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Old 6 Oct 19, 10:40 PM  
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walt4it
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:) Going Out in a Blaze of Glory - Summer of Sorcery 2019 - Travel day!

Welcome back - you made it...I hoped you would!

If you missed our trip to the airport yesterday is here to enjoy( unless you were the people going to Geneva who left all your travel docs in Leeds) Just click here to catch up.

The index to the whole trip is here too.


It's a long one - so grab a cuppa or a glass of wine and enjoy our...



Travel day - July 23rd 2019


When the alarm sounds at 3-45 you are startled into some form of action- first off, how to turn the thing off before the whole hotel gets woken up and secondly what time is it!

The temptation to press the snooze button was resisted, and we got up and out in time for our 4-15 Taxi to the airport.

Another lovely stay at Heald Green Premier Inn again, staff were really good there too, doesn’t take much, but very much appreciated when you stay in a hotel where the staff are in the holiday notes for simply being happy and helpful and we were still in the UK!
Even the camera was bleary eyed!





Things at Manchester Airport have changed considerably recently and a new charge for dropping people off costs £3. An amazing way to make a few quid from anyone going on holiday, not going on holiday, or indeed lost on the M56 and glad they have a landmark!
Money grabbing is my most polite way of describing the whole thing and we travelled by train!

As PPI claims end – I’m starting the first claim on airports with ridiculous charges -I’m just glad we don’t have the car with us!

BA Check in was quick and easy, they took our bags and then issued us with boarding cards to replace the ones I had so patiently printed at home on copious pieces of paper yesterday!

Security was the usual chaotic experience that it always is – it is not a Manchester thing - it is a security thing. It really puts everyone on edge and you never know what is in your own hand luggage as they scan it, swab it and by the time they take - they could have just taken the whole f in lot out and just asked me which charger goes with which electrical item.

For anyone reading any of my words for the first time, or as a reminder to anyone – I had my own suitcase have a holiday of its own which included all the chargers- for electrical items I had cunningly put in the hand luggage. Never make that mistake- as my bag went on a holiday that nearly took a fortnight to resolve!
You will be glad that trip report remains unpublished!

My first notes of the day were made overlooking the runway in Terminal 3, amid loads of people who were on the beer already.
Too early for us though - a 5 am beer was not something I could even think of!

We just found a space and having cleared the whole security stuff and also got rid of our luggage that hopefully we would se in Miami, we snoozed and let the world pass us by. Or just took pictures of planes again!




By 6-30 we had the first stupid Joe question of the holiday-
“Is it true that if you sneeze with your eyes open - your eyes pop out?”

Even as I typed these notes onto my phone - he then asked if I was looking it up!

We were at the gate before the pilot and crew , who seemed in no hurry to get this holiday started – they got their act together quickly and we found ourselves on a roomy flight!




The plane pushed back 5 minutes early,


The BA flight from Manchester was so quick, a bit like a bus journey more than anything.
We were into Heathrow at 7-51am. and we disembarked just as Josh’s phone signalled the end of the countdown - holiday started!



I just hope it was wired to Joe to remind him to engage brain before even going there!

I’m glad we were not on the bus or train for that matter, as a 50minute hop to Heathrow was far more welcomed than the usual way of getting to LHR from North Yorkshire.

By 8-44 we had connected from Terminal 5 to T3 , which involved a bus journey that nearly took as long as the flight! Good views across the airport though.





An Impressive security experience followed – yes, we needed to go through the whole thing again! But was a much better process than in Manchester.

Being well ahead of time this morning, then allowed time to find some breakfast.


The options in T3 were busy and disappointingly limited unless you wanted the champagne or caviar bar or Starbucks/Pret breakfast offerings, but we sensibly opted for The Curator, coffee and bacon/ sausage butties hit the spot at a price that was surprisingly affordable in an airport and a London one at that.


The food there was good, so was the service. I hate the premium prices usually faced in an airport and more often found in Coffee places with big increases on high street prices.

The Curator was a good find.







As much as a quick breakfast was appreciated our time in Terminal 3 was really moving on and we were soon on our way to the gate to be herded into the boarding pen!


We found the seats furthest away from gate provided the best view and comfort, or at least the boys did.






We sat and watched the security passenger picking at the gate and saw more than you would ever imagine, passenger profiling was high and to see so many passengers who seemed to be late being stopped and taken for further questions was a true eye opener and a reminder that despite all of my complaints about security at airports there is a lot more done behind the scenes to keep us safe.


