Saturday, February 7, 2009
One thing about the Madrid airport is that it is sprawling. We arrived to rainy skies and a chill wind. You could feel the plane wiggle sideways as it landed.
We had our Air Europa reservations, but needed to check in and get our boarding passes. They sent us around to another section of the terminal, quite a hike and you could only take the little luggage carts part of the way. We found the desk and checked in easily, then hiked back to where we started. ARGH. I was glad we had a good long break between flights, but it was a little much. The meals in the airport were ludicrously expensive, MyLarry rustled up some water for our camelbak bottles (actually our cheap knock-offs, we left the good bottles at home.) we dug into our granola bar bag. Larry found a better exchange rate and changed the remainder of our vacation dollars.
Unfortunately, our gate was right next to one of the smoking rooms. They are enclosed, but there are no doors. If the smokers go all the way in, there's no problem, but the carts aren't allowed in there. A group of expensively dressed young women were standing in the door so they could dig into their bags on the carts. Their cigarettes weren't in the room with the fans to suck the smoke away. It kept drifting over to me. If looks could kill, I'd be doing life. I detest self-entitled bints.
After much milling about, with more and more people jockeying for a place near the front, the gate opened. Larry and I were near the front. As I walked down the breezeway, I stepped in some water which had snuck in and slipped. Smack! Straight down onto my left knee, all my weight. Larry and another man picked me up and set me on my feet. I got onto the plane and it was rapidly apparent I had really smashed my knee hard. Finally, after we were in the air, the attendant brought me a sick bag full of ice. Geee, thanks. You know if this had been an American carrier, I'd have had a wheelchair at the far end. Yes, it was that bad initially.
The flight was short, and Malaga is not a big airport at all. We found the car rental desks easily, even if they do call them car hire. The agents spoke English, and all the signs were in Spanish, English and German. Larry's license was gladly accepted. We paid for a full tank of gas (Eu35) , plus glass and tire insurance for Eu20. The car was a tiny, and I do mean itsy-bitsy, Ford Ka. Standard. Larry missed gears at first because it was so different from his semi. Ya think? we headed out into the night, it was cold, dark, rainy and windy, but warmer than Utah!
The driving directions to the resort weren't the best, but also not the worst. We were to take A-7/N340/E-15 to the Sitio del Calahonda. What we didn't know was that we had to be careful not to get on the toll road, AP-7. We did. That was alright, the toll is an exit toll and they don't count how far you've gone, so it was just Eu2.35. Not too bad, but if you're on a ramp/road entrance that is marked "pease", that's the toll road.
We got to the resort area just fine, but the directions weren't clear where to turn. We asked directions at a police box (that's what they call them in Japan). Soon we were checking in. The keys had tags on them that you slipped into a reader when you entered the room. This turns on the electricity while you're in. The fridge is on a separate breaker, but you must have the key to have power. It is quite common to pay a set fee for electricity when you check out, our fee was Eu21.
The rooms were nice, we had two bedrooms, two baths, a small kitchen, and a living room. The balcony was spacious, it was bigger than half the condo! I was happy to see a bidet in the master bath. Still, for size and furnishings and extras, our Worldmark/Wyndham resorts are much, much nicer. The difference was that the Crown Resort has a bar and restaraunt, plus pools and a spa, workout room and even babysitters. There's entertainment during the peak season. Worldmark has the pools and gyms, but not all the extras.I thought I took a picture of the resort, but there's so many shots I can't find it quickly!
The floors were tile and very, very cold. There were three little oil-filled heaters which we cranked up right away. We'd ordered a "welcome package" because I knew we'd be in late. That was OJ, margarine, six eggs, a small pack of bacon, milk, instant coffee, tea, sugar, and some of the most wonderful malted whole grain bread ever. English brand of bread, simply heavenly. The milk was EU in origin, which means it comes from almost anywhere in Europe. Whole milk, wow! It was so rich it tasted sweet, but there was nothing added. It almost tasted like coconut milk it was so flavorful. Oh, this was not free or a gift, it cost Eu22.
Tomorrow, my horrible first morning, driving around and finding the grocery store, dinner at the resort.