• Day55

    Travel Day - Azores to The Algarve

    February 23, 2018 in Portugal ⋅ ☀️ 15 °C

    Travel days are always stressful. Today was catastrophic. We packed last night and planned to get up and go this morning. We had a 7 am flight and had to return our rental car at the airport so I set the clock for 5, double checking the settings. I woke up once at 3 am and promptly fell asleep as we’ve had really sleepless nights with all the coughing between us. The next time I awoke it was 6:50!! I found John in the living room and yelled, “We missed our flight”!! For someone who is a very anxious traveller, he didn’t seem too concerned. John is usually my back up plan as he normally gets up to pee very early in the morning. On a travel day he would always check the clock and wake me up even before the alarm went off. This morning he went right back to bed without checking the time. So we had a malfunctioning travel clock that eventually went off at 5 pm even though the alarm was clearly set for 5 am and my usual human backup also failed. We’ve taken many early morning flights and have never had an issue. This was the absolute worse place for this to happen I would soon find out.

    We had to return the car before 9 so we headed straight for the airport and returned the car without any issues thankfully. Then my nightmare began. There are only 3 airlines that fly to the mainland. The 2 cheapest, Azores Air and Ryan Air, told me all flights for the day were sold out. For security reasons they no longer sell stand-by tickets. I made 3 phone calls to Air Portugal seeking solutions and was informed that my original flight had been cancelled so I would have to purchase new tickets. She then said she can’t sell tickets over the phone but was unaware that they had no ticket office at this airport. I explained that we were both sick and needed to get to the mainland. After some pleading she got special approval to sell us the last 2 tickets on the 13:20 flight. The cost was $990!!! Ouch.....that hurt my cost-conscious brain, not to mention our bank account. I had already paid $320 for our original tickets which came with no refund. Our only other option would have been to stay another night and get a cheaper flight the next day. But our accommodation in the Algarve was pre-paid and it was too late to cancel, plus we would have the cost of a hotel in Ponta Delgada. We were sick the whole time we were in the Azores and we just needed to get to a drier climate.

    We had a 6 hour layover in Lisbon and fortunately were able to use our last two lounge passes. We couldn’t even take advantage of the free wine and beer as I was on antibiotics and John wasn’t interested, so you know he had to be sick. We finally got to our resort at 12:30 am and I was glad I had arranged a van transfer directly from the airport to the resort, a 30 minute drive. Our early morning flight had been planned to avoid this very late arrival. I’m trying very hard to put my nightmarish day behind me.

    So we are now at the Four Seasons Resort in Vilamoura for 8 days. This was one of my timeshare deals...less than $400 per week. Vilamoura is a purpose-built resort community started in the 70’s. It’s known for it’s golf courses and marina. Our resort is full of mostly British people and a lot of the condos in the area are owned by Brits, as well as Irish, as they try to escape their wet winter weather. We have more English TV channels than I have at home. It certainly is lacking any Portuguese charm but that is not important right now. I think we are going to take this opportunity to relax and get better. We’re both sick of being sick.
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