Results tagged “Flights” from Europe Honeymoon 2008

Dunno if should make this one day or three.. heh...  The start of the day seems like such a long time ago....

So we woke up in Heidelberg.  In fact we were woken up at 6am by a wakeup call or a prank call or a wrong number or something... needless to say I wasn't impressed.

Got ready then went out for across the river and around the old town, and had our breakfast out (in the end we should  have just had breakfast at the hotel, it probably would have worked out the same price).  We were going to go up to look around the schloss, but decided that we wanted to just go to Frankfurt.  So we packed up our stuff and checked out and made a detour up to see the Thingstatte and the old ruins there. 

Church of the Holy Spirit
Church of the Holy Spirit 

Synagogenplatz
Synagogenplatz is a memorial based on a synagogue that was burnt
down during the infamous Kristallnacht in 1938. It follows the original
layout of the synagogue (built in 1877). Paving stones indicate the
walls and twelve stone cubes show the location of the pews and stand
for the twelve tribes of Israel 

Alley in Heidelberg
Alley in Heidelberg - look how clean it is!

Heidelberg Rathaus
Heidelberg Rathaus 

Bridge gates
Bridge gates 

Stadt Heilbronn on the Neckar River
Stadt Heilbronn on the Neckar River 

Heidelberger Schloss from the Old Bridge
Heidelberger Schloss from the Old Bridge 

Heidelberger Schloss, Old Bridge and Neckar River
Heidelberger Schloss, Old Bridge and Neckar River 

Bridge monkey
Bridge monkey. There was a steady procession of tourists taking photos
of themselves with this thing... This one has been there since 1979 

View from our hotel room window
View from our hotel room window - one of the best we had!

Stu in the ruins of Stephanskloster
Stu in the ruins of Stephanskloster 

Lookout tower on Heiligenberg
Lookout tower on Heiligenberg 

View of old Heidelberg from the tower
View of old Heidelberg from the tower

Heidelberger Schloss
Heidelberger Schloss 

Stu up the tower
Stu up the tower

Ruins of Stephanskloster
Ruins of Stephanskloster 

Heidelberger Thingstätte
Heidelberger Thingstätte. Built by the Nazis for propaganda rallies,
wasn't very popular because it was often too cold 

56 rows could seat 20000 people
56 rows could seat 20000 people

Thingstätte stage area
Thingstätte stage area

And then back to Frankfurt.  Had good traffic the whole way so that took away some of our stress.  Found a car wash and petrol station near the city, so cleaned the car before heading into town.  Where things started getting messy.  We didn't know where the actual parking lot was for the rental car, and ended up going down a one way street at one point.  So Stu just stopped and I went in to the station to find out where to take it.  Twenty minutes of walking later.. hrmm.  Anyways, got the car returned without any dramas (that I know about heh).

Arrival back in Frankfurt am Main
Arrival back in Frankfurt am Main

We decided we didn't want to wander around Frankfurt city because we were hot and tired and carrying heavy bags, so thought we'd just go to the airport.  Except we got on the wrong train.  Oops.  So at the first stop had to turn around and come back.  Oops. 

Finally got on the right train and got to the airport very early.  Secured window seats, getting the last row on the first leg (the 777).  Then waited for a few hours.  Went and had some dinner at a very overpriced cafe.  Spent the rest of our euros at a very overpriced gift store.  Used some wireless internet over a very overpriced connection.  Airports seriously suck sometimes.  Waited some more before finally boarding our plane. 

Schöfferhofer Weizen beers at the airport
Schöfferhofer Weizen beers at the airport

It was late dusk by the time we took off, so no photos of Frankfurt or Germany.  The night was very short, and they got us to close the blinds so the sunrise at 2am wouldn't annoy people.  I think we flew further south this time, and more snow had had a chance to melt, so much of the countryside was a rather plain brown.  Not that I looked too often, as opening the window illuminated the entire back of the plane.  So not many photos there either.  Watched PS I love you, The Bucket List, Hits from the 80s, and most of The Firm (missed the end cause we were landing - doh!)

Plane sunset
This photo is looking out to the north of the plane. That light is coming
over the top of the world! 

Over Surgut, Russia
Over Surgut, Russia

Flying in over Japan
Flying in over Japan

Got into Narita at something like 7am Germany time. After having slept for maybe an hour all up.  Zombie-making.  Upgraded our seats on the second flight from being over the wing to a two-seater section up the back of the 747.  Went through security again at Narita.  Then hung around the airport.  Which is a much better place than Frankfurt which has next to nothing past security :(  Narita has shower rooms and day rooms.  We rented shower rooms for 500 yen each for thirty minutes.  Let us have a shower which made us feel a whole lot better.  Then went and had a drink.  And bought some sake and other things for Stu.  And used the free internet cafe.  And had some dinner.  And played some gin with the cards we just bought.  And had a ten minute massage in these way-cool massage chairs for 200 yen each.  We were in Narita for about four hours.

