A calm morning with final bits of packing and a quick visit to the bins with our waste. Chris and I tried valiantly to put things in the right bins, almost immediately finding out too late that’d made a mistake and not actually put our things to recycle properly. It wasn’t long before we left so I sat down to squeeze a bit more into the diary. Finally we left in a staggered fashion to check that the apartment entrance door was open before we locked our keys inside.
We didn’t travel far before we reached the café for the morning breakfast. But it was all the way over the other side of the road! We took a glance for a table, but were ushered into the back room, where we gladly took up the middle of the area with our luggage. I got a meal of bread and Serrano ham, with an Americano for breakfast. The room was very warm. We took some amusing photos of us all to pass some of the time. Chris popped to the loo and announced that it smelt like roast chicken when he came out. He had to quickly clarify that he meant the room, not the toilet.
I was more careful to duck in the corridor when we left, having lightly brushed my head on the ceiling on the way in. The trials and tribulations of being 6’6”. We set off again in the direction of the Arc de Triumf to explore another area of the park. We found a fountain with a number of golden statues around it. A small dog was very excitedly running up to the edge of the fountain, pausing and looking back at its owner, almost asking if it could go in! (Can I!? Can I!?). We were all willing it, but it was quite happy to sit and wait while the owner attached its lead.
We soon sat at a caravan café to watch the world go by. It wasn’t long before a ‘Bubble Man’ showed up armed with his sticks and a string to bring a plethora of bubbles into the scene. Small children quickly gathered around to jump around, beaming smiles, trying to pop all of them! What a lovely sight.
I settled down to read some more of my book. But Alex was keen to get a coffee now. We had just been discussing donating a little something to the ‘Bubble Man’, which would help us to get rid of some of the change but also being charitable. I offered up my wallet ‘horde’ of coins to the pile. Chris then handed the pile to Alex saying “For your coffee” along with holding him his paper cup for the bin. Alex promptly stood up and put all of the coins into the man’s collection hat. Chris was a bit annoyed and said to Alex he’d given his share of the coins to go towards Alex’s coffee, which bemused me as I thought it was the plan. We had a good laugh at this with egging on repeated jeers for repeating the explanation for both sides of the story.
We continued to the end of the park and looped around, eventually settling on a bench to find somewhere to eat. Alex found a Chinese restaurant, which it turned out offered cheap beer, and a €6 buffet. I opted for pork, pak choi, and Tofu. There looked to be something resembling sweet and sour chicken, but Alex warned me after his first mouthful that it was fish. Must have been quite a shock tasting that after expecting chicken!
I wasn’t able to finish mine but we had to head back to collect our luggage. There was a moment of mild panic whilst we correctly entered the cod for our luggage and the door would not open. Despite the sign saying ‘Open gently’. It turned out that it needed a gentle push before the door fully unlocked and a we were able to open it and get our luggage back.
We took the Aerobus (ayero booz) back to the airport with a smooth check in and breeze through security. We noted that the shops weren’t going to be accessible from the departure gate (D), so we went down to them first to kill some time as we had arrived with plenty of time to spare. We went off in the direction of Duty free first. Some of the gin was well priced, but the Whisky was not! Having plenty of Gin already waiting for me at home I didn’t want to buy any, and having spent my last euros at the Chinese to pay back Alex and Steph for my portion of the first big shop, it’d have been difficult. After seeing some places upwards of €3 for a coffee we opted for McDonalds - in the city itself you could get a coffee and a croisannt for €1.70. I finished my book whilst sat at the table. Noting an in-joke in a message from the last page to send to Kirsty, which would automatically send when I landed and got signal.
On the plane about 3 people seemed to have sat next to me before taking off. The last one made me laugh when his closed tea cup popped open when the cabin pressure dropped to the 8,000 ft.
All in all a fantastic trip. Very grateful to Chris for lending me his pen. It made it until the last sentence for the diary before giving up the ghost!