Erring on the side of caution I arrived somewhat early at Heathrow airport. Have you noticed the flawed advice to arrive at least 3 hours prior to international flights but bag drop-off only commences 2 hours before at 5 am. I had a pretty clear taxi run to the airport, the M25 as one might hopefully imagine it. my driver, a Romanian from Transylvania offered me a lesson in Balkan history and Dacian culture and then complained that his profession is unregulated with his cab company owner/boss selling unlimited £200/week contracts to drivers willing to work unspecified hours - no onerous EU regulation or lack of business freedom there then.
Ah well, finding a perch I zoned out and fiddled with modern challenges like pairing my iPhone and Mini iPad and settling to listen to a podcast of the sexiest voice on radio, Kirsty Young interviewing Aung San Suu Kyii on Desert Island Disc. The music selection was uninspired but the resilience of her subject was impressive.
Anyway, I manage to sleep for an hour on an uneventful journey to Madrid. On disembarking passengers were divided and I left with the back exit cohort feeling sorry for an elderly South American grandmother who couldn't work out the ebb and flow and was patiently tolerated by most but scolded by her husband. Once off the plane we boarded a bendy bus, no doubt donated by the London mayor and we skirted the runways with unnecessary urgency fighting centrifugal forces to remain upright.
Paying €7 for coffee and orange juice staved my hunger until we boarded our Iberia flight. It was so sparsely populated that I am unsurprised that the ex national carrier is the loss making component of BA. At the last minute we were joined by 2 police escorted Colombians presumably being repatriated and who were sat at the back of the plane where I suppose there is little chance of them mounting a realistic challenge to land elsewhere. Lunch was served, overly salty moussaka with 37cl of 14% Tempranillo - this is the Iberia way of applying sufficient tranquilliser to guarantee a quiet ship until dinner - so compliantly I submitted to siesta - when in Rome (or in this case mid Atlantic) .........
Arriving on time we disembarked and went quickly and without problem through customs and immigration. I west to the cash machine then caught a cab to the hotel about 20 minutes away. I tried to stave off sleep for a while but succumbed around 9 and slept through until 4am waking with a travel and altitude headache but ready to explore.