February 28, 2012 by Robin Ellis
We hadn’t counted on seeing the Mediterranean this trip nor the Pyrenees for that matter–but there they were looking beautiful, backed by an intense blue cloudless sky.
At one o’clock Sunday, when we should have been having lunch in Primrose Hill, north London, we were in fact with a planeload of other bemused passengers being transferred by coach from Carcassonne Airport to the airport at Perpignan—where we arrived one and a half hours later.
We were going south, in other words, when we should have going north!
The pilot of our Ryanair flight from London Stansted decided the cloud ceiling was too low for landing at Carcassonne–and he diverted to Perpignan.
We had sat in the pre-boarding area at Carcassonne waiting for the coaches to arrive–“Les cars vont arriver en quinze minutes” said the woman’s voice over the p.a. system “The coaches will be here in 15 minutes”, an announcement she seemed to repeat every fifteen minutes–watching the clouds lift over the Black Mountains to the north and the sky turn blue; the perfect weather for a landing.
Once at Perpignan airport, we collected our carry-on luggage from the coach driver and went in search of sustenance.
As we settled ourselves at a table in the bar area…
“All passengers for flight FR73 to London Stanstead must collect their CHECKED baggage from the stand outside the airport and delivery it to check-in desk number 5 immediately!”
They stopped short of telling us we would be taking it in turns to fly the plane to London–but it must have crossed their minds.
Things took a turn for the better when we spotted a sandwich on a second visit to the hitherto barren bar.
One each with a small box of vacuum-packed peanuts (opened with the help of the sales assistant’s handy pair of scissors) and a coffee convinced us we were right to resist the metaphorical meaning of the phrase going south!
What’s a four hour delay in the context of a month long trip!?
The Med and the Pyrenees were well worth seeing…magnificent–wouldn’t have missed them…
It’ll be a skip and a jump to the Pacific and the Rockies now–sure–here we come!