Tag Archives: jet lag

I Spent an Unexpected Extra Day in Barcelona, Spain


Sagrada Familia
La Sagrada Familia, and the Barcelona skyline (Stock Photo)

The year was 2013 and the destination was Barcelona, Spain. My family and I (recently turned 14 years old) had just gotten off the 8.5 hour red-eye flight from Toronto’s Pearson International Airport.

We made it through customs at around lunch time. After a short cab ride to the hotel, we discovered that we couldn’t check-in until sometime after 3 p.m. Not a big issue, we left our bags with the concierge and started to explore the nearby streets of Catalonia’s capital. We grabbed some food and basic groceries, visited some tourist sites, and enjoyed the warm Spanish summer sun.

Now I don’t know about you, but for me it is impossible to sleep on an airplane. I’ve tried everything from not sleeping for 2 days leading up to the flight, to bringing my own full sized pillow and blanket, to practically overdosing on sleeping pills. Nothing works, and I’ve just accepted that I will have to suffer through every second of every flight I will ever go on. (But if you have tips, I’d love to hear them in the comments)

So as you could imagine, when we finally made it back to the hotel to check in after touring for the afternoon on zero sleep, to say I was ready for bed would be an understatement. We climbed the stairs to our apartment-style accommodations and finally had the opportunity to rest. I threw my luggage on the ground, and b-lined for the bedroom. I pulled down the black-out shades, climbed under the covers in my sweaty clothes and passed out almost immediately.

When I woke up, my phone was dead. The kind of light shining through the cracks in the window shade told me that it must be dawn, but I wasn’t sure. Had I really slept through to the next day? I opened the bedroom door and as I walked towards the living room, I heard the shower running in the bathroom. A few steps further and I noticed my dad sitting on the balcony drinking his morning coffee. When I got to the living room, my brother was sitting on the couch watching TV. He had a bowl of cereal in his hands and was wearing a new set of clothes.

All the clues were telling me that it was the next morning.


My initial reaction was confusion, but it quickly turned to anger. How was it possible for a human to sleep for more than 14 hours, and why in the world didn’t my parents wake me up for dinner last night? I shrugged it off; maybe they slept through dinner too. Either way, I was hungry. I went to the fridge but nothing really seemed appetizing. I needed real sustenance and there was just some sliced bread and a block of cheese to be found.

It was at this time that my mom walked into the kitchen.

“What are we going to do for breakfast?” I asked.

My mom paused and seem puzzled.

“Are we going out to eat, or should I make do with what we have here?” I continued.

Suddenly my mom’s confusion turned into an ear to ear grin across her face before she said while chuckling:

“What day do you think it is? We’re about to leave for dinner…”

I was shocked. I checked the time on the microwave clock, and realized I had only been asleep for a few hours. Suddenly it all clicked. My mom was just showering to freshen up, my dad just wanted to taste test the Spanish coffee, and my brother is just weird and eats cereal at 4:30 in the afternoon.

I collected myself and got ready to venture onto the streets of Barcelona for dinner. The rest of the night was a haze, and I couldn’t help but feel like I was living on borrowed time. We finished up, got back to the apartment around 9 p.m., and I went to bed for the night… for the second time that is.

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