On arrival in Barcelona, after a massive and much needed sleep (airport benches are not that comfortable, it turns out) we went for a wander to find some food and drink. We were actually staying at an airport hotel just out of Barcelona which was a very good balance of cheap + comfortable, compared to an inner city hostel, and it had free shuttles into the city. I’m officially converted to the ways of airport hotels! The downside was being in the middle of an industrial area. About a 30min walk away was a wee town? suburb? I’m not quite sure, called Viladecans, where we found a great selection of tapas bars. Being in the middle of nowehere it wasn’t at all watered down and touristy, and as well as being super cheap (€1.60 for a beer + tapas!) we were later delighted by the locals who bought their guitars along to provide their own entertainment. So with a much needed drink in hand, I sampled my first Spanish beer to the tune of some local music and had some delicious pre dinner snacks (which was lucky, because nowhere served food until after 9pm).
Shelling out for a four star airport hotel? Me? I just WISH I was that much of a flashpacker. Luckily there is this lovely rule in the EU where (if I remember rightly from the one time I was diligent enough to actually read the T’s and C’s on a flight ticket) if your flight is delayed more than a certain amount of hours the airline has to organise accommodation or a cash rebate. My flight from Milan to Berlin was delayed by 12, so EasyJet put us up in the Sheraton, including breakfast. The downside was that it took hours for them to actually arrange the accommodation, and then to check people in in groups of 10. By the time I got to my room I had only 4 hours before I had to go check in to the new flight, but I was so glad to have a chance to shower and change. I was particularly looking forward to a shower, after the mayhem that came out of trying to catch the airport express from the city. As it turns out, Centrale Stazione in Milan is a huuuuuuuge railway station. When I was buying my ticket in the little machine, it popped up with a message saying “your train is departing in less than 3 minutes, are you sure you want to purchase this ticket?” Naiively, I thought to myself “sure, I can make that.” After lumbering up the escalator with all my bags, it dawned on me just how large the station was, as I tried to work out where to find my platform. Naturally, it was the furthest away platform and I had an epic sprint, in what was maybe only down to 36 or 37 degree heat, with a pack and two other bags. I made it just in time to the train, and once I had sat down I was feeling so faint from the heat I was practically seeing spots! Won’t be making that mistake again.
Other entertainment of my many hours spent in Milan Malpensa Airport, was spending less on an imported Danish beer at inflated airport prices than actually being in Denmark, and the two lovely friends I made whilst waiting. One was a music publisher for Sony BMG (who’s job I am most definitely jealous of) from Berlin who gave me lots of good advice on things to see and do, the other was a male model from South Africa who spouted my favourite quotable quote – pointed to the giant Armani billboard in the airport and said “Oh, I used to flat with that guy in New York.”