My outlook on The Thrill of the Chase

Forrest Fenn's Treasure Chest and the Epic loot we will be searching for Starting in January 2019.

I think I have a pretty decent head on my shoulders. I think I am smart and I have lived a life where I am semi-comfortable with the way things are. When I decided to get off my keister and go overseas to Europe on my own accord, traveling solo to experience the cultures, sights, people and places I realized that I want to do this traveling thing again some time – soon.

I have had a few accidental run-in’s with the Forrest Fenn and the treasure chest over the past nine years and I have told myself – like many others have in the past – that this is something I can attempt to do with an open mind. There are other posts on here that explain the “accidental run in’s” with Forrest Fenn.

Got Analytics?

Listen, I working in a high paced field, I have to analyze a lot of information in a relatively short time. So, this should come second nature to me. EXCEPT, The Thrill of the Chase doesn’t offer a clear cut methodical approach to an end. I don’t have the assistance of the tools we use on a daily basis and the online websites which can back up the potential prognosis of what I have in front of me. Analytics are fun, it chases down something in the end, most of the time.

So, The Thrill of the Chase will offer scant information at first and hopefully I will be able to see if I can follow that to an end. Time will tell.

I am a PC gamer as well as one that likes to travel. I was in the US Navy for 22 years and I seen many an overseas port. Back then, my only thought ( I don’t like using wishes) was that it could be a much better experience if I didn’t have a time restriction or military rules set by the ship that I had to follow.

Here is my YouTube Channel:

Mission Incredible YouTube Channel

Life can come not quite as desired, or expected.

Having raised three children by myself. My wife passed due to an overly aggressive cervical cancer. Let’s just say it is water under the bridge. But, it did put a damper on my ability to think too far forward as the daily routine would change in a moments notice. Now that most of the flock has departed and the abode is occupied by only a few, I have no ties holding me back – except the job I currently hold ( which offers a decent amount of vacation time). Once I decide to retire, I want to be able to travel and see whatever sights I can.  Currently, I am planning on getting the more expensive ones out of the way while I am still employed, and then the other travel opportunities in the bucket list are more manageable.

Here is the link to my Valencia Spain Trip to include a lot of the Museums I walked to. 

The What If’s of treasure hunting 

I’d like to kick back and relax and indulge in a small fortune, enough to spread the wealth as needed and some as desired. I am an occasional sucker to help  an authentic hand in need that I personally get to choose to do so. I am one of those few that has the will not to be broken, tough skinned, knowledgeable, focused only to the point where I can decide if the action should be continued or severed as the best course of action. It’s all about the what if’s in any situation, that is how decisions are made.

A Natural in Nature, so to speak

I recently stumbled upon a song that stuck in my brain. It kinda mimics the views I have on life, though I am more on the thoughtful and giving side of the world than the cold hearted or eventually rich side of the house. We can change that rich option, feel free to donate me a large wad of legimate cash, anytime.

It’s a song by the Imagine Dragons called Natural.

Here is the song…… Though the video doesn’t even come close to my mindset – I will place a video of my perception of this song AFTER I have traveled out west in the late summer of 2019.  It will be placed on my YouTube Channel, documented above.

Here are the lyrics;

so YOU say you found Forrest Fenn’s treasure…..

Is this Forrest Fenn's Bracelet? If so send it back to so we can plan a different vacation

I don”t know what is worse, a really long and boring solve on YouTube or a comment from some one that claims to have found Forrest Fenn’s treasure.

Soon the Search for Forrest Fenn’s treasure will commence ! Maybe. 

I placed an order for autographed versions of The Thrill of the Chase and too far to walk on January 3rd 2019. As of January 19th they have not been shipped. So, in the mean time, I simply visit a few resources to see if any of them have any useful information, and honestly, they do not. Ok, OK, maybe there is one. He ( a hint) supplies a few PDF’s (another hint) about Forrest Fenn’s ramblings. Are they worthy of a read? I don’t know, yet. Will they help me? Heck, I don’t know probably not. Most of what I deem semi-important I already had in text form. Its smaller in size and easier to read.

