bonus vacation

Uncategorized Jun 18, 2024

Our trip was almost over.  We rose early and had a taxi take us to Amsterdam’s airport, which rivals any airport I’ve ever seen for size and confusion.  It isn’t the Dutch language of the signage that is a problem…English is almost a first language for most of the Netherlanders.  The signs just aren’t clear.  Arrows point in confusing directions.  We followed one arrow that seemed to signal us up an escalator to our gate, only to find ourselves in a food court being directed down another moving stairway.

However, we finally boarded our flight and were off to Heathrow to connect to LAX.  And so began our crazy day.  In Heathrow we had to go through security again.  In Amsterdam it was my jewelry and a couple of decks of playing cards that had instigated a search.  In London, the same bag was pulled again.  This time it was my hand mirror placed in an outside pocket.  (Vanity causes me trouble again, but really, how DO you see the back of your thinning hair without a hand mirror?)  At least all the personnel were cheerful.

We wound our way to our gate in Heathrow, and that’s when the trouble really started.  We noticed the whole flight crew sitting in a row waiting to board…there were about thirty of them…big plane.  An announcement came on that we’d been delayed.  A leak on board the plane was running all night, and there was quite a bit of clean-up to do.  “Don’t leave the area as they estimate it will be an hour and a half late taking off, maybe more, maybe less.”  Within a half an hour the flight was cancelled, and hundreds of passengers had to figure out how to rebook.  We were told to reclaim our bags and the airline would put us up in a hotel with transfer and food vouchers. 

When we found a gate agent, she said that we had already been rebooked on the next day’s flight, same time.  And our luggage would be rerouted as well.  Except Dave checked his carry-on bag with everything he needed to spend another night, so we’d have to reclaim at least one bag.  And that took forever.  Dave had just left baggage claim to get help after being advised that all bags were off the plane.   Then out pop both our pieces of luggage.  I called him (what did we do before there were cell phones?!), and we headed out to catch the bus to our hotel.

Only the bus didn’t arrive.  We waited for over thirty minutes and finally decided to take a cab.  We were exhausted.  And then it got really scary.  The cab pulled up in front of the sketchiest airport “budget” hotel.  It was grim.  We went in, determined to view it as an adventure.  But I’m telling you, there were scary people hanging around the registration desk.  And to describe our room as spartan would be an insult to Spartans.  I was hoping for a Youth Hostel vibe, but what we got was prison cell.  And the TV didn’t work.  Suddenly our gate agent’s suggestion that we go to Windsor for the afternoon sounded like an imperative.  I pulled out my phone and found a room in a boutique hotel in Windsor.  Now we would just have to figure out a way to get there.  The only taxis that came to this dump would go right back to the airport.  We have no Uber app.  In desperation I went to the hotel desk and asked if they could call us a cab for a day trip to Windsor.  I didn’t check out, and I didn’t tell them we wouldn’t be back.  We just fled.  (The airline paid for the room, so the hotel didn’t care.) 

Another twenty minutes and our lovely driver was depositing us at The Castle Hotel, situated right across the street from Windsor Castle.  The hotel was not five stars, but it was quaint and clean and so welcoming.  We spent a few hours marveling at the eleventh century castle, walking on a portion of The Long Walk, and sharing a pint in the Two Brewers Pub.  Given that we had thought our anniversary trip was over, this was a bonus vacation.

Love, Liz