Take the Long Way Home

Monday-Wednesday, 21-23 August, 2017 – weather: Grey, drizzling but slowly improved

Yes, so this is the end of our epic journey. However, although our boat tour is over and we fly out tonight all the way back to Melbourne, Julie still manages to crowd more in. She sets an early alarm and then goes out to the spa hotel we had stayed in last year for a booking for a spa and a massage. She walks past the 8 bridges, probably around 10 km each direction. Here are some of her photos along the way.

Not my favourite kind of shop

That’s more like it

Like the chilies

A freedom statue first for the Soviets removing the Nazis then the Soviets themselves being removed

In the mean time, I was awakened earlier than I would have liked but probably a good thing as we needed to vacate the rooms early so they could be cleaned for the next set of passengers. After breakfast, the first thing I had to do was my packing.

My pile of dirty clothes

Any way, I packed up and vacated the room to the lounge area. At first it was very crowded as most of the passengers on our cruise were waiting for their pickups at various times. Then as they started drifting out, including some of our good friends we had me on the cruise, the room emptied out. Then as the new passengers started arriving, it began to fill up again. One could tell the difference between the old and new passengers by their excitement or absence thereof. Julie eventually came back around 1:00 pm.

Our pickup time wasn’t until 2:40 which meant we were stuck in the lounge there for over 6 hours. Yes, it was the same as we had been doing for the last week, I had my “office” and could work on the blog, the bar was open for whatever drinks, there was a lunch, same turkey dish as when we had boarded two weeks ago, the staff were still there and very nice – but when it is an enforced stay and one just wants to get on the road, it becomes a real drag. Eventually our time comes and we are the penultimate group to go, quite a large group.

Good friends Joe and Brenda were the absolute last group to leave

We get to the airport and things don’t really improve that much. We have a four hour wait until our first plane flight in a lounge that is not my favourite. We meet Judy from the boat there for a while which is nice but the time drags on. Julie goes walkabout and comes back and virtually drags me out the door because the TV is saying final call – an old airline trick that essentially means that boarding has started. We wait on the bus for ages and finally go out to the plane. It is a smaller plane run by Helvetic Airlines, a subsidiary of Swiss. This deepens my mood even more – if you can’t say anything nice don’t day anything at all – DEAD SILENCE!!

We arrive in Zurich, which is 100% the wrong way (hence the Super Tramp headline of this Post). We don’t have a lot of time and end up in the satellite lounge where we have been several times before. It is a nice lounge and close to the gates but the food catering is a bit lacking. We get on the plane and it is a basic business class albeit in a newish plane with lots of toilets, very important for a 12 hour flight.

Friends from the boat two rows back. The relatively closed in Business class seating

The stewardess asks for our order, comes back after our takeoff and asks for the order again and then when the food is served, initially brings the wrong food.

Julie’s Smoked Salmon starter – OK

My cold beef starter – just OK

My chicken main course – OK but not special

Twelve hours is a long flight in anyone’s book. I might have slept 3 hours or so but it was mostly nine hours of doldrums, my fault of course. They eventually bring us breakfast.

The char siu noodles were a highlight of the flight

Julie liked her fruit, yoghurt and croissant

Finally, finally the flight ended. We landed in Terminal 2 at SIN and it was a LONG walk to the shuttle to Terminal 4. Eventually we get there and find the SIN lounge. Now, that is a real lounge! Large, modern, good work areas and:

lots of interesting foods

Funny story, one of those silver food containers was filled with nice looking Singapore noodles. The guy in front of me emptied it out loading them high on his plate.

An Australian Shiraz favourite was another highlight

When we boarded the plane and settled in, there was another highlight.

That is a real Business class seat

Lots of space and storage

We had pre-booked our meals through the Net, another great feature we had used on the way over.

Cod I think

Scallops for a starter

My Malaysian Chicken curry – just what I needed

Nice Fruit

I was so comfortable on that flight that I watched a movie – Guardians of the Galaxy II, not my favourite. Two or 3 hours sleep and we land in Melbourne a 6:00 AM, a bit early. Although there are several other planes ahead of us, we proceed through fairly quickly and out the door. Our friend Gary picks us up in my black beauty and we are home and in the door by 7:30, not bad for an estimated 6:30 landing. Even so, it was roughly 38 hours from when I left the room on the boat until we arrived at home, which is a very long time. BTW: the weather is drizzling and grey and eventually rains really hard later in the day. Nothing new there.

So that is it the end of the long journey, 70 days all up. I have come home with severe jetlag and an ordinary cold. It has taken me 10 days to get to this last Post of the trip. I would like to discuss some of the high and low lights of the trip here.

Colin’s Gusto Tour – very good as usual. A highlight was the Paul Bocuse dinner but there were several others e.g. La Stupenda.

Barge cruise of the Thames – very good and relaxing. A special nod to Graham and Wendy.

Shows in London – Midnight Oil and then The Book of Mormon.

The Scenic Cruise – after my initial bad start it was very, very good. Loved the staff, there were lots of activities, food and drink.

The Weather – the only real lowlight on the tour. After the first 15 days, when we left Italy (and there was a bit of ordinary weather there too), the common theme was grey and drizzling with an alternative of rain. I estimate that of the remaining 55 days only about 5 were considered nice. This is during the middle of the European Summer mind you.

The Hills – OK, this was a bit of a problem for me too. All through Tuscany we had to brave a lot of hills that I was not really ready for. I think the worse was in Edinburgh where it seemed like everything was uphill and dragging the suitcases up them with cobblestones and broken footpaths was a battle.

All in all it was a very good trip albeit perhaps too long. I hope that there are some new followers, especially those on the Scenic Cruise that were advised of the Blog address. I hope to hear from you!

About beauperi

Gourmand & Wine Connoisseur.
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