A Travellerspoint blog

Day 73 Singapore to Brighton (home)

-1, balloons, changi, home

sunny -1 °C

So it turns out Day 73 is the last day of our 'around the world in 70 days' journey and my last blog entry ;-(. Not the usual collection of photos I'm afraid given that 13 hours and 25 minutes of the day was spent on the BA012 from Singapore to London in World Traveller (economy)....ouch! There was actually only ONE photo taken on the last day, which I'll share with you in a bit, but first the story.

There are two BA flights leaving Singapore on a daily basis. The BA012 that is the direct Singapore route and the BA016 that is the second leg of the Sydney to London route via Singapore. We are 'confirmed' on the BA012 so have to switch planes at Singapore and have about an hour and a half to do so. The crew told us we needed to basically clear baggage and customs and then checkin for the second plane to London. Doesn't leave much time.

Its 9.10pm when we land in Singapore, and 25 degrees. The first piece of good news, that we receive from the transfer desk staff, is that we don't need to collect our bags and that they can be retagged through to London. Excellent. But the flight is full and we are told to 'stand by' until 10pm when we will find out our fate. The second piece of good news is that Changi Airport has free fast wifi which gives me the chance to get Day 72 of the blog out. At 10pm they ask us if we would be happy to sit one in Club, one in World Traveller Plus and one in World Traveller. We say yes although we are not quite sure how that would work for Dottie. Best plan is always to accept a seat and sort it out once the doors are shut. At 10.15 we get the final bit of good news, one Club seat and two economy, better for Nat and Finn than me and Dot, but we are on our way home.

At the gate they ask us to wait whilst they take our boarding passes. It could go one of a number of ways at this stage......a nervous moment. Nat gets moved back to World Traveller Plus. A last minute commercial passenger, or a friend of the captain.....we'll never know. It's a very black art.

Dottie and Finn sleep for the first 7 hours so we manage to get something to eat and a couple of films in. The second half was more tricky. Two tired and bored kids. They were both (mostly) brilliant and we were both very proud of them.

Met by Jennie and Geoff at Heathrow at 4.40am we head home to be greeted by flags and balloons and my mum, dad and nan (and Mila the new dog). Suddenly it seems like we haven't even been away, but it's fabulous to see everyone. So many things to recollect in just 73 days.

We finally get the chance to give Mary the other part of her 18th Birthday present (see necklace) and it's lovely to see her reunited with her little brother and sister

8234375252_8e4aa3f798.jpg

In 73 days we visited 4 counties, took 11 flights, visited 11 airports, stayed in 9 hotels, hired 4 vans, 3 cars and took 7,261 photos and 43 videos. We lost 1 iPhone, 2 fleeces, broke a pair of flip flops and cracked my camera screen. Oh and our double buggy is still in Singapore but should catch us up shortly. There were 228 comments made on the blog and 17,476 page views. We travelled at least 29,866 miles by air, road, sea, rail, gondola and foot (some travelled by double buggy)

Here is the final map if anyone is interested (I'm having trouble with this so it may not appear).

Thanks to everyone who helped make the trip possible.

It was fabulous to see some familiar faces along the way. Andy & Carrie for cold beers, the fire pit and a comfortable bed in Orewa. Neil, Paula, Joe, Annie & Ella for making us feel so at home in Auckland, sharing their beautiful bach in Raglan, a great round of golf (with no putter), the welcome balloon at the airport and the bucket and spade set (which made it home). Maza, Richard, Tyler & Maza's mum for a sunny traditional Iranian lunch and far too much Pimm's in Auckland. Uncle Alan for driving 500 kms from Nambucca Heads to Sydney to share some time with us, eat fish at Doyles, enjoy Coogee and climb the Tower Eye. Marcus, Rose, Madeleine & Ethan for picking us up, birthday beers and bubbles, our first takeaway in weeks and all their Melbourne insight. Thanks everyone, we'd love to return your hospitality when you are next travelling over this way.

Knowing that people were actually following the blog and receiving so many comments with feedback and advice from you all was a great incentive to keep it up. We read absolutely every comment. Thanks

It was also great to know that whilst we were away our house and some things on our behalf were being looked after. The Argos delivery (sorry dad), watering plants, cutting grass, starting cars, reporting phone loses, airport drop offs and pick ups etc. Thanks

Thanks to Bob for the diesel.

It's a small world (after all)

Never stop exploring

That's it.....the end of this journey. I hope it kept some of you informed, inspired others and perhaps put some of you off travelling with kids. It wasn't always easy, but it's something we have shared and will remember forever.

PS. Just for a bit of fun, a few of our favourite video clips from the trip. From my commentary you can tell why I stick mostly to photos not videos.

The teacup ride at Disneyland -

Moro Rock in Sequoia National Park -

Neil and Dottie in Raglan -

Finley learning to sit up in the beast -

Taft Point in Yosemite -

Yoho National Park -

Posted by cpbrooks 02:16 Archived in United Kingdom Comments (13)

Day 72 Sydney to Singapore

Bums, sun, standby

sunny 25 °C

Coogee looks beautiful today. I'm sure she has put her best frock on to make it hard for us to leave. We like it here. There is something about Sydney and for me specifically the Eastern suburbs. Is it a bit like Brighton, sort of, we'll you can smell the sea, maybe that's it. I suppose its also special because it is the end.