Narita airport!  Over half way home
Narita airport! Over half way home 

Air traffic control tower from the Yahoo! Internet Cafe
Air traffic control tower from the Yahoo! Internet Cafe

At 8:20pm Narita time we headed off again.  Watched Monsters Inc while we did dinner type stuff.  Then I was going to lie down in a spare four-seater row that noone was sitting in, but was too slow, someone else beat me too it :(:(:(  Sad-making.  So attempted to sleep sitting up.  Got maybe an hour or so.  Maybe two.  Gave up after a while and watched Charlie Wilson's War. 

Our JAL 747
Our JAL 747

Arrived in Sydney around 6:20am.  Stopped at the duty free place to pick up some grog, then through security.  Immigration was very quick (maybe 3-4 minutes waiting) and uneventful.  Picked up bags.  Then through customs, which was also quite quick (maybe five minutes).  We'd declared food and wood, but after x-raying our bags they weren't interested in seeing anything or even asking us what the stuff was.  Shrug :)  (And Border Security wasn't there filming - doh!! hehe)

Caught a taxi back to my parents' (cause last time we took the train and bus and it took an hour and a half, and were too tired for that sort of nonsense this time).  Got very sad as I drove past my house :(  Still miss Sydney :(  Arrived at my parents to pick up my car and a few other bits and pieces.  Then headed for home.  I felt fine for the first bit of the trip, but could feel my brain fading.  We played A-Z games (try to think of something starting with each letter of the alphabet in a variety of categories) to try and keep our brains awake.  But it wasn't working for me, so we stopped at Marulan to get some sugar and salt and Stu drove the rest of the way home. 

Fog over Lake George
Fog over Lake George

Dumped our bags and got straight into bed and was asleep in seconds.  Slept for a few hours, but forced myself to get up to try and prevent any problems sleeping tonight. 

Very nice to be home.  Nice to be back at my puty with its massive screen.  Thanks to Natto-san for taking care of the house :) 

Haven't looked at my photos yet.  Haven't transferred any yet either.  Not sure how will get them online.  But I'll probably do a day at a time and insert the highlights into the existing blog entries.  And eventually get the whole lot onto conspiracy.  Hopefully it won't take two years to do like my USA photos did... ;)

This was all the crap that was in my suitcase and backpack (the 1/3 on the right was brought home new)
This was all the crap that was in my suitcase and backpack (the 1/3 on
the right was brought home new)


Update May 2010: I saw the last line of this blog entry a bit over a month ago, hence the frenzied effort to at least get some photos into this blog! So it was exactly two years! Sadly I'm nowhere near finished, but at least the blog is.
Slept really well. Like a log really.

While I was having my shower the whole tub starting shaking gently. And I was all like cool! Earth tremor! :) Stu felt it in bed too.

Downloaded all my photos from yesterday before heading down to breakfast. It was huge!! Tonnes of food, both Asian and western. Even Stu managed to find plenty to eat. After breakfast we went out for a little walk in the hotel garden, where azaleas were blooming like crazy :)

Azaleas in full bloom in the hotel grounds
Azaleas in full bloom in the hotel grounds


The Hotel Nikko that we stayed the night in
The Hotel Nikko that we stayed the night in

Went back up to our room and fought over the computer/internet for a bit. Then hopped on a shuttle to the airport. Getting through immigration/security was very smooth. Then we wandered about and stumbled upon a free internet cafe which we made good use of.

Narita Airport
The air traffic control tower and terminal shuttle, viewed from the free
Yahoo Internet Cafe at Narita Airport



Narita Airport shuttles
The yellow shuttles take you out to the remote terminal


Green Tea flavoured Kit Kat
Green Tea flavoured Kit Kat

Our plane this time was a 777-300. Never been on one of those before. Didn't find the power point though..

Mountains of Japan
Mountains of Japan


Interior of our 777
Interior of our 777

Watched Jumper which was very average, Beauty and the Beast early on and Goldmember later on.

Now the Australian outback really is a desolate, unending place... But it ain't got nothing on Siberia!!  I swear I thought it would never end!!  Thousands and thousands of kilometres of frozen rivers and forests. Freaky! Towards the western end it had more straight lines cutting through it indicating some sort of civilisation somewhere below.

Eastern Siberia, near Neryungri
Eastern Siberia, near Neryungri


Part of Vilyuyskoye Vodokhranilishche reservoir
Part of Vilyuyskoye Vodokhranilishche reservoir


Yenisey River over Turukhansk
Yenisey River over Turukhansk


Northern Russia
This photo was taken at the most northerly place on the planet I've
ever been - N65 deg 54' - almost at the Arctic Circle.
Between the Pur and the Taz Rivers



Pur River from over Korotchaevo
Pur River from over Korotchaevo


Really freaky monster near Borisovo-Sudskoye
Really freaky monster near Borisovo-Sudskoye

We flew over St Petersburg but it was too cloudy to see it, and Berlin (or at least the outskirts).

