Tour Day 14 The Long Trek Home
After discussions with our bus drivers it was decided that to avoid a potential late arrival at Gatwick, after dropping off Chomo & myself at Heathrow, a 2:00 AM start was advisable. Someone suggested that we get the front desk to give us a 1:30 wakeup call till we realized that most of us had no phone in the room. After a lot of coaching we got Ossie to programme his phone for an alarm. So, by 1:45 most of the crew traveling were out in the quadrangle ready to roll, but Ossie was still a no show. Chomo decided to knock on his door to get him moving. After knocking a few times, the drapes of the room opened to reveal a white face, Oops, wrong door.
Eventually everyone was at the bus, bags loaded & ready to roll.
At that time in the morning most passengers were dozing & the bus quiet. I must have dropped off for a while because I missed a couple of the slow spots on the M5. Made a pit stop just before Heathrow but most places still closed.
Eventually I was the 1st drop at Terminal 3 at Heathrow just after 6:00 AM. What happened to the rest I don’t know, but apparently everyone got to their flights on time.
My plan was to leave my big case in left luggage for a couple of days so that I didn’t have to lug it to & from Heathrow. Found out the left luggage was in the next building no problem finding it & checked my bag. As I was heading to the tube, I realized that I could see no reference on the departure screens for Air Canada. Finally checked my itinerary & found I should be in Terminal 2. As I had plenty of time, I did a survey of the distances & time required between the tube station & the left luggage in Terminal 3 & check in at Terminal 2. I realized that with limited time on Monday morning it would be best to take my bag to Terminal 2 left luggage. When I collected my bag, I had a fee of 7 pounds to pay & I said to the lady that was the price of my stupidity. She replied “No its the price of 2 coffees” Kind of put things into perspective. Finally got the bag checked & on my way to my Hounslow Hotel.
With the delays I got to the hotel around 9 AM. Spoke to the lady on reception & asked as I was so early could I just leave my carry on at the front desk & come back in the afternoon to check in. She asked my name, asked for my passport & a credit card checked on the computer passed back my stuff & said you have a room ready. Now that was a pleasant surprise. Went & cleaned up, unpacked my bag & then headed into the city for breakfast & a sightseeing day.
Next day Sunday was the final of the Cricket World Cup so I looked around the city for a pub showing the game. Even though it was on the general channel all I saw was the Grand Prix, Wimbledon or the Tour de France. The game was on a large screen in Trafalgar Square but nowhere to sit & poor viewing lines to screen. Eventually gave up & went to find Phil’s old pub The Lamb & Flag. Found it down a very narrow passage way near Covent Garden. TV was on tuned to the Grand Prix which was due to start in an hour or more so nothing going on. Got talking to the granddad of a family in the pub for some regular family day out. Interesting individual. Eventually headed back to my hotel where the game was on TV.
By 7:30 the game ended in a tie & I am just wanting to go & eat as I had a 4:30 start next morning. Super Over time. Well we all know the result.
Had a very nice lamb cutlets dinner with a large glass of wine & off to bed.
Next morning at the tube station for the 4:55 AM train to Heathrow, I had checked in on line the night before so all I needed was my boarding pass & bag tag. Of course, the computer does not recognize my info. There was only 1 desk open so it took what seems for ever to check in. But plenty of time for breakfast before the plane loads. Pleasant flight, no problems or very little turbulence.
Going through customs in Toronto which is all machines, the first wouldn’t accept my passport the 2nddecided that I had not answered one of the questions with a tick in yes or no. Made the tick bigger & darker but to no avail so had to see one of the live humans & explained the problem, His only comment was “yea it happens a lot” Good to see we can trust automation.
Remembered too late that I had hidden all my Canadian cash in the bottom of my big suitcase & it was checked through to Winnipeg. In Toronto tried to get cash from an ATM. Only 2 available, first one was out of order & the other one only dispensed US$ or Euros.
As I booked on points I was routed through Ottawa. Tried again for cash in Ottawa. Only 1 ATM in the area & that did not recognize my small bank, RBC, tried again using Visa did not recognize that either. Just had to hope that the cab in Winnipeg would take Visa, he did.
The plane was at the gate when I arrived but had an hour & a half lay over when we boarded nothing happened for a while but then the pilot said the lock on the cockpit door was faulty & had to be replaced. How come that wasn’t noticed when the plane came in?
The part was on its way from the other side of the airport & would only take 5 minutes to get there. Half an hour later the part arrived & eventually the door got fixed & we got off nearly an hour late.
From there on just plain sailing