This is the way I look at things. If you have any questions about your own solve whatsoever, it becomes an inaccurate solve. More than likely it is not going to get you close enough to the blaze, let alone the correct area to look for Forrest Fenn’s epic treasure.

Partly potential and highly improbable (and long winded) Forrest Fenn treasure solves, hints and clues.

There are more than a handful of people that have come up with a potential solution on YouTube and want to post a video on it. Or, ven yet, they have solved a potential clue(less) tidbit and offer it over a 20+ minute video. I can tell in the first two minutes that it’s probably far fetched. Why do they need 20-plus minutes to convince the world that its a far fetched, overly twisted and improbable conclusion? They are long and extremely boring. Viewers if they choose to listen to the twisted thoughts of one or more attendees, will see that they will talk about anything. I look at these creators simply wanting YouTube hits, some self satisfaction that they might be a self inflicted star.  If they have a video length over 20 minutes, they are probably trying to hedge YouTube into coughing up some funds for the voluntary squatters believing that some where on the video a very important clue will be revealed.  You listen to one potential solve or a potential clue is solved and it makes no sense what so ever. The people in front of the camera seem to be nodding, but they too have no clue where this treasure is. IF they did, they wouldn’t be “hype-pathetically” guessing and smiling on camera waiting for the 26th minute to come so they can close out and post another nonsense production.

Forrest Fenn has giving out a pretty decent amount of hints over the years and people are just unable to comprehend what he is saying. One has to realize that not everything he says is a clue or a hint.  Personally I think he is pretty bold when he mentions a hint in a post or an email.

Forrest Fenn took his time and hid the treasure in an area where the stereotypical searcher is going to write off that potential area because it doesn’t fit their potential solve.  It simply can’t be there because…….. Because YOU think its not in your solve location. He wouldn’t dare to have hid it there…. Is probably one of the most illogical thoughts that can be produced. I think that Forrest probably has a huge smile on his face as he ponders how long its going to take some one to find this elusive treasure, that potentially is located beneath everyone’s nose.

Don’t be naive and believe that anyone out there is going to give you their best thoughts when it comes to figuring out Forrest Fenn’s poem, locations or even hints. Some may offer a little bit of information that may make sense, but what most may be after is someone ( a viewer like you or random poster) offering them a different view on an area that they may be stuck at. If you post an idea to them, they might see it in a different way, and either have more info than you do, or gives them ANOTHER reason to fire up the pathetic video machine once more.  That random comment may place them on the trail once again ( or not) and one step closer ( or not) to the winning solve. I have not found one decent resource that offers the identification of any of the clues, let alone all nine, nor a majority of head nodders agreeing that a particular phrase is definitely a hint that points to the poem and the clues.

Forrest must chuckle to himself a lot about this. He knew greed would take over and people aren’t willing to share anything, let alone their potential solve and even a heck NO to sharing a portion of a 42 pound treasure.  No clue about non-disclosure agreements, potential agreements about sharing of wealth contracts, brain (?) storming, planning, logical thinking in groups, or spreading the wealth of any type per se. OK, MAYBE a couple of photogarphs, as long as they don’t give anything away ! I simply shake my head. The hunt for Forrest Fenn’s treasure is going on at least its 9th year and zippo results.

Don’t get me wrong ( I maybe right, TBD). I have a logical plan. And should I decide to quit mid-stride and not go on an adventurous journey in search of epic loot, I might ( don’t hold your breath) share how I would approach this mind bending ordeal. No promises, because I DO need another vacation, and I want to visit some where in the USA vice an overseas location. Heck, If I can find the box of treasure, I can afford to go on vacation almost any time I want, and share the journey of travels on here as well as – you guessed it – on You Tube.

so YOU say you found Forrest Fenn’s treasure…..

