So this will probably be the last real-time trip update.
We're back in the country. Currently camped out in the Virgin Blue Lounge in Sydney, trying to kill the time between our 7:15am arrival this morning, and our 3:40pm departure this afternoon. Not super-great planning on our part, but hey.
The $35 a head to get into the Lounge has been worth every cent, and we've still got another 3 hours here - the coffee has already proven to be way better than anything we consumed in either France or the UK, free buffet for grazing, and showers. Oh yeah. Having been on the go since Thurs morning UK time (so probably Thurs evening AUS time), a hot shower has been gratefully received.
Can't remember where I got to with previous posts about our London escapades - I think I may have mentioned our trip to Coventry. Well that pretty much leaves Thursday - our final day OS. Much of the morning was spent vainly trying to cram gear, gear, and more gear into our bags - how is it possible that we left the country with 19 + 16kg, and are returning with 24 + 19? Especially when you take into account the gear that was taken over and hand delivered to Choppy - surely logic would tell you that we should be returning home with less? Apparently not.
And I didn't think we'd bought that much - a few cycling jerseys, some miscellaneous gifts, a couple of t-shirts, well I suppose it all adds up.
Els was a little nervous about how whether we would sneak it onto the plane without having to pay excess luggage. It was a snap, the check in staff didn't even blink at it. However the VB staff here this morning did blink, and slugged us $50 in excess luggage from Syd to Albury (it should have been more like $90, but anyway...).
That reminds me, need to write about what I packed, and what can be pruned for next time. That's right, I said next time.
And doth, it was time to depart. We braved the wilds of the London Underground for one last time to make the trek out to Heathrow (not as bad or as long as I was expecting), Choppy made the trip as well, I suspect to ensure that we did actually leave, and we had a final meal at the airport before heading out through Customs.
The meal was a pleasant surprise - a French restaurant smack bang in the middle of the terminal - and it was bloody good! A great way to finish off the trip.
Something that kept us guessing, pretty much right until we climbed on the plane - we'd booked a Malaysian Airlines flight, were checked in by Air Italia staff, boarding passes printed on Air Italia stock, boarding gate staffed by Air Italia staff - onto a Malaysian plane with Malaysian Airlines staff. Some sort of strange code-share arrangement - maybe so MAL don't need to maintain a ground crew in the UK? Not that I'm sooking about it - but I was sort of looking forward to seeing what Air Italia airline food was going to be like - somewhat curious to see if it was a quantum leap on normal airline offerings, just like Italian food and coffee was so much better than the rest of Europe.
Once again, I've pulled my usual stunt of not being able to sleep on planes. I surprised myself and managed to grab about 4 hours between London and KL - 5 hour stopover in KL - and then only an hour between KL and Sydney. I'm trying to push through the pain barrier and now not sleep until tonight, as to hopefully reset the body clock - but this technique did not do spectacularly well on the way out of the country, so I haven't really got high hopes of it working today either.
If this is rambling a little, it will be due to the lack of sleep over the last God knows how many hours.
So, anyway, we're back. Nearly. Marc & Sue, we'll see you this afternoon (4:45pm at Albury airport if you see this before then) - Mum, Dad, I'll call you once I've had some sleep and can string a sentance together.
I'll need to post a couple more things here, just to round out the trip:
- General impressions of Europe and the different countries
- General impressions of the different towns and areas we visited
- What went well, what didn't
- What to pack next time, what not to.