Hanging in there at 90 plus
This rugby scrum is the departure area at Lisbon Airport. The expression on the woman's face in the foreground pretty much says it all.
In yesterday’s post, I said I was over 90 percent. Today, we had a major move where we checked out of our hotel in Lisbon and flew to London, no minor feat…..especially as sick as I have been. I’m able to say I’m still in the 90’s!
In retrospect, I was much sicker than I wrote. I was much sicker than I thought I was. I was SICK. I thank Laurie for taking such good care of me and getting me back on my feet. She is very good to me and I know it. My wife is awesome, treats me so well, and I adore her. And she deserves it.
We got up around 7 a.m. and were out of the hotel around 7:40 a.m. We walked a block or so and boarded the metro which took us to the airport. We were concerned about rush hour but it wasn’t that big an issue. Lisbon airport, on the other hand…………..
Part of our Lisbon to Luton flight crew. What a great bunch!
We flew Easyjet, a UK discount airline that we have flown many times. We have flown them all over Europe and even to Iceland. Knock on wood, we have had no difficulties with Easyjet in all our travels. We think quite highly of them and fly them when we can.
We checked in 30 days prior, a cool thing with Easyjet. The flight, with two checked bags which cost extra was around 300 Euros for both of us ($ 330 U.S. dollars). While not our cheapest Easyjet flight, around $165 U.S. for a 2.5 hour flight with a paid checked bag isn’t bad by any measure.
This console gives the safety briefing in whatever language you scroll through on the menu. It was interesting to watch the flight crew work and understand what they do. The lack of a bulkhead made it easy to watch the crew in action.
The discount airlines leave from terminal 2 at Lisbon Airport. We walk from the metro to Terminal 2 and enter to find bedlam. We had no breakfast this morning and I needed some type of food to take my meds with (a requirement). I saw a short line at the only food outlet on that side of security and jump at it.
Laurie watched the bags and I waited for the other 3 people in front of me to be taken care of. I wasn’t paying much attention and couldn’t figure out why I was in a line with 3 people and there were 20 other people in a line beside it. Who knows? Maybe that’s a hot food line or something. I ignore it.
I pointed to a sandwich in a glass case beside the cashier and paid. He gave me a receipt and told me to get in the big line. I told him “all I want is that sandwich, the one by your left hand. Just hand it to me.” He said I had to go through the big line. I burned at least 15 minutes and reached the counter, where they reached in the case beside the cashier and gave me the sandwich I had pointed to 20 minutes ago.
Our flight crew sells us tickets for the train from the airport to London. Easyjet thinks of everything!
I take my meds and we get in the bag check line. It is run by the airline and is efficient and quick. We then move to security where we find the staff manning the checkpoint to be quite rude. I’ve never run into people like that in a security line. What jerks...but they work for the airport not the airline.
We enter the terminal and find chaos. It’s shoulder to shoulder and totally devoid of organization. See the photo. As I said in a Facebook post, I have been in the middle of bar fights more organized than Lisbon departures. While we liked Lisbon, their airport personnel and procedures need a bit of work.
We get on the plane and we are seats 1A and 1B, right in the front. Easyjet doesn’t have first class or anything, and they assign seats unless you pay to choose. We apparently checked in first and were assigned accordingly. We were a bit rattled after our airport experience, and fully realize the airline had nothing to do with it. We’ve flown many times with them and we’ve never had airport issues like that.
Our Thameslink train from the airport into London
The front row on Easyjet doesn’t have a bulkhead. It is open, with lots of leg room and the flight attendants are right in front of us. When we take off and land, they are sitting opposite us in jumpseats and we chat with them. They’re very nice and very attentive during the flight.
Their names are Laura and Nicky and we talk about places we’ve visited, travel in general, they give us tips on how to get to London from the airport (Luton), they were awesome! We always like flying Easyjet and they reinforce this. They’re a great crew, and if anyone from Easyjet is reading the blog, compliments on your flight crew for EZY 2366 on January 3, 2020!
We asked where we would buy train tickets to get into London and Laura said “It’s good that you ask that. We sell them on the plane!” We actually bought our train tickets from the flight crew so when we got off the plane we could just get on the train. Easyjet lives up to their name…..it was just……….EASY!
The Oyster card will get you all over London. You put money on it and use it for subways, trains and buses. Like our airline, it's easy!
We ran into a new thing in UK airports. I had read about them but hadn’t used one until now. You walk up to a gate with a set of cameras in it. You place your passport on a scanner and it compares your face to your passport photo (and runs a check) by computer. It took less than a minute and we were cleared through passport control!!!!!! I would have taken a photo of this awesomeness but there was a sign prohibiting it.
We board a shuttle bus that takes us to the train station, a few minutes away. We go through the turnstiles and show our tickets we bought on the plane, get on the train, and ride it right into London. There are trains from Luton to downtown London about every ten minutes and the trip takes around 45 minutes.
From the time we touched down at Luton airport to the time we were in downtown London was a little over an hour. After the situation at the Lisbon airport, we joke that it is nice to be back to civilization. From the time we went wheels up flying out of Lisbon to the time we checked into our hotel in London was nothing but positive. We love the UK!!!!
The ticket machines where you buy an Oyster card, add funds, check balances.
It doesn’t take us long to remember why we love the UK so. Everyone is so nice, so helpful, so friendly. I’ve said many times that Londoners are so nice you can’t imagine...and the further you get from London the nicer they are. I cannot encourage our U.S. friends enough, visit the UK!
One example would be the fare machine attendant in the Earls Court tube station. We asked him if we could take the tube (the subway) to Camden Market tomorrow. He walked over to a booth and got a subway map for both of us, showed us the stops, where we needed to make transfers, and then walked us over to the fare machines and showed us a chart with all the fares so we would know how much it costs! We love the UK folks so much!!!!
We have dinner in a nearby pub. When in London, we tend to stay in an area called Earls Court. It is in West London, right on the tube line, and full of stores and restaurants. It is a very safe area and all the times we have stayed there we have never had a problem. We call it “our neighborhood in London”.
Pub grub. It's what's for dinner!
We head back to our hotel to relax in the lobby with a cup of tea (how British!) and write the blog. Our tea is served by one of the hotel staff (we are staying at Ibis Styles) who really puts forth the effort to take care of us even for something minor like a cup of tea. Man I love the UK!
The day started out rough in Lisbon and ended up great in London. I’ve really struggled this trip and have been sort of down with everything that has gone on. A short visit to the UK has already revived my travel excitement. We’re looking forward to our adventures tomorrow, then a flight home on Sunday. Goodnight everyone!