So here we go again, the next chapter in Tom & Lynn’s Excellent Adventure. Tomorrow we leave for a week in Lisbon, two in Madrid and three in Barcelona, a total of six weeks in the Iberian Penisula, well within Schengen Zone limits.
Delta confirmed without drama by issuing our boarding passes, after changing our schedule and itinerary five times in the four months since I made the original reservations. They can change your schedule at will, but if you need to change your schedule, it’s a minimum of $200 per ticket. This time, the big change was to completely reroute us. Instead of flying from JFK to Madrid, then a short hop to Lisbon, Delta arbitrarily changed our route to fly through Atlanta to Paris, then a longer flight to Lisbon. And, of course, we lost our seat selections and Economy Plus that I had already paid for on the overseas leg. A few phone calls later, the issues were resolved, but we still have to route through Atlanta and Paris instead of straight on to Madrid. By the way, the original flights are still there; Delta just doesn’t code-share the Madrid-Lisbon leg any more. Once again, it’s all about them, not the customer.
As much as we look forward to leaving and exploring new (Lisbon & Madrid) and familiar (Barcelona) European destinations, this time the feeling is different. Not better, not worse, just different. It’s hard to describe. The magic of last winter will never leave us, just like our experience some 20 years ago living in the Caribbean will always remain alive and present in our essence. This time is shorter. There will be no interlude in Paris (other than a flight connection). There will be no holidays to experience European traditions. (Believe me, Christmas in Paris and Carnival in Venice are not the same as here in New Orleans.) And there are some troubling developments here at home that I am personally happy to leave behind. We can deal with them when we get back at Thanksgiving.
So off we go Sunday morning. Instead of our peripatetic friends Chris Smith and Barry Radell (who are actually leaving Lisbon today!) sending us off with berets and champagne, our grandson Grayson will drive us to the airport. But not before our ritual Sunday Bloody Mary earlier in the morning.
We hope for no adventures traveling to Lisbon. With boarding passes already printed out, we are off to a positive start.