The Joys of Travel

Once again we’ve been invited out to Jalón, Spain, to look after a house and our favourite little dog. Of course, when it comes to me and dogs, favourite doesn’t mean very much ‘cos I don’t like ‘em. This one, however, despite being a terrier-like beast, the worst of all types of dogs, is really quite cute, occasionally reaching the dizzy heights of endearing. I still think we should’ve resisted messing about with wolves, though.

But I digress. At 5:00 AM today, a taxi turned up to ferry us off to Luton Airport. This trip is odd in a couple of ways. Firstly, our dates coincide with those of our immediate neighbours who are spending the very same two weeks in their little Spanish hacienda. It is they who got us into our house-and-dog-sitting gigs in the first place. So, we shared the taxi.

The second way in which this is odd is that it may prove to be our last house-and-dog-sitting booking. Our friends have their Spanish house on the market, intending to move back to the UK. On a personal note, this is very sad. I also have misgivings because I have witnessed the unbounded joy on Chris’s face when he has returned to Spain from a visit to England. I know the dog will hate it; he doesn’t like the rain in Spain. [Cue: well known phrase.] These thoughts wandered around my head as we headed fro the airport.

There are two fine things about Luton,  one is the M1 motorway and the other is the airport – both get you the hell out of Luton and somewhere else reasonable swiftly. We pitched up at the airport at 5:30 AM in time for the easyJet baggage drop to be open. The baggage drop was very civilized with only three sets of baggage droppers ahead of us. Security was another story – the lines were very long. Still, I suppose you have to do something whilst waiting for boarding time and undressing for the security scanners followed by redressing for the departure “lounge” is as good as anything. Shoes off, belts off, jackets off, computers out of sleeves  – shoes back on, belts back on, jackets back on, computers back in sleeves. What a world. I know it’s necessary.

Our neighbours were already through; with a house full of kit in Spain, they had no baggage to drop. We met them at one of the many coffee bars, all of which were heaving. The misleadingly named “departure lounge – there is no where to lounge., as such – was absolutely heaving, at 6:00 AM. Any traditionally less than comfortable seats were occupied, the coffee lounges were full. Most of the floor space was occupied by family groups waiting. Moving around the lounge was decidedly difficult with groups of individuals standing staring up at the departure boards waiting to see which gate they should hurry off to to board their flight.The bars were full.  Even as a man who loves to imbibe, I can never understand sitting in a bar with a pint of lager at 6:00 AM. I can’t even face food at 6:00 AM. Yikes!

This wasn’t a school holiday and it wasn’t a particularly special weekend but it was a weekend. We don’t normally do this sort of thing at the weekend. We had chosen these dates to coincide with the neighbours but, since they are also retired, I wonder they’d chosen the weekend. I hadn’t even thought about it until now. Curious. IN the space of an hour, there were 10 easyJet flights departing. They all looked as if they’d be full. There were 9 Whizz flights, too. Polish is now the second language in our neck of the woods. We’ve even got a new Polish shop in town. [Note to self: must take a look to see what interesting stuff it might have.] Travel really was a much more enjoyable experience when less folks were doing it. Maybe we need to put prices back up?

We boarded, all seats were full and some carry-on baggage had to be checked into the hold. At least when it’s checked at the gate, you’re sure it gets onto the correct plane. 🙂

We arrived after a crowded but uneventful 2¼–hour flight. The Alicante skies had a high overcast but it was dry and considerably warmer at 18°C. It’s good to be back but I wonder if we’ll get to do it again?

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Posted in 2014 Spain

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