I left last Sunday night for London (to work for a week) but the rest of the family + girlfriend left on Friday night to join me for our mid-year holiday in Europe. They flew over to London and then had the day to kill before we flew on Saturday afternoon at 4:25pm to Faro, Portugal.
Chloe (who is considering studying in the UK) wanted to attend the Kings College open day (that’s the photo) which happened yesterday and so her and Helen came in to London. They got to the flat around 7:30am and so had time for breakfast, a bath (novelty now because of the severe water restrictions and shortage in Cape Town, they haven’t bathed for a long time … don’t worry they do shower occasionally though) and some downtime (read nap) before heading off to the open day. The rest of them decided to stay at Heathrow for the day. They had to transfer from T3 to T5 and then spent the rest of the day in the BA lounge in T5. By the time we joined them at 2:40pm, Oli seemed bored out of her mind (not surprising when you have Stephen and Michael for company for that long).
We boarded and left on time and landed on time in Faro too (even with the obligatory 20 minute taxi around Heathrow runways). The most stunning thing of the day was that Helen and Stephen (sitting next to each other on plane) spoke for about 2 hours solid on the flight. If you ever travel with Helen you will quickly realise she switches off from everyone else on a plane and it seems to be her and her book traveling together (which is why I generally sit next to my favourite daughter rather who is a good travel companion). Add to that Stephen who we sometimes forget still lives in our house (we see him so seldom sometimes), it was quite surprising to see them speak for 2 hours. Stephen might have been updating Helen on the last 2-3 years of his life – that could explain it!
It was overcast in Faro, but on landing at 7:30pm it was 35 degrees. Passport control took some time (Oli the EU citizen was sent ahead to get the luggage … making herself useful) and by the time we were all through the luggage was almost all out. Then came the biggest time consumer – getting the rental car. We had rented two cars (6 people and golf clubs) and from different car companies so Helen went to one queue and me the other. Both queues were ridiculously long – mine was out of the rental agency kiosk. It is simply ridiculous how long it takes to rent a car in Portugal. This is not the first time it has happened. They must love paper as a nation and I had to sign 4 documents to get the car – even individual printed especially for me. It took me about an hour. Helen managed to do it in less time so 4 of them headed out with whatever luggage they could fit in and Stephen and I waited patiently to get our car.
We eventually arrived at our house in Vilamoura at around 9pm. Fortunately my sister and brother-in-law and family had been staying in it until Saturday am so they had kindly left us some food and probably more importantly a very nice bottle of port (thanks Jeff!). Everyone was pretty tired from the traveling and so by 10pm we all headed to bed (or were already in bed). I’ve been up since 6:30am and its now 8am – not seen anyone else yet and I’m getting hungry so probably not going to wait much longer to make myself breakfast.
Until tomorrow …
P, H, C (because she complained she is always last on the blog), S, M, O (because she deserves to be there – already insulting me on the plane)