The Quest for a White Christmas

I write this as our plane flies over the Australian desert winging its way to Vienna via London with a short break in Singapore. It’s December 23rd and this trip has been in the planning for almost 12 months. Originally it was to be a simple trip to Las Vegas to celebrate Ty’s milestone birthday on January 7th. However, planning a trip and the word “simple” don’t really work for me. Once I start to plan all manner of ideas go through my head hence we are travelling to Vienna, Austria to spend Christmas.

How did we get from Las Vegas to Vienna you’re asking, and rightly so, Austria is across the other side of the world and bears absolutely no relation to Las Vegas. Well, let me tell you…you will be aware that prices go through the roof at holiday times and to fly to the US was quite expensive so after some research I found that purchasing a multitrip was not that much more expensive. So here we are, winging our way to Vienna, Why did I choose Vienna? Christmas markets are held at Schonbrunn Palace on Christmas Day, love those pictures of Christmas markets, and I’m hoping for the magical, old world, white Christmas scene.

We’re travelling in business class this leg of the trip, the longest leg,. I requested an upgrade at the time of the original flight booking and was informed last night that we had been upgraded. Now all I had to do was let our friend know that we wouldn’t be sitting in economy with her. Maryanne was very understanding as she had booked this trip after us.

The temperature was 37 degrees Celsius, when we left for the airport, making it very difficult to even think about the sub zero temperatures in Austria. We’re dressed for summer in short sleeves and sandals but carrying a large woollen overcoat!! A shock to the system is in store methinks!!!!

As usual, we arrived at the airport with plenty of time to spare. Can’t say we enjoyed a late lunch, food is so expensive and not really that appetising, so best to say, we had a light lunch. Yes, I know, we could have utilised the Qantas lounge but Maryanne couldn’t so we chose not to spend all our time in the lounge.. We did wander through the retail stores and Ty purchased what has become the obligatory Pandora charm for my bracelet. This tradition started several years ago on our first overseas trip together and I have 3 Pandora bracelets now.

As we settled into our pods we were offered orange juice or champagne…..we chose champagne and why wouldn’t we it’s Christmas time!!! I had a window seat so there was lots of space with little cubby holes along the wall to hold all our bits and pieces. This is the way to travel on a long haul flight, I think, will let you know after we’ve arrived in Vienna…..so perhaps I’d better reserve my judgement till then. Looks like dinner is being served so I’ll have to interrupt this paragraph for the entrée….oh and the main , hmm, chicken is delicious, served on crockery and presented as if from a restaurant with at least 1 hat. “Would you like another drink, perhaps a wine?’ “Oh, no, thank you, I still have my gin ‘n’ tonic”. Didn’t tell you about that one did I? About 30 minutes after take-off the drinks trolley came by and a refreshing G’n’T was ordered. Of course by now I really needed food or I’d be a little on the tipsy side in no time, Dessert was very tasty, a sorbet with mango sauce and peaches. Are you hungry yet??? Now I’ve overeaten with no chance to exercise for another 4 hours.

There are several toddlers in the cabin and one has been very unhappy since the family boarded, selfishly I’m hoping they’ll be disembarking in Singapore!!!

I managed to get about 6 hours sleep, which was very good. Breakfast was served in the dark.

Arrived in London around 30 minutes late, it’s raining and dark, by the time we disembarked there was only a two and a half hour wait for our connecting flight. Shopping was not on my agenda whilst in transit, absolutely no room for any goodies at this point in time. Freshening up and changing from summer clothes to winter clothing was high on the “to do list”, after that came coffee. These things out of the way it was time to have a wander through the stores with wallet firmly out of reach. Right, that took up 45 minutes, now what? Ty says ‘I’m hungry let’s get something to eat”. Eating and drinking our way across the other side of the world isn’t particularly appealing but I did manage to squeeze in a little bowl of oatmeal with fruit and honey…..

Finally it’s time to head for the gate to await the bus taking us to our plane. The 2 BA staff checking our boarding passes were in a very happy mood this Christmas Eve and as one of them checked our pass he said ‘do you mind if I ask you a question?” I noticed the other staff member covered her face and shook her head as he said” what’s happening on Neighbours at the moment” Maryanne and I both said “ Wouldn’t know, never watched the show” to which he laughed and replied “I’ve never met an Australian yet that will admit to watching Neighbours”. Obviously he hasn’t met too many Australians – I know lots of people who watch that show…..

The aircraft was at capacity with people heading home for Christmas or holidaying in Vienna. So much so that the luggage compartments were full before half the passengers had walked up the rollaway steps to the aircraft. No one seems to want to check in their suitcases anymore. Are travellers so time poor that they have no time to wait around a carousel for their baggage? What better way to people watch than standing around a carousel cursing because your luggage hasn’t popped out of the hole in the wall yet. “What are they doing behind there?” “How long does it take for the bags to be loaded onto the conveyor belt?” Should we, as the traveller, be allowed to take away the power of baggage handlers? No more open suitcases or items of clothing making their way around the carousel with the owner too embarrassed to retrieve them.

We were the second wave of bus people to enter the plane to find there was no room in the overhead lockers for our carryon. After a bit of shuffling and a fellow traveller across the aisle moving some of his good 2 bags were placed in the locker. The rest are under our feet…coats on our laps – uncomfortable and cramped – thank goodness the flight is only 1 hour 40 minutes!!

As the plane taxied it was all over the place, across one side of the runway then the other, as we lifted off the wind pushed us off to the side again. People were holding hands across the aisle – not sure what that was going to do but if it makes them feel secure then go for it. Once up in the air it was extremely bumpy, the plane was being buffeted sideways, then it would drop, this went on for at least 10 minutes and is probably one of the roughest take offs I’ve encountered and I’ve flown many times.

Food (frozen roll) and soft drinks, water, juice were offered – all three of us declined the food but accepted a drink…were given 2 because, in the words of the steward “I’m feeling quite generous today” well lucky us, we only want 1 drink each – tried to hand one back but he said “no”, and refused to accept it. He was very forceful and had already spoken harshly to others in the cabin. We daren’t refuse but accepted his generosity!!!! Now let’s hope we don’t need to go to the loo because we have Buckley’s chance of getting out of our seats to go anywhere.

Just looked around me and I’m sitting between two Zorro’s!!! Both Ty and Maryanne have their eye masks on. I know, you’re thinking what is she on….but it amused me. Looks like we’re starting our descent let’s hope it’s a little smoother than the take off!!!

Next stop Vienna……

2 thoughts on “The Quest for a White Christmas

  1. Isn’t it about time you slowed down. I mean it can’t be that much fun jetting off all over the place. At your age and all that!! Only kidding. I’m jealous really. Envious of your drive and stamina. Looking forward to hear if you enjoyed a white Christmas after all. Brutus.

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