SA to UK to Portugal

Some of our regular blog readers have started complaining that they were expecting a blog and nothing has been forthcoming.  The reason I haven’t written anything so far is not due to lack of action but rather due to lack of energy.  It has been so hot that it just saps you of energy and so by the end of the day I pretty exhausted and just head to bed.  I will try to catch you all up over the next few days.  It promises to be highly entertaining reading.

I left Cape Town last Tuesday morning (i.e. a week ago) but had to spend 2 days on business in Johannesburg.  Then I flew to London on Wednesday night and so did Helen (she flew from Cape Town).  We landed at similar times and managed to meet up on the platform of the Heathrow Express. I didn’t get much sleep flying over because the passenger next to me moved around every 5 minutes (or so it felt) and when he did move he managed to rock the whole plane (or so it felt).  He did manage to break the seat in the middle of the night due to his aggressive moving.  Helen (I was told) slept like a baby on the flight over.

We had two days in London – I was working; Helen walked a lot. It was pretty hot still in London (in high 20s). On Saturday we took the Gatwick Express at 5:15am to Gatwick airport for our flight to Faro. We built-in extra time in case we had a repeat of Chloe’s experience but fortunately (while the driver was late to work) we only had a 5 minute delay and made it to Gatwick with plenty of time to check in and have some breakfast. The flight gate was meant to have been put up at 7:30am but never appeared.  When I asked at the desk they said they are towing a plane onto the stand but due to congestion, they were battling to get it there.  At about 7:50 they put up the gate (our departure time was 8:10) and said ‘Go to gate’ then two minutes later it said “Gate closing at 7:56”.  That gave us 4 minutes to get to gate that the guy at the desk told us would take 15 minutes to walk to! Anyone who has ever traveled with me will know that I am “airport fit” and probably can get through an airport quicker than Usain Bolt but this was going to be a stretch for me even. We did get to the gate at about 7:58 to discover they weren’t boarding yet.  Someone behind us complained about the notification and they said “yes it is an automated system and we can’t change it” … Ridiculous!

We left a little late out of Gatwick but the pilot said we would arrive early (and we did). Through passport quite quickly and my bag came off relatively early but no sign of Helen’s.  Everyone else gone from the belt, still no sign of Helen’s bag.  Notification changed to ‘All bags delivered’ … internal groan – no bag. We went and reported it and they said they would let us know when they found it.  All of Helen’s clothes etc in the bag.  She had nothing else with her hand-luggage.  Her toiletries and even her charging cables (vitally important in today’s world) were all in her suitcase.  We had recently been reminded not to get too attached to your worldly goods in various sermons – now Helen got to put it into practice (just glad it was her and not me that got tested).

We collected our rental car and then headed straight for the mall to buy some clothes for Helen for the next day, toiletries and then also some food for our time in Portugal.  What I forgot to say though was that it was around 36 degrees and this was around midday – it got up to 38 degrees. HOT and irritated with BA – not a good combination.

Our friends (B&S … not to be confused with BS) were joining us.  They flew in on Emirates into Lisbon and then drove down to us.  Lisbon temperature was 40 degrees (though the weather app said ‘feels like 50’). They arrived at around 5pm looking tired but relieved to be with us. S in particular was relieved that they had arrived safely … B was driving for the first time on RHS and after 18 hours of traveling with little sleep it seems his driving ability had suffered (sorry B … couldn’t resist!). They did still have some energy for a walk on the beach (our usual evening activity). It was quite spectacular as a thunderstorm had built up and was passing through as well.

On Sunday we went to the Church we had visited when we were here in July with the family – IEC Algarve (https://www.iec-algarve.com/en/).  Most interesting thing was they served communion and they had the outer ring of glasses as real wine and the inner ring as grape juice. Of the 4 of us, I was the only one to go for the real stuff.  Feel much ‘holier’ for doing that.

After Church we took B’s rental car back to Faro airport to drop it off there.  As we hadn’t heard anything from BA on the whereabouts of Helen’s luggage we made a quick stop in the terminal building to enquire if they knew anything else.  The ‘enquiry’ person had to speak to another person and when she finished doing that she said “Good news is that they know where the bag is but I’ll tell you where in a minute” … ok so this was going to be interesting.  Turns out the bag went to Costa Rica … yes you read that correctly.  Problem is BA only fly there twice a week – Saturday and Wednesday.  Bag not coming back any time soon. On Sunday night we got notified that it had been sent on Iberian Airlines to Madrid and should arrive in Faro on Monday midday. That came and went and no sign of it.  Last night I got a notification saying it would be sent to Faro tomorrow and arrive at midday (not holding our breath).  In the mean time Helen has started a new wardrobe courtesy of BA (they just don’t have the bill yet but it will be sent to them).

So that takes you up to Sunday … I will try to send Monday and Tuesday in the next day.

P, H, B & S (remember not BS)

2 thoughts on “SA to UK to Portugal

  1. Joy Phelps says:

    Aah…..good to be able to read of your adventures!! I couldn’t help smiling about B driving on RHS and S’s anxiety. I empathise!!!! Praying for you all in the immense heat!!

  2. Josie Lewis says:

    I don’t believe it! I love a good story but this is not quite what you were looking for this trip, was it?

    I had to look up Costa Rica on Google (OK – hands up – gave up Geography at the end of Form 3 (Yr 9 these days). The only thing that jumped out at me was that there is a town/city in the North West of Costa Rica called “LIberia” and as Helen’s bag ended up on Spain’s national carrier Iberia, some shortsighted baggage handler chucked it aside?! I told you I very nearly joined the Police at Post Grad. You may now refer to me as Inspector Lewis!

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