Final day, can't stray

Day 15, 2 Sep 2001

Well, this was almost it. As always in the last day, options were limited. We couldn't stray too far for fear of getting delayed. The weather had improved somewhat, though. On previous days, we had been unable to see very far down the lake due to the heat haze. After the previous downpours, the morning began with a fresh feeling and much improved visibility.

We went for a leisurely stroll down by the lake then continued back in to the centre of Riva to cover old ground and to look over the souvenirs once more. Standing out from the usual souvenir shops was one that seemed to be promoting the end of the world. It was actually a Raelien centre - they believe that aliens have shaped our past. In the window was their publication that appeared to be predicting impending doom: 'Apocalypse Soon' or something like that. I imagined that conversation about business with his next door neighbour (the toy shop) was probably quite stilted. As for the publication, it makes you wonder a) how long they've been predicting the end of civilisation and b) how annual subscriptions are collected. Perhaps the reminder letter says: "Well, we got it wrong, we're all still here. So, perhaps we can trouble you for $50 for the next year's issues. If we get it right this time, we can't really promise a refund."

Beware of mis-translations

Manda asked me how much money I had left. Getting in to the German spirit, I replied fünf eins. It then occurred to me that my relating how much money might actually be perceived by the Germans as gloating over the football match!

We had a Chinese meal in the centre before wandering back to the hotel to pick up our lift. There we met one of the other couples from the previous week who had stayed in a hotel down the road and were catching the same return flight as us. The Malarkies had left earlier that day, but we had a chance to say farewells over breakfast.

Homeward bound

The fun really began when we got to the airport. The flight would be delayed around 4 hours. I wondered whether Monarch have just the one plane, and the delay was being carried forward from the two weeks before? Then, once back in the UK, we had another problem. The late flight meant we got back to Gatwick after midnight, at which point the National Express coach we had tickets for was no longer operating. So, we jumped on a flightlink bus from Gatwick to Heathrow and hoped that it would arrive in time for the last bus. We made it with just 10 minutes to spare. After the wait in the airport, and the rush across London, I wasn't ready for a slog from hotel to hotel for an overnight stay - this was a real relief. I can't say that I've ever been that enthusiastic about getting on a coach to Swindon before, but this was an exception!

If you enjoyed reading this, try one of my other holiday diaries