Our flight from Malaga wasn't due to leave until 1:40 but we needed to have the car we never used back to HERTZ by 10:45am. We wanted to be sure to allow enough time for driving errors, traffic and finding a gas station to top of the tank. We left our hotel at about 9:00AM as a precaution. I think we had the car turned in by 9:30 at least. The drive went quickly and a gas station was perfectly positioned to roll in and out just before the airport. Tom expertly guided me through the airport mazeto the car rental drop off so there we were at the airport in Malaga with hours to spare. The airport at Malaga was so much bigger than we thought it would be. I was expecting something along the lines of Palm Springs maybe. This was a bustling full fledged international airport. We were there so early the flight wasn't even on the board yet. I went up to the Iberia help desk to see when we could check our bags. There was one enormous line for Viewing (operates with Iberia but we were flying Nostrum this time which is also with Iberia) and no one else seemed open. The lady points to a person where there was absolutely no one else around and she says "just bring them to her she'll take them early. REALLY? No line just walk up? We did just that and had 3 hours to wait.
We took off a little late and when we landed we stopped on the tarmac, it was raining and we had to wait for a bus to pick us up. We had just 20 minutes to find and catch our connection to Lisbon. When you are just sitting helplessly waiting every second feels like an eternity. The bus drops us off and Tom and I take of as quickly as possible to find the departure board to tell us which gate we needed to get to. (at the time we checked in, in Malaga, the gate in Madrid had not been announced) All we knew was it would be in the H/J/K area. I found a board, read "H31". And off we went in the direction of "H". so much time had gone by I really didn't know if we were too late. I looked up at one of the directional signs and it said "H 6 minutes". Meaning it would take 6 minutes to get to the H area and we would still need to go to gate 31. Tom just starting running and all I could do was power walk. We arrived just as the last people was going through the gate and followed them. We ended up going back down stairs and onto another bus to be taken back out to the tarmac to board another plane in the same area.......
We were the last small group to board the plane and it took off quickly after we boarded. I already knew that there was absolutely NO WAY our luggage made it off the first plane. Once we landed we gave it the old college try waiting and hoping that somehow our bags would appear. They did not and we went to lost and found to inquire. I have to say they were very helpful and quickly tracked down our bags still in Madrid. The not so amusing thing was she indicated that they bags were never schedule to make it with us but had been originally tagged to get to Lisbon on the 8:00PM flight from Madrid. It would have been nice to have known that ahead. We were going to pick up a car and make our way to our hotel but decided to forget the car because we were spent from the all airport day. Knowing the address of our hotel the gal said a cab was probably the best way to get there so we did grab a cab to our new digs in Lisbon (Leech boa).
Our cab driver was warm and friendly we had a nice talk all the way to our hotel which we discovered is really no where near Lisbon but more than 30 minutes away in a town called Cascais (pronounced Kosh Kiish - long I sound). I spent a little time on the plane practicing please and thank you in Portuguese and then we had so much time in the car that our driver helped me with more words. He was really great. When we got there, (me with my Portuguese phrasebook and taxi lesson) I was throwing out all my new words as soon as they became appropriate. I must say American's are an anomaly here, we are often asked where we're from and when we say SF people are amazed always saying they would love to go there. The hotel clerk asked if this was our first trip and we said yes then he looked at me and said then how is it you know some Portuguese? I held up my book and said our taxi driver was a wonderful teacher. It was pretty funny