December 24, 1961 – Spain

Palace Hotel, Madrid, Spain – Rain, very cold

     We both slept late today and once we were up we prepared to leave for our flight at 1pm.  I called for room service to order our breakfast and then Edith decided she would call the tour office to reaffirm what we’d been told yesterday. 

     I heard her talking while I was in the bathroom but rushed out when I heard her slam down the phone.  I had never seen Edith so angry before but when she told me why she was livid I could understand.  She had found out that the Madrid tour agent, Melia, had confirmed us to leave on a flight that left at 10:30am instead of the later one.  As mad as we both were about the change and not being notified of it we didn’t have time to fuss and fume. 

     We’d been told the day before that someone would be at our hotel to help us get to the airport but when we finally made it down to the lobby with our bags no one was there.  Edith made another frantic call to the tour office but she was told no one would be there to assist us for some reason.  So at the last minute I paid the bill for our services at the hotel while Edith got us a taxi to take us to the airport.  Both of us were so annoyed by the time we got into the taxi we had trouble controlling our emotions.  We arrived at the airport late but were allowed to board even though they were getting ready to close the planes doors because the agent at the British European Airways desk graciously helped us expedite getting tickets and held the plane for us. 

     Once we were on the plane the stewardess moved us to first class since the plane was almost empty.  Seated up front made us feel like our luck had turned around so we finally were able to settle down and relax.  The weather leaving Madrid was wet, cloudy, cold, windy and rough but once we moved away from Spain and towards England it cleared up and we had a wonderful view of the English channel.  We were served a great lunch on the airplane and since I’d had to leave my breakfast uneaten I was very hungry.  We passed over the Jersey Isle and flew into London at 5pm and it was dark already which meant we could see all the lights and admire the city. 

Flying Over the English Channel

     After we’d landed, gotten our luggage and made it through customs I was glad to see the weather was clear as we tried to catch a taxi.  We also found it was very cold.  Our drive from the airport to the Washington Hotel where we were to stay was fun.  At check in I was given seven letters that made me happy and I was excited to read all of them.  Two were from Ramona, one from Bob and Pat, another one from Penny, one from Patrick, one from my brother Ed and one from my other brother Pat.  Edith received a couple of letters and frowned when she saw how many I had gotten.

     By the time we had checked in and gotten to our room it was time to have dinner but Edith and I were too tired to go down to the dining room so we ordered room service to eat in our room.  I had a stew and Edith had roast chicken.  We also ordered a couple of Irish coffees.  The meals and drinks were good and filling.  We toasted Christmas Eve to each other and hoped that our family and friends back home were happy and safe too. 

     After we finished eating Edith and I were too tired to do anything else so we went to bed but I had trouble getting to sleep.  My feet were cold and all we had in our room to heat it up was a small electric heater.  We turned it up as high as we could but it didn’t heat our room up as much as we needed.

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