A Travellerspoint blog

Australia

Farewell to New York

Tuesday, 30 September 2014


View 2015-02 South America & 2014-09 Royal Princess on greynomadm's travel map.

Today was our last day and after a great breakfast we collected our bags and filled in time in the lobby. At just after 09:15 our shuttle driver arrived and assisted us with our luggage. He already had one passenger and had two more pick-ups to do. Out into the traffic. Wrong word, traffic implies movement, there wasn't much of that. I'm convinced that the pedestrians were making better time than we were.

After a lengthy time of stop-start bumper to bumper we were stopped by a police barricade. Something was happening on the East side and we couldn't go the way the driver had planned. He tried a number of alternates but was blocked again and again. He finally fought his way to Park Avenue and drove a long way North and with lots more turns arrived at the pick-up. The intended passenger was a no-show, he called it in and off we went for the final pick-up. At one stage he had to fold in both his exterior mirrors and assisted by the driver of the truck that was parked he managed to squeeze us between the parked cars.

Picked up the final passengers and we're off to JFK Airport. By this time we'd spent the best part of an hour doing the pick-up and our scheduled drop-off was 10:30. With some adroit lane changes, high speed stretches and bullying in on the other lanes we made it to Terminal 7 just after 10:30. Beats me how he managed it. Not that we were in a rush, our flight was not until 14:55.

Found the Cathay Pacific desk and waited for what seemed like hours but wouldn't have been much more that 45 minutes. Checked in our baggage, two large cases and the duffel, through to Sydney. Seat allocation and boarding passes for both legs of our flight home. Through the security check without too many dramas but I still can't work out why I have to remove my boots. Found our way to the departure gate at the end of a long concourse and settled in for long wait. Bought some lunch and waited as the crowd gathered for this flight. The flight was delayed due to the late arrival of the aircraft but we were seated not long after 15:00. For those keeping track, that's about 6 hours and we haven't gone anywhere.

It took some time to manoeuvre the aircraft across the airport and finally we were airborne. On Demand movies in multiple languages, complete series of TV shows and my favourite the moving map. Our course to Hong Kong was over the polar region crossing Canada, Alaska, Russia and China. We finally touched down in Hong Kong just after 19:00 local time having spent 16 hours in the air. Travel time so far is 22 hours.

Through an abbreviated security check and we locate Gate 69 where we await the boarding call. Just after 21:15 we start loading the aircraft and we depart on schedule heading for Sydney. Travel time is now roughly 24 hours, a bed would look good about now !!

An uneventful flight to Sydney were we landed at about 08:20 after another nine hours in the air. Total flying time is 25 hours, total travel time about 33 hours. We find our way though Immigration and baggage collection and join the endless queue for Quarantine checking. One of the officials approached us, pulled us out of the line and asked if we had anything to declare, no we didn't, so she stamped our cards and directed us to the Yellow Exit.

No queue, no delay and we're on our way to the Murray's Coach bay. We were booked for the 11:15 coach but the flexible fare ticket allowed us to get on the 10:15 coach. Fully loaded and right on time the Coach set off for Canberra at 10:15 - add another two hours - now 35 hours in transit.
Along the by now familiar route onto the M5 and out through Sydney to the Hume Freeway. Lots of roadwork still but large sections should be ready for the Christmas Holiday crush. A straight forward run to Canberra with lots of signs of new growth as Spring taking hold.

Arrived at the Coach Terminal to be met by Natalie, Amy and Emalee. Add another three hours so now 38 hours on the go. Each of the girls taking charge of a piece of luggage and off to Nat's car. Home to Nat's where we transfer luggage and have quick cup of coffee. Jenny manages to bring Natalie totally undone with a custom built bear from New York.

We head off to the Olympus Motel just down the road as we're in no fit state to drive home. A quick shower and we hit the bed around 15:45. For those who have kept track we've now been on the go for close to 40 hours.

There's a lot more that could be said about this part of the journey but these extremely long flights at the end of a relaxing cruise wipe out any residual euphoria from the cruise experience. The flights to Copenhagen and the return from New York are the longest flights we've endured. I've asked out Travel Agent to look into changing our next two flights and see if we can have a break in Honolulu along the way. I suspect it will be very expensive, but if it isn't we'll certainly opt for extending the time away by a few days.

This was written some time after the event and I have no relevant photos to link to.

Thanks to all who have viewed and followed I hope it has provided an interesting read.

Have a great day and stay well.
Cheers .. Tony

Posted by greynomadm 21:20 Archived in Australia Comments (1)

At the Sydney Airport

Tuesday, 26 August 2014


View 2015-02 South America & 2014-09 Royal Princess on greynomadm's travel map.

We didn't spend all day there but certainly a fair percentage. Got up this morning and left to Motel to drive to Nat's place, all of 5 minutes !! It was good to start the day reasonably refreshed rather than having endured the two hour drag up from the coast.

Piled our bags, Nat the driver, the two of us and the two granddaughters (20 and 14) into the X-Trail and headed into the miserable Canberra weather. Dropped off No2 granddaughter at her school and we were at the bus depot by just after 08:00. Our booked trip was due to depart at 10:00 and we decided that an extra hour spent at the airport was better than an hour spent at the bus depot. Approached the booking desk and brought our trip forward to 09:00. Just like that !!

