Europe Travel Log – Bordeaux to Barcelona
Tuesday 27 September
Another day, another country! We’re flying to Barcelona, Spain!
The travel agent had discovered that buying a return ticket from Bordeaux to Barcelona is cheaper than a one way ticket … Go figure … And cheaper than a train.
Just as well Peter checks the the reporting time at the airport. It’s an international flight so we need to be there two hours before the flight. We have become used to using trains for which we can arrive about thirty minutes before departure. (We always arrive an hour early so that we have plenty of time to find assistance with luggage. The porters appreciate this too and are very helpful.)
Riding on trains that cross national borders requires litle more than a glance at passport and ticket – no security, no formalities. We look after our own luggage. No weight or size restrictions.
Flying to Barcelona reminds us that we must be more careful about packing our luggage. One suitcase weighs 31kg, the other about 11kg. Peter collapses the wheelchair and puts it in it’s bag to go in the hold. Good job, Peter!
No extra charges … lufthansa may not be as generous.
We wait in the designated area for a porter to arrive with an airport chair. We are told he will arrive an hour before departure. Now the Comedie Francaise begins. There is an elderly couple also waiting. When the porter arrives an hour before our flight leaves they immediately stand and rush to the wheelchair. One has a crutch and sits in the chair. I get the porter’s attention “moi aussi – Barcelon”. He is concerned and says he will send another porter. There is an empty wheelchair beside a column near us. I suspect it is for me. A group of middle-aged men arrive and one hops in the wheelchair and they disappear. Uh oh … I ask Peter to go to the counter and remind the attendant that I need a wheelchair, that the flight leaves in an hour and that others have left in wheelchairs. She says she will call a porter. He arrives after about ten minutes but is angry that the wheelchair intended for me is gone. (the middle-aged men!) he tells the attendant she has done a bad job of looking after it. He must look for another wheelchair. Eventually he returns with an aisle chair. It’s very narrow and intended to transfer non-walkers from wheelchair to their airplane seats. Just as well I’m small! This has to take me a long way – without me falling off it! It works though, so no problem.
The small jet has no air bridge, but I am able to pull myself up onto the steps and into the plane. It’s very comfortable, with more leg room than our bigger prop engines, more powerful (though smaller) and much quieter.
Barcelona airport has been notified that I will require a wheelchair, but no one is there to meet me. The cleaners can’t come on board til I disembark and I can’t disembark until a wheelchair arrives. After about half an hour a wheelchair van arrives, with wheelchair, and I am unloaded. However, these guys can only take me off the Tarmac to the terminal. I have to wait for someone to push me through the terminal and collect our luggage. It’s a very long way to the luggage carousel … Barcelona is a big city with a big airport. Peter is concerned that our luggage may have been taken to the “baggage unclaimed” area, but no, our suitcases and the wheelchair are waiting for us.
It’s further again to the exit, but our porter stays with us, organizes a taxi for us, and helps load us in.