Saturday 9 May

Half-past ten on the evening of Saturday 9 May finds James Tindall, John Buckley, Jay Ashworth, and me sitting in the transit lounge of Madrid Airport. We have a five hour wait for our connecting flight that will take us via Santa Dominica to Lima. Meanwhile, we have little to do but try to sleep, being frequently interrupted by a mechanical voice announcing “Flight-Iberia-six-three-six-four-passengers-please-proceed-immediately-to-gate-B-twenty-three”, or suchlike. It does not take long to find out who the other passengers for our flight are. One is Helen, travelling out to Lima to meet her husband who has been running tours there. She, like him, is an experienced traveller.

We finally leave Madrid aboard a DC-10. Despite the horrendous hour, dinner is served and then a film is shown. I find that placing a blanket over my head improves the experience immeasurably. We land at Santa Dominica for a refuelling stop at about half past eleven in the morning UK time, or 6.30 am local time. Outside, the weather is foggy.