24 hours of flying time is not really that exciting – more like exhausting at best. However when one has the first seat after business class it also means – more leg room AND room for baby bassinets and UM’s (to you and me: unaccompanied minors or children traveling alone) – but more about that later.
After almost 3 months away from home and most of that time spent sleeping on couches, camping mattresses and hotel beds of various sizes and qualities I really wanted to come home to my own bed … and to the peace and quiet of lovely Russell in the NZ Bay of Islands. No matter where I went in Europe – and if you followed me you know that have been many places – it was never really as quiet as it is here at home (Russellites agree with me please here).
Be it constant background noise of cars, trains or planes or the noise of the “dove from above” at Leiston Abbey or even the many kids I am just not used to – don’t get me wrong – I loved my time with them to! It’s just a different type of noise here – rarely a car going past our house, no trains – hardly any planes (in winter that is) and the school is far enough away to not hear the kids…:-) I do love the noise a tui makes in the morning and the morepork at night – or the distant sound of waves when they are around in big swells.
So it is fair to say that in that last week in Europe I was happy to leave again and head home. The last days dragged on and on and despite some sadness for leaving friends and family behind again I was very glad when the day arrived that I could finally head to Frankfurt airport and leave. Driving along the autobahn in Germany at around 140km/h is not the fastest one can go (by the way it is a common myth that one Can go as fast as one likes everywhere – not so!) – but the safest as funny as it sounds. If one goes any slower one is considered a hindrance – any faster and it’s dangerous and the fuel goes out like there is no tomorrow… it does not help of course arriving at Terminal 1 when the flight departs at Terminal 2 in Frankfurt…oh well.
However I still had some nice days still even in that dragging last week. For instance I had the chance to meet up with one of my girlfriends who recently opened her own hair salon – as chance would have it another girlfriend (also a hairdresser) turned up that night to and we made a styling/partying evening out of that one. Her salon is within the Villa Baumgarten a oldish building right next to the Kästner Museum (Erich Kästner being one of my favorite Dresden Poets and writers). We even took some time for some stylish photography though the main motive I had in mind – one of the large fountains outside in the Albert Square – got unfortunately turned off by the city just as I was about to set up the camera – bad timing.
I also had time to go hiking once more in my favorite area – Saxon Switzerland near Dresden, this time in the Affensteine Region – one of the most picturesque in my humble opinion. We got hopelessly lost – not really but the path we wanted to take and did take in the past – suddenly was classified as an advanced climbers only route – with harnesses required. So we gave that a miss but subsequently had to take a different route and it was on that one that we missed a turn and had to take a slightly more boring but also shorter route back to our car. At least this time around the weather was not as ruthless and the temperature was more in the low 20’s than last time.
Ultimately I did have a good time all around but still happy to board my flight for the long journey home. That turned out to be interesting as well. I used to travel a lot in my old profession (tourism wholesale) so it is fair to say that I know how these things work… but every flight is different and these two were no exception.
First flight – as mentioned first seat after business class – not an exit seat but still more leg room – the configuration of these Malaysian Airline planes are 2-5-2 – so 2 seats on the sides and 5 in the middle – I had the aisle seat on the “2” side – and a little girl sitting on the window seat…. so a quick chat with the flight attendant and lo and behold – that 5 (!) year old was traveling alone – all the way to Kuala Lumpur! So don’t get me wrong – but I am just not the maternal type – if you know me personally you agree – so here I was with a 5 year old next to me that for some reason did not seem to understand English or German… not a good start to a 11.5hr flight I thought.
However – there is someone looking out for me (I am sure of it) – and out of the blue this other Asian looking but German-speaking woman appears and explains to me that she is that girls mothers friend and got a message to look after her … so we swapped seats – yeah! That way I met another lovely woman who was from Indonesia but studies and now teaches in Germany piano – how nice. So that flight was rather pleasant after all and I thought – ok that’s that done.
Not so – on the next one they upped the ante – no less than 3 babies in close proximity – as in right next to me and two seats over. I think they done a survey one year what is worse – a smelly person next to one on the plane or a crying baby and I am not sure what the outcome was but trust me having a 3 babies crying on and off for no less than 9 hours straight can convince the most maternal person that they are not maternal at all…no sleep at all really – though admittedly – me personally I rather have the crying baby than the smelly person next to me.. just not again any time soon..
So… I think I leave my re-cap post for next time and pick some of my favorite parts and photos from my 3 months in Europe for that one and leave here with the thought that in order to avoid some of the experiences in air travel I need to win lotto to fly business class:-) Happy reading!