A Travellerspoint blog

By this Author: kazandjim

Nearly Home

The Last Bit

I'm writing this on flight number ten, which will bring us safely back to Hobart. We stayed at the Park Royal at Melbourne airport last night, the most expensive hotel for the whole trip, but it really was worth it, to arrive from our 14 hour flight at 11 PM and walk straight to a hotel with good shower and very comfy bed and a good sleep before the last bit to get home. However, we were able to upgrade to Premium Economy from Dubai to Melbourne thanks to Lucy's generous points transfer. Jim and I were not sitting together which was a bit sad, but I had an exit row seat, which made it even better for stretching out and elevating the legs. Best long flight I've ever had.
Not quite so great for Jim. He reckoned it was more like a hospital ward. The man next to him was very elderly and doddery, so he couldn't move past him easily. The next two in front both coughed, snorted and hacked all the way, one of them on oxygen most of the flight. The row after that had a man with bad stroke disability, who felt the need to yell out to his wife when he needed help. Only 35 people in the cabin, so theses things become a bit amplified. This is the first time I've flown anything other than economy and it made a huge difference, so it might be hard to get me to go back now.
Overall, a fantastic trip. We have managed to stay safe and well, with no real dramas at all. When you consider the potential for things to go wrong that are out of your control, I am always glad when things run so smoothly. Now to plan the next trip.

Posted by kazandjim 00:01 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Konstanz

A little bit of Germany

sunny 18 °C

Autumn is in full swing in Switzerland/Germany/Austria. The leaves have turned and everything is beautiful shades of red and gold. I mentioned three countries because Lake Konstanz borders all three. In our last three days of staying in Konstanz we had a car and drove to various spots around the lake. I couldn't tell you how many times we crossed in and out of countries. Even our hotel, in the middle of town, was two blocks from the Swiss border in Germany. At least Germany and Austria have the same currency, but it's mostly backwards and forwards between Euro and Swiss Francs. I was very pleased we'd planned to have a car as my shoulder injury has limited my mobility somewhat. I think we are finally quite used to being on the right hand side of the road now, just in time to come home and switch back.
We drove through lots more gorgeous little historic European villages and also saw the huge waterfall at Rheinfall. In the other direction, we went to Friedrichshafen and Jim went to the Zepplin museum. It was good for Jim to come back into holiday mode after his course, before flying home.

Posted by kazandjim 20:23 Archived in Germany Comments (0)

Alesund

A week in Norway

sunny 15 °C

We spent a lovely week in Alesund in Norway. Jim went off to his course each morning and was back by 3:30 each afternoon for the week. I spent the week sleeping in, relaxing, exploring Alesund, skyping with my daughters, and generally taking it easy. This slow pace has been induced somewhat by a shoulder injury which I'm trying to nurse back to functional.
Alesund is a town of about 50,000 and it known as a great example of art nouveau architecture, having been almost entirely wiped out by a fire in 1904, but completely rebuilt.
It is a gateway to the most amazing Norwegian coastline and fjords. We called in here when we came to Norway six years ago, so were pleased to have more time to look around.
Over the week, I met the people who were doing the course with Jim, plus two partners. Jim's company took us all out for dinner to the top restaurant in town, where we tried Norway's fish speciality 'klippfisk' (dried and salted cod). We also had a tour around Farstad head office - Farstad definitely looks after their employees well. We stayed one extra day and took a boat ride around the local islands. Truly spectacular, not as cold as I thought it would be, crisp and clear.

Posted by kazandjim 14:28 Archived in Norway Comments (0)

The Travelling Companion

Please indulge me while I sing some praises

The secret to a happy trip is to have a good travelling companion. The secret to a fantastic trip is to have Jim as your travelling companion. We spend months planning our trips, sorting details, booking the exact trip we want to have (with some wriggle room for a bit of spontaneous decision making). But when it comes to the execution, Jim's the man. He has the most amazing sense of direction, and a geographical memory. Very handy when you're catching multiple trains, buses, ferries, and driving hire cars around. Then finding accommodation, landmarks and the like. He notices everything and is happy all the time, even when we are tired, or things are not running smoothly.
He also likes me to buy things, especially jewellery. Maybe it's safe for him to encourage me because he knows I'm not a big spender, but he is certainly happy when I've finally decided on a nice necklace.
He is also the most patient and helpful person I know. I have a completely cactus shoulder, which was problematic before we left, and much worse now, so Jim has been doing all of the carrying. This means at train stations, on and off trains, and all the other places with stairs, he first takes his own luggage up the stairs, then comes back for mine. While he's at it, he's helped other people with theirs as well.
I've known him for over 20 years and have always known that his default position is to be kind and generous, and I feel very privileged to have him by my side.

Posted by kazandjim 04:55 Comments (0)

Transit Day

And now to throw in some training

Sunday was another big day. We headed off in the hire car from Lugano to Zurich, a 2.5 hour drive if you take the autobahn, but we as always, took the scenic route through the Swiss Alps, and it took about 5 hours. Spectacular of course, and lots of stopping options. Called in at the Lindt factory and shop, but it was CLOSED (Sunday).

The company that Jim works for is big on training, and requires all employees to update skills or learn new ones every year. Jim has attended courses in Melbourne, Perth, Darwin and Singapore in the past, but the course they wanted him to do this year is on in Norway, so we had to rehash the last part of our trip to incorporate this. Hence our shortened stay in Lugano, drive to Zurich, then flight to Amsterdam, then flight to Alesund, where the Farstad head office is, and the International Rolls Royce training centre. A long day of travelling but all ran smoothly and we were checked in at our hotel before midnight.

Amsterdam is a massive airport, and when we were called to board through our gate lounge the process was as usual. The business class people went through first, then the rest of us went through the air bridge .... then down the stairs and onto a standing only bus. I thought it was quite amusing that the business class folk got there first, so had to stand the longest. Then we took a five minute drive across the Tarmac to our Fokker 70, got dropped off at the steps. Once on the plane, we drove for TEN MINUTES to a far flung region, probably in Brussels by now, across two highways, to our little runway. In the end, it was a very smooth and comfortable flight.

Posted by kazandjim 03:17 Comments (0)

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