So our flight from Napier to Auckland was for 7.55pm, all planned for an easy 2 hrs to get from domestic to International following the green line. However things are sent to test us right from the begining with that flight being delayed for over an hour. Arriving in Auckland at 9.45pm collecting our bags ( including 1 rather large brown paper package that is our solar panel ( more on this in a later post)) we made a record run to international cutting a few corners off the green line trail in the process. The staff at Air NZ awesome as usual and didn’t bat an eye as we rocked in disheveled with too uch luggage and huffing and puffing. Made it, however we are sorry but “we cant seat you together on this flight to Shanghai as all the seats have been taken by people who arrived on time”. Didn’t ask at the time but wondering what happened to the seats we booked and paid extra for when we booked this flight?.
Anyway Shanghai here we come for a 3 hour stopover before flying onto Paris.
I should admit here that Susie drew the short end of the seating stick on this flight as she was seated in the very back row of the plane and right outside of the toilet. So with nearly 150 mainly Chinese nationals on the flight all wanting to use said loo every 5 mins or so sleep didn’t feature highly on her flight.
So back to stopover. Made the 1km casual walk between terminal 1 to Terminal 3 in Shanghai to be informed that flight FR117 Shanghai has been cancelled due to Strike Action by Air France groundstaff in Paris, with no real idea when the flights may resume.
Excellent, nice young guy behind desk takes our suggestion that we would quite happy to go to London smiled tapped away on computer for a couple of minutes and said flight BA 168 Shanghai to London leaving in 2 hours, ” no money, no money”. Sounds like us so make the 1km trek back to Terminal 1 and through customs ( very officious types ). And off we go, next stop London , no problems.
Highlight of this flight was flying across Northern China, Mongolia and Russia / Western Siberia. Just incredible flight with fine clear conditions the whole way. That is some massive area of unproductive mix of desert and cold climate nothing.
Gobi Desert, Northern Mongolia ( taken from 34000 Mtrs)
Photos : I think this is what they mean by being sent to Siberia, not the most welcoming environment.
11 1/2 hrs later arrive in good ole London Town (wrong side of English Channel than planned and nowhere near Huka falls ) but sort of in the right continent.
A few phone calls to my cousin Brendan living in London, suggests either 3 more hours on the underground or grab a taxi and come around the M25, Foggy brain and indecision at this stage along with 120 pound estimate taxi ride, bugger that will get a hotel by airport. All very well said and done, they all full of people who plan their trips properly. ( and dont try and fly into france).
We did get 1 thanks to the lovely woman in travel help who obviously saw that we were about to set up a tent in Heathrow terminal 5. Holiday Inn EXPRESS here we come on the Hotel Hopper bus. IN reality yet again wrong decision, there are more than 1 Holiday Inn at Heathrow and we got on the wrong bus ( this is very hard not to insert swear words at this stage), so a 1 hour bus trip around every other fffing hotel at Heathrow we arrived back in Terminal 5, changed buses and got to Holiday Inn Express.
END OF DAY, 36hrs from leaving Hawkes Bay.
Thursday 26th April, sun came up again. Had a great catch up with the girls on facebook a leisurely breakfast compliments of the Holiday Inn EXPRESS and then back to termnal 5 ( feeling like home) and tubed into London on Brendan’s directions , nice and easy with luggage ( including large brown parcel ( see later post)), take Piccadilly line 16 stops until Green Park climb 3 sets of stairs ( with luggage and large brown parcel) to join the Jubilee line, 4 stops to Canada water, meet Brendan have coffee all good.
BUT YOU GUESSED IT , no chance of this happening, Jubilee Line down to power failure.
This sign however was at the top of the three flights of stairs. ( with luggage and the now pissing me off large brown package).
No problems the little underground map thing shows an easy alternative that will take another 2 hours to get where we want to go.
Finally caught up with Brendan at Canada Water, ( he works in vicinity) he took possession of luggage and large brown package and suggested we went for a walk down the Thames Path towards London Bridge.
Great way to spend the afternoon, stopped in at a couple of shops to get an idea on costings for things for MISS STELLA, stopped at the Mayflower Pub ( evidently the site of the departure of the Mayflower ship that went to the America’s in the 1600’s. Had a beer. Continued wandering along the Thames to London Bridge, obligatory Photo session etc.
Got this transport stuff sorted now ( much easier to just walk).