A Backup Plan: Don’t Leave Home Without One

words + photos by Elyn Aviva

At last the long-awaited day arrived. Our kids (Jesse and Yui) and Sophie, our adorable granddaughter (two years and eight months old), were flying from California to visit us in Spain. My husband, Gary, and I took the train to Madrid on Wednesday, the day before they were supposed to arrive, and spent the day exploring museums and sipping espresso at outdoor cafés. It was a lull in the middle of Holy Week, which runs from Palm Sunday through Easter.

That night, just before we went to bed, the cell phone rang. It was Jesse, my son, calling to say their flight had been cancelled and they would update us when they knew more. Two hours later, another call. Jesse again. They’d managed to be rebooked, but instead of arriving at Barajas Airport at 11 a.m. on Thursday, they would be arriving at 7 p.m. No problem, we assured them. We were relieved they were still arriving the same day.

The initial plan had been to drive north on Thursday to Sahagún de Campos, the small town where Jesse and I had lived for a year in 1982. Jesse was hoping to reunite with schoolmates he hadn’t seen in 28 years. These friends were returning to their pueblo, Sahagún, to celebrate Holy Week. We realized that if the kids arrived at 7 p.m., by the time they got their luggage and we picked up the rental car, it would be too late to drive all the way to Sahagún. So Gary went online (we had free wifi at our hotel) and booked two rooms in a hotel in Segovia, en route to Sahagún. We knew that Jesse and Yui wanted to see Segovia, so we figured that would make the best of the situation.

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