My friend and I arrived at about 9am on Friday morning. The flight itself was only thirty five minutes long, but the overall travel time ended up being about two hours. From the airport, the clerks checked our boarding passes and then sent us down the ramp to what we thought was going to be a plane. But, instead, we were herded onto a bus that took us to an airplane randomly positioned on the tarmac some distance away from our gate. Outside of the plane were two pilots, four flight attendants, and several maintenance men. No one was really doing anything, no one was moving, and while this struck me as odd, I paid no real mind. Normally, the pilot and crew operate from the INSIDE of the plane, but I'm in Spain, maybe they do it differently here. The bus parked, and the driver exited, leaving the forty or so people inside to sweat it out in an airtight death box on wheels. After about 15 minutes of standing on this bus with no knowledge of what was going on, I watched as the bus driver got back on the bus, made some announcement in mumbled Spanish of which I understood not a single word, and then drove us to another plane somewhere else on the tarmac. Now at the correct aircraft, we boarded the plane hoping all the while that the pilot's knowledge of aviation was more advanced than the bus driver's sense of direction.
The flight was bumpy, and while it was only thirty five minutes long, I'm pretty sure that I almost died twelve times. My coveted window seat overlooked the right wing of the plane, which for the duration of the flight appeared to be bouncing up and down so violently that I am convinced it was actively trying to snap itself off of the fuselage so that we could go plummeting back to the Iberian Peninsula at terminal velocity. When we finally landed, the pilot steered the plane toward the earth like a drunken high schooler and then slammed the wheels to the ground like he was in the middle of a domestic dispute with the runway. Upon exiting the plane, my friend noticed a big sign that said "BUS," and since we needed to catch the bus, we were thoroughly convinced that this was the place at which we should stand to wait. Wrong. Instead, the bus zoomed past us at about 40 miles an hour and stopped about one hundred yards away at the actual bus stop. Turns out, we were standing at the entrance to the bus lane which is the spot at which the busses veer to the right in order to stop at the real bus stop just down the way. Eventually, we were able to catch the bus and make it into town, but not before making complete fools of ourselves in the process. I mean, the sign said "BUS" in all caps. Who wouldn't have thought to stand there? (In retrospect, we probably should have noticed that there was no one else waiting for the bus with us. But, we just thought we were somehow the only ones who were taking the bus into town. Stupid Americans.)
|Merluza Refrito con Gambas|
Today, our last day in Santander, it has been rainy, and we have been confined to our hostel except for lunch. Tonight, we hope to head out to a local establishment, grab some good food and make some friends. We fly out tomorrow, back to Madrid to enjoy the remaining two days of our long weekend. I cannot say that Santander will be my favorite place that I will visit in Spain, but it will definitely have its place in the archives. With good food, breathtaking views, and only a thirty five minute flight from Madrid, I am willing to call this weekend a success.
Click here to see the rest of the photos that I took during my trip to Santander.