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Overflying Venice

And from Madrid to Miami


View 2008 Med Cruise on greatgrandmaR's travel map.

April 6 - Leaving for Madrid

My grandson slept in his clothes again as he claimed he couldn't get into his taped bag. Shortly after we got the wake up call at 5, I sent him down with his luggage and my carryon. I asked him if he wanted a roll, and he said no, but I ate one. I followed with my bag at 5:11. The taxi driver was there when I got down. He was very informative, and we were at the airport by about 5:35.
departures board

departures board


When we checked in (and we were flying business class this time because there were no other seats available, so this part of the trip was almost more expensive than the cruise), the girl told us that we could go and wait in the Marco Polo lounge.

My grandson had his toilet kit in his backpack, and they took it out and examined it and took away his body wash and shampoo which were in big bottles, although they left him his deodorant.

He hadn't realized that it would be a problem.
Marco Polo Lounge

Marco Polo Lounge


The Marco Polo lounge proved to be a boon - they had bathrooms, a TV with the news (in Italian of course, although I could see that Charlton Heston had died), and an internet cafe although I did not try to use it as I think you had to pay. They also had food and drink, so we got our beverage of choice and some rolls to eat. I put some coins (I think 1 or 2 €) in the change jar. We ate breakfast and watched the sun come up over the lagoon.
sunrise

sunrise


We were in row 2 D and F with no one between us. This was a bulkhead row (I should have picked row 3 when I was given the choice.) We put my carry-on in the overhead, but my grandson wanted his knapsack with his electronic toys in it, so they strapped it into the middle seat between us. His mom said that wouldn't be allowed in the US.
Grandson playing with electronics on the plane

Grandson playing with electronics on the plane


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Flying out I had a marvelous view of Venice from the air including another ship at the dock which we determined (from looking at my pictures afterwards) was an MSC ship which appears to be based in Venice.
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Sunrise over the marshes and lagoons

Sunrise over the marshes and lagoons


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Italian farm near Venice

Italian farm near Venice

Farmlands

Farmlands

Farm house with swimming pool and canals

Farm house with swimming pool and canals


Venice from the air

Venice from the air

Venice - RR bridge on the right end

Venice - RR bridge on the right end

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They served us breakfast on the flight - and omelet, ham, two pieces of bread/toast which had the crusts cut off, a yogurt, OJ, a bowl of fruit, a croissant, jam, butter and a small bottle of olive oil, and tea or coffee.
breakfast on plane

breakfast on plane

Tea

Tea


We flew over snow capped mountains,
Snow capped mountains

Snow capped mountains

River

River


dammed up rivers,
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patchwork quilt farms, orchards and the coastline.
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fields

fields

Coming in to Madrid

Coming in to Madrid


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We were in Madrid before 10:30.
Large clock in terminal

Large clock in terminal


Terminal from the moving sidewalk

Terminal from the moving sidewalk


Grandson on people mover

Grandson on people mover


Baggage area signs

Baggage area signs

When we landed, we retrieved our luggage (which did survive including the duct taped bag), and this time I had the foresight to take the printed material on the hotel from the internet with the hotel address on it out of my computer bag so I would have it with me in the cab, and we got a cab to the hotel. The cab driver had to stop and get out his omnibus map book to find how to get there, but we arrived in a timely manner about 11 am.

This hotel was booked for us because it was really close to Alcalá and the Ciudad Lineal metro station, allowing an easy and quick access to the Madrid Barajas Airport. But in fact we didn't use the metro to go in to Madrid because we were too tired, and we used a taxi to get to the airport. This hotel was in a business district which was basically dead on Sunday when we were there.
Sunday traffic in an industrial area

Sunday traffic in an industrial area


There were no nearby restaurants to walk to. The people at the 24-hour front desk were very helpful with maps and information about Madrid. Amenities at Eco Hotel Alcalá Suites in Madrid included a cafeteria, terrace, lounge, outdoor swimming pool (which it was too cold to use) solarium and a fitness room.

