United Kingdom, I am in you!! I almost can’t believe I’m finally here.
Beware…my “day” was a long one, so this post will be, too!
When I woke up on the morning of my flight (at 2am even though my flight wasn’t until 4:45pm because my brain is kind of a jerk) I must have repacked my suitcase half a dozen times!
I still managed to find time to go out for a pancake breakfast with my sister’s family before I was all dressed, packed up (then repacked over and over) and ready to go, though.
I thought I’d try to pack light, but London, Paris and Zurich in winter just aren’t conducive to such things…a couple of jumpers and my suitcase was a quarter full…add presents for my family and only half the suitcase was left! But I managed to squeeze everything into a large suitcase and a backpack carry-on, with 4kg to spare on my weight limit. 😄
I insisted on taking the train to the airport, and I’m glad that I did, because with the shitty weather in Sydney, traffic would have been horrible.
On a side note — Sydney, what kind of summer day is in the very low twenties and doesn’t stop raining? The kind that’s mentally preparing me for a European winter, I suppose!
So armed with my luggage and little Ezio in tow (for those unaware, Ezio is one of my fave video game characters and will be accompanying me on my travels in pop-vinyl figure form) I got to the airport, breezed through check in and security, then settled in for a few hours waiting near my gate. Turns out I could have turned up 5 minutes before check in closed and still made it just fine, but better safe than sorry.
And of course, what’s a long wait in an airport without a little people watching?
I have to admit…when people wear bulky, stiff looking belts on long haul flights, I can’t help but wonder if they hate comfort. I mean don’t get me wrong, people can wear what they want and it’s no one else’s business…but I’ve had a long few days (or depending on how you look at it, one really, really long day!) and I’m super grateful that I dressed with absolute comfort in mind. A twenty five hour flight with just 90 minutes of transit time is already destined to be somewhat uncomfortable (especially in economy) so clothing choices matter!
Anyway, I flew with Qantas on flight QF1, which is Sydney to London with a 90 minute transit in Dubai. I flew economy because that was already quite expensive (over $3000 return!) though I’m still not sure if the price was because I managed to book at the wrong time or because flights are exorbitant over the Christmas period.
The transit was a welcome break to stretch out my legs and walk around a bit, although Dubai airport was somewhat confusing…every time I thought I’d reached where I needed to be, I had to go up or down an escalator or through a long hall hahaha! It was quite pretty for an airport though, especially the windows.
I was quite happy with the service on both parts of the journey, everyone was as friendly or even more so than you’d expect, and the food was surprisingly good. I preordered an online-only lamb option for my dinner and it was honestly fantastic.
Breakfast before reaching London was scrambled eggs with sausage, mushroom, spinach, hash browns and grilled tomato, and it was as tasty as it sounds!
The entertainment options were quite good, too, which is a relief when you’re like me and struggle to sleep while travelling. Over the 25 or so hours between Sydney and London I caught a handful of short naps… I’m guessing 3-4 hours in total.
I arrived in London early morning (disembarked at 6:30am despite the official flight arrival time listed at 6:50am) and made it through border checks, purchased a local SIM, picked up my baggage and strolled through (or more accurately STROLLED BY) customs by 7:20am. Most of that time was spent waiting for my suitcase to show up…I couldn’t believe how quickly I was looking for the drop off / pick up zone!
Luckily my cousin Sneeze and her husband Keith found me without too much trouble despite the mayhem! Although the bus and taxi lane looks quiet, the other lanes certainly weren’t! I feel so bad for the traffic they suffered through, but once we were out of the airport the traffic eased and we started the long drive to my Aunt’s place in Torquay. They suggested we take a scenic route despite the intense fog, just in case the fog cleared and I could see some countryside.
As it turns out, that was a brilliant idea. Although the fog rarely cleared, we did see some very quaint towns, some gorgeous little cottages with thatched roofs, the odd gothic looking church surrounded by the kind of picturesque villages you see in paintings…and Stonehenge!
Apparently the druids were on our side, because despite the fog everywhere else, Stonehenge was very clear as we drove by! I even managed to get a semi decent photo despite the fact that my phone was zoomed in and we weren’t stopping!
A trip to Stonehenge is planned for my summer European trip, so you can imagine how excited I was to unexpectedly see it on my first day in the UK!
When we arrived in Torquay I finally met my Aunt Marie. Her chicken pie and her raspberry cheesecake are AMAZING, by the way.
I stayed up until about 9pm, which was a bit of a challenge since I’d had only a couple of hours of broken naps over 54 hours…but there’s no better way to beat jetlag. And it must have worked because I woke up early in the morning, just like always.
I’m not sure what we have planned today…but I’m looking forward to it anyway! 🙂