A Travellerspoint blog

August 2020

Thursday - April 15, 2010 - The Volcano

Oops, they closed European air space while we were in London. Now how do we get to Toulouse? A volcano blew its top in Iceland and the world is dealing with it. An adventure . . .

Train from Sacramento to San Francisco followed by a flight that was supposed to go to Toulouse, France but didn't quite get there.

Train from Sacramento to San Francisco followed by a flight that was supposed to go to Toulouse, France but didn't quite get there.

This morning we woke on the plane, ate most of a mediocre breakfast and then the pilot made a long drawn-out announcement about arriving a “wee bit late” due to a volcanic eruption in Iceland and a very brief understated mention that the London airport would be closing at noon. Our connecting flight to Toulouse was scheduled at 2:20 PM. What was happening?!

(Here I’ll add the e-mail I wrote to the kids that I still haven’t sent because we have no British money and our hotel charges for Internet. Here it is.)
Hi. We’re vacationing in London. Don’t know if you’ve heard but there was a volcanic eruption in Iceland. We arrived in London at 10:20 AM (London time) and at noon they closed the entire airport. You cannot believe the mess. No one knew what anyone else was doing and workers kept contradicting each other. They all meant well but it was a huge mess. We stood in lines for over 6 hours and Dad’s suitcase has disappeared. Fortunately I have mine with toothbrushes and toothpaste.

We stood in line to rebook and have a flight out SATURDAY morning at 7:30 AM so we should be able to get our leased car in Toulouse. However, we lose two nights in Toulouse. The hotel was pretty reasonable about it. Dad couldn't call until after 6 o'clock PM but they said if they could rent the room, they would not charge us. Don't know if that will happen since no one else can travel either. We will probably lose the first night. They did cancel tomorrow night and we have a day in London . . . for which I am absolutely not prepared. Perhaps we'll look for Harry Potter!

Still in the airport but after we rebooked, we moved to another longer line to get a hotel voucher. This line was a nightmare (worse nightmare) and we hadn't been able to get our luggage so I stayed in line and Dad went down two floors to look for luggage. He didn't appear for hours and I was getting worried. As I entered the last rope of the line, he appeared with my suitcase and said they couldn't find his. They suggested we check again on Saturday. I was concerned because you need to file a lost luggage report before you leave the airport, but it is checked through to Toulouse so if it doesn't show up in Toulouse, we can file a report there. Hopefully, it will show up in Toulouse. He does have his backpack with jammies and undies so it's not a complete disaster.

At any rate, we are (courtesy of British Airways) staying at Thistle Hotel (Barbican City) in downtown London. We don't know about tomorrow night because they are booked full. She said to check at 9:00 AM and see if anyone left so we could get that room. Everyone has been very nice except BA will not pay for the second night. Most other airlines didn't even provide minimal support or rooms so we fared better than most. I'm hoping we can stay here another night. If not, we'll start looking in the morning but sightseeing would be more fun. If we find Harry Potter, we will take photos. LOL

The down side is that we have no maps, no English money, no guide books and no plan for London . . . just complete plans and walks in Toulouse that we will not see on this trip. The volcano is still erupting so we're not entirely positive the Saturday flight will happen, but that is the current plan. Belgium has canceled flights but we haven't heard any other news. At least we're stranded in a country where we speak the language.

It's been exciting . . . and we all know how much I like excitement. ; )

Posted by Beausoleil 14:03 Archived in France Tagged france volcano uk lhr Comments (6)

Flying to Toulouse Day 1 — April 14, 2010

Toulouse Airport is a great start for a visit to the Dordogne region . . . if you can get to Toulouse. We had a surprise in store for us when we tried to change planes in London.

Mimi, our perfect kitty.

Mimi, our perfect kitty.


Up very early. Mimi, our new rescue kitty, helped us finish packing. It certainly helped us wake up and we were all in a good mood. She is the perfect cat, small, polite, lovable, energetic and seemingly gets along with everyone. We’ll miss her on our trip.

We all had breakfast and Peg drove us to the train station and waited with us in a rather brisk cool breeze (harbinger of things to come). The train arrived on time so we bid fond farewell to Peg and boarded. We’re glad she has kitty to keep her company. Wish she could join us.

Very peaceful trip on Amtrak to Richmond where we got our BART tickets and boarded BART to MacArthur where we transferred to another BART to San Francisco Airport (SFO). No delays; nice weather; easy trip although Ed had to stand for the last leg.

At the airport we had a club sandwich at Lori’s Diner and hiked to our check-in gate. We were early so had to wait but ended up first in line when they opened. Checked in and headed for security which in SFO was very polite. Shock! I still have bad memories of Montreal airport security so was delighted to be treated like a human being.

Walked to our boarding gate – and we wait. Finally boarded and took off on time for a long boring trip until . . .

Posted by Beausoleil 14:01 Archived in USA Tagged trains usa mimi bart Comments (4)

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