Leaving Madrid was seamless and my Uber driver Daniel was charming, chatty and fast. Madrid’s early morning traffic density surprised me because in our part of the city it is quiet till about 9 but in the outer suburbs it is all go at 6.30!
Madrid’s airport is the second largest in Europe and I needed a train to get to my gate. So efficient. No delays and very well organised boarding. My seat companion was Elena from Woodend in Victoria and we hit it off immediately. How lucky? She had been visiting Spain with her husband who is a French Australian,working on a project in Kuwait with a Spanish team. Very international. She was a musician, high school career advisor, budding potter and painter. We had lots in common and the flight went quickly.
She was only in Abu Dhabi for a couple of hours but I had a 14 hour stopover. We parted ways and I opted for the airport transit hotel. It was more expensive than I expected but the luxury of a bed, private ensuite, TV , wifi and tea making facilities was worth it. Especially when I emerged at 4 am to find bodies slung over chairs and across the floors.
I grabbed a breakfast and then did some exploring. When I found a waiting lounge and a chair I was only there for awhile before Airport staff came by and closed the lounge and sent us all off! I went in search of a lounger seat and eventually found one where I settled to read and nap. As boarding time neared I headed down the very long corridor to my gate, got settled and proceeded to wait. Once again we were all roused to leave the lounge so that we could all have our carry on checked for liquids and aerosols before returning to the lounge area.
I am getting hungry again but will wait for the plane. They have been giving me Gluten free meals this flight which have been good. Not long now!