might be an alternate route. She was standing next to a whiteboard that repeated, in cute curvy writing, that a person was under a train on the Victoria line, and she told me to take the Circle line and switch at Victoria. Great!
I waited for the Circle line for about 30 minutes, only to finally go back to my starting point and learn that, "oh, the Circle line is experiencing severe delays. You can go to some other place I can't remember and then get a bus...." I left and took a taxi, 4 pounds poorer.
But hey, I got to have dinner with Marco! And that made it all okay.
2. In other news... I fell asleep on my flight back to Barcelona this evening after a long, tiring day of meetings and presentations. I woke up as the flight attendant said in Spanish (and repeated in English) that we'd be landing soon in Madrid. MADRID??? I thought for a few minutes that I'd missed an important announcement or gotten on the wrong plane somehow two hours earlier. No. She was just confused. Whew!
3. When we landed at Barcelona, we had to go through security after getting off the plane and before going through immigration. WHO GOES THROUGH SECURITY TO GET OUT OF THE AIRPORT???? It was truly bizarre and also quite useless, as every single person who walked through the metal detector and beeped (myself included) was just waved through. Very secure!
4. One last point.... does anyone else find the music that they force you to listen to on airplanes really annoying? This is a phenomenon I only noticed a few years ago. While you're waiting to take off, they pipe in music over the plane's loudspeakers, which are usually such poor quality that the "music" just comes out sounding like grating twinkly noises. The worst was when "Beautiful" by James Blunt was one of the featured songs on loop all the time... ugh! They don't turn off the music until the captain gives the all-clear to the flight attendants about 15 minutes after takeoff. And you're literally forced to listen to it, because that is the exact period of time you're not allowed to drown it out with your ipod. Does anyone else not see the point of this added in-flight irritation? Just curious.