I’ve been visiting my lovely friends Linda and George in Spain regularly for a few years but this year I’ve come with Jonathan, Lyndsey and Baby Gale. There had to be a few changes to the normal routine. No train to Gatwick but the car and long term parking plus hiring a car at the other end. Of course Baby Gale had more luggage than the three adults put together. I’d booked a ‘Golf or similar’ car and had a momentary worry a couple of days before we left that it wouldn’t be big enough until I remembered that we had to fit everything into my Peugeot 207 to get to Gatwick. It required a bit of cunning organisation but we JUST did it.
I had managed to secure us seats together via BA when I added Baby Gale to the booking just over 3 months ago when he was born for no extra cost. Arriving at Gatwick early Friday, Jonathan dropped us off with 4 suitcases, 1 pram, 1 baby car seat and hand luggage and then went off to the long term car park, which turned out to be a quick and easy drop off and he was soon back with us. British Airways were wonderfully helpful whizzing us through the checking in of our luggage, advising on keep the pram until the last minute when they’d take it from us and eventually letting us on to the plane first. The Gatwick staff stopped us as we were heading towards security, opened a roped area and said through this way with the baby. With barely a queue we were soon through and on our way to Jamie’s Italian for breakfast – my favourite place to eat in North Terminal. We joked we felt like VIPs being rushed through with no queues or fuss. I decided Baby Gale should be my new regular travelling companion.
At Jamie’s while I settled for a pain aux raisins and flat white, Jonathan couldn’t resist the Full Monty breakfast, complete with black pudding as well as all the usual English Breakfast components.
So filling was this he wasn’t able to eat the BLT offered by BA on the flight, which turned out to be a surprisingly decent sandwich. Baby Gale obviously thought it was all a great adventure. Sleep on the flight wasn’t something he wanted to contemplate at first when there were all these exciting new people and he was happy looking around and smiling at everyone. Fortunately for his parents (and other passengers) he eventually had a nice long nap.
There was no one around to check our passports at Alicante. We streamed through a deserted security. It felt as it does when you arrive at an airport very late at night but in fact it was only 3pm local time. At arrivals a man from FC Car Rentals (who we’d booked with via Economy Car Rentals) was slightly alarmed by the amount of luggage we had. He called for a 2nd car to take us to their nearby office. A friendly young German woman greeted us. They’d given us their largest car (for no extra cost) she told us and was duly impressed when I told her we’d fitted everything in to my 207 earlier in the day. They were so friendly and had obviously been concerned we’d manage OK. Soon we were heading north on the motorway to Valencia, coming off at Benissa where Linda would meet us so we could follow her for the final part of the journey. Their house lies inland from the coast in quite a remote area.
I’d never travelled with a young baby before and had been, it has to be admitted, a little anxious about how things would go. But as it turned out the whole journey was wonderfully easy and smooth. British Airways were brilliant as were the Gatwick staff. The staff in Jamie’s were great. Then on our arrival at Alicante the car rentals people were helpful and friendly too. Of course Baby Gale played his part by remaining good humoured throughout and not crying. (May the return journey be as easy!!!)
It’s always a joy to arrive at Linda and George’s. Mostly because they are such good friends but also because their beautiful home lies within stunning scenery. Once Baby Gale was settled In his cot, it was time to sit and enjoy the views in the dying light with glasses of cava before eating a gorgeous chicken meal Linda had prepared.
It it had been a long day but thanks to all the kindness and help we’d received on the journey and then the warm welcome of our friends we were already relaxing and very much looking forward to a week of sun and Spain.