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It took me forever to fall asleep, which sucked considering we had a 4:00 a.m wake up call. Our disembarkation group was the first off the ship, leaving at 5:00 a.m. We groggily staggered to the area and filed off the ship with the other sea-weary travellers.

Our tour bus took us to the airport, which was dead at that hour. Getting through the baggage check point was slow going, as the line we were in had a printer error. The security officer asked us questions about who packed our bag, what we bought while in Spain, and other standard questions. It was difficult to understand, because although he asked us in English, his accent was thick and we were sleep deprived.

Eventually, we were cleared and went upstairs to clear the body scanners. The lady in front of me spoke no Spanish was attempting to use a plastic grocery bag as her luggage, which she had tied into double knots. One trip through the x-ray machine showed the two bottles of wine she was attempting to take with her. Clearly this woman hasn’t flown on a plane in at least a decade, because even the most clueless travellers I’ve encountered knew better.

The security officer asked her to open the bag, and retrieved the bottles which went directly into the trash. My bag had to be scanned again because I had my ipod and ipad inside (depending on the airport, you can leave them inside the bag), so I was forced to watch all this unfold.

After we finally cleared security, we had to filter through no less than three duty free shops to get to our terminal which was on the seemingly opposite side of the Barcelona airport. There we finally found a cafe to get coffee and breakfast. I managed to find a European version of Red Bull, a Coke product called Burn. It was awesome.

Our flight was delayed, nearly an hour arriving, and as we went to board, we got an additional security screening. My husband actually got patted down this time, which seemed ridiculous considering we’d already been through security. We got on the plane and began settling in for the long flight home.

Unfortunately, we did not know there was a baggage handler strike going on, and the flight was delayed over three hours while we watched one lonely baggage handler load all the luggage on the Boeing 777. By then, we’d lost our runway slot, so we had to wait even longer.

For the first time, we had to use our international cell phone to ask my in-laws to pick up the baby from daycare since we now were going to be almost 6 hours late getting home. The flight drug on, and though the attendants did their best, we just wanted to go home. I broke down in tears twice waiting for us to get mobile, and it was probably one of the worst flight experiences I’ve ever had.

The in-flight entertainment offered a bunch of movies, and I watched five of them while we were in flight. When we finally landed back on American soil, the baggage took forever to be loaded off, so we all stood around waiting for another hour to get our bags. By the time we cleared customs, and found the shuttle back to the lot, I could barely stand the excitement to get home to see my son again.

It was nearly 7 hours later than we should have arrived, but we got home safely. My son was asleep in his grandfather’s arms, who gladly gave him up for cuddles as we rushed through the door. It was a lovely trip, the return spoiled the memory a bit, but it was a once in a lifetime opportunity. I would do it all again, less the unforeseen delays. But, as with all the trips I’ve taken, I was glad to go, but even more glad to be home.