8228976738_534c0838db.jpg

We spend the first hour or so of our day establishing a standby strategy. We were offered 2 seats yesterday and weren't prepared (in terms of bags, nappies, toys, kids clothes etc) to split so had no choice but to turn them down and let them go to the next people on the priority list. We discuss options and decide (Ads, Tom, Alice and Mary you will recall the unlikely 5 &1 option coming up on our way to Palm Springs), 1 seat = Nat and Finn go, 2 seats = Dot and I go, and obviously 3 seats we all go (remember Finn is an infant and is on a lap)....... or no seats and we all stay at Coogee in the sun for another day. We pack our bags accordingly, decide on car seats and buggies and are set.

8228971654_46bc7f2dd3.jpg

We breakfast in Coogee Bay Road and wander down to the beach for hopefully our last sandcastle session. I bury Dot up to her bum and a very sandy bum it is too. The waves are pretty fierce at Coogee and we have listened to them all night through our open balcony doors, it was 18 degrees overnight, lovely temperature.

8228972726_2b642abc59.jpg

Pushing mum over becomes impossible with her legs buried to her knees, but we try anyhow. As fast as we can build sandcastles Dottie loves nothing more than to smash them down.

8227907353_2f65584142.jpg

Our transfer to the airport is at 2.15 so we take full advantage of the pool at the Crown Plaza (which by the way I'd recommend. Very friendly and helpful, right near the beach and the restaurants and bars. Impressed). Having heard what all you guys back home have been saying about the weather it seems almost criminal to be leaving here.

8227908893_a3d76487e4.jpg

The poolside attractions don't make it any easier. This is one of the nicest ferns I've seen for a while (no zooming gentlemen please!!)

8228978262_33ce9a93c9.jpg

Butt leave we must!

We get chatting to a lady from Melbourne in the shuttle bus. She has a business in Sydney, but a husband in Melbourne. Two kids in Melbourne and one in Chicago. Her husband promised her that once he finished college they would move to Sydney, that was 35 years ago. She reminds us of Julie Walters.

We rock up to the airport and I begrudgingly pay the $4 for the trolley, that's probably about £20 in total we've spent on airport trolleys alone.......bloody cheek.

The other standby people that we recognise from yesterday are pleased to see us (not), given that they know we are top of the priority list.....they'd have been hoping we didn't show up. The Qantas staff are brilliant to us and we end up with 3 seats, so no splitting to be done, on the upper deck in Club. Thankyou very muchly!!

8228944585_9de90da81a.jpg

I'm writing this on the flight so I have no idea what happens next. We are supposed to be on a 'confirmed' standby flight through from Singapore to London.......but who knows.

The clouds never cease to amaze me.

8228943869_41aaaccabd.jpg

Posted by cpbrooks 05:51 Archived in Australia Comments (4)

Day 71 Melbourne to Singapore (aka Sydney)

Vent, olives, coogee

overcast 22 °C

Woken again this morning by noise on Boris' roof. This time it's an Indian Minor bird that has decided to build a nest in one of Boris' vents.

8226127641_9e6d7c5b89.jpg

It's a busy day today, saying goodbye to Boris, and his smell, and two flights, Melbourne -Sydney and Sydney - Singapore. We've been confirmed on both the BA flights home so are feeling confident about them and Qantas tell us the flight to Sydney has lots of seats empty too. Our focus becomes Singapore hotels.

How a day can turn around. With Boris gone we get to Melbourne airport to be told the flight is full and its not clear whether we'll get a seat......great start. Nat starts to sweat and I tell here (once again) to 'worry only about those things you can change', something that I've been told many times myself. We get on and in no time are in Sydney. Phew!

One day, when I'm rich and famous, I'm going to buy all my flights like every other bugger has to. Standby travel is an emotional roller coaster!! At Sydney we are told all the BA confirmed seats are no longer confirmed and everyone is back on standby......great!! We wait anxiously with our 13 items.

8227201756_c3774c74e2.jpg

Yes, you guessed it, we don't get on. We get offered 2 seats in economy, but don't want to split, all combinations are unworkable and Dot refuses to stay behind on her own ;-)

Away go the Singapore hotel guides, out come the Sydney ones again. What to do? Stay close to the airport ready to come back tomorrow.......or party. Um, let me think.

So I find myself, at almost midnight, with a full moon over Coogee Beach, sitting on our balcony, a glass of wine, and all this on top of the best Italian meal we have ever had at Renato's on Coogee Bay Road. Warm Sicilian olives to start. Top pizza to finish. Highly recommended.

8227203008_7d8817ea35.jpg

Dots excited about the pool and the beach tomorrow and secretly we are all happy to be here. We have our shuttle bus booked to the airport for tomorrow's attempt (equally busy apparently)

8227203912_48d04ddb9b.jpg

Posted by cpbrooks 05:43 Archived in Australia Comments (5)

Day 70 Melbourne

Neighbours, Brighton, city

all seasons in one day 24 °C

Rain stops play. Heavy rain on Boris, thunder and lightning wake us. It's day 70 and this is our first real prolonged spell of rain to speak of. Not bad going. We have that lovely snug camping feeling and are very much tempted by a duvet day.

