Tales of Spain: In which Jeanne celebrates a birthday and has an overnight adventure (again)


Overnighting in SantanderThis story begins on the night of October 6.  My birthday.  This is where it all began.  [and yes, I am desperately trying to catch up . . . ]

The picture you see above, where P is huddled on the ground with all of our luggage?  There is a similar one of me.  Just as huddled.  Just as unhappily situated on the hard, unforgiving ground with the cold glare of the sign providing the only light.

If there were  a time stamp on the photo, it would read 5:01 a.m.

Things began smoothly enough.  Several weeks earlier, P and I were trying to come up with an idea of what to do for our birthdays.  Hers was October 2, and mine was October 6.  As roommates and traveling companions, it was only appropriate that we celebrate it properly.  We came up with the perfect idea.

Birthday Pintxos - The PintxosWe had fallen in love with Basque food.  So we were going to have a PINTXOS party.  Homemade pintxos, to be exact.  For some idiotic reason, we thought the best time to do this pintxos party would be the Wednesday night of my birthday, after our last class, which ended at 7:00 p.m.

Worried that our place was too small to house a party, we asked our friend, K, if we could have it at his place.  Sure, he replied.  We could even have it on his rooftop, if we wanted, weather permitting.  So things were in place.

It wasn’t until later that we realized that our connecting flight to Madrid and on to Lisbon would be leaving at 7:30 a.m. from Santander and the only bus that would be able to get us there in time left at 1:30 a.m. the night before.

Eh, what the heck, P and I reasoned, we were young.  We would just sleep in the Santander airport for the few hours that we would have to wait before our flight left for Madrid.  If it meant we could save over 50€ on our tickets, why not?  So we booked our bus tickets, figured out what pintxos we were going to make, and, at 9:30 p.m. on October 6, we headed towards Casco Viejo and our friend K’s apartment.

Birthday Pintxos - Group Shot

The dinner was really fun.

Birthday Pintxos - With the Cardozo GirlsGood friends, delicious food, and the excitement of our upcoming adventures in Lisbon combined to make it an excellent birthday dinner.

At about midnight, P and I grabbed our luggage and headed out into the night.

We got to San Mames, where the buses leaving for Santander were waiting.  We got on our bus, which left promptly at 1:30 a.m., and were on our way.  Exhausted, we completely passed out until we reached the Santander station.  But that wasn’t our destination– no, we needed to get to the airport.

There is usually a shuttle directly from the Santander bus station to the airport, but at 3:15 a.m., there was nothing.  Not wanting to spend several hours in the exposed bus station (we would later laugh at this), we decided to just call a cab and go to the airport, where we could spend the last few hours before our 7:30 a.m. flight indoors, warm and (relatively) safe.

The cab ride was nice enough, but when we arrived near the airport, we saw . . . no lights.  Just a deep, pulsating darkness, punctuated by the dim lights of ad boards.


The cab driver offered to drive us to a pension (read: hotel).  For a fee, of course.

We declined.  We would wait.

The cab driver waited.  Thought we were insane (Las chicas americanas son locas, he might have thought).  He was probably right.

We waited.  Then walked towards one of the brighter-lit ad boards.

The cab driver realized we were serious about staying.

He drove off.

We were alone.

As you can see above, we sat, a bum and hobo pair, on a spread of papers and pamphlets we found on the ad billboard.  It got almost unbearably cold at in the wee hours of the morning.  We couldn’t sleep (too cold), and sitting hurt after a while (cold and hard and dirty).  I pranced around in the street, sang a few songs, and otherwise tried to entertain myself and P while we were waiting.

We got excited at 4:30 a.m.  Taxi cabs started driving up to the airport and making a queue.  That must mean the airport was going to open!

Hah.  Just kidding.

We waited some more.

Finally, at 6:00 a.m. on the dot, the revolving doors began to hum . . .

Breathing a pained sigh of relief, we got up, stiff, half frozen, and bleary eyed, and stumbled into the airport.  It was time to begin our journey to Madrid, Lisbon, and Porto!

. . . and what and adventure it would turn out to be!  (Posts are forthcoming– photodumps are imminent!)

[I would like to point out here that we weren’t the only people who had the mistaken idea that the airport would be open.  Several cars drove by and would have dropped off would-be passengers through the night, but for the fact that the airport was closed.  Someone even got off and waited for a while near us, ultimately succumbing to the cold and retreating to his car.  In my defense as to why we ended up spending such a cold night outside the airport, as a Washington, D.C., native, it’s been ingrained into my pea-brained mind that one should arrive at an airport at least TWO hours before our flight departs in order to make it through security.  With a 7:30 a.m. departure time, we assumed that this would be the case.  Yeah.  We were wrong.]

4 Responses to “Tales of Spain: In which Jeanne celebrates a birthday and has an overnight adventure (again)”

  1. 1 omar

    So what you’re saying is you saved 50€? Totally worth it

    • Well… I have to continue the story . . . 😀 That 50€ saved came in handy a little bit later . . .

  2. 3 tuya

    thanks 4 the story – enjoyed it 🙂

  3. 4 Elena

    What a beautiful blog!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: