I mean, it’s not hugely secret, but we are the only ones taking this route. It said the lounges were this way and they are, but really it’s just a way of bypassing the enforced retail corridor route that the escalators down involve. Helen buys a bunch of euros mostly just because some miscalculations have meant she’s got way too much sterling at the moment. Skirting round past the Flying Horse wetherspoons we carry on following the signs to the BA lounges, plural.
Hello, new lounge! Never been to a BA lounge in Gatwick South before, only ever North - but afaik they’ve now consolidated all their services into this terminal. The man at the desk scans our boarding passes and we enter the tranquility of the First Class lounge. Despite some fear, based on a “for 2 weeks in April you can take up to five kids into the lounge for free” thing BA are doing right now, it really is quite peaceful and tranquil. There’s plenty of seat choice, and some people are drinking champagne. That sounds like a great idea, doesn’t it?
It is. It really is. We each pour ourselves a big fuck off glass and cheers one another. Things are looking up, eh? I go to eye up the buffet but am not particularly taken by it. Rather, I suggest, we should up sticks and go sit at one of the tables where they’ll come bring us food from the menu.
En route I check out the metro system’s website, and discover the amusing reason why we had to wait so long: there’s a strike, lasting our entire time here, and frequencies are severely reduced. Hurrah! Or something.
At Bolhao station we follow the nearest sign to the exit, which leaves us waiting for a lift rather than take 6 flights of stairs. The first 2 lifts which arrive are going down, but eventually an upper comes along and we’re dumped outside some shopping centre wondering which way to go. Had we come out the main non-shifty exit things would have been much simpler.
Back up top and we take a different route back to the hotel, intending to complete a loop. By now we really are in the mood for a drink and something to eat, if not a full blown meal. Various cafes and restaurants are either empty or heaving and none particularly appeal. Something interesting seems to be going on outside a picturesque church on a winding side-street; walking past, it’s revealed to be a soup kitchen on the edge of what seems to be a red light district.
Most cafe-restaurant places look like upmarket-ish greasy spoons. We get back to the pedestrianised bit and right by our hotel there are 3 consecutive places that all look half decent. Entering the middle one a friendly waiter seats us, speaks perfect English, and offers us cheese olives and bread while we pick from the menu. Go on then.
There is some amazing food in Porto that I am desperate to try but not this time, even though it’s on the menu. We order three small plates to share, and beer. The cerveja section of the menu is initially confusing until we figure out they only sell Super Bock, and the names are sizes. There is a stout on the menu though, hurrah!
Food arrives, and there’s way too much of it. I very much dislike the ham in the ham salad, and my “codfish, bras style” seems to be a posh version of fish and chips. The garlic mushrooms are excellent but there’s a ton of them.