From The Dominican Republic to Portugal

Peniche, Portugal

What would travel be without some kind of ridiculous adventure to tell you all about? My trip from Las Terrenas, Dominican Republic, to Peniche, Portugal, was no exception. You would not believe the craziness that happened after landing in Lisbon! I’m so glad I have friends here who helped me find my apartment and fed me a delicious dinner upon arrival. Thanks, Friends!

Las Terrenas to Santo Domingo

My trip began with a shocking realization that the airline I was using only allowed 10 kilograms for carry-on luggage. WTF! I have all my luggage weighed out for the usual 15kg for carry-on and 23kg in my checked. Lots of moving and Tetris later… I had it all sorted. However, I was not happy that my carry-on had plenty of space, but I couldn’t add anything for fear of getting charged extra for going over the weight limit. Remember, this is everything I own with me.

Rainbows in Las Terrenas
I’m going to miss the lush landscape and tropical storms of The Dominican Republic (but not the summer heat!).

Finally, packed and ready to go, my shuttle picked me up at a leisurely 9am. My neighbors were so nice and helped me haul everything upstairs to the road. I’m going to miss those folks! We had a lovely sendoff cocktail hour with another neighbor the night before, which was so nice. Really great people.

It takes anywhere from 2.5 hours to 5 hours to drive from Las Terrenas to Santo Domingo. Depending on traffic, road conditions, and the condition of the vehicle being driven. I gave myself five hours to get to the airport, just in case. That shuttle driver was a super speed-racer. He knew where every traffic officer was, slowing and speeding up accordingly. Got to the airport in two hours flat (I’m glad I took a Dramamine)! However, I’m happy I planned the extra three hours because his engine light was on the entire time. He kept rolling down his window, sticking his head out, and commenting on an odd rattling sound from his car. Could have been bad!

Santo Domingo, DR, to Madrid, Spain

Well, now I’m at the airport freakishly early, but I’m all excited about hitting up the lounge. I love airport lounges! Free food. Free drinks! And plenty of people watching. My favorite. However, I can’t check in because the airline doesn’t open until four hours before the flight. Yes, I’m that early. Lucky for me, they had weighing scales available to use so I could re-adjust the contents of all my bags so that not a one of them was overweight. Yup. I was that person on the floor of the airport, moving items from one bag to another. Don’t judge me!

Sculpture in Peniche
Peniche has some very pretty art. I’m glad I’m staying for a bit.

Check-in finally begins and they don’t even weigh my carry-on. Sigh. However, they forced me to check it. Wait! What? That’s my carry-on. I need that. All my meds are in there. All my clothes. My snorkel gear (probably won’t need that on the flight, but you never know). Well, they check it, so I’m glad I put a tracker in there so I could see where it is. On to the lounge for lunch and mimosas!

The flight boarded on time with no issues and we took off around 4pm. It was a pretty pleasant trip, with free entertainment and drinks. Plus, they had gluten-free meals ready for me (dinner and breakfast) since I requested them at check-in so I was pretty chuffed with myself! I slept a bit on the eight-hour flight, but mostly I watched movies. Landed around 6am no worries.

Screen shot of tracking tags
Here is a screen shot of my luggage trackers. That poor chicken tag is off doing who-knows-what! This makes me very worried.

Madrid to Lisbon, Portugal

After a quick trip through customs (welcome to the EU!), I hit up the airport lounge in Madrid. Now, that is a lovely space with exceptional food available. My layover was for five hours, so I was very glad that they allowed me into the lounge that early. Sometimes they won’t do that. I slept for a bit but mostly ate and people watched. I also watched my luggage trackers. Two bags made it to my gate, but that carry-on (that they made me check…) was out in no-man’s-land. Weird. Maybe the battery died? Buried under a bunch of other bags? No one around with a compatible phone? In a Faraday cage? No sé.

