I set the alarms on both Karen's and my phone to make sure we were up at 4.15am as we really did have a plane to catch.
The problem we had was that the buses/metro/trains didn't start running early enough for us to get to the airport on time. There was an airport shuttle service, but they explicitly stated that it would not be suitable for anyone on the BA8 flight we were booked upon. Instead I had had to rely upon the Hotel arranging a taxi for us and worryingly I didn't have a back up plan as such.
Just after 5am we left our room and whispered goodbye to Neil through his door (even though he was still asleep as he was flying home on a later flight from a different airport).
I was relieved when we were checking out that the Reception were aware of our taxi booking and like everything else in Japan, the taxi arrived exactly on time at 5.15am. The taxi driver was in a smart suit like someone out of the 60's or Austin Powers with white piping. The car itself had white lace covers. It was all rather twee. He drove carefully and we arrived just minutes before the BA baggage drop desks opened. Security was then impressibly efficient and we made our made through to try and find some breakfast. This was not easy as it was mainly only Japanese food, but we fond a coffee shop that had some sandwiches.
We sat there until it was time to go to the date. Boarding was quick and easy and we were pleased to find we had been given bulkhead seats which had loads of extra leg room. We settled in for the 12 hour flight. The food was poor yet again. When will airlines learn that perhaps some simple sandwiches may be a better option for many people rather than 3 course meals of which neither of us liked any of the options?
I settled down and watched the film 'Creed' (as recommended in advance by Neil). I really enjoyed it and thought Stallone was excellent in it. After then having a short doze, I followed it by watching 'Creed 2', which although good was not quite as good as the first one.
After what had seemed like days on the plane we eventually landed and disembarked. Immigration had no queues which just meant we had an even longer wait at the Baggage carousel. Karen's bag was there quite quickly whereas mine was almost the last to come around.
We then made our way back up to Departures and waited a few minutes for Sunny to bring our car back to us. We were then finally on our way home. It was now just before 2pm and our aim was to be at Norwich airport to pick up Neil when his flight landed at 16.50pm. Just as we joined the M25 he sent us a message to confirm that he had landed into Amsterdam and was waiting for his Norwich flight. Almost immediately we hit traffic problems that then plagued our journey all the way home. At the Starbucks on the A11 we had a quick stop for drinks and Sausage Rolls from Greggs next door as it had been hours (but seemed like days) since we had actually eaten anything.
At one point we thought we might have time to drop Karen & our bags off at home before picking Neil up. However once on the Norwich Ring Road we realised that Neil had landed into Norwich and so made our way straight there. He was waiting at the pick up point and it was lovely that we were all able to arrive home together after getting some Fish & Chips on the way.
After being home for about 30 minutes I was desperate to take off my compression stockings as they had been on for over 21 hours and were hurting my legs. As I took them off upstairs in the bedroom I didn't feel great and got on the bed. The next thing I knew it was 12 hours later. I really really hate jet lag. At least both Karen & I had the next few days to recover, poor Neil was straight back to work the next day.
Well what a trip it had been. We had been apprehensive before we went but unnecessarily so. Japan as a place, culture and experience had been excellent. We had really enjoyed our time there and also the time we had spent with Neil. There had been so many highlights and we would absolutely recommend the trip to anyone. It had been an expensive trip but we think worth it. The trip had been full on. In the end we walked just over 110 miles during our time in Japan. It would be good to be home for a rest!