We try to maximize Becky’s travel days by scheduling our return departures for Sundays. For this trip the best we could do with our complex frequent flyer ticket arrangements was a late Saturday departure and an overnight layover in Frankfurt. When planning the trip, the Frankfurt layover seemed less than ideal. In actuality it ended up working out well and broke up the trip back.
Our flight was scheduled to depart Barcelona at 6:55 pm. Barcelona’s airport has easy access and, with an intra-EU flight, we had a good chunk of a day to spend in Barcelona. When we woke a nebulous desire to “Go somewhere different” was the extent of our day’s plan. Outside our hotel room, we could see Transbordador Aeri del Port or Barcelona’s Harbor Cable Car. The cable car runs from the harbor’s water edge across a large swath of Barcelona to a station near the top of Montjuic. On a whim, we headed to the 1930’s era cable car.
It seemed simple enough to walk from our hotel in Raval to the harbor-side cable car entrance. The harbor terminus tower looked close by. But once we started to walk we quickly found that the tower wasn’t really very close after all. The cable car’s steel lattice tower is very large, making the distance look deceivingly short.
Four kilometers from our hotel, we were at the base of the terminal tower and in the queue for tickets. The cable car’s ticket line didn’t move. After several minutes of standing patiently, the staff posted a sign in the window of the ticket office. Transbordador Aeri del Port was now closed due to high winds. If we actually had plans, it would have been safe to say that all of our plans for this day had gone awry.
We had become fixated on getting to Montjuic. Taking an alternate route with the Metro and funicular finally put us on the hill. Unfortnately, by the time we arrived, we had just enough time for a beer and a snack before we had to head back. About the only things that we can say about Montjuic is that there is, in fact, a view of Barcelona from the hill and funiculars are cool. Beyond the view and the funicular, we didn’t see much else. We didn’t have time. Maybe we will see more of Montjuic on a future visit.
After collecting our luggage at the hotel and a short taxi ride to the airport we were on our way to Germany. Even with our extended layover in Frankfurt, Lufthansa unexpectedly allowed us to check our luggage through to San Francisco. Though this was convenient, it meant that further olive oil and wine purchases in the duty free shops at the Barcelona airport were out and our toiletry bags would be spending the night in Lufthansa’s hands.
In Frankfurt we stayed at the Steigenberger Airport Hotel. This was our second stay at this convenient airport hotel, both times without our toiletry bags. Our first visit to Steigenberger was at United Airlines expense after a flight on our return from Sicily was canceled. Returning from Spain on this trip, our room was upgraded to a suite. Perhaps our upgrade was related to Becky’s gauche requests at the front desk on our stopover from Sicily. Who knows? In any event, our night in Frankfurt was comfortable and I did learn something important in Germany. If I backwash into my beer, Becky won’t steal it. This could prove to be very important in the future.
The story of our last stay at the Steigenberger is here:
We had one more hurdle left for our return trip—the dreaded German airport security. For the first time in years I managed to miss Al Hans and his deeply personal body searches. Though thankfully I missed Al’s forceful hand, my camera got me diverted through to a secondary search area. Apparently the word was out that I might have snagged some illicit pictures of our meal at Arzak.
In case you missed it, the Arzak story is here:
Becky’s visit with the German airport security was not as straightforward. Security ultimately discovered that Becky had a metal plate installed in her foot after a snowboarding fall. This, of course, led to Becky’s long story about how she rode Slickrock Trail in Moab on her mountain bike with her foot in a protective hard boot soon after her surgery. The longwinded tale surely made the German airport security people rue the day that they decided to learn to speak English. Perhaps as retaliation for the endless account of her Moab ride, the agents searched Becky’s carry on bag. They had to figure that the bag would more entertaining than her biking story.
When my camera was cleared of having any explosives or offending Arzak pictures, I checked back to see what was keeping Becky in security. When I approached the bag search area, I saw the German Airport Security officials laughing and giggling. As they rummaged through Becky’s bag, I could have sworn I heard some thing that sounded like “Zwanzig bis drei par schue.”
Now I know that “Zwanzig bis drei” is 23. It sounded to me like they found that Becky had 23 pairs of shoes in her small bag. I’ve grown to expect a lot of unusual talents from Becky but even I was surprised that she could get so many shoes into her carry on bag.
When the agents finally stopped laughing, Becky was free to go. As is common in Frankfurt, we had to take a bus across the tarmac to our waiting plane. This time airliner wasn’t exactly close to the terminal. I’m not saying it was a super long trip, but the passengers on the shuttle bus did kept looking to see if a drink and snack cart was coming down the isle.
The rest of our travels were uneventful. When we arrived back home we found that Nick was pissed off that we had been gone for so long. For us, this was a very good thing. It meant that the old dog was still feeling pretty good.