Escaping the English summer!

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June 8th 2009
Published: June 11th 2009EDIT THIS ENTRY

Groan!! After two very lazy days we had a pre-dawn start this morning to catch our flight to Spain at 6.15am! We were supposed to check in three hours before an international flight, but Kath and Albert decided that 3.45am would be early enough. It had been decided a couple of weeks ago that four of us and four bags were not going to fit in the Ford Focus for the trip to the airport so Kath and Albert arranged for Colin to take them to the airport. We left about half an hour ahead of them to allow time to drop off the hire car. The only good thing about flying this early is that there is no traffic on the way to the airport!

The car drop off went smoothly. Basically we drove it into the dark and deserted car rental return area and left the keys in the Hertz drop-off box. The only thing that was a bit confusing was where exactly we should leave the car. Avis and Budget both had bays marked, but we couldn’t find any Hertz bays. We left the car in an un-marked bay, so I guess they will just scout around the rooftop car rental car park at Terminal 1 until they find it???!

We were in the check-in hall by about 3.30am so, in the end, we had time to spare. Kath and Albert arrived at 3.45am and we proceeded to the counter where we were checked in straight away. Even though check-in started half an hour earlier there were still no queues at the check-in counters.

When we reached the screening area it was quiet too and Kath managed to get through the screening process really quickly. The rest of us were just about to be directed through when dozens of staff arrived to open up more screening stations. Of course they took priority and they were fast tracked into the screening queue. That was OK, but then the one and only baggage screener they had going broke down so all the staff and all of their jackets, bags, etc had to be transferred to another machine. Finally, as the staff completed their screening procedures they opened more queues and we were on our way again!

Our flight to Reus was on time and entirely uneventful - unless I missed something while I was snoozing??! I’m not even sure that I can remember taking off as I think I dozed off almost as soon as I sat down after our 2.15am start this morning!!! Kath had to give me a nudge to wake me up for the in-flight breakfast!

Of course, we woke the immigration staff up when we presented our Australian passports! Unlike all of the EU passengers on the flight we had to fill in arrival cards!

Actually the delay in immigration helped to fill in some time because there was nothing happening at the baggage carousel when we caught up with Kath and Albert there. When the carousel did start up we were relieved to see that both bags had arrived at the same time as us this morning!

With our bags in tow we proceeded out to the coach for our transfer to the Estival Park Hotel at La Pineda which is between Salut and Tarragona. During the journey the rep told us that we would not be able to check-in until after midday. However, when we arrived the staff at the hotel were able to allocate rooms to us straight away. Kath and Albert are disappointed that we are not in double rooms overlooking the pool as requested. It’s really not a problem, though, as the twin rooms that we are in are very nice and, if we lean over our balcony a bit, we can see the Mediterranean Sea!!! In fact, Kath and Albert’s room is a corner room and it is quite a bit bigger than our standard room.

And the shower is really good! I tested that our almost straight away as we didn’t shower at 2.15am this morning and I was pretty keen to have a shower!!

After unpacking and showering we walked down to the sea front to check out the Supermercato for supplies of alcohol and find a hole in the wall for some €€€. We had to walk a fair way before we found all the banks!! On the way back to the supermercato closest to the hotel (who wants to lug beers, cokes and water all the way along the sea front?) we went to a Tapas Bar. Rather than try one the sea front Bernie chose one down a side street where all of the other customers were Spanish, the menu was only in Spanish and the staff did not speak any English. Undeterred we ordered calamares a la romana as there was little else that we could even guess what it was going to be. After our last experience ordering calamares in Spain (when we were presented with a whole squid cooked in tomato and onions) we were relieved when it was a plate of battered and deep-fried calamari rings that was delivered to our table!!!

Back in our room we have caught up on a bit more of the sleep that we missed this morning! Honestly, I think we are more jet-lagged after our flight to Spain than we were after our flight from Australia to England. Go figure? Maybe it is because it is warm and humid here rather than invigoratingly chilly??

After lazing away the afternoon we went down to the dining room for dinner at 7.30pm. There was an unbelievable array of food on offer! If there was anyone who couldn’t find something they would like to eat they would have to be incredibly fussy. There was everything from paella to chicken and chips to choose from!

The only thing that concerns me about the smorgasbord is how open it all is! I do worry a bit about all the people picking it over and whether or not they are leaving any germs behind?? Once again here in Spain, you would be hard pressed to know that the world is supposedly on high alert over the Swine Flu. The last news that we heard indicated that the level of threat is the same in Australia, the UK and Spain so even if we were in Australia we would face a similar risk of infection? Although we wouldn’t be eating smorgasbord with hundreds of others morning and night!!!


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