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Old 6 Nov 16, 06:07 PM  
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CrispyA
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Rocking in the Rockies: Day 24 - Going Home

Thursday 17 August - Heading home

After the drama of the night before, we managed to sleep okay and managed to pack a little before going down for breakfast. The hot breakfast was nothing special and the room was pretty cramped, but it was all made 100% better by meeting Janice, the lady who looks after breakfast.

Janice came over to chat with us, telling us how much she loved living in Denver. Then she told us about her train journeys, how she had considered whether or not she could marry a farmer, and how she wasn't keen on animals or dirt, so the farm thing was never going to work out. She also talked about snakes - how she didn't like or trust them (the Bible shows that God didn't trust them and therefore neither does Janice) and they weren't even big enough to make a decent purse out of. Janice was delightful and a real character and pretty much the best thing about breakfast at the hotel!

We walked to a nearby Safeway to get some cookies to take home before getting back to the hotel and finishing our packing. Our flight wasn't until the early evening, so we planned to go the park for a while. We checked out and set off for what we thought was the park.

It turns out the Satnav was taking us somewhere completely different and we ended up with a tour of a rather nice area of Denver before getting to the actual park after resetting it.

There is a Natural History Museum at the park, but we just wanted to chill in the fresh air for a bit. It was quite a nice park with a couple of lakes in the middle and some cool statues.



There was also, for no clear reason, a statue of Robert Burns, the Scottish poet.



We milled about for a bit, but the grass was covered in goose poo so it wasn't any good for playing football on. In hindsight, we should have had a stronger plan for the day as it felt a bit like just killing time. We did get a nice last picture though - with the most fabulous member of the family being fabulous again!



After the park, we headed back to the hotel as we were meeting up with my sister Katie & family at the Village Inn which was opposite. They were going to be staying there as well, so it made sense to meet up nearby.

We had a lovely lunch together, catching up with each other's trips and enjoying some family time. We had kept in touch via email while travelling and it was good to hear all about their adventures travelling around Colorado. We also collected Evan's birthday present from them as it was his birthday not long after we got back. They had got him a Denver Broncos top with Vonn Miller's name on the back as he is one of his favourite players.

Somehow we all forgot to take any pictures, which was a bit rubbish. After spending time chatting and laughing, we said our goodbyes and set off for the airport.

The drive was slightly tense as the traffic was heavy and the weather had turned colder and wet and none of us wanted to be doing this journey. We had identified a gas station close to the airport to fill the tank up and although it was easy to find and not extortionate, it was jam packed and chaotic.

Then we dropped the car off and queued to get the bus to the terminal. When we got to the terminal, we joined the huge queue for check-in and found out that the flight was delayed by 2 hours. Great.

At the desk we explained our check in issues but they weren't very interested. They also told us that we were now all seated separately. We hadn't prebooked seats as we didn't fancy paying another 200 for the privilege and to be fair, we've always been seated as a group. I suspect we were all split up due to the tickets being cancelled and rebooked - making us the last passengers to be allocated seats.

I hate that airlines charge a small fortune to fly during school holidays and then charge you again if you want to sit next to the people you booked with. There would be uproar if restaurants did that. I don't see why they can't just allocate seats in groups - kind of like Tetris. Surely that's how the computer would do it most easily?

We asked if there was anything we could do and they said not. We looked so upset that a member of staff came over and looked at our tickets and said he would see what he could do.

We then queued again to go through security, before heading for the food area, armed with the vouchers we had been given for the delay.

We all felt really fed up and were dreading the flight, especially as we were sitting all over the cabins. We cheered ourselves up a bit with some drinks and nachos using our vouchers. Then we headed for Dunkin Donuts where fortune did smile on us - it was the end of the day so they gave us box of 12 for the price of 6, then gave us another bag of donuts for free. We gave that bag away to another family but managed as many of the box as we could.

On the way to the gate, we paused to watch Usain Bolt win the 200 metres final. Then we joined the mass of fed up looking passengers at the Departure Gate.

Fortunately, they called the kids names over the tannoy and told us that they had managed to move someone so that they could at least sit together and I would be on the same row. Paul, however, was in a different cabin altogether.

We had always said that we wouldn't mind not sitting together, but actually we did mind and it was and miserable. What made matters worse was that I was sat in the middle of a row of 3 and the guy in the window seat was steaming drunk and a complete pain.

I had to ask him twice to stop bothering me, as he kept poking me and patting at the IFE screen to get my attention. If he had done it again, I was going to ask the cabin crew to deal with him. I'm just glad it was me and not one of the kids sitting with him. He did sleep for a lot of the journey, but when he woke up for the meal, he ate like an animal and took all the room, leaving me trying to eat my meal with my elbows pinned to my sides. After a couple of hours of him hogging the armrest and leaving me squished up to the side of my seat, I decided that I had paid enough money for my seat to sit in ALL of it, so took to shoving his arm back into his seat every time he took over.

