Today was an interesting and rather long day of travel. Starting at 8am I begun my journey from small little Toowoomba (~100,000 people) to Munich (1.3million) with a few stops at small places like Brisbane (1.8million), Singpaore (4.5million) and London (7.3million in Greater London).
So by 10am I’d reached Brisbane International Airport, a bit early for the 2pm flight out on QANTAS to Singapore. After sitting around the airport for a while looking at things and trying to find power so that we could recharge the laptops we ended up boarding hte flight and had a rather uneventful flight from Brisbane to Singapore. The only thing of note was that the plane was perhaps the smallest of the whole lot and the inflight entertainment system’s personal LCD panels were very dark. It made it impossible to look at a movie or show that was very dark. Very bright colours are fine to watch however there were very little things there that would make it worth watching (chick flicks mostly).
Singapore was Singapore. Landed in the first terminal (along the C concourse) and wandered to get some rather horrible tasting coffee. This wasn’t the worst I’ve had however it is pretty much down there. It turns out that they have free wireless there and all you have to give over are some details so that the government can track you (normal if you’ve been in Singapore before). However I didn’t realise this until I walked past a sign (usefully facing the way towards the boarding gates behind a pillar) so I didn’t get much use of it. We’ll be spending a longer amount of time when we come back so that tied with the laptop access areas should make life a bit more bearable.
Then we lined up to board our plane to London (Heathrow). This wasn’t too bad until five minutes after the time that we were supposed to take off the captain announced that someone had been lost in the terminal. Eventually the person was decided to be permanantly lost and that in accordance with most airlines they were going to unload the baggage which takes about 20 minutes. Then it turned out that we needed to wait a further 45 minutes to get a free flight spot over Afghanistan (it would appear the airspace over Afghanistan is highly controlled by the Americans). During all of this the air conditioning system wasn’t functioning properly as it would in the air under full engine power, so whilst it was warm for me, I don’t think we quite got to the 28C that other parts of the plane got to (which was at the back and very hot). In the end, an hour and a half after we were supposed to depart we finally got up in the air. Great. This then delayed all of the meals and the like which ate into the sleeping time, however we managed to only be half an hour late. I got maybe three hours sleep on the flight before waking up at about midnight Munich local time – start of a long day.
London was mostly uneventful. Involved getting off in what really felt like a shed, wandering through very ‘regulated’ walk ways (had all sorts of nice barriers to remind you that you really are just cattle) down to the bus we needed to take to the new Terminal 5 (having landed in Terminal 4), which was about 20 minutes away.
Terminal 5 is the newest terminal and is very shiny and nice looking at the moment. We wandered up through the terminal, passing the customary security checks and made our way to Terminal 5b. For some silly reason we were required to take a small train (we waited longer for the train than the journey took, would have been able to walk it faster if there was the option) under the tarmac to the building opposite which stands alone and is a building surrounded completely by gates. Fortunately there was a coffee shop there that I got a massive cappuccino (more than I’m used to in Australia) before we boarded the next flight to Munich.
This next flight wasn’t so bad, an hour and a half flight and we managed to get off the ground early and into Munich early (score!). Now Munich was an interesting airport. It is perhaps the easiest airport I have come through in the world. I didn’t need to fill in any entry documentation at all, the guy merely looked at my passport, stamped it and I went to baggage control. From there I collected baggage and walked straight out the door. Everywhere else in the world I have to at least fill in some form or another however not here. It really felt too easy and not right (it’ll be harder to get back into Australia).
From here we managed to find a train (and work out how to get the ticket stamped) into town (~50 minutes), then onto the subway (~5min) and then walk to the hotel (~10min) to check in. Once checked in (and with a quick change) we continued life around Munich with some of the rest of the crowd including lunch, some sightseeing (really killing time before dinner) and dinner.
And evreything here is green.
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