Thursday, May 06, 2010

Fiona's 30th birthday trip - Barcelona and Monaco Grand Prix 2010

The trip got off to a sticky start- a no fly zone was announced for Scottish airspace from 7am on Wed 5th May and our flight was due to leave Edinburgh at 6.35am. We thought that we would be lucky and we should manage to leave before the ban came in to effect. However, about 8.30pm on Tuesday we got a text message from BA informing us that our flight from Edinburgh to London was cancelled! The BA help lines were closed for the night and we were unsure what to do next, try and make our own way to London and hope BA would sort us out from there (there was no way we would get down to London in time for our 9.10 flight to Barcelona), or stay put and phone BA the following morning.

After about half an hour researching options we decided we would have more chance of getting to Barcelona if we went down to London on our own steam, so we decided to book the train from Waverly at 5.50am which would get us in to Kings Cross for 10.10am. It would be fairly easy from there to get to Heathrow from which we hoped we would be able to get a flight out.

We went to bed for a couple of hours then set off for Edinburgh at about 2.15am, we had a great run down and got the car dropped off. The official word at the airport was that all flights were currently cancelled apart from a couple of Air France flights, but they were not guaranteed to depart. We jumped in a taxi to the station and collected our tickets from the machine and got on the train.

The train journey was very quick! There was also wifi available which was a new experience for us on a train! After the phone lines at BA opened we phoned up to explain our situation and to see what could be done... the lady was very helpful and booked us on the an afternoon flight to Barcelona - excellent!

Later in the journey Rich got another phonecall... this time from Mclaren Mercedes asking if we were still interested in getting a behind the scenes paddock tour in Monaco (it was a free draw that Rich entered a few weeks ago), so on Friday of the Monaco GP at 2pm we have to meet at the entrance to the pit lane for our tour!

We headed down to the gate for boarding and we first noticed Jock Clear who is a race engineer for Nico Rosberg (he was the engineer for Rubens last year) at Mercedes, there were quite a few Mercedes staff, all very obvious in their Henri LLoyd attire! We jumped on the bus to get to the plane and in the last group of folk to get on was Jenson Button! I was a bit unsure of what to do, ask for a photo or autograph or just leave him alone! We got on the plane, got seated and then Jenson walked past our seat, and was stood beside Rich for a minute whilst waiting for folk to get seated. He was talking to someone though, so best not to interrupt I thought...

A Henri LLoyd attired person was sitting next to me on the plane and it did not take long to get talking and it then turned out to be the quickest flight! It was so interesting to hear insight to the team, his name was Pez and he is a systems engineer and works with Nico's team. Although this was his job he cleared loves F1, and it was great to see that staff don't take it for granted what a great job they have! He has been taking a photo blog of the season so far and he showed us the photos on his iphone.

Soon it was time to land and Pez told us to ask for him when we get the paddock tour in Monaco, and I think we will do that for sure if we get the chance, even if just to thank him again for chatting to us and get a photo together.

Next it was baggage collection time. Jenson was stood next to us waiting for his case to come off! This time I thought I could not let it pass! I apoligised for bothering him and asked it he would mind if we got our photo taken together, he immediatley agreed and Rich got the camera out. The photo came out very well thankfully and I congratulated him on becoming world champion and for his success this season so far and wished him all the best for the coming weekend. I have to admit I did stutter a bit, and my face was probably a shade of crimson thoughout but who cares!

Here is the photo!

He was very polite, laid back and after thanking him he went to look for his bags on the carrousel, just a normal person!

The trip from the airport was very uneventful in comparison to the rest of the day, we then checked in to the hotel and got settled in. Hotel room is nice and comfortable, we are right next to the placa'espana and about 15 minutes walk from the train station. Went to bed about 10pm, so had a long day. All the upheaval was definitely worth it though.

1 comment:

Jim Buchan said...

Nice post - keep the habit ;-)