It really was grim. Paul did offer to swap but he was sat in between a couple of annoying people as well. Fortunately, he pretty much passed out for the last few hours and I didn't bother waking him up for breakfast. It was an awful enough experience to make me think that we would have to pay for booked seats together to avoid idiots like that in future - but I resent every penny.

Heathrow was as much fun as ever, not helped by a really long wait for bags. Some bags, Paul's included were on a completely different carousel but BA didn't bother telling us until we'd all been waiting for about 30 minutes and starting to panic.

We then got the tube to St Pancras and headed straight for the trains to Sheffield. We had a pre-booked train but obviously had missed it due to the delay. East Midlands Trains had confirmed that we could catch another train if the flight was late and the lovely guy at the ticket barriers didn't even ask for our proof - we must have looked so tired and fed up that it was obvious we'd just flown back!

Luckily there was a train there ready to go and after finding out where the unreserved seating was, we got on and got ourselves settled to doze as we travelled north.

All in all, it was a fantastic holiday and we loved it. The National Parks were such a highlight and we all thought that getting out and about and walking in them was a brilliant way to enjoy them. There was nowhere that we didn't really like and even the odd thing that went wrong didn't spoil the holiday for us. We had well and truly rocked it in the Rockies and can thoroughly recommend a trip there.

Edited at 06:24 PM.
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Old 6 Nov 16, 09:34 PM  
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katiebaz
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We loved meeting up with you and you had an amazing trip. So sorry about the awful flight, like you we really resent airlines charging to sit together but sadly seems like the only way to avoid sitting by obnoxious people. Grr!

But your trip was brilliant and so glad we got to meet up xx
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Old 6 Nov 16, 09:54 PM  
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Melbatb
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Thanks for a wonderful report.

I hear you about seating! On Turkish Airlines you can choose your seats quite a way out free of charge. Plus, when I checked in there was still plenty of seats together. It seems they fleece you wherever possible

Enjoy Berlin!
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Old 6 Nov 16, 10:51 PM  
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CrispyA
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Originally Posted by katiebaz View Post
We loved meeting up with you and you had an amazing trip. So sorry about the awful flight, like you we really resent airlines charging to sit together but sadly seems like the only way to avoid sitting by obnoxious people. Grr!

But your trip was brilliant and so glad we got to meet up xx
The flight was awful but the rest of the trip more than made up for it. And hanging out with you guys was fab!
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Old 6 Nov 16, 10:54 PM  
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CrispyA
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Originally Posted by Melbatb View Post
Thanks for a wonderful report.

I hear you about seating! On Turkish Airlines you can choose your seats quite a way out free of charge. Plus, when I checked in there was still plenty of seats together. It seems they fleece you wherever possible

Enjoy Berlin!
Yep - the fleecing is everywhere. We've just booked with Westjet for next year - they charge for picking seats but much less and when the ticket is a lot cheaper in the first place, you don't resent it so much.

Re : Berlin - thanks! We're looking forward to it.
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Old 7 Nov 16, 08:41 PM  
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Cutiepie
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Another amazing trip, I hAve enjoyed reading along. Thanks for sharing
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Old 1 May 17, 07:42 AM  
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WileyCoyote
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Oh.
That's a real downer about being split up and then being sat next to pain in the posterior person. What a shame.
Glad it has been nice up to then
Random Robert Burns ! Apparently some Scotsman who was something to with building City Hall in Denver was responsible ... I was so intrigued I had to look it up !
Well. What a trip it's been.
it really was " fabulous"
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Old 8 May 17, 11:20 PM  
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Jools2
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Thanks for sharing your holiday, I've throughly enjoyed reading along.. cant so for our trip now.
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Old 10 May 17, 06:24 PM  
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CrispyA
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Originally Posted by WileyCoyote View Post
Oh.
That's a real downer about being split up and then being sat next to pain in the posterior person. What a shame.
Glad it has been nice up to then
Random Robert Burns ! Apparently some Scotsman who was something to with building City Hall in Denver was responsible ... I was so intrigued I had to look it up !
Well. What a trip it's been.
it really was " fabulous"
Thank you and thanks for the Burns info - don't know why It didn't occur to me to look it up! The trip was awesome, can thoroughly recommend.
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Old 10 May 17, 06:24 PM  
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CrispyA
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Originally Posted by Jools2 View Post
Thanks for sharing your holiday, I've throughly enjoyed reading along.. cant so for our trip now.
Have a wonderful time - are you doing a trippie?
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