1st January 2006 - Spain Day 8
So much walking
Our final day was an easy day. We had enough of travel and wanted to recharge at home. We left early (the breakfast wasn't any better) to find that most of the town was cleaned up already. Some Spanish were still partying but most were just early workers picking up after the revellers. We got the airport with lots of hours to spare and sat around. We finally found a post office so that Edyta could mail her postcards but it was shut for New Years day. We did a bit of shopping when we could finally enter the departure lounge. Then we boarded the flight without having had our passport stamped at any point. The flight from Spain to Paris involved an air crew celebrating new years still. Every once in a while a party whistle was blown over the PA system. The crew were also pouring out lots of little shots of champagne in plastic cups that I figured were for the guests. As they never made it to the back of the plane and judging from all the PA announcements I think they were for the crew only.
Dirty man, must shave, shower, brush teeth...
Things were much different in France. As is usual when you get off the plane your passport must be stamped. This occurs for leaving or transfers. This involves standing in lines which can move slowly (especially when you plane is due for boarding as soon as you land). Things were worse when the man in front of us started complaining about getting his passport stamped, to which the lady working our side of the line left the booth and dragged him off to some room where he was bound to get a beating or something. This left us with no-one to stamp our book in our line, but the lady in the next line let us in front. Then a few metres down the terminal we had to disrobe, shoes, belts, jackets, anything, to go through the security check. This is after we have shown our passport again. However our tickets caused concern now. We were at boarding time so the lady took our tickets and wandered off to talk to someone else to see if we were allowed through, delaying our boarding which we could make if she let us through. Luckily she did, of course time then had to be wasted putting clothes back on. Another passport check got us into the departures lounge. Then when it was time to board our passports had to be examined as did our tickets, where although we had boarding passes we still had to show the tickets they applied to. We were put to the side while I got them out of my pocket and then promptly forgot about by the man who put us there. I got his attention, he glanced at the tickets and waved us on where we got to have one more passport check before entering the air bridge to get to the plane. The plane ride was then suitable for the English, calm and quiet.
In Heathrow we went to check what happened with our luggage claim with someone who speaks English. He gave us a piece of paper we were meant to have been issued the first time that started the actual bag search process. We were told that at least the bags had left Heathrow. I figure they were lost in France, as while I was waiting for Edyta to finish in the toilet I saw a truck tear around a corner and lose something off the back on the tarmac below. All the other staff then just walked or drove around it rather than seeing what it was.
Back in Reading we were relieved to see that the power was still on in the house. We then got to enjoy a night in a cold, lumpy bed with flat pillows. Oh to be back on holiday.