Cloud cover over St Petersberg
Cloud cover over St Petersberg 

Horn of Latvia, from over the tip of Estonia
Horn of Latvia, from over the tip of Estonia


Wind turbines near Parsteinsee near the Polish border in Germany
Wind turbines near Parsteinsee near the Polish border in Germany


Autobahn #7 near Thalau
Autobahn #7 near Thalau


Neu-Isenburg, Frankfurt
I liked this cross-shaped streetscape in Neu-Isenburg just east of
Frankfurt Airport, south of Frankfurt


Immigration at Frankfurt was quick and efficient, and customs was non-existant. The only obvious officer there was riding around the treminal on a bicycle! So without cards to fill in from the plane, we just walked straight out! Amazing heh.

Now I'd a couple of glasses of wine during the flight, but the problem was I didn't get enough water afterwards, so I was dying by the time we landed. And it was something like 2am Sydney time so we weren't really functioning very well. So it took us a little while to figure out that "regional" also means "local" trains. And how to use the ticket machines that didn't want to let us "add" another ticket. So that was all a bit stressful.

But anyways. We made it to the hotel, which is very close to train station (apparently near the red-light district hrmm). Nearly 8pm here, just about bedtime methinks :)
So today began very *very* early. 4:45 actually. A completely inhuman time to be awake!!  The idea being to secure window seats, as these could not be obtained in advance on our tickets. Well we probably shouldn't have worried, as the plane is half empty, but we did also manage to secure window seats for the next flight tomorrow which potentially more interesting as it's primarily over land.

Just after we checked in, we went to the windows just in time to see an A380 pull up!!!  Although I've glimpsed one before (while driving) I'd not actually seen one up close. So that was very exciting.

First time I got to see an A380 up close
First time I got to see an A380 up close

Next stop was breakfast and a chance for Stu to get some caffeine into his system. We sat and watched a JAL 747-400 pull up and realised it was to be ours. Then off to buy some Yen and some Euros. 300 euro cost me $565 !! Eep!!  We shoulda gone to America lol :)

Then it was off to get through immigration and security. All very smooth and simple. So got to get up closer to the A380, and even got to see it being pushed out onto the taxiway before we had to board ourselves.

The A380 and our JAL 747
The A380 and our JAL 747

Had a seat on the left of the plane and we were taking off to the north so the lighting was good although of course didn't get to see the city. The coolest new feature of these planes is they have live cameras available on the seat-back channels (as well as the GPS locator thingie). So during the takeoff they showed the view out the front of the plane which was very very cool. And in flight can look ahead and also straight down!  Quite useful for seeing the various airports/beacons you fly right over. Watched the view over the Great Dividing Range and northern NSW/SE QLD before heading out to see over Mackay. Flew over the tail of PNG and Guam, although was on the wrong side of the plane to see Guam out the windows, had to look down on it :)

Taking off on our honeymoon!!
Taking off on our honeymoon!!


Stadium Australia (or whatever it's called these days) at Homebush
Stadium Australia (or whatever it's called these days) at Homebush


JAL 747 wingtip
JAL 747 wingtip


Leaving Australian shores
Leaving Australian shores. We flew over Hamilton Island and those are
South and North Molle Islands in the foreground



Over Port Moresby
Over Port Moresby


Interior of our 747
Interior of our 747

I watched Enchanted (very sweet - if you like fairytales heh) and The Golden Compass (not bad, I assume they'll be making movies of all three books?)

"Dinner" (at 4pm) was sandwiches.. Ham and cheese on white multigrain with yoghurt.. So poor Stu couldn't eat a thing :( Lucky we had along some extra stuff I'd brought from home..

Spent a bit of time reading our travel guide books and writing down ideas.

Coastline of Japan, Yokaichi-shi
Coastline of Japan, Yokaichi-shi


We flew over soo many golf courses!
We flew over soo many golf courses! They're not kidding about the
Japanese obsession with golf!


Finally it was time to land.

Narita airport confused us somewhat. The signage was just a little odd and at one point they redirected us to a different queue so it was all a little weird getting through immigration. The customs queues were also confusing as to which were for declaring stuff and which weren't, but when we actually picked a gate we essentially just walked straight through it!  Took about five seconds.

Found our bus stop fairly easily which took us to our hotel. We considered trekking into Tokyo, but it was getting late and it takes 1.5-2 hours each way so we decided not to go. So instead we just took the hotel shuttle into Narita and walked up and down the restaurant strip until we found a not too threatening one (ie, one that had english subtitles ;) ). It was a cute little place. The food was excellent and the staff guessed we were on our honeymoon heh :) We had a couple of beers and ended up much more relaxed but a lot sleepier, and glad we didn't attempt to go to Tokyo. Maybe next time!

My first ever meal in Japan.  It was really good!
My first ever meal in Japan. It was really good!


Japanese Yakult
Japanese Yakult


Stu took this photo of the tiny restaurant we ate in
Stu took this photo of the tiny restaurant we ate in


Vending machine with fresh flowers
I had always heard of the Japanese obsession with
vending machines and that supposedly you can get
just about anything in them. The reality of it is it's
mostly just drinks you can get. This remains (two
years later) the most unusual thing I've ever seen
in a vending machine - fresh flowers!



Train ticket machine at Narita station
Looking at this train ticket machine at Narita station we were glad we
weren't trying to figure out what to do to go into Tokyo!


So now it's back here at the hotel to crash and have a sleepin tomorrow.