Speaking of YouTube……To those that visit the YouTube channels and the forums claiming to have found the treasure chest, there is a simple solution. All you would have to do is mail Forrest Fenn his bracelet back to him anonymously. Being that potential problem solver, getting his current address should be a breeze. If not, you can always send it to a location he has visited (bookstore, museum or otherwise) and he or a surviving relative can then tell the world it’s officially time to put the books on the shelf and store the search gear. 

Wear some gloves to reduce the chance of leaving a precious finger print or fragment of DNA. Paranoid they are going to find you out by your hand writing or postmark? Simply print the information off the web, and slap that on a padded envelope.  I assume that you are NOT putting a return address on the package…….Buy some common stamps (US postage stamps that is ), place too much postage on the package. Use tap water to moisten the stamps, don’t lick them. After the package is sealed, making sure none of your DNA is included within the package, or under tape, get in a vehicle (with the package) and drive a pretty good distance away (maybe 1+ hours, more if you live in the boonies) from your location. Find a post office and drop the package holding Forrest Fenns bracelet in an outside mail box and then go home. Being that potential problem solver, getting his current address should be a breeze. If not, you can always send it to a location he has visited (bookstore, museum or otherwise) and he or a surviving relative can then tell the world it’s officially time to put the books on the shelf and store the search gear.

Then you can sit and bask in your glee that you indeed have produced to the world that some anonymous person has indeed found the elusive Forrest Fenn treasure and the world’s experts will shred every potential probable, improbable and other possibility of who had found the treasure and gawk at any question where the loot was hid and then found.  Ok, it’s time to come on back to reality.

Until then, I will read the books (when they get here) with an open mind (do I need a can opener for that? ) and plan a visit to the (currently unknown, but popular) location should I solve the first two clues within Forrest Fenn’s poem.

OK Forrest, add me to that chuckle line as well.

The Incredible Journey to Valencia Spain Day Two

Beautiful Valencia Orange trees line the edge of the street on most major roads.

Valencia day two March 7th 2018
time 1300, mostly clear, temp 62F.

Today I woke about 0630 and I took a small nap to 0730. I then did the bath. I decided today was the day in which I was to find a breakfast shop and then after this, find a decent market to shop. I went downstairs to the hotel lobby and asked the front desk about a good market. It is down the street, about a 5 to 10 minute walk. I told myself that I may need to take two trips, to concentrate on the vital items first and maybe some heavy items, but to bring back enough food for two to three days.

I ate breakfast at about 0900 when the shop across from the hotel opened. I opted for a small meal, more of two pieces of cake filled with fruit and a coffee. The price came up to less than 5 euro. After I was finished I see that they brought out fresh eggs and other items behind the counter which is meant to be like a small buffet that is served by the staff. The price was less than 5 euro as well. I decided I could use that as a fallback if I did not find items I needed at a market.

Breakfast in Valencia across the street from the hotel. It was simple and hit the spot.
Breakfast in Valencia across the street from the hotel. It was simple and hit the spot.

Once I was done, I thanked the staff at the shop and went back to the room. I emptied my backpack, just in case and started up google maps. Google says it would take about 5 minutes to get there and the market was open 0900 to 2100.

This market was pretty easy to find. In Google its is listed as Vidal. On the street and on the receipt, the name is Kuups. I walked around the block to make sure I was not at the wrong market. I decided to go in and look around. They had a lot of fresh pre-packaged items like in the photo. all what you see cost near 20 Euro and I was happy with that. I thought it would be more. I did look at other items but I knew my initial load would be a bit heavy. I think with three bags, the total weight was close to the backpack I carried through the airports – probably 25 or more pounds.

