Sunday, 21 March 2010
Arrival in Madeira
We had stayed the w/e with Steve and Coral and Cleo and we got up early enough to catch the 9.02 train from Chilham. We'd had a great w/e and been out for a couple of stomping walks. The day before Kristine and I had taken the train to Canterbury and then the bus to bridge for a lunch at the White Horse Inn with my Mum and Dad. The lunch had been good and a lot of fun as we chatted away. Later we chatted whilst we waited for our buses at the bus stop by the little Nailbourne stream that flows across the village.
The bus to Canterbury arrived first so Kristine and I dashed over to catch it and waved out the window to Mum and Dad as they waited on the other side for a bus to Aylesham. I didn't know it then but this would be the last time I'd see my Dad.
On this morning Kristine caught the indirect train to Gatwick involving changes at Tonbridge and Redhill. It's inconvenient but avoids going up to London and back down again and avoids using the expensive Gatwick Express.
At the airport we go through the usual palaver of check-in. They refuse to hand scan my film - even though it's in a separate bag, and it is forced to go through the x-ray machine even after I've asked to speak to the manager. Then when my camera bag comes through they want to open it and hand scan everything anyway. What tossers. I am now unsure whether my film is OK to use. Later it turns out that much of it is fogged. Thanks for that. Tossers!
It's a three hour twenty minute flight which soon passes. At Madeira we are quickly through immigration and our taxi driver is there to meet us. The drive to the hotel takes about an hour. Our travel company is New Experience Holidays and we are staying in the Residencial Encumeada.
At the hotel we are checked in and seemingly given the best room in the place. It is large with two terraces one of which looks over the spectacular mountain scenery all around us and looks down the valley that leads away to the sea far below.
The hotel is fine but at dinner that evening we are disappointed to discover that the restaurant is really a self-service cafeteria and really not that good. still, we are looking forward to our first walk tomorrow. The weather by the way is very mild and it was a warm 20 degrees when we arrived this afternoon.