The photo you see above was taken June 29, 2019 in the Valencia, Spain airport as my wife and I wait for our flight to Ibiza. I would have been about 375 pounds in this photo. We are smiling but our vacation had taken some interesting turns at this point in time.
For background, I bought in a charity auction a week stay in a vacation home in the beach resort town of Calpe, Spain. Which is on the coast between Valencia and Alicante. The town gets an influx of British tourists, which took away language barriers but made it feel less authentic. I redeemed frequent flyer miles for our flights and had to take a horrible routing because summer to Europe is high demand and hard to find award seats. We were scheduled to fly Tampa – Charlotte – Munich – Madrid – Valencia. With a 40 minute connection in Munich and 10 hour connection in Madrid.
The moment I booked the flights I knew we would never make the 40 minute connection in Munich, considering we had to clear immigration and customs, change terminals and security. I was actually shocked American would ticket the reservation with such a bad connection, but they did. I also wasn’t worried because I knew we had that 10 hour layover in Madrid and we could catch up to our schedule there.
As we land in Munich I see the first sign of trouble that we are parked a long way from the terminal in a remote gate where we have to bus to the building. We were seated in the second to last row, so we were on the last of 3 buses. As we arrive to the terminal we are in a small passport control hall where we are easily 200 people from the front of the line where there are only two officers working. By the time we have cleared immigration we have about 10 minutes until our scheduled departure time. We make a run for it, hoping our flight is delayed, but sure enough that wasn’t to be and we are sent back to the American Airlines counter for rebooking.
When we arrived the ticket agent smiled and said I’ve been waiting for you. She handed us new boarding passes on a different airline for a non-stop right to Valencia. Things were looking up as we were going to arrive 6 hours earlier, and I had time to enjoy a German soft pretzel in the airport.
When we landed in Valencia, I had mentally prepared for the fact that our checked bags might not have been on our new routing, I figured they didn’t have the long line for passport control and probably made our scheduled flight to Madrid, meaning they would get to Valencia 6 hours later. So we got our rental car and planned to make the 2 hour drive to Calpe, and if needed come back to the airport the next day to retrieve our bags.
The bags didn’t come on our originally scheduled flights, and no one could tell me where they were or if they would arrive. We decided on day 2 to buy things like tooth brushes and grooming items, then on day 3 we needed to find clothes. Did I mention that I was 375 pounds and didn’t speak the language?
Big clothes are hard to find anywhere, but this task was daunting. Store after store has nothing for me. Finally we end up at a giant market called Carrefore. Think Super Walmart with a better meat and cheese selection.
See that photo at the top of the story, except our shoes every article of clothing my wife and I have on cane from a Spanish grocery store. I barely fit into the biggest things they sold. My bikini like underwear was very restrictive, but yet I was still smiling in the photo. I was already down 125 pounds at this time. If I was any bigger I might have been wearing a bed sheet as a toga in this photo.
This photo was in the morning of day 4, we did a quick day trip to Ibiza and cane back the same night. Upon our return on the fourth night we discovered our bags had arrived. I got to take off that underwear and my voice dropped an octave.
The nice people from Lufthansa Airlines paid for my Spanish grocery store wardrobe, and we had a great time on the trip.