Valencia Market Butcher display in the back of the market on march 07, 2018
Valencia Market Butcher display in the back of the market on march 07, 2018

 

Monster drinks in the market located in Valencia Spain 07 March 2018
Monster drinks in the market located in Valencia Spain 07 March 2018

 

Bacon, Salami and many other meats found in the Valencia Market on march 07, 2018
Bacon, Salami and many other meats found in the Valencia Market on march 07, 2018
YES, the even carry USA based Cat treats. But I did not see Smokie's favorite here.
YES, they even carry USA based Cat treats. But I did not see Smokie’s favorite here.

 

Items from the first visit of the Valencia Market on March 07, 2018
Items from the first visit of the Valencia Market on March 07, 2018

I got back to the room and took everything out. I started to put the items in the fridge, and I noticed that in about a full day, this thing was not working right. I thought I heard the cleaning ladies and I asked them to look at the fridge. They said they would call some one. In about 5 minutes, I had a lady come up. She looked like management and did not speak much English. She was frustrated but I took out the google translate app and started the conversation service.  She basically said, maintenance would be right up to look at the item. In about five more minutes, they arrived and looked at the fridge. Yes, it needs replacing.

As I type this, the maintenance man has come in, and he has already removed the old unit. He is in the process of bringing in the new unit. Outstanding service, if it not already obvious. I am very pleased, as the meats I have will not last more than 3 hours if not in a cold fridge.
Project done in less than an hour. Perfect.

Besides going to the market once more, I will have to decide if I want to go sight seeing anywhere. I am finding google maps, with everything turned on is a blessing in disguise. It allows me to search for places on the laptop and pass these to the phone and I can navigate to the places without much worry. I also noted that this google maps will eat a lot of battery. This is why i will bring the battery pack. When it gets low, I will find a place to sit and offer it a chance to charge. This battery pack, a RAV power, can charge a phone up to six times. It was down to 2 out of four lights, and it was fully charged overnight, the maximum time it was plugged in was 6 hours.

When the phone is better, I will then move on. I will create a list of places that I can go to all in one circle which will not take more than 1 km each way. If I see two or three places a day, in less than a week I will be able to see everything I have written down.

Gogle translate conversation mode is working great ! I managed to decipher what the manager said about the fridge, the maintenace guy about the issue with the fridge and asking questions in the market for items that I needed.

I am fortunate the ladies behing the counter of the hotel speak decent english. All of them are very polite and have answered all my questions. I now know how to unlock the stove and use it without question. All I need is a few more items from the market.

Talking about the market, I decided to head back to the market once more. I understand this city is quite big, and it is packed with buildings and small shop all over Valencia. These shops are typically small, I would have to guess the size of most may be twenty feet wide and no more than forty feet deep. The look like a storage locker when closed up, and when open, bigger than a 20 x 20 unit as I know them in the USA.

I seen a garage that looks like a medium sized warehouse. Its pretty active in that area, so I imagine that this is more of what the USA offers as parking garage. It is across a busy street, and I decided to hold off my curiosity and keep moving.

A garage for parking close to city center, near Espinosa
A garage for parking close to city center, near Espinosa

A bus stops near the corner as I approach it and people come out quickly. Some more traffic comes from the crosswalk as it is green and safe to cross. I stopped, letting the chaotic motion subside. I look up, and I see near the road edge trees planted. I look up and notice they are Valencia orange trees. I take a quick photo and move towards the market.

Beautiful Valencia Orange trees line the edge of the street on most major roads.
Beautiful Valencia Orange trees line the edge of the street on most major roads.

I ended up buying a half loaf of freshly made bread, 5 liters of water, instant coffee, creamers and pepper. I asked where the salt was, and the man pointed to a 1 kg package. I asked if there was a smaller package and the answer was no. I decided to skip the salt.

Items from the second visit to the Valencia market on March 07 2018
Items from the second visit to the Valencia market on March 07 2018

Back in the room, I see that is close to 1300. I see that the fridge is cooling down nicely. I put the items away went to Google Maps to look over a possible path to navigate to see two or three sights in a day. I get messaged by my friend, and we hold a conversation in Whats Up for a few hours. I tell her what I have bought. Her only concern was that I clean the mushrooms completely before cooking. I snapped a photo of the cleaning tools neatly placed out on the balcony of my room, and she simply laughed.

