When I came back from Berlin, all I could think about was how I can make it to Mexico within some reasonable time. I started to check the price of the tickets, but all were too expensive. Zagreb, Milano, Frankfurt, Munich, Zurich… everything that was somehow close to Lucerne was too pricey. When I saw a price of approximately 600€ from Zurich to Mexico City, I started hyperventilating and few days after the ticket was bought. And what now?
I had almost five months to prepare myself for the trip and to the fact, I am going to see Jaime again. For real! 🙂 I started with reading forums, posts, making notes and list of everything I would like to see. There were so many things to remember, plan, ask Jaime about some local things… and in no time I was sitting in Zurich Airport and waiting for my flight.
Coming to Madrid
Iberia doesn’t serve free meals within Europe, only on long distance flights. However, you can buy it.
Spanish people are terrible with English, even if they work at the airport!
Barajas Madrid Airport is very confusing.
I was flying with Iberia, what meant the layover was in Madrid, one of my dream cities. But it also meant there is not going to be any free food on the short haul flight and I was already so hungry! I did my check in online, found Iberia’s drop off counter to leave my checked baggage and I was ready to go. Flight to Madrid was approximately 2 hours long and we landed around 9 pm Madrid time. I knew two things: first, I needed to find something to eat and second, I had no idea where to go to my next gate.
It was almost 9:30 when I finally found myself walking around the airport; the stores and restaurants were already ready to close and the signs around the airport were extremely confusing. I visited lots of airports, but I can say that Barajas Airport in Madrid is one of the most confusing. I needed to go to 4S terminal and I couldn’t find that sign anywhere. Are the S gates same like 4S terminal? Where do I need to go? Can I come back if there are no open restaurants? There was no map, I didn’t even know on which terminal we landed. I noticed Iberia’s info desk and decided to ask them in English. My previous experience was that Spanish people do not speak English at all and I really wanted to test it on the airport. The lady answered me in English, but in really bad English and to just part of the question so I wasn’t sure if she understood everything. After walking around for more than 30 minutes, I decided just to grab something to eat in McDonald’s and follow the signs to S gates. To get there from terminal 4 you need to take a train and pass a passport control. The whole process takes around 20 minutes, but the passport control can get crowded. For those with short layover time, there is a special fast track counter. There was no much stuff going on at 4S terminal. Everything was already closed, so I found a seat near the charger and watched some movies.
On my way to Mexico
Flight from Madrid to Mexico City is 12 hours long.
You need to fill out the forms for the immigration and customs purposes.
Hurry up for the immigration, otherwise, you will find yourself in a long line.
The boarding was supposed to start an hour before the flight, but it was late for 15 – 20 minutes both times I’ve travelled. Passengers are divided into boarding group in order to avoid overcrowding and that works relatively good. Soon I was on board, ready for 12 hours long flight from Madrid to Mexico City. After the standard procedure, we were in the air. Dinner was served around one hour after take-off and the food weren’t actually that bad. I overslept the whole night, waking up just for a midnight sandwich (lol) and breakfast in the morning. We were close to Mexico. It was 5:30 am Mexico time and in the dark, we saw endless lights. Endless! God, this city is enormous. I was so excited when the wheels hit the ground. My first time in Mexico! And Jaime was waiting for me in the airport after seven months we said goodbye in Madrid!
Arriving in Mexico City
Soon after the take-off, everyone who is not Mexican citizen got forms to fill for the immigration and customs. They ask for your personal data, passport number, flight number, how long are you staying in Mexico and if you are bringing some forbidden goods. When we disembarked, next stop was immigration. Our flight arrived around 6 am so there was no line for the immigration, but if you don’t hurry up, you will find yourself waiting among other 400 – 500 people from your flight. The immigration process took around half an hour with waiting and only a minute in front of the officer. He took my passport and forms, filled it out and let me go without any question. The important thing here is that you need to keep a piece of that form in your passport all the time (like a proof you entered Mexico legally and submit it upon leaving the country).
I picked up my luggage and went right through the customs. There you need to give them the second form and press a red button before you are ready to go. When I visited for the second time, they checked my luggage too. The lady was very nice and we chatted a bit about what I planned to visit in Mexico. I passed through the last door and suddenly, I was surrounded by a chaos of Mexico City. The adventure has begun!
Written August 2014
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