Day 0/1 – Getting there

24 Mar

In summary, I got there!

The conductor eventually caught up with me – £130.70 for the ticket from Edinburgh to Heathrow. Nice ride though.

After reaching Kings Cross, I quickly got on a tube to Heathrow. Unfortunately it was the wrong one, as it was going to the wrong terminal. A quick change at Green Park and I was on my way again.

People watching on the tube should be a national sport. One old gent had a good conversation about how many birds he had shot. His green country gent outfit was only spoiled slightly by the blue and black motorcycling gloves he was wearing.

At heathrow, I joined a long queue of people dropping off bags. Who ever thought that online check in was a good idea, didn’t think through the consequences!

One stroppy, unhelpful bissom later, and I was no further forward. Thankfully Julie, a British Airways angel, arrived to fast track me due to my imminent departure. Despite her good intentions, it wasn’t much faster than the other queue.

Safely through security, after a personal inspection of my copious amounts of camera batteries, I tried another BA employee to get a refund on my flight ticket. Gave up at the lack of understanding of English by Londoners.

Made the gate in plenty time, and I was on the way! Met the first fellow traveller, Judy, on the plane – she was on the other side of the aisle. Also met Paul (ex army, current postal worker), who was sitting behind. Plane to Madrid was late taking off and there wasn’t much time there to get my planned bite to eat. Iberia had provided no food on the first flight. I don’t like Iberia.

Did manage a ham and cheese baguette and a white magnum though before joining the queue for the next plane – a 13 hour flight to Santiago, Chile.

Pleasantly surprised to see individual screens in each seat for entertainment. Sat next to my third identified fellow traveller – Penny, who offered me some of her food. I can see reputations starting already.

Both meals were surprisingly nice – salmon ravioli and then an omlete for breakfast.

Passed the time watching 3 films – Wreck it Ralph, Hitchcock and something with Gerard Butler and football. Haven’t touched the Kindle yet!

Managed to doze briefly but not really able to sleep as it was too hot. Spent most of the time walking to the cool area where the cabin crew were to ask for water “con jelo” (with ice).

Over 13 hours later, we touched down in Chile, having flown over the Andes – spectacular!  Quite unsure what the local time was, but we were certainly later than expected.

The customs form insisted we declare anything that might contain vegetable extract on fear of a big fine – so I declared my crisps. Penny had biscuits and Earl Grey to declare! Everything turned out to be OK.

At touch down, we swiftly deplaned and headed to collect our bags. A man looked like he was looking for us, and we eventually discovered that he had already unloaded our luggage from the belts after we had been standing there looking for it for ages. Helpful is as helpful does.

We hit the arrivals hall as a group of 7 and 4 more joined us shortly after.

We left the airport with Joanne, aka Jo, our Peruvian tour guide for the entire trip and Fernando, our local Chilean tour guide for the next couple of days.

After a short 40 minute journey – or less as it was a Sunday – we arrived at our very nice hotel in Santiago’s Providencia district and were immediately whisked off for a late breakfast – basically lunch!

Tired, but somehow rejuvenated, we got as far as our rooms and then headed for the midday briefing with the whole group.

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