So it seems 'Around the world in 70 days' was not an accurate choice of title for the blog. Maybe it has to be 80 days and that is just that? Maybe Mr Palin is right. After 70 days travelling we are about half way around, but sadly we don't have another 70 to get back. Perhaps it should have been called 'Slowly to Australia and back'.

Nowhere looks overly inviting on a grey rainy day so it takes us a while to get out and about. We'd discussed options with Marcus the night before but given the weather decide to just do a quick driving tour of the city rather than parking up, taking the tram in and walking around.

We stick to the bay beach side up through Brighton and St. kilda, crossing over Albert Park and into Federation Square, pretty much the centre of Melbourne

8226895474_20dc7a9916.jpg

No Melbourne visit would be the same without a picture of their lovely trams. A bit scary manoeuvring Boris around them but classically Melbourne icons all the same.

8226027447_3fafbc784d.jpg

We've planned to meet with Nadine and Justin who we met in L.A. whilst we are here in Melbourne. They are now fellow Brightonians, albeit on different sides of the planet, so we head down that way again. The sun decides to get its hat on and we treat Dot and Finn to a session at the playground on the beach at St. Kilda.

8225819867_64f14b66db.jpg

Strangely I'm subjected to a second breath test in a week. Same sort of thing, total roadblock on a quietish road and absolutely everybody gets to blow through the plastic tube. I think I've only every been tested once in my whole life back home.

It's only now that we see the Melbourne skyline for the first time and it looks great set as a back drop to the beautiful Port Phillip Bay shoreline.

8226890524_5a15b0f4a1.jpg

I couldn't resist a bit of a repeat of yesterday's blog entry when I saw the beach huts at Brighton. Fabulously bright colours with golden sand and clear waters of the bay. Not bad.

8226892836_62f7b81a2d.jpg

Melbourne is known less for its spectacular sights, although some would disagree, and more for its culture and village atmosphere in its numerous suburbs. We certainly felt good in both St. kilda and Brighton.

A great little spot, Brighton Baths and Spa, chosen by Nadine provided us with alfresco beer and dinner overlooking the beach and the sun setting to the West.

8225822259_93bcaa6ceb.jpg
8225823127_b4a89e6bc7.jpg

Posted by cpbrooks 04:48 Archived in Australia Comments (1)

Day 69 Angelsea to Melbourne

Birthday, marcus, ferry

semi-overcast 22 °C

It's the 26th November (I think) and therefore my birthday. My umpteenth birthday. Odd with no cards or presents, but a round of 'Happy Birthday', texts and Facebook comments make up for it. Thanks everyone. We have a bit of a shindig planned on our return.

In our hurry to get camped last night we skipped past Airey Inlet so we recover our steps for 10kms back to the lighthouse walk there and some time on the beach.

We make an initial attempt to get Boris up the dirt track right to the lighthouse, but it becomes too steep and bumpy. We park up and make our way on foot up through the bush trail. The view of Loutit Bay from the top of the walk makes it worth it.

8224732891_d3aba653e3.jpg

This whole stretch of coast is known as the shipwreck coast and lots of sailors have fallen foul of its dangers. Airey Inlet lighthouse, is our third lighthouse and a very well kept one at that. It's still operational.

8225810608_0fe27a0dd3.jpg

Yet another deserted beach at Loutit Bay allows us to have some fun in the sand. We are sad to leave. This will be our last beach time. It feels strange.

8224747231_d162dd574c.jpg
8224752931_99ef9cb7c6.jpg
8227100160_e4f50ff84d.jpg

Heading up the coast, back through Angelsea, on to Torquay (are we home already??) and then to Queenscliff. We are taking Marcus' advice to get to Melbourne via the Queenscliff - Sorrento ferry across the mouth of Port Phillip Bay.

Queenscliff is a nice place and we enjoy my birthday lunch on the quayside, before taking the ferry that runs hourly over to Sorrento.

8224768479_feb8211378.jpg

Once in Sorrento and on the Mornington Peninsular I'm surprised by its beauty. I expected it to be flatter, but we head through Dromana and then sticking to the bay shoreline head along some spectacular coast. We pass the beach huts at Mount Martha.

8225838058_4584744532.jpg

There are some amazing houses along the coast. West facing, all Grand Designs type places, lots of glass and massive balconies overlooking the bay. Really rather nice. Looks like a fab place to live.

Past Mornington we put our foot down to our Dangenong campsite. Marcus, who I haven't seen for 19 years, picks us up and we head to his place for our first take away in 10 weeks with his wife Rose, and kids, Ethan and Madeleine

8225831404_f5e3dd94e1.jpg

The FREE wifi at the campsite doesn't work. No surprises there.

Posted by cpbrooks 04:40 Archived in Australia Comments (2)

(Entries 1 - 5 of 76) Page [1] 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 .. »