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  • Day1

    Day 1: The Longest Day

    February 16, 2017 in Spain ⋅ ⛅ 9 °C

    Possibly the longest day ever of travelling! Finished a few last minute bits of packing in Thirroul before getting a lift to the station from Harvey. Train at 10:50am up to Sydney, arriving at Redfern around midday. Met mum and Sean for lunch at a local cafe before mum drove us to the airport, arriving at 1:45pm. Breezed through the check-in process and emigration, before staking a good spot in the business class lounge. We'd gotten free access thanks to the credit cards that I'd cancelled the day before - definitely worth it! Lots of free booze and food, pretty good quality stuff too.

    Finally time for boarding just after 4pm. Hard to believe this is actually the first time I've flown Qantas internationally! The A380 was good, though the interior wasn't quite as good and well-done as the upgraded Emirates planes we'd flown on before. Screen a little older and lower-resolution, and the seats not quite as large. I had the window seat and Shandos the middle seat, luckily for us nobody was in the aisle seat so we had a free space for our rubbish and sundry items. Plane only about 3/4 full which was nice.

    I'd pre-booked my meal of lamb which wasn't too bad - good size pieces and not chewy. Spent the next 14 hours doing various things, watching a few docos and shows on the TV screen, played games on my phone for a while, and then dozed for the last probably 4 hours of the flight.

    Arrived in Dubai just after midnight local time, wandered the terminal for a little while before finding a pair of recliner seats that were reasonably comfortable for sleeping. I'd hoped we might stay in the in-airport hotel, but given it was a few hundred dollars we decided not to. Managed to get probably 3 hours of sleep in the lounger at the airport, before properly waking up again at about 4am local time. Felt peckish so grabbed a cheeseburger at McDonalds because everything else was ridiculously overpriced ($15 for a muffin and coffee, I don't think so!).

    Killed time reading and listening until it was finally time to board our flight to Madrid at 7am. Day flight this time so no sleeping for me, just watching TV shows and a couple of movies. Flight a little bumpy unlike the Sydney -> Dubai leg which was very smooth. Food was actually really good, I had a chicken breast which was cooked really well, and quite tasty. And as noted earlier the screen and entertainment system on-board was much better than the Qantas one.

    Touched down in Madrid 8 hours later at about 12:30pm local time, went through immigration quickly but then lots of walking and a train ride before arriving at the luggage rack. Luggage took ages to arrive, and Schnitzel's bag was literally the last one off the plane, so it was nearly 2pm by the time we boarded a train for central Madrid.

    Not much to report, the train was fairly quick and we transferred to the metro with no issues and found the hotel quite quickly. Weather is chilly but not super-cold, around 12 degrees. I'm definitely the only person in shorts though!

    Hotel is quite nice, in an old building but with modern fittings and furnishings. Showered and changed as we'd been in our clothes for close to 36 hours now! Headed out for a brief wander and look around, though we weren't sure what time Schnitzel was getting dropped off so we didn't go too far.

    Stopped and had a quick drink at a tapas bar next door to our hotel; red wine and a beer for just 5 euros! Also grabbed a couple of empanadas (large samosa-like pastries) to eat since we felt peckish. Struggled to stay awake back in the room for the next hour or so before the phone rang - Schnitzel was finally here!!

    Front desk dropped him off to our room and he was extremely happy to see us! Took a minute to get him out of the crate since it was locked with cable ties, and he was pretty unhappy with that! But we got him out and lots of licks and tail wags ensued. He smelt a bit of pee since he'd relieved himself in the crate (just a small one), but seemed otherwise OK. We washed his feet to get the pee smell off, then took him outside for a comfort stop.

    He got about 10 metres from the hotel front door before he crouched for the longest pee I've ever seen him do - well over 30 seconds!! He made it another 50 metres before crouching for a poo, though only a fairly small one thankfully. Wandered around a little while to stretch his legs, but we were feeling tired as well so headed back to the room around 7:30pm. Fed him his dinner and then crashed into bed. He barked a little bit at people in the corridor outside, but thankfully quietened down fairly quickly.

    Hugely long day, but looking forward to heading down to Seville tomorrow!
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