The alarm went off at some time known as 3.30 a.m., which is totally foreign to me.
We stumbled blearily out of bed and prepared for the arrival of our Saga transport. Sure enough, the doorbell rang at 4.08 a.m. and we were ushered to a minibus, within which were two Saga fellow travellers, Suzanne and Mick. They had been picked up from North Lincolnshire at 1.30 a.m., so I guess they had it tougher than us. They are proper Saga enthusiasts, so could be useful brains to pick.
A high-speed journey ensued, with some heavy rain on the way, but we were soon within the confines of South Terminal at Gatwick Airport.
The usual, slow-motion check-in queue, but Security was accomplished remarkably quickly.
We found our way to a café for some breakfast, which was rapidly served, but very expensive.
Then the long wait, which turned into a VERY long wait.
We made our way to the gate, where we saw a Titan rep (Titan is part of the Saga group). This turned out to be our tour manager, Colin Thompson, a proper Geordie by the sound of him. He handed me an envelope with, inter alia, the full itinerary for our trip. He was travelling on the same flight.
The flight was due to leave at 8.45 a.m., but we didn’t even get ourselves seated until 9.15 a.m.
It then transpired that the bad weather had played havoc with flight plans. The captain, in broken English, announced a 30-45 minute delay, which turned into another 30-45 minute delay. Which turned into another hour. The flight eventually took off, to ironic cheers, two and a half hours late.
From that point, the flight was relatively smooth and uneventful. I’d pre-booked emergency exit seats, so we had a decent amount of legroom, but we had to pay for food and drinks.
We landed at Malaga Airport at 3 p.m. local time, and were quickly through border control. Collecting our bags took a lot longer, but we met up with Colin in the arrivals hall.
We then boarded an air-conditioned coach, in temperatures of around 30⁰ (lovely) for the hour and a half’s drive to the Catalonia Hotel in Granada. Unfortunately, the coach’s microphone wasn’t working, which frustrated Colin mightily, as he wanted to address the whole coachload with some words of wisdom about Malaga, the terrain, and various tour arrangements. Thus the journey passed in relative silence.
On arrival at the hotel, we were issued with our room keys (Room 413) and found ourselves in a smallish but well appointed room with a minibar and a huge shower. A beer and packet of crisps were gratefully partaken of.
The Plan was to join Colin in the bar at 7.45 p.m. for a cocktail and an introductory briefing. As it turned out, no room at the bar, so we decamped to the restaurant downstairs. Here we got issued with our QuietVox receivers, so beloved of Viking and so familiar to us. A couple who’d joined us at our table, Jo and Brian, were grateful for the help we could give setting these up.
The evening meal was a buffet, and remarkably good it was too. Jo and Brian proved to be good company, but as we all have to be bright-eyed and bushy-tailed for 9 a.m. for our visit to the Alhambra Palace tomorrow, we called it a day relatively early.
Tomorrow promises to be pretty full-on. I’ll do my best to report it in these pages.