The conversation faded, and so did my desire to keep my eyes open. The jet lag is fading fast but, I still feel the effects of it. I decided to take a nap. It lasted about three hours. I awoke near 1900. I decided to cook some pasta tonight, and have some vegetables that I bought from the market.

Tonight I will have Spinach and Ricotta cheese ravioli in a tomato sauce. I will add Mushrooms and shredded cheese to the mix at the end. I will have the end piece of the bread to soak up the tomato sauce. I show my friend what I have created and she offers me a Bon Appetit.

The beginning of dinner in Valencia on March 07. Ricotta and spinach filled ravioli in a red sauce with mushrooms.
The beginning of dinner in Valencia on March 07. Ricotta and spinach filled ravioli in a red sauce with mushrooms.

The meal of Ricotta Cheese and spinach filled Ravioli with a red sauce topped with Mushrooms and some shredded cheese.

The meal of Ricotta Cheese and spinach filled Ravioli with a red sauce topped with Mushrooms and some shredded cheese.Dinner was good,  just the right portion. I was full, but not stuffed. I decided on pasta because I want a lot of energy for tomorrow. I will be doing some sight seeing in Valencia Spain, and I may be walking close to 2 miles or more when the day is done.

I clean up my mess after a meal. I do what my late grandfather used to do when the grandmother was gone. Simply use one item of each, wash it at the end of the meal and house keeping remains simple. Keep the plate, bowl and utensils on the counter which will thwart you from using more.

I researched a few more sights to visit here in Valencia, Spain. Tomorrow I will end up heading out for 0900 when most of the sight seeing places in Valencia open up as well as the shops.

This is the end of the long post of day two in Valencia, Spain. Day three will show some tourist sights within the city center of Valencia.

The Incredible Journey to Valencia Spain Day One

Valencia Spain rooftop view from hotel

This post will end getting photographs and editing before it is truly done.
I will provide two outputs for each day in the end. One will be long, one will be short.
I will provide links to both. At first, it will be the long posts, so I do not forget anything.

The Incredible Journey to Valencia, Spain Day One – March 5th 2018.

I woke near 0800. I had most things in order, but I attended to a few things before I had to depart.

I have not flown in quite some time. I think I should have done a few flights in the USA vice diving into a European vacation. My bags consist of a rolling bag that holds all the clothing for two weeks, and some small gifts for a friend who resides in Spain. That bag weighs close to 35 pounds, and its a bit heavy, but not overly so for a 12 day trip. The second bag is a rolling laptop bag which has an upper end laptop in it and a backpack. The laptop bag has wheels so it scoots along quite nicely. When I have to pick it up, I think it weighs close to 10 pounds.

The most difficult of the three bags will be the backpack. I knew it would be best to throw in the Canon Camera, cables, all accessories like batteries, power cords. My personal laptop will be in this since I was bringing two laptops. So most of the techie things exist in the backpack. I grunted when I picked the backpack up. Full, it weighed close to 25 pounds. It doesn’t seem like a lot, but in a long haul the weight may surely eat at my endurance.

My son was up and able to take me to the local airport. I arrived at the airport about one hour before my flight. The weather was mostly sunny, with temeratures hovering in the mid 50’s. There was still some breeze, the after a effects of a northeaster storm that pushed up the coast March 2nd 2018 and canceled thousands of flights along the east coast – including mine. That is why I am fliying today.

I asked my son if he could drop me off at the curb so I could at least get the luggage out, go to the check in counter, and getting that all started. He had no problem with it and parked the car and met me at the check in counter for the airlines.

