Finally my world has settled down enough for me to update you all on what has been happening here in Spain and also what has not been happening. The story must begin with the moment my body arrived in Bilbao, Spain… I say my body because I’m not sure at that point in time that my head was functioning properly for lack of sleep and pure captivation of a place so different from where I had come. The Iberia flight attendant had informed me in Madrid that my luggage would be arriving on the following flight but that I should go on this flight and claim my luggage when it arrived. The reason for this was because my flight from Dallas, TX to Madrid was delayed at least 30 minutes and the airline was anticipating that I would not make my flight connection in Madrid. Nevertheless, I followed this lady’s advice and boarded the plane with little preoccupation for when and how my luggage would arrive. Naivety is rarely a blissful thing, but during this instance it allowed me to enjoy the flight to Bilbao.
Upon arrival in Bilbao I went to wait by the luggage area and prepared to read my book until the next flight arrived a couple of hours later. After watching all of my fellow travelers from my Iberia flight claim their luggage and then watching a few other flights of travelers arrive and claim their luggage the anxiety began to creep in. Here is where I offer you my advice; do not sit in the Bilbao airport (or any airport) and wait for your luggage per advice from a flight attendant. Your luggage is most likely not coming on the next flight or even the same night for that matter. The best thing to do is to go to the help desk and tell them your situation. The woman working at the Iberia desk told me that the flight attendant was being “optimistic” and that my luggage would most likely not arrive on the next flight and that it was essential to make a claim so that my luggage could be located as quickly as possible. This little mishap really turned out to be a good thing because the helpful woman also called my hotel for me and they came to pick me up at the airport via complimentary shuttle.
Although I had no luggage and little else but dirty clothes and a backpack full of nonessentials, I was in Spain and finally done flying. The Iberia employee told me that my bags would be sent to the hotel I was staying in as soon as they arrived so periodically during the evening I was checking to see if they had arrived. After exhausting all of the Spanish television channels and running the battery on my MacBook out I finally gave up and went to sleep.
The next morning the front desk called me just as I was preparing to leave for the airport and told me that my luggage had arrived and was now at the airport. Lucky for me I was able to pick it up with little hassle and get on the bus just in time to make it to the city center, figure out how to purchase a bus ticket from Bilbao to Pamplona, and set in on the journey to the city that would become my home for a year.
Looking back now it seems like such a long time ago and with every little struggle that I had during that time I became more confident. I can only hope that the development of confidence continues in the future…
Stay tuned for more anecdotes and survival tips from Spain 😉
If you’re staying in Bilbao and would like to stay near the airport at an excellent hotel I highly recommend the Holiday Inn Express, Bilbao. The staff members working while I was staying there were helpful in any way that they could be. The breakfast was complimentary and excellent and the rooms were very comfortable and clean.