Barcelona, Spain and Canary Islands
We’ve arrived safely in Zurich. For the first time ever, following recent events, the flight from southeast Asia to Europe was the one that almost had us concerned. We admit we are both a little relieved when wheels hit tarmac, even if it’s too foggy to confirm we are even in the country that we’re supposed to be.
We had declared yesterday a rest day, partly to prepare for the thirteen hour flight that leaves one place at 11pm and arrives at the next at 6am, and partly because we really hadn’t had a chance to just chill around the pool at our flash Singapore resort. Now, that’s all just a memory and we’re at Zurich airport with a really tight connection, and then one more short(ish) flight to Barcelona. “No worries” I say, “the Swiss are pretty efficient. They laugh at tight connections.”
… It’s now an hour later. We’ve made our connection, despite having to trek half-way to the Matterhorn to find our boarding gate, and we’re eager to go. The Captain makes an announcement “I am sorry to advise that a safety clamp in ze cargo hold hes failed and vee must get a new vun fitted before vee can leave.” I’m used to travelling on Jetstar, so I reckon we might as well go and book a hotel for the night. Just then, a young man wearing a set of reflective lederhosen abseils down the wall of the maintenance building with a cask full of spare clamps around his neck. What’s more, they give us all chocolate while we wait as an apology. Hooray for the Swiss.
In what seems like no time, we’re on final approach to Barcelona. The city is somehow different from any we have ever seen from the air before. It looks like someone smoothed out a huge layer of housing material about five stories high, and then cut deep grooves through at regular intervals for streets. (We learned later that this is in fact pretty close to the mark.)
The first surprise is immigration – there isn’t any. Apparently, the stamp in the passport back in Zurich admitted us to the EU and we’re more or less free to wander around at will. This probably isn’t all that amazing when you consider that Europe is only about as big as a decent grazing property in Queensland anyway. Our second surprise is that we can get a cab to our hotel for about thirty bucks. We’ve heard all the horror stories about pickpockets on public transport in Barcelona, so a reasonably priced ride right to our door is too good to refuse. The result is, exactly twenty-four hours after we left our Singapore hotel, we’re unpacking our bags in Barcelona. The time change means it’s only midday here. We now face a dilemma. Do we call it a day and try to catch up on the sleep we didn’t get on the plane, or do we get out and look around?
…. It’s now 6pm. We’ve just returned from our all afternoon sightseeing tour and ……..