Tuesday, 23 May 2017

Journey's end - Basel to Cardiff

Packed cases left outside cabin doors for collection were swiftly removed from the MV Emily Bronte while we ate breakfast this morning. After correct identification they were loaded on to the coach as their owners climbed on board for the half hour drive across from the quay on the German side of the Dreieck to Basel-Mulhouse-Freibourg airport, across the river on the French side of the Dreieck - the land is leased to the Swiss, who run the place. We had to wait ten minutes for group booking check-in desks to be opened, but were diverted by the sight of several young Asian travellers, struggling to re-close huge suitcases they had to open in order to retrieve some essential item, their scattered goods and chattels seemingly resistant to being rounded up and contained. 

We were through check-in and security two hours before flight departure, and our our way back to Heathrow just after midday. British Airways has now moved over exclusively to card payments for on-board, evidently convenient for flight staff, but maybe not so convenient for those reluctant to adopt new technology, who prefer cash. Currency has long been a symbol of sovereignty. It seems we are surrendering this to the international banking network, in the name of improved efficiency, cost and convenience. Fine, until the next catastrophic system hack, financial melt-down, or collapse of the global electronic network due to an unprecedented huge solar flare. I'm happier to put my faith in God, than I am in the latest electronic/economic fad, however brilliantly designed there are hidden flaws in everything that the Bible calls 'the work of human hands'. This is ignored at our peril.

We had booked on a later coach, two hours after arrival, in case there was a flight delay. We landed on time, however, and were shocked to discover that instead of paying a £5 fee to change our National Express booking we'd have to pay £24 to ride on an earlier coach. I was furious about this as we had not been correctly informed when booking the tickets at Sophia Gardens Coach Station in Cardiff, but Clare insisted that we pay up, so after another four hours coach riding and a local bus we were back home by six o'clock. Thankfully, there as no need to go out and buy food, as we had enough veg to cook an evening meal, remaining from last week. Now there's a big pile of washing to be done, mail to open, grass to be mown and early bed, after ten hours travel time. It's such a relief to return to reliable decent speed internet again. And finally tidy up the mess made to this blog by such an inadequate on-board wi-fi system. 

Apart from this hassle, the cruise itself was an enriching experience, thanks to the professionalism and care of all those who were involved in making it work. A fine example of euro-co-operation, at the domestic consumer level. I wonder what impact brexit will have on this, apart from higher prices?


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