€200 that I almost had, but didn’t 🙁


A gorgeous sunrise view departing from Lisbon.

5am! It was a horrible time to wake up a few days ago, and it’s even worse this time because I’m doing it to fly home. After a quick shower and packing up the few things I couldn’t last night, it was time to say goodbye to Yes! Hostel. I couldn’t have found a better place to spend my few days in Lisbon.


This was the only time during my whole trip that it was quiet and empty.

Since it was so early in the morning, public transport wasn’t really an option. I requested an Uber and made it to the airport in 15 minutes travelling along the deserted streets and paying €7 for the privilege. I did wonder whether this would have been better getting to the hostel at the start of my trip but, knowing my luck, the traffic would have been horrendous and it would have taken longer than the metro.

I walked up to the check-in desk to pick up my boarding pass, and was asked if I had any bags to check in. When I said no, the agent told me that the flight today was incredibly busy and that they were looking for volunteers to be bumped to the next flight. She then said that they were offering €200 for any passengers doing so, and I immediately volunteered. So she put a note on my booking and said they’d sort things out at the gate should they need me to be bumped.

As it turns out, €200 would cover almost all of my expenditure in Lisbon, so I was starting to get pretty excited about it. A three hour wait for the extra money seemed pretty reasonable. I made my way through security, brought the obligatory bottle of aged tawny port at duty free and made my way to the gate.

What caught me off guard a little was the hoarde of Japanese tourists at the gate. I did wonder whether I was at the wrong gate or if they’d changed it at the last minute, but the screen definitely had my flight on it. I guess Japan to Lisbon via Heathrow is more popular than I expected. I joined the queue and waited what seemed like forever, but I eventually got to the front. I presented my passport and boarding card, and just got waved through.

I was gutted.

I never thought I’d catch myself being disappointed about making a flight, but I was. I guess they had a few no shows and didn’t need the seat, but part of me thinks I should have asked them if they still needed me to be bumped in case they didn’t see the note.

Suffice it to say, the flight was extremely busy. My seat was all the way at the back of the plane in the penultimate row of seats with no overhead luggage space to be found nearby. I had to walk back about halfway before I found any space to stow my bag, but I did find some space. Others weren’t so lucky, and I’m sure the crew spent the last ten minutes of boarding having to explain to passengers that there was no space and apologise profusely that their bags would have to be put in the hold.

Anyway, my flight left on time and I got to enjoy one last look at Lisbon before whizzing through the air back to the UK.


I think my British Airways plane might have been the odd one out in this lineup!


One final look at their “fake Golden Gate Bridge” before going home!


I don’t care how meager their offering is; I’m still going to miss the free food and drink. Can you tell I’m looking forward to paying £5 for a sandwich?


Flying over Windsor Castle on final approach to Heathrow.


The flight was really full and my bag was about halfway down the plane from my seat… but I was lucky enough to get my bag on the plane at least!


Terminal 3 done… Terminal 4 is now the only one I haven’t travelled from.

About three hours later, we arrived in Heathrow. Our arrival caught me a little off guard because I was expecting to arrive at Terminal 5, but we taxied away from it and towards Terminal 3. It turns out that not all BA flights use T5 yet. This does mean though, that I only have Terminal 4 left to conquer. Although I’m not sure I’d quite stoop to the level of booking a holiday solely because I can fly there from Terminal 4!

The weather in Lisbon was pretty mild, and a bit warmer than the UK, but the weather seemed to have taken a turn in the few days I was away. While walking off the plane and into the terminal, I was met with an extremely chilly draught from the gap between the plane and the jetbridge. I’d have to face that cold later when I eventually emerge from the Underground at Victoria, but at least I had a bit of a reprieve until then.

My journey back to Cardiff was nowhere near as exciting as the journey to London. Just a boring coach. It was a more straightforward journey though because there’s a National Express stop about 30 seconds walk from my house, so there’s that at least!

4 months to go until my next trip! 😂

Travelling in style… again!


Flying over the snow capped Cantabrian Mountains of Western Spain.

Nobody should be awake at 5am!