The run to the airport is three hours fifteen minutes and right on time we arrived at Sydney International. Sadly it isn't quite grand spectacle we experienced in Beijing, Seoul or Singapore. We were going to be here for just on nine hours but couldn't dispose of our luggage until after 15:00 as the Emirates check-in desk was not yet open.

We filled in some time searching out places to eat, not that the choices were all that inviting. At 15:00 the check-in crew arrived and we joined the gathering crowd to hand over our suitcases. All done in minutes and off to Immigration and the Security check. There must be something unsavoury about me, I was subjected to the full body scan and then had my carry-on luggage checked for drugs !!

We walked to Gate Lounge 57 - about half way back to Moruya - and parked ourselves there to wait the five hours to our boarding time. I've spent some of that time writing this nonsense and built a rough photo collage of the food outlets. See the result at http://365project.org/tonydebont/365/2014-08-26

Have a great day and stay well.

Cheers .. Tony

Posted by greynomadm 00:17 Archived in Australia Comments (1)

First Day Out

Monday, 25 August 2014


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First small step on our odyssey which will eventually see us circumnavigate the world. We left home early this morning after a final check that all electrical items had been switched off and windows and doors secured.

Quite an easy trip to Queanbeyan where we chanced to meet up with an old mate as we were about to order a coffee, what should have been 15 minutes at most turned into an hour. Boy !! we can talk.

Quick visit to the Outdoor Centre to purchase a pair of hiking boots for each of us. Good quality comes at a surprisingly high price.

Then on to the Southern Cross Club for the main purpose of this early start. We visited the District Lifestyle Retirement expo to talk with the manager of Linton Village, Yass. We've decided that our next land-based address will be there and just wanted to sound out price and potential availability. Jenny has indicated that an 18 month to 2 year time-frame would be appropriate. It looks very promising so now the down-sizing will need to be addressed seriously. Spent an informative half hour chatting then had a quick lunch at the club.

Called in at the supermarket for some sustenance for this evening and breakfast in the morning before checking into the Motel for our overnight stay. Surprisingly there was FREE WiFi available so grabbed this opportunity to update the blog.

The camera hasn't been out of the bag today but there's a "filler" that may interest you at http://365project.org/tonydebont/365/2014-08-25

Have a great day and stay well.

Cheers .. Tony

Posted by greynomadm 23:16 Archived in Australia Comments (1)

Just Too Efficient

Saturday, 23 August 2014

sunny
View 2015-02 South America on greynomadm's travel map.

When I posted an entry last Tuesday, I thought I'd be way too busy for the rest of the week to have time for another update. here I am on a Saturday afternoon with nothing of any consequence to occupy my time.

I've updated the software on the PC and the Galaxy phone so that there's no unexpected chunks of bandwidth while working on expensive or flaky internet connections.

We've calculated the number and counted out our medications for the duration. All set for the next 5 weeks away.

Mail delivery has been stopped. Now there's a strange thing !! You have to pay the Post Office for them to NOT deliver the mail. So we're paying them more but they are doing less. I wonder if there's another example where you pay more for less service ??

We will set off on Monday morning to drive to Queanbeyan where we have one or two purchases to make that couldn't be sourced locally. We've booked a Motel room for the night. Then on Tuesday the long haul to Copenhagen begins. We will meet up with Natalie at about 07:30 where we'll have a quick bite and a cuppa. She'll then drop us off at the Bus station for the 10:00 Murrays Coach service to Sydney International Airport. That run will take 3 hours 15 minutes.

We fly out at 21:10 on Emirates flight 413 for Dubai, arriving there at 05:40 on Wednesday - flight time 14 hours 30 minutes. Our flight to Copenhagen departs Dubai at 08:30 and we arrive at 13:10 - flight time 6 hours 40 minutes. By the time we get to the Hotel we will have been travelling for close to 40 hours. I think we'll appreciate the bed !!

It is likely to be some time on Thursday before I'll get the chance to post another segment in this saga.

Until then, stay well and see you then.

PS.
The local paper recently printed one of my photos in their Hot Shot segment. This link should take you to that image on my 365 Project http://365project.org/tonydebont/365/2014-08-09

Cheers .. Tony

Posted by greynomadm 20:08 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Last Posting from Home

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

rain
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Less than a week to go and we're ready to go at any time. Clothing has been sorted out and is ready to be packed. We've almost emptied the fridge and there's not much left in the freezer. The possibility of a lengthy power outage is not very likely but I don't like leaving too much food that would spoil.

Over the last three days we've recorded about 150mm of rain, most welcome after a long dry spell. It is amazing how quickly the plants have responded and the lawn has a definite green tinge.

Attended a commemorative service in Batemans Bay yesterday to mark Vietnam Veterans Day. It was held under cover at the Soldiers Club because of the almost continuous down-pour. After the service we enjoyed a pleasant lunch and we caught up with some people we haven't seen for the best part of a year.

The next posting is likely to be from Copenhagen about a week from now. There should be Internet service at the hotel. Meanwhile, you could browse my images on the 365 Project.

This link should take you to today's image on my 365 Project http://365project.org/tonydebont/365/2014-08-19

Cheers .. Tony

Posted by greynomadm 17:39 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

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