Is airline travel for the faint of heart?

PH-BQC KLM  B777-200  & sunset

The Significant Other, the Son, Roxy, and I recently visited the city of Prague. After years of staring at this city’s name on my bucket list, I thought it was time.

The Son wasn’t too keen on going but I played the mom card. You know, the one that induces so much guilt, the child in question (or young adult, in this case) has no option other than comply.

“Honey, mom needs this. You’ve been talking about moving out and I’m struggling. I really think this trip will help with the transition and who knows, it might even prevent  “empty nest syndrome.”

Of course he caved and just like that, I was busy searching for a way to fly for peanuts.

To my delight, KLM had a special fare and we snatched it up. Unfortunately, our good luck didn’t last. Little Roxy’s ticket cost more than our own and came with a list of travel stipulations.

The day of the flight, they asked for her passport (dogs in Europe have a document called a passport where all vaccinations and health notes are recorded), microchip card, and health certificate. They asked that she stand, turn around, and lay in her bag. The procedure was so thorough, I thought they’d call the pilot to do a rectal exam on the poor pup.

Aware that we were irritated, the KLM associate said, “You understand that it’s important that our furry travelers are comfortable and meet flight criteria, don’t you?”

I replied, “With what you’re charging, why don’t you give them their own seat?” The Significant Other chimed in, “More importantly, why don’t passengers get treated to the same considerations?” At this point, the Son walked away and pretended not to know us.

I’m convinced airlines do their best to annoy customers. “Will you be stowing that in the overhead bin?” the woman handling our tickets asked, pointing to my purse.

Tempted to say, “No, I’m wearing it on my head,” I nodded. Exasperated, she sputtered, “No, no no! Small items must go under the seat in front of you.” The Significant Other asked, “Isn’t that where Roxy’s going?” Rolling my eyes I turned to him and said, “Yes, which means my bag will be under your seat. However, if that leaves you with little leg room, perhaps Roxy can wear it on her head.”

Meanwhile, the Son, who was standing ten feet away but still listening to our exchange, sent me a text that read, “For sure this is the last time I am flying with you freaks. Never again, mom!”

Boarding passes in hand, we approached the line at security. I turned to the Son who was sporting both dark sunglasses and a beard that would make Moses proud and whispered, “If they pull you over for a ‘random’ security check, don’t make a fuss.” Sighing deeply, he inched forward.

“Ma’am, ma’am, can you please step to the side? You’ve been selected for a random security check.” A fast approaching middle aged woman with a ten pound dog and a purse the size of an envelope and I was being pulled to the side? The irony was not wasted on the Son who laughed under his breath as he waltzed past me.

I would be remiss if I didn’t comment on the size of airline seats. “Honey, are these seats getting smaller or are my hips spreading wider?”

“Is this a trick question?” asked the Significant Other.

“Don’t answer that!”, warned the Son, “No matter what you say, this will not end well!”

Muttering “idiots,” I squeezed my ample, yet fantastic hips into the “torture chair” and prayed the arm rest wouldn’t have to be surgically removed upon arrival.

An hour and a half later, we arrived in Prague and folks, it was worth every irritant that lead up to it. Pictures do not do this city justice. I believe it is by far one of the most beautiful places in Europe.

There is much to say about our trip, but for now I’ll leave you with a few captures. Stay tuned for more posts about our travels.

Prague 1

Prague 2

Prague 3

What’s your favorite European city?
Continue reading “Is airline travel for the faint of heart?”

Is summer really gone?

feet

My sabbatical was not planned; it wasn’t intentional. As I boarded the flight that carried me to the land of tapas, I naively believed this summer would be different; that my beloved little beach town would finally have a reliable Internet connection. But alas, this was not so.

Time after time, I attempted to connect, only to lose my connection after only two seconds.

Don’t think I didn’t try, folks. I did. But in the end, I found it was easier to give in to the paella comas and the lull of the waves, than to harbor frustration and irritation.

Now, two and a half months later, I am once again in the place I call home. Sadly, it feels like it’s home that I’ve left behind.

Looking out the window, my eyes taking in the gray and gloomy clouds, I can’t but miss my beloved land of Don Quijote. My eyes tear at the thought of having to wait nine months before I am once again reunited with my mother and her furry friend, Olivia.

It’s barely been three weeks since I arrived, and already I yearn for the sun’s warm kiss on my skin and the tantalizing smell of salt in the air.

The sea. How I miss it! I miss its ability to lull me to sleep; waves gently making their way to the shore, peaks of white foam reaching up to the sky.

I miss the happy disposition of the Spanish and the courteous way they always greet one another with “¡Buenos Días!” or “¡Buenas noches!” Good morning! Good evening!

I miss the little bakery that serves the most delicious “cafe con leche.” I miss its colorful decor, the little rattan tables, and the group of people who gather there every morning for pleasant conversation.

I miss the music, the chatter, the noise.
I miss the passion of the people, the culture, the country.

I miss the fish, the paella, the wine.
Wine that regardless its cost, always tastes like ambrosia.

I miss the Spanish “telenovela” my mother and I watched faithfully every afternoon. I miss guessing which character would marry, die, or become a nun or a priest at the first sign of a lover’s betrayal.

I miss it all.

A heavy sigh lingers in my lungs, unwilling to escape my lips, afraid that if it does, the realization that all that has been left behind will become tangible. Concrete. Real.

Nevertheless, life goes on, my friends, and so must I. I’m grateful for the opportunity to reenter the blogosphere and once again become acquainted with your creative genius.

Reading glasses perched on my nose, I reach for my mouse.

old town 1

old town 2

old town 3

How did you spend your summer?

XOXO,

Note: If you want to see more photos of Spain, visit me on Instagram!

And what is the comatose state?

coma

The comatose state.

The state of being incapable of moving a muscle.

Absolute lethargy.

Disconnectedness from people, things, and the environment.

The inability to process information.

Those of you who read my blog regularly know that if I’ve entered this state, it can only mean one thing: I’ve made it to Spain.

Land of Don Quixote.
Place where tapas abound, where vino flows freely, and where coffee is known as “cafe con leche.”
A land whose food is so rich, you cannot avoid falling into a coma.

A paella coma.
A churros coma.
A tapas coma.
An Iberian ham coma.

The sky is the limit regarding the variety of food that can suddenly induce one to enter this catatonic state.

Unlike the state of “dolce far niente,” you don’t plan it, you don’t see it coming, you can’t prepare for it. It simply hits you.

You know when you’re at its mercy when your eyes begin to close; when your head dips forward and you look like a bobble doll.
All you want to do is sleep.
This malady doesn’t have an antidote; a prolonged siesta is the only cure.

Don’t fight it.
Don’t try to control it.
Don’t think you can outfox it.

Once it has you in its grip, you’re a goner.

It’s best to simply surrender
To inhale and exhale deeply.
To let it lull you into a state of oblivion.

The effects are temporary but the rewards are many.

Like Sleeping Beauty, you’ll wake up refreshed; ready to incorporate yourself into whatever you were doing before becoming its prey.

The comatose state: one of Spain’s greatest gifts to unsuspecting visitors.

I’ll be here all summer, folks and when I’m not in a food coma, I hope to regale you with tales from this magnificent land.

When was the last time you fell into this kind of state?

Reporting from sunny Spain,