I checked in the rolling clothing bag, and carried the other two towards the TSA gate. Since I have not flown in quite some time, I wasn’t absolutely sure what I could take or not take. I tried doing some research on the internet for specific items both for USA and international flights and got some answers, but not alot. I managed to get through TSA and I could look back and see my son waiting for me to give him the thumbs up. It took probably 10 minutes for me to dig everything out. Two laptops, the shoes, the belt, phone, keys, food, and everything else. Then, putting it all back and making it fit and not slide is always an event. But, everything went fine.

When we boarded, and I found my seat, I sat next to a lady from Maine. She came down to see her daughter who just had a third child. We talked about the trips and small talk. A Lady from Smithsfield Virginia named Leia I believe, who was on the flight as well, and asked some questions about a train leaving Madrid. I told her I did limited research on Madrid, and focused on my ultimate destination – Valencia Spain.

The Flight to Philadelphia was short and arrived in Philadelphia on time. The Philadelphia International airport is quite massive, but they do offer shuttle services and such. But, once I was on the ground in Philadelphia, I knew I had a long layover, close to six hours. Prior to the trip, I did some research on the places to eat within the airport. I will eventually get there. Now to spend some time walking and trying to kill six hours in the airport.

The flight into Philadelphia landed in the F termainal where most smaller commuter planes land. Looking at my flight schedule, I noticed that I was flying out of Terminal A. I groaned. I haven’t carried to much weight on my fragile back, so my immediate comment to myself was – this is going to leave a mark. I planned for some pain, I typically take Alleve 12 hour gel pills in preparation for this, but I know I will be uncomfortable at the destination of my lovely adventure, Valencia, Spain.

I opened up my notebook with some research notes and refreshed my brain as to what gates some of the wonder food existed. I started walking in Philadelphia International airport, leaving gate F and ultimately ending in Terminal A. I kept my eyes wide open and looked at all the airport had to offer. News Stands, Burgers, Asian food, Shoe care stand, Victoria Secrets,….. wait, what? Hehehe. Yes in the Philadelphia airport is a smaller version of Victoria Secrets. I pulled out the phone and shot a photo the Victoria Secrets banner and sent it to a friend, asking her if she wanted anything from the shop. She says, OK. I ask, well, what do you want? She laughs and says she was joking. OK fine. Moving onward !

Victoria Secret in Philadelphia International Airport
Victoria Secret in Philadelphia International Airport

I stopped at a Fork in one the many paths I can choose, and I notice a USO sign on the wall. Oh My God. This means I can sit down in a safer environment and have some sort of rest, relaxation and maybe a small drink on the house? I decided to head that way. The USO is downstairs, below the main path of places to eat and shop. It’s close to an Irish Pub, but the name escapes me. If I can remember to come back to this post, I’ll add the info here.

Walking down the stairs, down the corridor and to the right is a USO check in area. Many people sat around and welcomed me and praised me for my years of service. Everything was explained to me about the establishment. One area holds a food area, and the other area down the hall has chairs for rest and relaxation, with board games and even a business center with the lights pretty well dimmed down. The back room has some game consoles and such. The R&R room itself has quite a selection of comfy chairs to take a burden off my feet. I stayed within the R&R room in the USO until it was about an hour and a half before my flight. As I headed out, I stopped and thanked everyone that was staff for the hospitality they offered. I then went in search my goal, a good meal from an establishment in Philadelphia International airport.

A Wall of Philadelphia History inside the Philadelphia International airport
A Wall of Philadelphia History inside the Philadelphia International airport

Prior to the trip, I did some research on the places to eat within the airport. I seen two places. One was a pizza establishment, Aldo Lamemberti Trattoria and the other was a sit down italian style place which was named Cibo Bistro and Wine Bar. What Cibo Bistro and Wine Bar offered was no where near what most call a typical small portioned, cold and nasty airport food. Cibo Bistro and Wine Bar food was actually rteally good and a decent sized portion. I highly recommend Cibo Bistro and Wine Bar located near gate C3/C6 in the Philadelphia International airport.

