Having said that, I'm not exactly sure where the start is. The decision making process, the planning, the hours and hours of time spent on the internet were all a part of what made the trip what it was but are probably not all that interesting once put in writing. I think I'll just wait and see what comes out as I go along and if there's anything important that I think I've missed by the end well then it can have its own post.
We headed off to Melbourne Airport late on a Wednesday, checked in, had some dinner with the in-laws (who were nice enough to drive us there and pick us up, both very late nights for them), rang my folks for one last pre-holiday chat, sorted out an issue with The Sparky's travel card and then we were off through the International Departures Gate ...
... the obligatory photo was taken but it is so awful I'm not sharing ...
... a bit of 'duty free' browsing, more waiting and then finally we were boarding.
Now, I know that this is the point at which most people have horror plane stories to tell, bad food, fellow travellers who do or say things that ruin the flight, uncomfortable seats, etc etc etc, but I really don't have one. Okay, the seats weren't exactly anything to write home about but overall we couldn't really complain about any of the flights we took.
We had decided early on that the best thing to do would be to stay awake for as long as possible (easier said than done when the flight was at almost midnight) and then sleep as long as possible on the first 16hr stretch so we started a movie as soon as we were able, interrupted it when food came around (coz, you know, you need a second dinner at 2 in the morning!), struggled to keep our eyes open through to the end of the movie and then slept. I don't know about The Sparky but I slept for about 6hrs straight which surprised me a lot.
Not long after I woke our fellow-traveller-in-the-window-seat (who was just about the best type of stranger you could travel with by the way, she was small, quite, unobtrusive, clean and very polite) got up to go for a walk. I have to admit that when I realised she'd been gone for over an hour I started to worry for her a little ... eventually though she returned with the news that there was a trolley with fresh fruit and snacks in the kitchen. We were both ready to stretch our legs so we got up and went down the back to have a look.
Can I just say right here, best long flight tip ever! Go to the part of the plane with the kitchen and toilets and stretch your legs for a bit. We bumped into a very friendly, chatty Egyptian-Australian man and some great air-hosties and ended up spending something like 2.5hrs up the back of the plane talking, stretching, eating mango ice cream, drinking juice and coffee and generally passing the time in a much more enjoyable manner than if we were in our seats. Eventually the hosties had to start preparing for the breakfast service and we were admittedly in their way so we headed back to our seat for the last few hours (side note - as we got to our seat the chatty man lent over and said hello to our fellow-traveller-in-the-window-seat, now we know where she was all that time).
Another movie, more food and we'd made it to Doha Airport relatively easily - or so we thought, there was still the 20min bus ride to the terminal to undertake!
In the scheme of things I know that an hour stop over isn't a long one and by the time we'd wandered through the duty free shopping, brushed our teeth (Qatar Airlines gave us a little bag of goodies including a one-use toothbrush and toothpaste), freshened up a bit, had what we labelled at the time the-world's-worst-and-most-expensive-coffee and looked around to see what there was to see out the big glass windows we didn't actually spend a lot of time just sitting and waiting but we were tired and sore and ready to keep moving so it did seem like longer than what it was.
Time for a photo dontcha think?
|none of our planes was this close to the terminal|
Finally it was time to check in, jump back on another bus for a 20min ride to our plane. Smaller this time, almost empty and with the only rude Qatar hosties we came across (which given the plane was almost empty surprised me, it's not like they were run off their feet!).
|basically all we saw of Doha (and no, we didn't fly in the '70s, not sure what's going on with the colour there)|
More movies (sadly dodgy screen on the smaller plane though), more sleep, more food and a six hour flight later and we were finally in Zurich! But more on that next week, this post has gone on for much longer than expected already ...