The flight to Lisbon boarded on time with no issues. It was a ridiculously quick flight of just over an hour. After landing, I wandered over to baggage claim with all the other peeps. Two bags acquired, one to go. Waiting. Getting nervous. Lots of people are still waiting for their bags, but no more bags coming out. My tracker says my bag is in Madrid still. Showing a location update time of… after my plane took off. Crap.

We all make our way to Lost Luggage and pull a number to wait with a lot of other people. I’m chatting it up with folks from my flight. One guy also has a tracker in his luggage and it is still in Madrid as well. Looks like an entire load of bags just didn’t make it onto the flight. But why would all of my bags but one make it? Shouldn’t they all have been together? It was a five-hour layover, plenty of time to move all of my bags from one flight to the next. Two really long, tired, hungry hours later, my number is finally called. The airport will deliver my bag to my apartment in Peniche, maybe tonight, but probably tomorrow. Sigh.

Fruit market in Portugal
Check out this fruit and fish market in Peniche! They have so many types of olives! I’m in heaven!

Lisbon to Peniche

I’m not even in Peniche yet. I still have about three hours of travel left. Luckily I brought snacks or I probably would have killed someone! Everyone around me was very fortunate. I hauled all my luggage down to the Metro (subway) to purchase a pass. Red Line to the middle of the city and then switched to the Blue Line to get to the bus station on the outskirts of town. I had a fifty-fifty shot of exiting the subway on the correct side of the street. I chose poorly.

You can’t go back down to the other side or you have to pay again. I just hauled all that luggage through some construction gravel, across the street, and to the bus station. If I had exited the subway on the other side, I would have landed right at the station. Jibbers! Purchased some bus tickets with 30 minutes to spare. So tired! But determined to see the beautiful Portuguese countryside from the bus. Nope! I slept.

Mrs. ItchyFeet in Peniche
Finally made it to Peniche after so much time traveling! So tired!

The apartment is very cute and very well located. My friends (they are my high-school BFF’s parents so I have known them forever) met me at the bus station in Peniche and helped me with my luggage. It was so good to see them again after several years! The plan was to shower, change, and head to their place for dinner. However, all my clothes were still in Madrid and I didn’t know when they would arrive. The airline made it very clear they will not attempt a second delivery. If I missed the delivery, I would have to travel back to the airport to pick up the bag from their warehouse. Stress.

What the crap happened to my bag?

My bag tracker still said the bag was in Madrid but I was worried that it might have lost battery power and could be anywhere. Why would it still be in Madrid? This made it so I had to eat and run, but it was so nice of my friends to cook. So much noms. They have really exceptional olives here! And wine! This is wine country! I sadly went back to my apartment to await my bag. It is now 7pm and I had left my place in the Caribbean at 9am the previous day!

The next morning, I watched as my bag’s tracker finally checked in upon arrival at Lisbon Airport. The airline was nice enough to call and give me a time of drop-off around 11am. My friends had graciously given me grocery items for breakfast, so I didn’t have to starve while waiting. That was good thinking! They rock!

Damage to my luggage
My bag looks like it fell off a truck! I was able to bend it mostly back into shape with help from friends.

So I finally hear a honk outside and I run out and wave enthusiastically to the driver of the van, all happy like. He looks at me like I am unhinged and possibly dangerous. It’s an ambulance there to pick up a neighbor. Not my bag. I go back inside all sad-like, only for a different driver to knock on my door half a second later. Unfortunately, my bag is seriously battered and has clearly been rummaged through. It looks like it fell out of a plane and broke open! Poor thing had a hard time of it and is in need of a good hammering to get it back into shape.

Yes, I’m well aware that I should not have signed for the bag in that condition. I should have filed a damaged luggage report on the spot, or at least written on the document, noting the damage. But I want clean underwear and the rest of my stuff! I panicked, I signed the papers, and I took my bag. It’s all good. I’ll get it fixed. It’s an adventure!

Recommended Posts