Monday, 27 February 2012

The hidden cost of cheap flights

It has been a horrible winter up here on my hilltop.
Not cold, crisp and snowy like the previous two winters. I don't mind those at all. Given sufficient stocks of firewood and red wine, a full freezer and no particular place to go, I can simply wait them out.
This one was a real Welsh winter though. All leaden skies, fog and constant rain from the West. For days on end. The sort of winter for which the term SAD was invented.

By the start of February we were both desperate for some sunlight. Added heat would be a bonus, but just light would do.
A quick scan of t'Interweb for cheap flights led to 10 days in Portugal, the Algarve to be specific. Never having been there before, I had imagined it was all golf courses and expat Brit retirement villages. Well yes, those are there, but there are also orange groves, cork oak forests, neat terraced smallholdings clinging onto hillsides, a wealth of birdlife, azure seas and dramatic offshore rock formations, glorious seafood and char-grilled dishes, and a whole wealth of other camera-friendly sights and experiences.

Sadly, though, the most memorable thing we brought back with us was a really nasty bout of 'flu. Caught, I am absolutely certain, from the Ryanair pilot sitting next to Robert who coughed and spluttered for the entire flight back.
Which is the really strange thing. You certainly don't get anything else for free on a budget, no-frills airline!