Day 1 – The London City Airport Experience

It has been a staggering 32C today in Vilnius, a little warmer than the UK, however a heatwave is sweeping across Europe currently so temperatures are high in rather a few countries!

We started our 6am day with yet another Uber to transport us to City Airport…soon muggins will be a pro at this app! After a short trip through the renowned London traffic and the taxi driver disobeying the temporary one way system, there it was, THE AIRPORT! Now, at the time of writing, London City Airport is undergoing a major refurbishment, the centrepiece being a new terminal. The probable reason for this became clear as you enter the existing terminal, it’s just too small for todays demands! Despite this, the staff are probably one of the friendly that I have come across…either that or a shift change had occurred meaning that everyone was happy and jolly (even security were smiling!). The only downside of the existing terminal is the lack of disabled toilets…there is only one in the main concourse!

Anyway, due to the size of the airport, jet bridges were replaced by conventional stairs up to the aircraft and the usual scissor lifts were nowhere to be seen. This meant not only were we escorted down on to the airfield but a chair was needed for me to navigate the stairs element…quite a fun experience!

The flight of just 2 hours and 10 minutes (albeit we were delayed somewhat leaving LCY) soon touched down in Vilnius Airport, one of the places that I have been looking forward too. Almost immediately, you could see a stark contrast to our airports in the UK; bar the obvious Soviet styled buildings, the airport is also used for light aircraft and flying schools for which people were simply standing around chatting like it was this small airport in addition to staff relaxing on grass a few hundred metres away…clearly the definition of health and safety differs here! As I mentioned, we enlisted the assistance of the ‘Maltieciai’ service (the only publicly known wheelchair accessible taxi service in Vilnius) to transport us to our Ibis hotel in the centre of the city. Two very friendly guys met us outside the airport and escorted to a minivan kitted out with the usual ramp and wheelchair restraints. Now, an accessible taxi from the airport usually costs between 50 – 100 euros, this service costs 9 euro (the charity is of course funded elsewhere)!

What to say about the hotel then? Well, it’s just your standard Ibis really, the ‘special’ room is a little small but at least it has a shower with a seat!

After a short walk to gain our bearings, tomorrow we head down to the Old Town to see what that has to offer. Oh and the temperature is supposed to drop with rain forecast…typical! 🙂

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