Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Getting around.

During our just finished visit to Vigo we discovered that the price of travelling on the local buses has gone up by ... wait for it ... 2 céntimos!!! Daylight robbery!!! To travel to the end of the street or to the other end of the city now costs €1.24. Amazing!!! If I didn’t have my bus pass here in the UK it would cost me about three times that much just to go the next village. I dread to think what it would cost me to go to the other side of Greater Manchester. 

Yes, here we are, back in the UK. On Sunday we walked to the bus station, trundling our wheelie suitcases behind us, commenting once again on the fact that the paving stones are set to create maximum noise as you wheel something over them. 

The newspaper kiosk in the bus station has closed. In its place there is a cheap clothes shop, with items piled in the window so that it looks like a jumble sale. Hand written notices stuck in the window announce items for €2. Clearly they are aiming for the top end of the market then! 

 An enterprising soul has set up a book stall on a group of tables just outside the ex-kiosk but appeared to be doing slow business. 

The bus arrived in plenty of time for once. Our tickets were checked and our luggage stowed but we were asked politely to wait a while before getting on the bus. No explanation was given. A surprisingly orderly queue was formed. Eventually we were allowed onto the vehicle. We found seats – there were remarkably few lots of two seats free together, the bus having come from La Coruña and picked up passengers en route. But we were fine ... and then a large lady sat in front of us and immediately reclined her seat so that she was almost on Phil’s lap. This was thoughtful and considerate. It wasn’t as if you could expect everyone to want to sleep; the bus left at half past midday! Fortunately she got off in Braga so all was well. 

Somewhere between Braga and Oporto the bus stopped on a roundabout, well on a kind of lay-by on a roundabout but still an odd place to stop and turn off he engines. We waited almost fifteen minutes. People were obviously wondering what was going on, getting up and looking out of the window, commenting to each other but none of us got round to asking the driver. Finally we set off once more. I think we may have changed drivers, which would be a logical explanation, but I am not sure. 

 We hung around the airport at Oporto for several hours and had some rather inferior pizza at a rather inflated price but at least it came with a free soft drink 

After watching the sun go down we made our way to the relevant gate for our plane which appeared to have arrived early and was boarding early. We had some difficulty understanding the instructions about boarding. I can usually understand enough Portuguese to deal with those announcements but this time both the Portuguese and the English versions were incomprehensible. I just about made out the word Liverpool. What’s more, the announcements remained almost incomprehensible throughout the flight. The member of cabin crew chosen to make these announcements truly was a poor choice. If I had taught someone a foreign language and they had pronounced it in such a garbled fashion, I would have considered myself a failure. Mistakes like “yours own safety” and “passengers with children and asked to hold thems hands” were the least of it. “Any raaarbish?” has now gone into our vocabulary as a way of asking if there is anything else to be added to the rubbish bag! 

Despite the early boarding we arrived a little late at Liverpool, slowed down by strong head winds by all accounts. Once on the ground in Liverpool, we could see the covered walk way and the doors by which we usually entered the airport from the plane. However, we were all shepherded onto a bus, driven rough the back ways of the airport complex and then had to walk miles and miles (all right, I exaggerate, but quite a long way) before standing in a long slow queue for passport control. 

It was into the small hours of Monday morning when we went through our front door at last. And I had promised to be up at the crack of dawn to take the grandchildren to school. 

I’ve still not caught up on my sleep. And we have left the sunshine behind!

No comments:

Post a Comment