As always, first class, business, those with a colour of card I could only wish to be preferred for and those with young children were invited to board before the now growing rugby scrum that had formed in the boarding pen.

I joined the scrum alone and at the appropriate moment wound up everyone behind me, by letting the rest of the family join me for that final push towards scanning the boarding card and then sauntering off to the aluminium can that will be taking us all to exactly the same place at exactly the same time!

Seated and at 11am push back – means nothing at Heathrow. We took another 40 minutes before we actually reached the runway

(We) No, it was just I, who had kept a close eye on the Virgin Dreamliner that was also heading to Miami, I had images of what the immigration hall could look like with many flights arriving into Miami at the same time! They were in front of us in the take off queue.





Photos abound of take off not least of photos of Wembley and then Twickenham- which Joe reminded most of the seats around us that he had played there! I love this scenic route out of London and with faces filling the window the choice of 2 and 2 was working for us.





The flight itself was good.

Inflight movies had a good selection and I watched Stan and Ollie to start proceedings.
A wonderful memorial of two comedy geniuses. A wonderful film.






The food was good, a nice selection and true to form, Joe hardly touched any of it!






Time and time again he will not eat airline food- this was just pasta in tomato sauce with cheese on the top and looked and tasted whole lot better than the tomato pasta he insists on buying in Sainsbury’s, prior to golf on a Saturday.

Josh had all his teenage days hit him as he slept nearly all of the way- must be because he was not attached to his phone!



Whilst Joe stayed awake, as always, just in case he missed something!

After a while though the travel cushion he insisted that we bought came into its own – Joe asleep on a flight



They were both solid asleep when the ice cream came around.



Now, whilst we enjoyed the peace and quiet there was an in-flight Parental conundrum – should we wake them for the ice cream!



We opted to do so, otherwise we would not have heard the end of it!





Sandwiches followed that were not even worth unwrapping, they all went uneaten – poor cream cheese filling and they were very …..
I’m not even going to add a word – just think of something that rhymes with Rivers of Light.

The Mary Poppins film was watched by all of us, with a mix of opinions, such a beautifully made sequel and with so many nods to the original, but as a film did not really go anywhere.

Even as I type all of this now, I’m not sure how it added to the original despite all of the memorable original cast appearances.


We spent the rest of the time looking out amongst the islands that we now recognise will never be the same again, that flight into Miami took us across the Bahamas in all of its stunning beauty and possibly shows just how lucky Florida got once again.





These pics were taken without knowing where we were and indeed what would follow us, we were just in awe of what we saw below.



The views from the plane continued to be amazing and with one final turn back to the airport we flew across Doral- the very place this whole trip will end!



The landing was good and being towards the back of the plane it took over ten mins before we even moved to get off. (those who boarded with special preference finally sticking their fingers up to those at the back! )

Immigration was a laugh/ shambles/ hole/ disgrace/ a non- welcome to America – I’m not sure we have ever experienced for a long time.
We were shunted into a place very different than last year and being towards the back of the plane had many ahead of us. We did stick to the no photos rule though , despite having a huge temptation to add these pics to the day!

The hour it took, allowed for much time to spend counting and then recounting the 16 -yes 16 ! automated photographing machines that were all roped off as we awaited a counter visit to just the 6 immigration officers sat at their desk.

The queue kept moving, but our immigration experience was a simple facial recognition picture and not even conversation nor the usual finger print debacle!
No sign of that Virgin flight in this part of the airport either!

We were not asked why we were arriving in the USA, nor indeed how long we intended staying- you can sense my disappointment, having had an hour in a less than air con’ed place- which also brought on a sudden flash back reflection on exiting the customs area- this was a place we had sweated previously!


***FLASHBACK***

Summer 2010 and the immigration hall was so hot and uncomfortable and at that time with two young children the last thing you needed was to watch the baggage carousel go round and round and round and to find that the suitcase with all my things in -was not there.****

As we approached the baggage carousel today- that very thought stuck in my mind!

We had been in a long wait and the luggage had been delivered 50 minutes previous- according to the signs!

There was that sinking feeling as you looked for any of your bags and recognised none!
But, as always, it was my bag that was the very last one- teased again and to be honest a reason why we now do attempt to split belongings between all of the luggage now!

Eventually they appeared – it was the Mr Benn shopkeeper moment from the pre trip report –

“as if by magic….”





