Day 19 (September 26, 2012)   Return


Before   

   Flight to London leaves at 10 AM from Hong Kong. We must leave the hotel on time to get the airport by Metro and take our breakfast in there once check in is performed.

   On despite of the 14 hours of flight, we will land in London at 4:15 PM. Once there, we will transferred to Gatwick airport, at South, for our definitive flight to Barcelona, where we will arrive at 11 PM.

After

   When waking up, the wonderful views were still there..

Views from our room in Hong Kong

Hotel Nina et Convention's hall   We learnt in London checking in two hours before the flight is not as strict as explained in our eTickets, but we're leaving to the airport to accomplish this target anyway. So, at 7 AM we're ready to check out from hotel and it would be immediately if a lot of other people didn't want to do the same.

   Two red taxis deliver us at airport just before 8 AM and we check in and pass by the security control with no issues. At 10 AM we're seated in the plane, but it is not moving at all. And it doesn't move until one hour later. We hope it recovers it in the way.

   In the meantime, this is the first time I find "the lord of the rings" trilogy in the list of available movies to see. Just now in the last one I can see the two first movies at least and trying to reckon the places where we've been.

   When we're reaching Europe is quite clear we're not going to recover that hour of delay, so we land in London some minutes past 5 PM, when it is getting dark.

   This time we're cleverer at immigration control and do it as fast as the amount of people let and we get the hall looking for our surname in the bunch of notices from the people who are waiting. But it is not here.

   The service we've paid to BA transfer is stated to doesn't be affected by delays as they check the flight number for always knowing the arrival time, but they're not here so I call them. They ask us to wait in the coffee shop for 10 minutes where our driver will show up.

Route Heathrow - Gatwick   This transfer is different than the one when coming: the time range is bigger, airports are closer and Easyjet lets to check in until forty minutes before flight time. The first point is lost because of the delay, but the rest still give us time enough as per not worrying... if driver is appearing indeed in 10 minutes.

   But this is not happening: nobody is coming for us in 10 or even 20 minutes. I call again, and now I'm worried. I'm asked for waiting as driver is arriving to the airport at this moment and in 5 minutes will be there. But I still must call again after that time as, if our transfer to Gatwick takes one hour, we're about to reach the deadline. I'm told driver is parking, so he is about to appear. I beg to be told the truth as our main priority is taking our flight and if we are not going to be able of doing it with them we still can take a couple of regular taxis here in Heathrow. The answer is I must calm down as our driver has already parked and he guarantees we will take our flight.

   We must be at 7:20 PM and when we can see time is over 6:20 PM we have no choice but waiting for our driver and going to Gatwick in time to check in, although it doesn't seem viable to achieve it.

   When driver appears we have forty something minutes to be in Easyjet desk at Gatwick airport, but he doesn't know anything about our story. When we tell he can only answer there is no way of getting Gatwick on time. We're outraged but we have nothing to do now. The driver, though, do really his best running to our destination and rides the distance in a record time, but in Easyjet desk they tell me nothing can be done as the plane is closed. 5 minutes before we had achieve it This is the first time any of us miss a flight and it has not been our fault at all.

   We can only blame the guy at phone which seems to have different priorities than his customers, the one who "guarantee" we would be in that plane did all the possible for keeping us waitting at airport for more than one hour. I've never hated someone this much. A company to remove from my list for ever: BA Transfer, and another company already was in the top of my list: Easyjet. They are the one who solve our problems as they're looking for reallocating us in the next available flight and we only must pay a flat rate of 50 for this. The woman is telling us a flight to Ibiza leaves in one hour and I look at her like "So what?". "It's in Spain", she says. Anyway, next flight to Barcelona is at 7:00 AM.Sleeping in Gatwick airport

   We must spend the night at Gatwick airport, but we will be at home tomorrow. Our home, which, since we leave from Christchurch, is getting closer and closer, but we feel like getting further and further.

   Some of us sleep, some others don't, but while this long wait we have time enough as per recalling the moments of this amazing travel before it definitively ends with our arrival to Barcelona at 11 AM.

   We've experienced too much and I'm sure we will be assimilating all this with the time, while working with the thousands of pictures we're bringing from all our cameras together.

   In the meantime, my valuation of this trip is completely positive, on despite of being trying to sleep in a damn airport seat the night I should be in my bed. But after reading so much about how the plans in New Zealand get screwed I can only thing about how lucky we've been with the weather which has allowed us to accomplish all our stages in our route plan and visiting all our highlights. Well... almost, I still remember how the slowness in first day procedures private us from visiting Auckland.

   Now at the end, I must update the must-do list: The Catlins and Coromandel seemed not being in that list but, for me, they must be in the top of it. Somehow, Christchurch, unfortunately, can be removed from any list. For me, Queenstown city is not a must-do: if you're not interested in the sport activities, one day admiring the landscapes is enough.

   If we would have more days to spend we wouldn't visit so more places, but we would visit better some of the ones we've been: by accepting the offers for repeating next day for free from Tauranga cruise or Maori evening in Te Puia. The biggest disappointing of this travel has been, after imagine ourselves swimming with dolphins, orcas, whales or seals, we haven't swum even with humans. We could spend one whole day in Tongariro National Park too, instead of having one single shot on route with the volcanoes hidden. As can be seen all these days would be for Northern Island, so few I would change from our experience in Southern one.

   Driving New Zealand experience can be summarized in four points: awesome landscapes can appear after each turn, one way bridges, 100 Km/h speed and dead possums at road every while. This video shows a sample:



   Forests are fantastic, as the ones we put in mind when imaging dinosaurs, but with no bugs at all - at least at this period or for us -. Not a single ant or even spider webs!

   It is an extraordinary country allowing to enjoy nature wonders of the most different kind concentrated in its short space. How bad it is that far. Actually, if we would want to go further we would need to choose the Moon as destination.