My waitress was a huge help. I wanted to pay cash, so with all things chosen, I paid her in advance and waited for the meal to come. It came out pretty fast. I managed to eat 90% of it and drink something I grabbed from the USO and the bill came up to near 18 dollars. I gave the waitress $25.00 and collected my items and started heading towards my destination gate going to Madrid.

Cibo Bistro and Wine Bar Philadelphia International Airport
Cibo Bistro and Wine Bar Philadelphia International Airport

I looked at my clock. It was close to an hour before the flight and I could see the staff check in people moving around quite quickly as if they were ready to start bording. Sure enough, they actually started pretty early. I asked the staff at the gate if military could board after priority people and I was given a thank you a nod and I was entering the aircraft.

The aircraft that carried me to Madrid Spain
The aircraft that carried me to Madrid Spain

On the 4th I actually changed my seat assignment to get a wee bit close to the front of the aircraft. I seen an aisle seat, within the four seat section which put me 5 rows from the first row in the economy seats. I put my bags away, sit down, and get a bit comfy when I hear the voice of someone. I look up and its the Lady from Smithsfield Virginia named Leia I believe. When almost everyone was in their seats, I noticed the aircraft at BEST was partially full. Now I understand why tey limit flights like this. They’d go broke if they had to fly with the aircraft at 25% capacity. Leia and I ended up chatting some. I also tried to explain the usage of the Google Translate app that offers text translation along with voice – it even allows you to hold a conversation and will translate everything it hears.

Soon after the conversation with Leia, I noticed the flight was ready to go. We pulled out of the gate and got ready to take off. The take off was a bit turbulent, but nothing overly horrifying. At this point, I looked at my watch. I tried avoiding calculating how long this trip was going to take, but I had all night to think about it.

I was up at 0800 on the morning of March 5th. I knew if all went well, I would be landing in Valencia, Spain on March 6th at approximately 1300. I had to account for delays with the flights leaving late or bad weather and everything included. Add in the fact that customs/immigration could take some time too. I told myself, all in all – I think arrival in my room in Valencia Spain at 1600 on March 6 is an obtainable goal. So, that’s a total of 32…… wait ! I have to recalculate a bit. The departure time was in USA time and the arrival time was in Spanish time. So I took the total hours and subtracted the 6 hours difference. WHEW, its “ONLY” 26 hours of travel.

I don’t want to point fingers or get into all the antics of people do when flying overseas or for extremely long flights. In the past I have seen my share of this. The flight was long, as expected. Total distance from Philadelphia to Madrid was nearly 3700 miles. The airlines gave us dinner near 1800 and then about 2000 they dimmed the lights way down.

Leia was extremely lucky. She had no one in the row of 4 seats and decided to get some well deserved rest. I stayed in my assigned seat, and tried to get as comfortable as I could. There was a brief period where I almost fell asleep, but we ran into a slight patch of turbulence that lasted 15 minutes, and I wasn’t able to get any sleep the entire night. That is OK though, since the night before flying, I forced myself to sleep as many hours as I could stand. I felt I was rested enough to make it all the way. Believe me, I had my doubts along the way saying, you know even after I get to Madrid, I still have ANOTHER five hours before I am standing in Valencia, Spain.

Morning comes and a lot of drowsy people and waking up. The flight eventually lands in Madrid. I honestly believe it landed a few minutes early. I grabbed my bags and headed out the plane walking within earshot of Leia as she explained catching up to college girls who were headed in the general area she was. This is where Leia actually offered her name in this story and it was done so as we were walking towards immigration  in the airport with a lot of noise and announcements going on. I see a Iberia counter and I decide to stop. I thought for a second, I’d end up losing Leia by doing this, but she may read about this post on my trip to Valencia. I hope her travels within Spain are awesome and her trip back to Smithfield is fast and safe as well.

