|The Beauty Within
Cold, Colder, Freezing
With a taxi booked for 12pm to take us to the airport we had very little time to see any more of Fez, so instead of running around like fools cramming in some last minute sightseeing we had decided to relax in our riad until our time was up.
With no agenda breakfast was taken at a gloriously lesiurely pace. This morning was a mixed bag. The French toast was absent as the cakes made a return and we also had no cheese. Although a few slices quickly arrived after we asked for some.
Once we had eaten we packed our luggage and vacated the room. We had already decided to spend the last few hours up on the roof terrace, Julie knitting and I writing this journal, both enjoying the great view of the medina.
Time passed slowly.
When it came to check-out the riad's card machine wasn't working very well so I offered to pay in cash. I had none on me so I had to make a dash across to the ATM hoping that it was working. Thankfully it was and I took the money out to pay for our stay.
I had to admit I felt a little vulnerable walking back to the Riad with 3400 dirhams in my pocket, espcially after last night's lurking shadowy figure.
With our bill setlled the taxi was ready and waiting for us at the taxi rank. We stopped to have one last look at the city before popping our cases into the boot of the car and heading off South across Fez to the airport.
We arrived in plenty of time for our flight, too early in fact. After keeping ourselves in a holding pattern in a coffee shop we made our way to check-in our luggage and then throught the security checks. We were sent back to complete an exit form, and then like some twisted game of snakes and ladders, Julie had to go back again to the begining because for some bizarre reason her boarding pass hadn't been appropriately stamped. I had already passed through security so she had to go on her own.
Evenutally we were permitted to leave the country and through to the departures lounge.
There wasn't a cafe as such "airside" just a booth selling filled baguettes and coffee. Fed and watered we waited to board. There was a slight delay which was torturous for Julie.
We knew that back in the UK the whole country was under a blanket of snow. What we didn't know was that Stanstead airport was struggling with heavy snow. So much so they had closed the airport to outgoing flights so they could focus on bringing incoming flights home safely.
Blissfully unaware we boarded the flight.
After three hours in the air we reached Standstead in the dark. With a disaster movie ready to happen we had two failed attempts at landing. We could feel ourselves decending before taking off again, then looping back around for a second attempt. Julie was unconsolable.
On the third attempt we touched down and stayed down. Julie was almost sick with relief and fear as we took an age to come to a stop.
When we got off the plane we were shocked to see how much snow had fallen and how treacherous it looked.
The thought of driving home in these conditions was a concern so we decided to find somewhere to stay for the night. The airport was in chaos with so many stranded passengers arriving not aware the airport had closed.
We walked across the car park towards the Radisson Blu. We were freezing, still dressed for Fez. Neither of us had a coat, not even a warm jumper.
Unfortunately the Radisson was full. We were both on our mobiles, as were everyone else, trying to find anywhere with room. We saw that the Travelodge had availability but the booking system kept on failing for me through holidayextras.com. It was so frustrating. I even came to the payment confirmation screen when it froze on me.
We were huddled together outside the Radissson, shivering as Julie tried a phone number for lastminute.com and after being on hold for an age she finally spoke to someone and got us in the Travelodge.
It was such a relief to know that we didn't have to sleep in the car tonight.
It took us almost 15 minutes to drive the five miles to Greater Dunmow and the Travelodge. The roads were not good. It certainly would not have been safe enough to drive the 200 miles home.
When we arrived the travelodge resembled a refugee camp with the foyer full of people and their luggage. There was only one member of staff in the whole building. He was the only one to make it into work today and he was rushed off his feet.
There was no food available but he did say the local Indian and kebab house have 4x4 vehicles and were delivering. We weren't going to starve.
Safely tucked up in bed we could laugh about the crazy end to out trip.Back to index >>>
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