If anyone out there has at sometime in the past thought we were a little crazy this past week confirms it but also proves we can be unbelievably lucky.
Back in the autumn British Airways in trouble offered an amazing cheap city break to NEW YORK just before Christmas.It seemed like such a good idea back then as I had never visited the Big Apple and loved the idea of the lights on 5th Avenue, Macey’s and meeting Santa on 34th street !
For anyone feeling home sick for the States it was wonderful.
We stayed in the Hotel Metro just round the corner from Macey’s and will put info and photos about the great stay we had on the NEW YORK TRIP page.
BUT IT WAS ONE OF THE COLDEST WEEKS ON RECORD !!!!!!!!!!!!!!
We could only manage a couple of blocks without another “warm up stop” of some kind…… yes we had gone prepared ,ski undies, wooly jumpers, thick socks ,boots ,hat gloves etc, but the wind off the Hudson River cut through the lot.
SO THE RETURN TRIP !
Local warnings were out Friday evening for an approaching ice storm.You can imagine the early exodus from the city.When we reached JFK flights were already being cancelled or delayed.The departure board became mesmerizing but our flight stayed firm.We loaded and down to one runway joined a queue of planes.It was like been in the freeway gridlock again but in a plane.We finally took off with no premonition of the problems waiting in the UK and oblivious that we had been the last flight allowed to head for Heathrow. As we landed there was light snow but once we had collected bags there was a white out and it was announced the airport was closed and everyone should leave the building.We headed for our bus , the motorway west did not look good.The bus due to go to Swansea first cut back to Cardiff , then Newport and finally offered Bristol as Wales was completely cut off.Our son suggested we try to head east to London.With everyone else we dragged baggage to the underground.As you may know this is an overground train for several stops before inner London.It lurched on lights flickering and doors stuck open for a while at each station.The platforms were almost invisible.A young Polish girl opposite us ,sniffed sadly as her Christmas trip home to her family was now ruined.We sighed with relief as we left the elements behind and went underground.We then hauled bags up stairs as we changed lines to reach Pimlico and our sons flat.Behind us his parents in law en route from Hong Kong to Heathrow had been diverted to Manchester.They sat there in the plane for Five hours as lack of border staff meant they couldn’t disembark. Finally they were put on a bus to drive to Heathrow , by now closed completely with a transport shut down! The bus got stuck at Watford north of London as the ring road the M25 was closed.They put them into a hotel for the night. Warm and comfortable in the appt we all felt so bad for them.Next morning our son told them NOT to get back on the bus.He hired a car and drove across London to rescue them.We had lunch together then we tracked down a promised bus leaving at 3-00pm for Wales. I wont mention the queues and pleading to get on this bus but we did.It arrived at 5-30 pm in Newport and I begged a taxi to take us up the valley.We promised only the main road and then we would walk the last bit. So we made it Sunday night, the house is well heated and there is food in the freezer.It has snowed hard all day all roads to us are now blocked .We made each stage of our journey by the skin of our teeth and have been very lucky.
To all of you trying to get home or visit family this Christmas I wish you a safe and stress free journey.If not I hope you meet the kindness and camaraderie from your fellow travellers that we did.