Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Are We There Yet?

What a change of scenery.  A few days before leaving I was picking salad from our veggie patch and watched four yellow-tailed black cockatoos flying overhead, screeching to each other and swooping around the trees.  I picked a choko and on it was a tiny green frog who really didn't want to be moved from his perch and the king parrots were also in full voice.  Now what I hear is people, PA announcements and the hum of airconditioning.  There are plants in this lounge but I suspect they may be plastic to survive the atmosphere.

So we stared in the Qantas Club lounge in Coffs. A new experience for Garrie, but as a life member it was nice to be using the benefits again for me.  

Sydney was a quick stop as by the time we had a walk and tackled customs, it was time to board the 14 hour flight to Dubai. Now at the risk of sounding like Bob Carr I must say I miss Business Class. (I was fortunate to do my business travel that way in the 1990s.  Mind you I just about lived on planes then and worked as soon as I landed!) I think a contortionist sardine might be the way I feel after 14 hours in economy.

There was plenty to praise about the flight.  Toilets kept clean, food pretty good, especially the Weiss ice cream, and the entertainment systems are much improved from the 1990s. Movies in demand are good. I started and rejected 2 but then enjoyed The Monument Men and Saving Mr Banks.  Garrie chose Castaway, which starts with a plane crash!!!

As a we cruised at 38,000 feet at 900kph we did get some broken sleep, disturbed by minor turbulence and unhappy children.  I had wondered what the pillow was for until I decided perhaps it might be handy for harassed Mum's to smoother their children. (Just kidding).  Garrie had his nose to the window whilst there was daylight and was intrigued by the plane camera that showed take off, landing and cruising through the clouds. Grandad says Ayden would have loved it!

On arrival in Dubai we deposited Mum in the "Special Handling Lounge". What an appropriate name - my Mum definitely needs special handling lol!  We saw her heading back to her flight to London and are now enjoying a couple of hours of luxury in the Emirates Business Class Lounge.  

The red eyes tell a story!  Garrie says one of his favourite things about the lounge is the heated toilet seats!  So now a short wait, about an 8 hour flight, and the next post will come to you from Paris!

Saturday, 12 April 2014

What's this blog about?

It's the story of a journey.  It's been over 12 months in the making.  The loss of some good friends to ill health reminded us that life is short and not a dress rehearsal and with Garrie's 60th birthday on the horizon I asked:

"If you could celebrate your birthday any where in the world, where would that be."

It didn't take long for the answer. "Paris!"

So basing the trip around Paris the deliberations of what to include began.  With relatives in England we couldn't leave the old country out and with Garrie's Scottish heritage we included a visit to Glencoe and Glasgow.  With our love of cycling, a bike and barge trip seemed obvious so that added Amsterdam, (The Netherlands) and Bruges (Belgium) to the itinerary.  Venice, Italy was also on the bucket list and having looked at walking trips around Lake Como, Bellagio was booked.  Garrie has never seen snow falling, (and sadly is unlikely to see it falling on this trip either), however the mountains of Switzerland had to be included.  To rest up on the way home we also decided to stop for a few nights in Dubai - so that will make for an incredible contrast.

As we stroll through Europe it will be a magic trip for us both.  I am very lucky to have experienced a lot of international travel, some for pleasure but mostly for work but we are visiting several places I have never been to, or went to when I was a small child.  I will so enjoy it too, through the eyes of Garrie who will be utterly gobsmacked by all he sees.  Garrie has only been out of Australia twice, once to New Zealand when he was about 16, and once on a Pacific Island cruise when he was 22, so he'll be running around with mouth and eyes both wide open!

Though there are trains, planes and automobiles involved, we do intend to stroll and gently cycle.  This will not be a hectic rush between tourist spots, but more of a meander to experience the culture and particularly the food!

Our good friend Tina asked for, (no, demanded), this blog so we hope you enjoy it.  I may enter a post daily, or maybe just by location, and all will depend on time, energy and internet availability.  Though we have chosen places with free wifi - we all know - there is wifi and there is wifi.... This should be the only post with loads of text - it's going to be a photographic journey!

Please add your comments to let us know you are reading along and with any questions you might have.  You can check our itinerary and trip map at any time as they are available on separate pages.  Also sign up for email notification of new posts and you'll always know when there is something new to see.

The adventure starts on April 29th.  Enjoy our journey - we will!