Headed for Dublin
Madrid Travel Blog› entry 29 of 32 › view all entries
Being in Madrid was a bit of a suprise for me but it works out well. I had believed for the past week or so that my flight to Dublin was in the morning, but it's not, it is actually at night so I have all day here to get things done. Mostly shopping. I hate shopping, especially gift shopping, and of course when you go out of town for a vacation like this you have to purchase trinkets for family and friends. I spent all day mulling each purchase over until finally I felt like I got the right stuff for everyone. If I didn't have today to get this done, I probably would have put it off completly.
I also purchased some spanish wine for me to cook and drink when I get home. The paella in Spain is only cooked for two. If you find it for one then odds are good that it was reheated or something. I had that kind and was not impressed. I hope to make good paella when I get home with the help of the wine and some saffron I found cheap here. I worry that it is not actually saffron because it was so cheap but oh well.
On the way to the airport, as I entered the Metro station I quickly learned that carrying two bags is a pain. I removed a bunch of stuff and even threw some stuff out. I was actually able to get all three bottles of wine, and all my other stuff into my one backpack instead of carrying my daypack in addition to the backpack. My trip to the Metro was long since they were doing some construction on the most direct routes and I had to take 3 different trains to get there.
They Madrid airport is huge. My ticket said I needed to be at Terminal 4S (the S was for Satelite). Once I was in the airport I saw many signs for Terminals 1, 2 and 3 but nothing about 4, let alone 4S. So I asked, and I learned that I needed to take a shuttle bus. I think we were on the bus for about 20 minutes. I know that we left the airport, got on the highway and drove. I don't know where. Once in the airport, still hours early, I figured out which of the check-in desks I needed to be at and started to wait as there were no agents there. I waited and waited, and finally, when I was almost to the front of the line, I remembered the weight limit on bags. Having three bottles of wine made my bag heavy. I quickly unpacked, and repacked, now with my day pack as a carryone. My checked bag weighted 21kg which I think is just shy of the US 50lbs limit. That's bad because in Ireland I plan on purchasing some whiskey which won't help the situation. I may have to throw some stuff away.
After checking in the agent explained that my gate was 'RSU' No numbers or anything more specific. She did say that I needed to take a train to get there. I walked around the airport shops a bit and then went to the train. The train trip took a long time and I think we went a long way but finally I was there. I wandered around a bit and figured out that 'RSU' must the satillite part of 4S and that R, S, and U are each different sections so the actual gate numbers are R1, R2, and S1, U1, etc. But my ticket said I was at gate RSU. I looked at one of the electronic signs that indicated upcoming departures, found my flight, and saw that there was no gate assigned. There were no gates assigned to any of the flights listed except for the ones that had already left, or were about to leave. I looked around and noticed that I wasn't alone. Everyone was watching this board, many of them were people I recognized from my check-in line. The difference between us was that I had a confused look on my face, and they had one of anticipation. My mind raced with a picture of us all running down the terminal like horses to the finish line as soon as the sign changed...then I realized I had a ticket and an assigned seat so I went and purchased some magazines for the flight.