Their information says: In-room facilities include individually controlled air conditioning, heating, free wireless Internet access, complimentary electronic safe, direct dial telephone, and LCD flat screen satellite TV and DVD player. Other amenities offered are a coffee machine, mini bar and a writing desk. An extensive breakfast buffet is served in the restaurant every morning from 7.30 a.m. to 10.30 a.m. It was a very luxurious hotel with a fancy bathroom (one of those
Free-standing bowl sinks

Free-standing bowl sinks


and a
black tiled shower

black tiled shower


Twin beds

Twin beds

, a microwave, mini bar, coffee brewing setup, kitchenette with a sink AND utensils, Desk and TV

Desk and TV

and a large wardrobe. Also free wi-fi. You needed to put your key in the slot in order to have electricity.
Freeform wooden chair

Freeform wooden chair


My grandson immediately took a seat in the freeform wooden chair... I know I have a photo of him sitting there, but I can't find it anywhere

We were tired. I knew that I would have a struggle to get him to go into Madrid, so we just stayed at the hotel and vegged out, and I wrote up part of the trip. A missed opportunity.

We went down to lunch at the snack bar (which they called a cafeteria). Guess what my grandson had???? Right. We both had pizza.
Outdoor patio

Outdoor patio

pizza for my grandson

pizza for my grandson


He was watching European indoor football (aka soccer) on the TV. Eventually I told him he'd feel better if he had a shower, so he took one and agreed that he felt better. I took one myself later.

For dinner I contemplated walking to a restaurant, but I really didn't feel like it so we ate there again. I had
pumpkin soup

pumpkin soup

roasted chicken

roasted chicken


which was OK. My grandson had.... (anybody?). Right. Pizza

April 7, 2008 - on to Miami

He put my coat in his bag (he COULD still get into it), and we went down and had breakfast at the breakfast bar. He had rice krispies and a couple of rolls, I had some tea and rolls and put a couple in my pocket. The breakfast buffet was 14 € each.
Breakfast bar

Breakfast bar


I put it on the hotel bill and then paid that bill. I had asked for a taxi at 8:15, and we were ready for him when he got there.

large_100_5643.jpglarge_x100_5642.jpgWe actually got to the airport by 8:39 for an 11:10 flight.
On the way back to the airport

On the way back to the airport


After we found the AA airline counter, we got into a long line of people waiting to check in. I sat on my cane and we waited.
Instructions on the back of the cart

Instructions on the back of the cart


Directions on the handle of the cart

Directions on the handle of the cart


Eventually one of the line herder ladies came and asked me if I wanted a wheelchair. I said I thought I'd be OK. So she went away. A little later, she came and asked again, so I said I would surrender to the wheelchair.

The wheelchair lady took us to the business class check-in. First we had our passports validated that we had had our baggage for "years, months, days" and we said years, and that we packed them ourselves etc. She put a sticker on the passport. Then we actually checked the bags and got our boarding passes. The wheelchair lady then walked us very fast up elevators and down corridors to security. She horned us into the front of the security line.

Here for the second time at Madrid, when my grandson went through the magnetic doorway, it beeped. The procedure seems to be that they ask me how old he is (in Spanish so it takes me awhile to figure out what the question is) and then they look at his passport to verify, and then ask my permission to search him. Then they pat him down - they don't use the wand. I don't know why he sets the detector off here as he has not done so anywhere else even wearing the same clothing.

I walked through the doorway and was fine. We did not have to take off our shoes anywhere in Europe. We repackaged ourselves and the lady, walking briskly took us to the gate and said she would be back in 40 minutes. It was now 9:45. They pulled us out of the regular line at 9:00, and with priority handling, it had taken us 45 minutes to get to the gate. So I was glad that I had opted for the wheelchair.
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Sure enough as boarding started (10:30), another wheelchair lady came back and both of us boarded in the first group. (I had group one on my boarding pass, but my grandson had group 4 on his.) I took a photo of the flight sign,
Picture of departure gate screens

Picture of departure gate screens


and was told that I couldn't take pictures in the airport, but they didn't try to take my camera or anything. That was the only time anyone said anything to me about airport pictures.

There was another lady there in a wheelchair which was apparently her own chair and was going to have to be checked - must have been the mother of one of the couple who were with her. The lady with her made some comment about "if people who did not need it got .. (I don't know what it was that she wasn't getting that she wanted), that they would certainly hear from her". I don't know if she was referring to me or not, but I didn't ask for any favors, and don't feel at all guilty

Posted by greatgrandmaR 18:31 Archived in Spain

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