Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Traveling to Spain

I chronicled the first leg of my journey with a plethora of photos.

Frank dropped me off at Dulles airport on Saturday, after a quick lunch at Jimmy John's, my all-time favorite sandwich place. Their bread is so good that they really stand head and shoulders above any other sandwich chain. It was Frank's first time there and at first he rolled his eyes at my claims of their superiority but afterwards he grudgingly admitted that, fine, JJ's really is the best.

Upon arriving at Dulles I boarded a magical underground shuttle to my terminal. In further evidence that my inner age is 5, I stood at the front of the train and acted as though I were on a ride at Disney World. It was awesome.

Just like Splash Mountain!
Next up, the airport itself. 

I kind of like the architecture of airports, especially the high, dramatic ceilings.

I snapped a picture of my plane and on Facebook I captioned it with, "I rode this."

Want to know something weird? I genuinely enjoy plane food. People complain about it but I'm generally quite contented with the taste.

Note the funny rice-and-tuna dish - it actually ended up being delicious, although it never would have occurred to me to put those things together in a salad.

Lillian flew to Europe several days before I did and had emailed the family that she read Graham Greene on the flight over. Inspired by her intellectualism, I brought along Witness by Whittaker Chambers to read too. But my plans were derailed by the discovery of a video screen and personalized movie selection at my seat. Instead I spent the flight watching a different Witness and a whole lot of trashy TV.

It was 4 am and raining the first time I arrived in Paris. I looked out the window of the plane and was enchanted by the soft yellow lights, arrayed in a vast interlocking network like celestial constellations come to earth. It was one of the most exquisitely beautiful things I've ever seen. This picture doesn't remotely do it justice.

I stared out the window, enraptured, until we touched down.

I was only in Paris for an hour and a half so my first order of business was to find the gate for my connecting flight to Bilbao. Next I successfully ordered a pan au chocolat entirely in French, making me a little more pleased with myself than I deserved considering that I only said "un pan au chocolat s'il vous plait" and "merci."

I stepped out of the airport for five seconds to take this winner of a picture as the sun rose over Charles de Gaulle airport:

And I promised myself to visit Paris for real some day.

Next I explored the little shops in the airport by my gate. For some reason, I find grocery stores in other countries fascinating. I'm charmed by the small differences between the ways we eat. For example, bolognaise-flavored Lay's. 

I also enjoyed the magazines in French and the massive selection of cheeses... or should I say fromage.

I boarded the flight to Bilbao after that and slept like a log the whole way there (too bad the flight was only an hour and a half). The flight attendant in Bilbao had to wake me up after everyone else was off the plane.

When I got off, I was joyously reunited with this lovely lady:

I had missed her so much. 

Thus began our adventures in Bilbao, more of which will be chronicled soon!


  1. I love Dulles airport! I loved walking through it at night on my way back to school, when all the overseas flights were boarding and imagining how exciting it would be to be getting on them too :)

  2. Nice! You understand why I felt the urge to take a picture - it was just too exciting NOT to. :)