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Published: September 13th 2015
We'll be brief tonight after traveling for 17 hours. We got up early and took a taxi at 6am to the Santiago airport, arranged by the hotel and shared with another hotel guest. We can't say enough about the wonderful service we got from the Hotel Altair. At every turn, if they saw something they could do for us they jumped to do it. Santiago completed a new terminal about five years ago to accommodate the influx of pilgrims and it was rather impressive. We took Ryan Air to Madrid. We hope we never have to take Ryan Air again; passengers seemed like a nuisance to them, unless they could find more ways to add expenses and fees. And in order to get in more rows, not only did the seats not recline at all, there were no seat back pockets for magazines or ought else. They did say that the menu of food to purchase was "complementary". It was raining lightly that morning, but fortunately not in Madrid or London.
In Madrid we transferred from the older, but well maintained T1 to the quite new and massive T4. Finding our way in was confusing in the mass of people; we have transferred in Madrid a few times, but this was the first time checking in and getting through security. Fortunately, from this point we are on frequent flyer miles awards in business class, so we got the expedited security line and could spend the next several hours in the lounge. The time went by with reading, naps, and cards. Business/first class on British Air was in coach seats with a tray table across the middle seat. More comfortable than coach but not as good as Alaska's or American's. But we got a hot meal and wine, too!
We landed at Heathrow T5, the newest terminal here, which doesn't look like it is standing up well to the mass of people. We got the expedited line through passport control, but we were still in line over a half hour. At this time, Madalyn realized it had been 40 years since she had first been in Heathrow, on her way to her senior year abroad at University of Saint Andrews, with many of the best memories of her life . By then our bags were ready, so we got them, headed to the curb for the hotel shuttle (every half hour, which we missed by a couple of minutes.) Safely ensconced in the final hotel of this trip, it is to bed at 11:00 and wake at 4:30 for tomorrow's early flight to Chicago, connect to San Francisco, and drive to Madalyn's sister's house before returning home Tuesday. It will be good to be home!
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