I really shouldn’t be feeling sorry for myself because I’m off on holiday, and there are definitely worse reasons to be awake so early! At least this time, I was already in London and didn’t have to endure the three hour drive to the airport. All I needed was to make a short hop on the bus and I’d be there in no time. My friend walked me to the bus stop because I haven’t the faintest idea how to get around Kingston! The bus pulled up to the stop, I bid my friend farewell and hopped on the bus.


Don’t you just love it when there’s a clock on the bus to remind you how early you’re awake!

It wasn’t too long before I could see planes parked on the apron, and I knew I’d at least made it to the perimeter of the airport. It wasn’t much longer before I was at the departure hall and ready to check in.


Hello Terminal 2… I don’t think we’ve met before.

I approached the check-in desks and walked over to the empty business class check-in desk. The agent almost looked bored, and I think my approach towards the desk was welcome relief from the boredom. I was quickly checked in, handed my boarding pass and then asked “are you familiar with the lounges?”

Without even missing a beat, I instinctively responded “not at this terminal”. Good save Chris; wouldn’t want them thinking you never fly business class!

It was a short walk to fast track security, a short walk through security, and another short walk before I was presented with the Lufthansa lounge.


As soon as I passed the scrutiny of the receptionist I was in, and there were two things on my mind… coffee and breakfast! There’s nothing quite like a decent breakfast in the airport lounge, knowing that you’ll also have a second breakfast on the plane!

I quickly made myself familiar with their coffee machine, and their cooked section with its endless supply of bacon. While I was there, I also found myself having a bit of a sad moment over how cool the ketchup was!


Tiny pot of ketchup; where have you been all my life?

With breakfast out of the way, I just chilled in the lounge in the only way I know how…


I don’t even care that it’s barely past 7 in the morning – it’s 7pm somewhere in the world!

Fairly soon, it was time for me to make my way to the gate ready to board my flight. I didn’t even have to walk far and it must have taken me two minutes at most.


Not long to go now!


There were no empty seats at all back in economy, but I was sharing five rows of seats with two other passengers!


A little while later, I was all breakfasted up and it was just a matter of waiting while we cruised at hundreds of miles an hour towards Portugal. I took the opportunity to listen to some music – The North Borders by Bonobo was a perfect soundtrack to the flight. Soon, I  arrived at a drizzly Lisbon, deplaned and strolled past baggage reclaim because I only took hand luggage.

And now to to take the not so glamorous mode of transport into Lisbon old town…


The most pointless flight ever


Flying somewhere over Essex, looking towards central London.

My upcoming flight to Lisbon will be departing from Heathrow tomorrow. I seem to have this weird fondness for it at the moment, and I’m not sure if it’s anything to do with being a bit of a plane geek and liking big airports, or if I just prefer to avoid budget airlines like Ryanair and easyJet if I can. Either way, I need to find a way of travelling from Cardiff to London.

Normally, I’d look at catching the train or a bus, but I opted for a different mode this time. When the Severn Tunnel closed for 6 weeks in October, travelling to London by train took longer than usual and Flybe stepped in and said they’d offer direct flights between Cardiff and London City, and then continued to offer the flights even after the tunnel reopened because of demand.

Now that a train to London takes just over two hours again, it’s kind of pointless. I just thought it would be a cool way to arrive in London, and an opportunity to see it from the air.

Also, it was cheaper than the train!


I got an entire row to myself on the flight!


Flying somewhere over England.

When I got to London, I met up with my friend Jonathan (one of my fellow medal and flower bearers at the London 2012 Olympics). It was his birthday a couple of days before, so I latched onto his birthday meal! We were eating at Gaucho in Central London.

The thing is, I live in the most expensive city in Wales (Cardiff), but the cost of everything pales into insignificance when you compare it to London. This place is almost certainly considered cheap for London, but I was looking through the menu for the cheap options. In the end, I decided to splurge a bit (I was on holiday after all) and didn’t regret it. Argentinian grass-fed steak with chimichurri is a culinary experience I’d gladly go through again!


The view out of the windows was pretty cool…


…but the view down towards the table was even better!


Mmmmmmm… *drools*


I may have been in the mood to splurge, but I wasn’t sure if that stretched to an £80 glass of cognac!