About 7 weeks ago we were in Kaufland doing our weekly shop when I cam across the Christmas decorations. At first I was excited, it was soon to be Christmas and our first one in Bulgaria, my excitement soon turned into sadness, when the realisation that it would be my first Christmas away from my kids ( now adults ). The tears started to form, so I quickly turned away from the decorations and I continued with the shopping, trying to distract my mind from thinking about Christmas. A week later my son phoned and told me he was thinking of getting my family to chip in for a flight for Andy and me so that we could spend Christmas in the UK with the family. I was overwhelmed by the generous thought but I had to decline as we have dogs and we had no one to look after them. Andy overheard the conversation and suggested I go and he would stay behind to look after the dogs. I was torn between wanting to spend Christmas with my family and not wanting to leave Andy alone. After a lot of discussion I accepted my sons kind offer.
Over the following weeks leading to my departure I found myself going through several mixed emotions, happy that I would get to see my family, guilty for leaving Andy behind, nervous about going back to the UK and anxious about flying on my own. By the time my departure day arrived I was all over the place, emotionally .
I had asked our friend Derek if he would drive me to Craiova airport as we didn’t have winter tyres and didn’t want to take the chance in the van, he was kind enough to agree as long as Andy went with him. I chose to fly from Craiova Airport, Romania as it was nearer to where we live than Sofia and to test it out for when my family come over next year. ( it’s only 2 hours drive as apposed to 3 1/2 ). The journey went quite smoothly and the only hold up was at the Romanian border. The sign posting to the airport was almost non existent and after a few wrong turns we finally found it.
The airport is very small but modern and there were a lot more people there than I thought there would be considering there was only 3 flights going out that evening. After checking in my baggage ( there is only 4 check-in desks in the whole airport), which didn’t take long, I said my goodbyes and headed to security. That also didn’t take very long and was very well organised. Then it was an hour long wait till boarding . What can I say about the boarding, well, in one word, chaos! You would think we were waiting for a 75% sale at Harrods the way everyone was pushing and shoving at the check-in desk and then as soon as the doors opened to the Tarmac where our plane was, everyone started running, you’d think they were a pack of animals fighting over a morsel of meat!
The flight went well apart from the landing was a little scary due the strong winds at Luton and it was a relief to finally arrive as it was the first time in 20 years that I had flown on my own. My son and his girlfriend came to collect me and it was wonderful to see him again and to finally meet his girlfriend. After a 2 1/2 hour drive, we arrived at my daughters, which is where I was staying for a few days. It had been a long day but it was worth it just to see my kids.
The next 2 days was spent sharing my time with my children and shopping, oh how I’ve missed Primark! ( yes, I know, how sad am I? ). We did a bit of Christmas shopping, had coffee, went to lunch and spent our time catching up and it was lovely. The only thing I didn’t enjoy was handing over my money! Just having coffee was almost £10 for the 3 of us,( ok it was at Costa Coffee ), all I kept thinking is how many more coffees I could get for that price in Bulgaria haha.
On Christmas Eve, my daughter drove me to my Mums as I was staying there for the night before heading to my brothers house for Christmas Day. It was lovely to see my Mum again as it had been 6 months since I last saw her. It was a nice evening, we had a delicious meal,( my mum is a fantastic cook ), and spent the evening talking until 4 in the morning! ( my fault, I just wouldn’t shut up ). Christmas Day was spent at my brother Marks house but the food was cooked by my sister Donna and I have to say she excelled herself, it was absolutely delicious. Dessert was made by my Mum and that too was scrumptious, there was a lot of rather full belles! The only sad part about the day was that my daughter couldn’t be there, she is a carer in an old peoples home, so she had to work and of course Andy, my wonderful hubby, who sacrificed his Christmas so I could spend it with my family. Aside from that, it was an amazing day had by all.
I spent the night at my sisters house with her and her boys. It was great to catch up again even though we were all shattered. In the morning my daughter came straight from a 12 hour shift to pick me up. We stayed for breakfast and left 4 hours later, us women can talk for England! It was then back to my daughters for my last 2 days. I got to meet my daughters boyfriend, have dinner with my son and his girlfriend and spend a few hours with my friend Carol, who I have missed so much. The week just flew by so quickly and it was hard trying to fit everything in, in such a short space of time, but I’m so grateful to my son and Mum for giving me the opportunity to spend one more Christmas with my Family.
It was finally time to fly back and part of me wanted to stay and the other part of me couldn’t wait to go back home. I didn’t get home as soon as I thought I would. It was about half an hour or so till we were due to land when the Captain announced ‘ due to dense fog, we are unable to land in Craiova. We have been instructed to divert to Bucharest airport! ‘ ‘WHAT? are you joking ?’!. Yes as you can imagine I was slightly panicking especially when I found out Bucharest was over 200 mms away !). Just before we were about to land the Captain came on the speaker to inform us we were about to land, thank us for our understanding and to tell us it was 4c in Bucharest. ‘Like I a gave a dam what the temperature was!!’ That was it , no other information. I was starting to worry as to what was going to happen next and as I couldn’t speak the language it made the situation worse. I finally found out from one of the passengers that we were getting transferred to Craiova by bus but we might have to wait 1-2 hours for the bus. Obviously the first thing I did was to contact Andy except I couldn’t get through. I realised he didn’t have a signal but I kept trying, to no avail. And yes, you guessed it, I panicked! The next idea was to post my dilemma on Facebook, which resulted in all my family in the UK trying to get a message to Andy. Good old facebook, it worked and I was able to breathe again, knowing that he knew the situation.
Two coaches finally arrived an hour later and as usual I was pushed and shoved by the other passengers trying to get a seat. We had to put our own cases in the hold, which was no mean feat, but when I eventually got mine on I was told there was no more seats. So back I went to get my case off quickly before the driver drove off with it. There were only about 20 of us left and we had to wait for another coach to arrive, which took another half an hour, by that time i was frozen to the bone. It took about 3 1/2 hours to reach Craiova and I was so relieved to get there. We were finally on our way home but I’m afraid of the extremely dense fog, it took us twice as long to get home ( 3 hours ). 4am and at last we were home. 18 1/2 hours door to door, I could have gone to Singapore in that time, but at least we made it home safely.
Despite the traveling, I had an fantastic Christmas, one I will remember for a very long time 🙂