Anyway back to today ...

Bags collected, and you sensed the weather closing in quickly, it was warm and airless and we even got a picture on the MIA mover to the car care centre.






We then encountered a bit of a wait at the Avis preferred garage 🙄 Name on the board, but we still needed to visit the desk.
Should not be difficult but it became that way.

I shared that experience with the bloke in front of me, equally as peeved but this was his journey back home – wife taught in London and this was to be their return. How I would love to be stood in this queue picking up a car to go home, even looking back at those words in the notes – I really would! I can but dream!

I hate the car desk at Car hire places, I have ensured I have read so much etc etc and I always feel as if I have been done over, always unsure of what it will be that they add to the bill but always something that nags away at me.

The £82 held on CC as security was a little something not expected and to keep an eye on in the upcoming weeks.

As we picked the car up, so the storm was lashing it down outside and we also noticed how time had shifted too- it was 5 pm when we set off- the worst possible time on the Interstate 95 in Miami and so it proved!


Our sat nav indicated a 50 minute journey to Boca Raton –




The reality was close to two hours amidst queues and slow moving traffic- it took an hour to get to the turn off for Fort Lauderdale!

Thankfully, we had just another hour up to Boca Raton, where on check in we were met with a free bar that was about to close in 20 minutes.




Bags dropped in an instant and free Beers and soft drinks enjoyed, we then headed to the pool and hot tub.








After such a long delay getting out of Miami, I was glad we had chosen this as a stopping point tonight rather than drive straight up to Orlando.

Looking back, maybe a night in the airport would have been better, but at just $100 for the night with free parking and a free breakfast and the free beer and soft drinks, there was a bit of value amidst the quality of this place, plus we were that little bit closer to Orlando







The nearby gas station was a handy source of some snacks for tea, we did not need much, which was probably a good thing as there was nothing in the hotel that remained open after the free bar shut!
Healthy food options avoided!




As a travel day this has been a long one, but a swim and hot tub to end it was just so good.

Notes don’t get much better than this…

“As I type this some 24 hours after getting out of bed in Manchester, and with the lights out awaiting our next adventure in the morning , what a perfect way to start a holiday, we’re on our way – next stop The Yacht Club”

Can’t add anything to that – see you real soon to reveal our wake up time on day one and our drive up to Orlando.

Thanks for reading and Day one is coming real soon

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Going out in a Blaze of Glory- Our Summer of Sorcery 2019 - click here to read a trip report in progress

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Edited at 01:28 AM.
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Old 7 Oct 19, 11:55 AM  
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Hot tub and snacks. The much needed perfect end to a long travel day!
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Old 7 Oct 19, 12:14 PM  
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A good travel day despite having to endure an alarm clock going off at 3.45am. Which hotel did you stay at in Boca?

Intriguing that peeps were on the beer at 5am in the airport, unless they hadn't gone to bed I suppose. And I am now also curious to read the unshared trip report of the suitcases' holiday...
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Old 7 Oct 19, 12:41 PM  
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Loving it you really take us with you i’ll Laugh at eye’s popping out when you sneeze for days
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Old 7 Oct 19, 12:51 PM  
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Great end to a long travel day, looking forward to more
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Old 7 Oct 19, 01:22 PM  
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We had planned on a night at Boca but using the train from Miami airport but didn't in the end and stayed at an airport hotel instead. We did use the train the next day for a day trip to West Palm Beach though (we were cruising after and didn't bother with a car last trip) absolute bargain at $5 return at weekends.
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Old 7 Oct 19, 01:34 PM  
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A very long day but nice to finish with a beer and hot tub

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Old 7 Oct 19, 01:54 PM  
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Wow! A long travel day indeed! I am still chuckling about ‘... something that rhymes with Rivers of Light’ ... Looking forward to reading your day 1
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Old 7 Oct 19, 06:31 PM  
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Reminiscing about my own Manchester-Miami BA flight and time in Disney world. Travelled just a week after you I think. Great post summer reading as always!
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Old 7 Oct 19, 08:41 PM  
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Seriously? Are you sure? I'm worried if I keep my eyes open when I sneeze then they will pop out

Immigration hall waits aside it sounds like the usual sort of travel day. Right choice to wake the sleeping beauties for their magnum, I don't think they would have been very impressed if they'd missed out.

Fun times at the hotel, free bar and a hot tub, who needs food when you've got that combo. Perfect start to the trip.
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