|This, but for breakfast.|
It’s so sad to see people’s Christmas travel plans disrupted by the weather. We had our share of stresses when we went to Bulgaria at the beginning of December, right in the middle of the first heavy lot of snow. But at least we managed to make it.
Our Gatwick flights were cancelled so we booked last-minute BA flights from Heathrow. These were shockingly expensive and would have paid for half a septic tank in Bulgaria! But we didn’t want to delay our plans (and I’m glad we didn’t as the travel chaos has only gotten worse).
The night before we were due to travel to Heathrow it started to snow heavily – and the prediction was it would get much worse overnight. After spending all that money on flights we were worried we wouldn’t even make it to the airport. So we took drastic action, packed our bag and set off for the airport that night - twelve hours before our flight. We made good time too, thanks to our taxi-driving neighbour Paul (who was completely undaunted by a very hairy drive up the M3 – legend). We arrived at Heathrow Terminal 5 about 11pm at night.
Anyone been to T5? It’s a really cool structure, very masculine with all its engineering on display (big struts, girders and nuts everywhere). But comfortable it aint. There is only one place open through the night at the terminal – Costa. Now, I love a Costa, but it can only kill an hour or so of time, even that’s stretching it. There is nothing else to do at T5 in the middle of the night.
But we were not alone. Clearly plenty of other people had the same idea and had travelled to the airport massively early. Everyone just staked out their area on the floor and bedded down for the night. Airport staff were giving out free rollmatts and blankets! It was like being in the blitz, but with neon blankets and Italian coffee.
We managed an hour or two of sleep before the security gates finally opened. This meant we could go through to the departures lounge and experience a new kind of uncomfortable seating/floor.
Still, nothing open in terms of shops or food.
Finally, at 5.30am, Weatherspoons opened. Good old Spoons! Despite the unsociable hour I got straight onto a large glass of wine. Yum, wine and breakfast. Four hours and quite a few rounds later, our flight was ready to board. Slightly delayed, more than slightly trollied, we embarked on our journey feeling very pleased with ourselves for defeating the snow.
I was hoping we were on for a white Christmas this year but it seems not. Never mind - when we eventually move to Bulgaria hopefully every Christmas will be a white one.
Merry Christmas everyone. Bestest wishes for a happy and adventurous 2011!