I had my questions answered about the Iberia  flight from Madrid to Valencia and I started to move towards Immigration. I was honestly surprised to see over 10 immigration gates open. Each line ended up having about 25 people in them, and the process only took 10-15 minutes. I told the officer I was headed to Valencia for a 2 week vacation and I would go back to the USA. He was pleased with the answer, and smacked a stamp within one of my my Passport pages.

Now I am through Immigration and looking for the K gates. It took about 15 minutes or so to navigate around to the right area, which included another TSA style baggage screening. OK FINE. This was pretty much the same thing, no issues, repacked a little slower and eventually found the K gates.

The four hour delay in Madrid went by quite fast, I was surprised.  In Madrid, gate information is much different than what I am used to in the USA. The flights are listed, but the actual gate is not listed until an hour before your departure. When it was down to one hour, I looked for the gate number and headed that way. It was boarding passengers for a flight to “OPORTO”, or Portugal. I tried to approach the person and ask if the next flight was going to……. She says, right now I talk of Oporto! Not of Valencia. Oporto. OK Fine, I guess she had a bad day. hehehe.

The flight shows up on the monitors and I head that way. I look at the time and its pretty close to departure time and we haven’t even boarded yet. It was amazing to see how fast the staff changed check in crews, changed the sign and started checking in passengers for the flight to Valencia. It moved so quickly, I did not even see the plane taxi up to the gate.

Once I was on my way to board, instead of a boarding area directly into the plane, we were take down some stairs and walked across the street onto the tarmac and boarded a plane that might have held about 40 or so people. The airport staff  noticed me with two bags, and they wanted to check the bag, until I ended showing them all, the laptop bag actually has a laptop in it. Once i boarded the aircraft headed to Valencia, I immediately noticed the over head bins were REALLY small compared to most others I have flown. In the end, the seat was found, and baggage stored and we were on our way.

The Captain said it would have 45 minutes to get to Valencia from Madrid, but honestly, it felt like I was shot out of a cannon. Whatever time was lost when the Madrid flight shared the gate, was easily made up. I landed in Valencia with some sort of expectation to go through a customs style service where they ask if I had anything to declare or were going to open up bags on a whim, but there was none of that. I simply departed the smaller plan on the tarmac, climbed down the really really skinny staircase, got on the tarmac and waled inside Valencia airport. I followed signs to the baggage claim which wasn’t difficult at all.

My first thought was – I’d be quite impressed IF my only checked bag was with me on that flight. I looked and seen my bag coming, and all I could do is shake my head. After a long adventure, my feet and all my luggage are with me in Valencia Spain.

I had booked a taxi though the hotel and I did not see anyone holding a sign with my name on it near the luggage claim area or immediately outside the area. I stood around for a some time, about 15 minutes but, there was nobody but passengers and people greeting them. I followed the signs to where the taxi’s were stationed and I decided to go for it.

I knew there would be a slight language barrier, but the man driving the taxi knew where I was headed. He packed up the bags and allowed me to sit in front with him. He was playing some United States home grown jazz and blues. He spoke very broken English at best, and the ride was enjoyable. I turned on Google Maps to see the route he was taken, and it was a pretty direct route.

He handed me a map for free which was English and Spanish, about the Festivals that are happening in Valencia and in general, all through Spain. We found the hotel, and the man pulled my bags. The fare was 21 Euro, but he enlightened me on some areas of the city as we drove, that I ended up giving him 30 Euro for his hospitality. He helped take the bags to the check in counter, and I shook his hand and thanked him.

Check in at the hotel was fast and easy. I went upstairs to my room, hauling the three bags full for the last time at least until the end of the vacation. It was close to 1530, and all I wanted to do was check the electronics for any damage, unpack some of the clothing to get some wrinkles out and get some well deserved sleep.

A Wall of Philadelphia History inside the Philadelphia International airport
The Hotel I stayed in while I was in Valencia, Spain

So that’s part one of the Incredible journey to Valencia Spain. This post will probably bay far be the longest, but time will tell. Stand by for more posts and photos as I navigate my way though Valencia Spain.