Otherwise entitled: Run, or you’ll miss the plane.
Well, it´s been quite a day so far, and it’s only 3:30 in the afternoon. This morning started at a bright and cheery 3:15 when I got up to finish packing and take one last look at my apartment. Then I walked to the train station and bought a ticket, and got on the 4:30 train to Pisa Centrale (well technically, Livorno, but it was stopping in Pisa). Got to Pisa no problem, eventually found the airport train track, and waited for the train. Now, let me clue you into my stress of the morning. It takes about an hour and a half to two hours to get to Pisa Aeroporto from Florence-Santa Maria Novella station, depending on how many stops your train makes and how quickly you get a connection to the airport. Mine: two hours. That gives me… hmm… exactly TEN minutes to check my bag and another ten to actually make it through security. This all assuming my bag is under 15 kilos (that’s just over 30 pounds). If not, it’s 20 EUROS PER KILO extra. Ummm… rip off much? So I am sitting, waiting, trying not to panic because the train isn’t there yet, and then an announcement comes on that the platform is different. So I run (yes, with all my luggage) to put it on the train and the conductor sees me coming, asks me something in Italian (which I take to mean, are you getting on this train?), to which I gasp out `Si, si!´ and run onto the train. I run into the airport, still gasping, and they are still taking baggage– but just barely. I lug my suitcase onto the belt, and lo and behold, 18 kilos. BOOO. The lady lets me take out a few things (which naturally I have to fit into my carryon now) and then stops at 16 and says its okay. I go through security, get on the plane, and then we have a twenty-five minute delay.
All goes well with the flight though and eventually I get to Madrid, though I feel horrible for the delay since Christina has class. We run back to put my stuff at her house (technically we take a cab, and I have the pleasure of having Christina compare shrimp to a candy cane) and then go pick up and pay for travel arrangements, and then go to meet her class at the Prado Museum. The Prado Museum- WOW! It’s huge… think Smithsonian-size. It’s a gigantic collection of art, and has a ton of works by Goya and Velasquez, among others. Goya’s dark period paintings are here (think, Saturn Devouring his Young) as well as the super famous Second and Third of May, the latter of which is incredibly powerful in real life. Since I went with her class, I got the benefit of the lecture, and learned quite a bit about Velasquez– particularly about his use of brushstrokes and white to create silver. It was really interesting, and interesting in general to see such a coherent and large collection of art. We leave tomorrow for Morocco– until then!