Thursday 26 September
Breakfast at the hotel and we pack ready to leave. I ask for the bill ahead of checkout to be sure they have worked out the two bookings we stayed on. It took them 3 print outs but without my intervention they were finally satisfied and handed over the bill. All correct, amazing! Our taxi ride to the airport was the standard €30 but with all the underground tunnels in Madrid it was only around 15 minutes. We missed virtually all of the traffic congestion.
We check in to our BA codeshare flight on Iberia and then Tony, just on the off chance, goes to the arrivals area and finds the Lost Property office. Yes, they have 4 Samsung phones, one of which even had a wallet with credit cards, but unfortunately none were his. Ah well. In Heathrow Terminal 5 we find the Hotel Hopper bus stop eventually and have a private transfer to the Hyatt next to the airport. The rooms must have double or triple glazing because there was absolutely no noise. Kathy really enjoyed her “normal" steak and veggies for tea.
Friday 27 September
We have the Hotel Hopper timetable so are outside waiting for the bus before 8.45am. Unfortunately, the timetable seems to be more indicative than something that they work to. It is over half an hour before the H4 bus arrives, but at least it drops us off right outside Departures in Terminal 2. With our Premium Economy seats we have priority check in, so that goes smoothly once we present the right passports. The UK has no interest in us leaving it would seem. Kathy is successful in finding a book to read, but after 2 goes at paying for some perfume, gives up and is not happy. Flying can be stressful, so late busses and other problems are not helpful, but at least the security check goes without a hitch. The flight home is uneventful, thankfully, and we are back home a few minutes early, with no disasters awaiting us. Now all we have to do is get over jetlag and get rid of the sore throat and cold that Kathy picked up at the end of the coach tour, and then generously passed on to Tony.
We spent some 7 weeks away, with a bit over 2 weeks in the UK and the rest in Spain. Our time in England was enjoyable and we did everything as planned. The highlight was the walk along Hadrian's Wall, which at 95km was a bit more than we had expected due to the extras to get to and from the B&B's each day. We both had some issues with our feet, Kathy had blisters on some toes after day 4 but was determined to finish, which she did, well done! Tony's problem with a swollen foot didn't become apparent until the day after we finished the walk but was much slower to heal. Still not sure what the issue was.
Spain was interesting and for the most part, fun. The mobile phone loss was annoying but without serious implications, although it did prompt Tony to change a few passwords, just to be sure. Other than the failure of the cunning plan to have the suitcases delivered to Madrid, rather than dragging them around northern Spain, everything went pretty much as planned. Perhaps the major issue for us was that other than the week at the apartment in Vera Playa, we were eating in bars and restaurants every night. I'm sure that the Spanish don't eat these types of meals at home, at least not every day? Except for some rather unimaginative salads, we had real problems finding menu options that included vegetables, even as a separate course. Having said that, neither of us had any problems with tummy bugs and we also drank tap water everywhere. We also packed a lot in, and at least geographically, we pretty much covered the country.
We've done enough planes, trains, busses etc. for now thank you. The next overseas trip will be a bit more relaxed, being a 17 day cruise in 2020.