Steve: In John Brierley’s introduction to his ‘bible’ of the Camino, he ends the introduction with this statement.
Whichever route we take, our ultimate Destination is assured. The only choice we have is how long it takes us to arrive buen Camino.
I tried to internalise those noble words when, at 14:50, I got a text from British Airways to tell us that the Biarritz flight from Heathrow had been cancelled. Oh dear. We were racing through the English countryside on a really rather nice Virgin East Coast train to London Kings Cross, having committed ourselves wholeheartedly to Plan B. Now we needed to come up with yet another plan, Plan C. Our options were
- Just go to Heathrow and wait until we could get out somewhere close sometime soon.
- Abandon BA and try some other airline.
- Go to London, find a hotel and keep calling BA until we got through.
We decided on the latter. Worst case, BA would tell us to get on the next train back to Edinburgh and wait until next Sunday for another Biarritz flight (they only go twice a week). But 1000 miles on a train in one day, however lovely the train, to return to exactly where we started would be too sad to contemplate.
We sat in Pret at Kings X and war-dialled BA. After lots (50+?) of “We apologise, blah, blah, please try again later”, Hamish finally got into the queue. Excellent. Time to book a hotel that allowed cancellations. I went off to try a few and found – glory hallelujah- that we could stay in the excellent fun CitizenM hotel in Shoreditch for less than the Travelodge. The first good news of the day.
Well, this is supposed to be a walking holiday so off we walked from Kings X to Shoreditch. It rained, boy did it rain. We got soaked but didn’t care and considered it excellent training for the rain in Spain that falls mainly on the plain.
All this time Hamish was on hold with BA. Finally, as we crossed Hoxton Square (1 hour and 40 minutes on hold) a lady answered. 30 mins of patient assistance later she had us booked on the 6:40am flight from Gatwick to Bordeaux on Tuesday 30th. So, that’s Plan C.
A train will then take us from Bordeaux to St Jean by Tuesday evening and we should be walking properly on Wednesday.
At least, that’s the Plan….