We checked out of our hotel in Granada and drove four and a half hours back to Madrid. The drive was beautiful as we drove through the beautiful Sierra Nevada mountains before entering the plains of Castile and La Mancha once again. We were awed with the miles and miles of olive trees for as far as the eye could see in every direction. They seemingly covered every mountain and every valley. As we entered La Mancha, a few vineyards were interspersed among the olive orchards.
Finally, we arrived in Madrid. I dropped off the ladies at the hotel and returned the rental car, catching the subway back to the hotel. We went for lunch at what was our favorite restaurant of our entire trip, Juana La Loca. The food was wonderful and it was always crowded with locals. That evening we walked over to the Plaza Mayor for some last minute gift shopping and dinner at the busy, congested Mercado de San Miguel just off the plaza. We wandered from booth to booth, eating tapa-sized portions and drinking excellent Spanish wine. (Well… Christy enjoyed the excellent Spanish Coca-Cola Light.)
As we were about to leave the hotel for the airport on the follow morning, I was notified that our flight from Madrid to JFK was delayed for 2 1/2 hours. We only had a 2-hour layover in New York which meant we would miss our connection. We were not happy! But, we went ahead and took the taxi to the airport as planned at 7:30. When we arrived, we we happy to find out that we had been rerouted. We would fly direct to Atlanta, instead of having two layovers in both New York and Atlanta, and then we would fly on to Akron/Canton, Ohio. This new routing would mean we would have a layover in Atlanta of eight hours, but we were just happy to be back on American soil without further delays.
Cindy has remained in Ohio with her family over the past week, while my stay in the Buckeye State was only a few hours long. The next day, I flew to Green Bay, Wisconsin for a 84 hours of work in 8 days at the Bellin Health Emergency Department. The winter gods showed mercy on this poor man who has acclimated to the Caribbean. The highs were in the mid-upper 40s on most days, and the lows were in the mid-30s on most nights. I survived my shifts in this new-to-me hospital and boarded the plane this morning for Atlanta, where I would once again rendezvous with my lovely wife for the flight back into Panama. We’re scheduled to arrive around 10 p.m. tonight, after which we’ll face a 1-2 hour ride back to the marina where Beatitude awaits. In spite of numerous emails, texts, and phone calls, the repairs to Beatitude have hardly progressed. One month down since the lightning strike, and not much accomplished in getting Beatitude ready to cruise again. Hopefully, once we are on site, things will progress more swiftly.